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Carolinas Fight Scene Update: Matt Tran And Other Amateur Standouts Deliver Last Night In Charlotte!

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In front of a packed house on the roof of the Epicentre in uptown Charlotte, Fight Lab Promotions once again treated fans in the Charlotte area to a great night of amateur fights. In attendance was NFL All-Pro wide receiver Steve Smith and he, like all the fans there, was witness to several really entertaining matchups. Here's what went down:

  • In the evening's main event, Matt "Spiderman" Tran (7-0) successfully defended his bantamweight championship against challenger Brantley Furr. Tran, a southpaw, started things off with a nice leg kick. Furr clinched against the cage and was able to take the fight to the canvass, only to have Tran quickly attempt an ankle lock. Furr defended that nicely but would eventually give up his back, allowing Tran to land some big punches and lock on a choke for the win seconds before the end of the first round.
  • There's really not much to say about the title defense of Blaine "No Pain" Thomas (12-5). I'm pretty sure the guy never even broke a sweat. Challenger Alex McDonald (3-2) clinched with Thomas early on in the opening round and Thomas quickly locked on a standing guillotine choke. Thomas then jumped to guard and really increased the pressure, finally inducing a tapout by McDonald at 27 seconds of the opening round. Thomas enjoys a reputation as one of the toughest and best 170 pound amateurs in the Carolinas and last night it was easy to see why. This guy is a tough matchup for anybody and last night he made things look easy.

More after the jump:

  • In my opinion, the lightweight clash between Kevin Forant (4-2) and Chris Smith (6-3) was one of the best matchups of the evening. This was a fight that showcased the heart and conditioning of both fighters. Smith won by unanimous decision, claiming the Fight Lab 155 pound amateur title. Both fighters did some good work in this one. I thought Smith did some really nice work with his jab, really opening Forant up in the third round. Smith also dug in with some nice body shots throughout. Forant landed some effective leg kicks and both fighters exchanged effective knees in the clinch. Forant is a fighter that usually displays an active guard and is constantly searching for submission attempts and sweeps. Smith did a good job of, for the most part, controlling Forant on the canvass and avoiding such attempts. Both guys are talented competitors and I look forward to seeing them both in competition again soon.
  • Light heavyweight Brandon Beach (3-1) was an accomplished collegiate wrestler at Gardner-Webb University and appeared to have the ability to be a force in this region's amateur 205 pound class before an injury derailed his run over the past couple of years. However, on Friday night he announced his return in a big way. Defending champ Ben Perry (2-3) was noticeably larger than Beach considering that he's 6'6" and Brandon is just under 6 feet tall, but the height difference really never came into play in this one. Beach scored an early takedown and quickly gained side control where he landed some punches and hammerfists. Beach stood up and delivered some thunderous right hands to his downed opponent that quickly ended Perry's night midway through the first round.
  • I would have to give the "Fight of the Night" award to Christian Brunetti's (4-0) win over Salah Hemidach (4-2) in their 145 pound title fight. This bout was the definition of a back and forth matchup. The fight is available for viewing on and I suggest that any MMA fan go and check it out. There were numerous near fight-ending submission attempts and also a lot of sweeps and exchanges of dominant position. I only wish that I had the fight stats to see how many takedowns and submission attempts there were in this one. Both fighters showed a lot of toughness and slick submission defense. Fayetteville fighter Christian Brunetti, however, claimed victory in the 3rd round via submission (RNC).
  • Adam Dehart (10-5) is currently considered the top 185 pound amateur by many observers in the Carolinas and he reminded everyone why last night. His opponent, Tony Scarlett (4-1), is a talented fighter in his own right and is a guy that appears to have a lot of toughness and real potential. The first round saw both fighters clinch early and Scarlett delivered a knee to the body, followed by both fighters exchanging knees against the fence. Dehart then scored a takedown and landed some bodyshots from within Scarlett's guard. Dehart ended the first round by landing some nice punches. Dehart opened up the second round by landing a punch. Scarlett seemed a little tentative to let his hands go early in the second but, when he did throw a combination, appeared to land a couple of strikes and pushed Adam up against the fence. A knee from Dehart sent Scarlett to the canvass. From my vantage point I wasn't able to tell if the knee connected with Tony's head or chest. Dehart followed up with some nice punches. The ref finally called a halt to the contest after several unanswered punches landed by Dehart. This was a nice win and an impressive title defense for Adam. After the fight it was announced that he would be going pro this September. If they fight solid competition, almost all amateur fighters take some losses. It's what makes them better. I think that it will make Scarlett a better fighter as well. With more experience he could be one to watch out for.

Other results:

  • - 170 lbs.- Vincent Alberico (3-0) def. Tony Rodgers (1-1) by Submission (RNC) in the 1st round.
  • - 205 lbs.- Zachary Klouse (5-3) def. Robert Smith (2-2) by tapout due to injury in the 3rd round.
  • - 170 lbs.- Shawn Dillon (1-0) def. Jeff Piercy (2-2) by Submission (guillotine choke) in the 1st round.
  • - 135 lbs.- Mike Powell (1-0) def. Kenny Hull (0-1) by TKO in the 1st round.