In the fifth fight of the night Matt “Machine” Bienia faced Andrew Lee at 155 pounds. Lee is a brawler, and had a record of 1-1-0 going into this contest. The fight started with the two trading strikes on their feet. Matt quickly began to dominate the exchanges, landing some solid straight punches. His opponent struggled to take Matt down, but Matt immediately reversed, and got top position. After some punches from the top Matt attempted an arm-bar, but lost it and his opponent began to strike as Matt pulled guard. After playing defense from the bottom for a bit, Matt threw up a triangle-choke, and finished after a valiant attempt to defend from his opponent. Matt emerged victorious at 1:15 of the first round and went to 3-0-0 in his MMA career. Matt is also now ranked # 13 among New York amateur MMA fighters, and #37 in the northeast.
Neil's fight for the Welterweight title started with a BANG! His opponent landed a vicious overhand right punch to the side of Neil's face right away...which clearly stunned him. Neil quickly reset and began to throw some punches of his own. The two warriors then cycled between very strategic and dynamic maneuvers against the fence, on the ground, and back to striking. Neil showed moments of brilliance with takedowns and positioning, wining most of the exchanges in the first round. Toward the end of round 1, Neil got to his opponent's back and stretched him out into a position called the "grape-vine" (considered the worst position possible in fighting.) Neil attempted to finish the fight with strikes to the head and fishing for a rear choke, but the end of the round came too soon. In round two it was clear that Neil's energy level was fading and his opponent gained momentum. Neil struggled with escaping bad positions for a good portion of the round...but caught his opponent with an arm-bar from the guard with about a minute left in the round. The submission was deep and Neil tried desperately to finish, but his opponent refused to tap. Neil let go with about 5 seconds left in the round and his opponent began to strike when the horn blew ending round 2. Neil struggled to get to his corner, and could not continue to round 3 from exhaustion. Beyond disappointed, Neil fell to 4-1-0 and missed his first chance at a title. He is still ranked #11 in New York, and #21 in the northeast.
Although their fights and outcomes were very different, both Matt and Neil fought like warriors. Matt dominated and got the quick finish. Neil faced real adversity for the first time in his MMA journey, and ground through two very animated rounds. Neil completely takes ownership of his performance but, truth be told, he had the flu for 8-9 days prior to the fight. This prevented him from properly training, weight cutting, and preparing mentally for the fight. Despite all of that, he nearly finished his opponent at the end of the 1st round...and dislocated his opponent's wrist trying to finish the arm-bar at the end of the second.
We are very proud of both Matt and Neil after their performances in Kaged Kombat 25. Keep an eye out for the next event coming soon!
Photo by TM Williams Photography