Hill wins MMA Middleweight Championship, while JC's Mayle, Florez earn knockout wins at Full Battle Rattle

Colton Hill works through Justin Henry’s guard to land a right hand strike. Hill defeated Henry after receiving the judge's decision March 30 at the Courtyard by Marriott Convention Center in Never Surrender MMA Full Battle Rattle's main event.

Never Surrender MMA held a Full Battle Rattle event Saturday night at the Courtyard by Marriott in Junction City. Many fans from Junction City and Fort Riley came out to show support on a night that presented 14 fights featuring Brazilian jiu-jitsu, mixed martial arts and kickboxing styles.

In the opening fight in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Issac Doolittle beat Cody Criqui by decision. In the second fight, at 190 pounds for MMA, Chandlor Matney took down Joshua Taylor by submission due to a rear-naked choke. In the third fight in kickboxing for 155 pounds, Bernie Smith won by knockout. In the fourth fight, Jake Fox beat Josh Pfeifer by submission in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. 

After the first intermission, Junction City’s Austin Mayle took to the ring. He trains at RS MMA Fitness in Junction City. Mayle took on Derek McMillan in a 135-pound MMA fight with the JC community cheering him on. With a game plan assembled with coaches Donald Holliday and Rico Steele, Mayle believed he was in good shape to win his fight. 

“Let him tire himself out; he’s going to come in and try to take me down and it’s not going to happen,” Mayle said. “Then I’m just going to pick my open shots. Being surgical is better than being wild in my book.”

After the fight’s second round, Mayle didn’t let it last much longer. Fourteen seconds into the round, Mayle took down McMillan by knockout. Mayle was excited to keep his MMA record perfect, and that the game plan worked to perfection.

“It was amazing; it was great,” Mayle said. “I came out here and our game plan worked. Our game plan was played through real easy.”

Coach Holliday talked about the team mentality approach members take to into the ring.

“We try to stay even keel; we don’t really focus on what other people do,” Holliday said. “We just kind of stick to our plan and stay the course and it normally works for us.”

The next fight was the MMA debut for Colton Courtney, who took on Isreal Ortiz in a 145-pound MMA fight. Ortiz looked to have the edge in the first round, controlling the ground and maintaining position on top of Courtney for a large duration of the first round. In the second round, Courtney came out fired up, and won by a knockout.

In the next fight in kickboxing, Beniah Gorman took down Mark Grimsley by knockout. Gorman came out firing, and was swinging away from the start. He showed no fear. 

At 185 pounds in MMA, Jerry Newsome suffered a shoulder injury early in a match, forcing him to end the fight early, giving Anthony Arzate the win. Moving forward, Albert Cochrane, at 130 pounds in MMA, won by knockout over Jacob Clary in the second round. Cochrane climbed on top of the cage after the win was in his hands, celebrating with the Junction City crowd.

Following the next intermission was the second Junction City fighter on the night, Alexandra Florez. Training at RS MMA Fitness in Junction City along with Mayle, she felt prepared for the fight. Florez characterized herself as an outsider who finds joy being in the ring. Coach Holliday came to a realization with Florez. 

“I’ve realized that she’s a mixture of all the above and she does a great job of letting whatever personality come forward, come forward,” Holliday said. “She’s not a mean person. I’m just happy she trusts us enough to allow us to train her. She listened to everything we had to say and that’s why she was victorious.”

Victorious she was as she gained position on top of opponent Jessica Link-Davis at the end of the first round to get the victory via knockout. Florez was in awe at her performance.

“It feels amazing, unreal, like fantasy land,” she said. 

After having to travel a majority of the time, Chief Instructor Rico Steele was pleased they were able to fight in their own backyard for a change.

“It is so amazing to not have to travel,” Steele said. “We travel all the time, all over the United States for fights. It’s absolutely incredible for the fans, people of Junction City. I think it helps everybody around, helps build the culture a little bit because it’s not as violent as people think. Yes it’s a violent sport, but it still brings people together.”

With two MMA wins on the night, the overall record for RS MMA Fitness improved to 53-3. Steele talked about everything that goes into their success.

“It’s absolutely incredible; I have a great team,” Steele said. “Coach Donald Holliday, coach Marcus does our Jiu-Jitsu, coach Luis helps with our conditioning. We just come together and gel as a team. It’s not one man — it’s all of our effort.”

As for what’s next for Florez, she plans on fighting in the upcoming TBA (Thai Boxing Association) Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. Her goals are already set for her next bout.

“I want to bring back a belt for my gym,” Florez said. “We’ve brought back a belt every year now; it’s my turn this year.”

Vikenty Mikheev then took on Colton Gideon in a 175-pound MMA match. Mikheev, a math teacher, remained undefeated as he won by arm-bar submission. Kenyon Stacy won the next fight at 155 pounds in MMA over Logan Arnhold by submission. 

In the co-main event rounding out the Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament, Jake Fox and Issac Doolittle met to try to gain position of the belt. After a 10-minute round with no submission, they were forced to go into sudden death. Fox maintained guard for the duration of the fight, and was declared the winner.

In the main event, which everybody was on the edge of their seats for, Colton Hill and Justin Henry fought for the Never Surrender MMA Middleweight Championship at 185 pounds. The fight looked like it was going to be over early, as Hill dominated the early portion of the fight. Hill was able to slam Henry a couple times, then took over on the ground, but was unable to beat him by the end of the opening round. In the second round, Henry began with a kick to Hill’s face. Henry held his own in the second round and was able to make it to the third and final rounds. Hill had another big takedown on Henry in the third round, and was able to gain momentum on top of Henry on the ground. By unanimous decision, Hill won the belt, and hopes to go professional in the near future.

Kerrigan Luna, a U.S. Army soldier from Texas stationed at Fort Riley, attended his first MMA fight Saturday, and loved what he saw.

“It was awesome,” Luna said. “I may go work more on my Brazilian jiu-jitsu. That way I can better know how to take down my opponent easier, and probably in a swifter way. And to have a lot of fun while doing it.”

Bryce Murphy, from Elko, Nevada, plans to attend more MMA events after enjoying the Full Battle Rattle. And Erich Jones, from North Carolina, enjoyed seeing the fights from a different point of view, and learned some things he will be sharing with others.

“That was intense and one of the best events I’ve ever been to,” Jones said. “Seeing it from an outside perspective gives you a different way of seeing techniques being done that you can improve on that I’m going to take back to my students and my people that I am going to train with.”

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