The bout began with the two trading heavy blows in the center of the cage. Wyatt used his reach advantage to win several of the exchanges, until Matt pressed him into the cage at about 30 seconds into the round. Matt positioned for a takedown and Wyatt defended well until 1:16, when they separated and immediately began throwing punches again. This continued until Matt pushed Wyatt into the cage again and scored a nice double-leg takedown at 2:00. Matt jockeyed for position and began to land vicious “ground-and-pound” strikes from above for the next 40+ seconds. Many people felt that the fight should have been stopped at that point, but it probably continued because the title was on the line. Just before the round ended Wyatt caught an arm-bar, but Matt defended beautifully and attacked again as the horn sounded. The crowd was electrified by the pace, intensity, and strategies that were happening in this co-main event, and the level of noise rose significantly.
Round 2 also started the with the two exchanging blows, and Wyatt opening up and connecting more. At 46 seconds, Matt set-up and executed a textbook double-leg takedown in the center of the cage, and Wyatt sprawled to counter. Matt continued to press forward, got mounted position against the cage, and began to ground-and-pound heavily again. Wyatt eventually escaped, starting an animated grappling exchange ending with Wyatt in “side-control.” The two were visibly tired and Wyatt spent the better part of the next minute attempting to strike and improve his position while Matt defended well. Matt eventually escaped and “up-kicked” Wyatt back, then began to attack again just before the round ended. Wyatt was slow to get up and return to his corner.
In Round 3, Matt quickly began to press Wyatt into the cage. Wyatt used lateral movement and hooking punches to defend, but Matt was relentless, trapping Wyatt against the fence at 23 seconds in. Matt then methodically got the takedown, went to the mount, and began an incredible barrage of strikes until the referee stoppage at 1:10 of the round.
In an amazing display of respect, the two warriors met in the center of the cage after the fight and exchanged bows and hugs. The crowd went wild in appreciation for what they had just seen. Matt’s coaches, training partners, and the 40+ fans from Team ZenQuest were all ecstatic about the win. The official announcement was made, and the belt was placed around Matt’s waist.
Matt worked extremely hard to prepare for this fight, and THAT is largely what got him the win. Several people helped him prepare in the team trainings including, of course, Neil “Beast Mode” Von Flatern...and a HUGE thank you goes out to those people. In a way, every student is a part of this accomplishment, and can feel good about their gym being the home of champions like Matt Bienia!