Fight For It XVIII raised the standard for combat sports events — again

Is it possible to improve on your last performance? If Saturday night was any indication, you bet it is!

Legendary performance coach Tony Robbins invented the acronym C.A.N.I., which means Constant And Never-ending Improvement. The Fight For It team clearly put this thought pattern to good use as they took advantage of the excitement generated from their previous show at Charlotte’s Grady Cole Center. On Saturday, Jan. 27, Fight For It XVIII exceeded expectations.

The idea of C.A.N.I. suggests that everyone involved come together to raise the level of performance of the organization. In addition to event promoters, the collection of teams, fighters, and coaches all did their best, as well, to ensure Fight For It XVIII was remarkable show for the city of Charlotte. Despite the rain, over 1,100 fans continued to pour in from the opening match and remained fully engaged throughout the main card.

The tone for the evening was set early in the opening youth kickboxing bout between Maddox Wendt and Tyler Hellman. These young men engaged for three rounds packed with explosive combos and outstanding clinch work, averaging 53 striking attempts collectively. Producing numbers that high is not an easy task in a two-minute round. The bout went to Wendt, representing Lake Norman Muay Thai.

In the adult kickboxing division, Dakota Gray and Zion Bailey offered the most impressive matchup as they further pushed the pace with an average of sixty strikes thrown per round. The lone finish in the division was by Vlad Bandarchyk, who stopped Hunter Chapman by TKO. The showman in the division was Christion McRae, who earned a victory in his third fight with the promotion and, in the process, earned himself a title shot with current 145-pound title holder Ryan Taylor. McRae energized the crowd as he faced off with Taylor, agreeing to meet in Winston-Salem at Fight For It XIX.

In the adult MMA division, Forrest Carrow and Britton Cain put on an excellent display that showcased the dedicated improvements teams are making at the amateur level. They entertained with clinch work, takedowns, and long-range striking, while maintaining a high work rate that progressed from 24 striking attempts in round one and ended with 90 strikes attempted in round three. Carrow won by decision.

Other highlights came from Cameron Blizzard, Coleman Barber, and Jeremiah Opata, who were able to stop their opponents early. Opata is on a two-fight win streak and has yet to see a second round. He may be just what the promotion needs at 185. The lone submission in the division belonged to Josh Cook, who stopped Patrick Schaffer in round one with a guillotine choke.

The pro MMA division saw Michael Hall exact revenge on Kevin Peraza, who was making his pro debut. The two met as amateurs with Peraza coming out on top. This time it would be Hall earning the decision. Based on the optics and dynamics of the fight, it appeared that Hall used the same strategy Peraza used against him in their first fight.

In another exciting bout, Brandon Holmes defeated Ralston Thomas via decision. This fight was easily the best back-and-forth matchup between two men who like to throw heavy lumber, and two men who had yet faced defeat prior to their meeting.

And, in the main event of the evening, Trukon Carson became the first pro champion for Fight For It, as he defeated Quinton McCottrell for the welterweight title. In less than a minute of round one, Carson was able to secure a guillotine choke and the victory.

Teams with outstanding performances start with Matrix MMA, who went undefeated (5-0) on the night. Also, Battle Born BJJ went (4-2), and RKM Training went (2-0).

Special Recognition goes to the Fight For It staff, who helped deliver this production from its inception to its execution. Most of all, thank you, the combat sports fans who attended live or watched in the comfort of your homes. We’ll see you at Fight For It XIX!