Mixed Martial Arts

‘Amazing’ reception for Bell on return to the North Coast

Photos by Ana Macias – Cass bell celebrates his win on Saturday night.

Local MMA fighter Cass Bell had a successful return to the North Coast on Saturday night after winning his first fight in the area in seven years.

Bell ended his pro bout against Tim Riscen with a TKO in the first round of the 145-pound main event at Blue Lake Casino’s Bringing the Heat Vol. 1.

And afterwards Bell credited the crowd for helping to lift him to victory in his first ever pro fight in Humboldt after several appearances at Bellator events.

“The crowd was amazing,” said Bell, who improved to 7-3 as a pro fighter. “The Bellator crowds are awesome, but fighting at the Blue Lake Casino, they made it just as loud. Fighting in front of a home crowd was amazing.”

According to Bell’s trainer, John Thompson of the Institute of Combat in Arcata, the 36-year-old fighter looked a lot like his old self after getting on Riscen early and quickly ending things.

“Both of them are Bellator fighters, both have been around the fight game and basically it came down to who wanted it,” Thompson said.

After missing weight for his previous fight in March of this year, Bell felt he was much better prepared this time around.

“I went in there well trained this time. I was more focused,” he said. “And it showed I put in the time, put in the effort. I was really excited about it.”

The IOC split two other pro fights at the event, with Dupree Stewart winning his pro debut in a 170-pound showdown against Aaron Klinghardt and Gabriel Smith losing his pro debut to Carlos Morales at 125 pounds.

All three pro fights ended in the first round, with Stewart winning on a rear naked choke.

“Dupree made his guy look like he never fought before,” Thompson said of Klinghardt, who was 9-2 as an amateur and a multiple King of the Cage champion. “And he’s been fighting way longer than Dupree.”

Dupree Stewart celebrates his win on Saturday.

Smith lost his fight but had a good showing, according to his coaches.

After a strong start he got caught on a flying knee and Morales was able to capitalize.

“It was a great fight,” said Thompson, who added that a rematch is already in the works.

Among the amateur fight highlights, the IOC’s Michael Bartolotti got his first win with a first-round ground-and-pound TKO over Laxton Butler, while Stephen “Scuba Steve” Vigil beat Aiyon Peoples in what could have been the most entertaining fight of the night.

The IOC’s Lypin Lee lost to Adryen Spinks in another entertaining bout, while his teammate Anthony Martinez lost to Mejale Keith.

“He pushed himself. It was good to see,” Bell said of the latter. “As an amateur you’re learning, so it’s good to have these big scraps. 

“It’s definitely key to the success of becoming a pro and a good fighter.”

Nasir Worthy also won his fight, beating Rupert Francis with a unanimous decision.

Thompson was impressed with all of the local fighters in action.

“They all had good fights,” he said. “They were all evenly matched. The whole team did great.”

According to Thompson, the event was a huge success.

“The night went really well,” he said. “We had a sold-out show. We had lines of people outside trying to get in. The pay per view was insane. They were trying to watch it however they could watch it.”

Thompson says he is already planning a second show at the local casino. 

“We had such a great turnout and all the people who supported us, so we’re 100 percent going to do it again,” he said. “We’re definitely going to start rocking these out.”

Bell, meanwhile, is hoping to get back in the cage soon and the Arcata High wrestling coach wants to fight at least once more before he has to turn his attention to his coaching duties later in the year.

Categories: Mixed Martial Arts, MMA

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