LOCAL SCENE: Dan Moret captures title, amateur grand prix winner stands out in MN at Driller Fights’ “MECCA VII” event

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

A very long day of fights hit Canterbury Park’s Expo Center in Shakopee, Minn., on Saturday, as Driller Fights brought a mix of kickboxing, amateur MMA, and pro MMA competition to their “MECCA VII” event.

Finishing out the eight-hour card was a fight between The Academy’s Dan Moret and Iowa’s Mike Plazola for Driller and SEG’s vacant Featherweight Championship. Following a competitive opening round, Moret took advantage of a clinch early in the second to lock on jump-guard guillotine; Plazola attempted to pop his head out or at the least to shake Moret off, but he couldn’t get free and was forced to tap.

The 29-year-old “Hitman” is now 9-2 on his career, and has won three of his last four fights. His two defeats have come inside the RFA cage, both by decision, though he’s picked up two wins with RFA as well. He’s a perfect 5-0 with Driller. For Plazola, a six-fight winning streak was snapped in his first fight since 2013.

The pro portion of the card featured the least amount of fights, but there were a couple of standout performances in the form of Mitch White and Bobby Lee. White overwhelmed opponent Mark Tupas with a non-stop barrage of attacks, scoring with knees to the body along with several striking exchanges; from there, he tossed Tupas to the ground at the cage, and from top position he locked on a standing guillotine and pressed him to the cage to force the tap. Meanwhile, Lee put some highlight-reel work in by rocking Eric Ramm with a spinning jump kick to the head, taking him to the ground, and forcing the tap with a straight armbar. Impressive work from two young competitors.

The lengthy – and too long by half – amateur portion of the card featured minimal highlights, mainly in the form of Charles Anozie. The new Driller Amateur Featherweight Champion had to get through three men in an odd-format Grand Prix, which featured one-round, three-minute fights in the first two rounds along with a one-minute sudden victory round from there. Anozie demolished Jack Shreffer and Sam Nelson before catching Sam Hernandez in a rear naked choke in the second round of the finals. Hernandez – who got a pass into the second round after two Grand Prix competitors dropped out late – had made it to the finals with a first round technical submission over Jahan Galehdari, a finish which featured the scariest moment of the night when Galehdari began convulsing a bit before coming to following the guillotine. EMT’s on the scene assured that he was alright and that it was a somewhat normal response with how long he was out.

There was a seven-fight kickboxing card to kick off the afternoon, with Invicta FC vet Kaitlin Young serving as the stand out. She took out late replacement Pam Sorenson in the second round with three body shot knockdowns, and though Sorenson found herself outmatched in the bout, she put in a gutsy performance in defeat.

Results from Driller’s MECCA VII:

Main Card

-Featherweight Championship: Dan Moret def. Mike Plazola via submission (standing guillotine) at :44 of the second round
-Carson Frei def. Brandon Jenkins via decision
-Amateur Featherweight Grand Prix Final: Charles Anozie def. Sam Hernandez via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:22 of the second round
-Mitch White def. Mark Tupas via submission (standing guillotine choke) at 3:20 of the first round
-Jason Huntley def. Eric Kemper via split decision
-Bobby Lee def. Eric Ramm via submission (straight armbar) at 2:26 of the first round
-Kyle Todd def. Starr Roberts via submission (RNC) at 2:31 first round

Amateur Card

-Amateur Featherweight Grand Prix Semifinal: Sam Hernandez def. Jahan Galehdari via technical submission (guillotine choke) at 1:04 of the first round
-Amateur Featherweight Grand Prix Semifinal: Charles Anozie def. Sam Nelson via TKO at 1:51 of the first round
-Amateur Flyweight Championship: Fikrit Saric def. Chris Collins via submission (armbar) at 1:11 of the first round
-CT Bailey def. Jamie Naasz via decision
-Margo Testa def. Kathryn Bassignana via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
-Sean Stebbins def. Shane Scott via unanimous decision
-Zack Morrison def. Sam Khom via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:42 of the second round
-Ricardo Pacheco vs. Richard Welch ends in split draw
-Amateur Featherweight Grand Prix Opening Round: Jahan Galehdari def. Jesse Hernandez via decision in one minute “sudden death” round
-Amateur Featherweight Grand Prix Opening Round: Charles Anozie def. Jack Shreffer by TKO at 1:51 the first round

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