Hard Hitting Action at MMA Event in Moline

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When Alex Rozman defeated Jeff Osborn in the gated octagon, referee Spencer Fisher raised Rozman’s arm in the air announcing him the victor.  The crowd of over 600 people began to boo and yell in disappointment of the local fighter’s victory, I knew that this was not going to be an easy crowd to please.


The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre held at the Moline Community Center on Feb. 16 had all the excitement, hard hitting action, and fighters seen on Pay Per View.  Ring girls, waitresses, flashing cameras, a VIP sitting area, and a big screen showing replays of the fights brought a Mandalay Bay feel to downtown Moline.

Jeff “The Rock Jr.” Osborne from Colona, Ill. started off the night with his father Jeff Osborne in his corner.  “I am behind my son 110 percent,” said Jeff Osborne Sr., “I just pray that he doesn’t get hurt.”  Jeff Osborne Jr. has been fighting for 3 years and has been training at Ekim’s in Silvis.  Jeff was focused on the fight while he shadow boxed before the fight listening to his headphones. 

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Nothing could distract the young fighter, when asked what he was thinking about before entering the ring he simply said, “My game plan,” as he continued his pre-fight warm up.  Travis Nath, 19, fighting at 160 lbs is another young and hungry fighter that could not be distracted from the task at hand.  Travis has been training for a year out of Philbricks in Clinton, Iowa.  Travis was wrapping his hands up in pink tape, a color he said he uses to be different.  Travis says when he gets in the ring he only thinks about getting a win, he works hard on his technique and is always thinking about the next move.

Guest referee for the fights was UFC star Spencer Fisher, who trains with the Miletich Fighting System, enjoys the smaller shows.  “These fights help pay the bills for these fighters, they help them earn more which can eventually get them to the next level.”  With a UFC record of 21-4 Fisher remembers earning money and going from seminar to seminar gaining experience and new techniques that helped him get better in his career. 

When asked what advice he would give the younger fighters in the area he quickly replied, “Don’t be satisfied!  A lot of guys get excited about winning at the amateur level and they start getting lazy but they need to be preparing, training, dedicating more time because when you get to the bigger shows people are going to be a lot better.”  

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IFL star L.C. Davis who also trains with the Miletich camp is currently fighting for the team formerly known as Silverbacks.  L.C. could have been anywhere else that evening but he said he was in town to support his teammates.  L.C. says that inside the ring, “I feed off the crowd’s energy.  I like it loud!  These smaller shows have a big show feel because there are so many people around the cage screaming and it feels like you are in a much larger place.” 

His thoughts on becoming a good fighter were, “It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and luck” he said with a chuckle.
Thirteen-year-old Alex Herrera fought a kickboxing exhibition match that was one of the harder hitting matches of the night, Alex says he does not get nervous before a fight and he does not let the crowd bother him.  For him this is fun, although he does not want to become a professional, he really enjoys the sport.  His mother Sylvia Campos supports her son but gets a little nervous when he fights because she worries that he might get hurt.

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The main event of the evening was a heavy weight battle between Eric “Big Country” Poling against Boban Simic of Chicago.  Simic, who is a hard hitting fighter known for knocking his opponents out, did not phase Eric Poling one bit.  When the announcer asked where the people from Andalusia were, over 200 people stood up and cheered and stayed up as the speakers blasted a country song introducing Eric Poling. 

“Big Country” threw blow after blow while the crowd cheered louder and louder for their champion until Simic was knocked out after 48 seconds in the first round.  Poling says he has a much different approach to the sport after his last loss.  “The loss made everything more real.  It helped me train with confidence and fight with confidence.  This sport is all mental.  I have my mind right and I don’t want any more losses.  I am happy to win for my fans; I am there for them like they are there for me.”

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With events like these in the Quad Cities, who needs to go to Vegas?   Most of these fighters have dreams of fighting at the next level and with the amount of talent and training facilities around here I am sure we will see many of them headline a pay per view event in the future.

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