KANKAKEE — The MoreMMA Classic XV had its share of thrills Saturday night with a bystander jumping in the cage on short notice and Keenan Love winning his comeback fight.
Here is a breakdown of some memorable moments outside of Nico Jefferson’s pro-caliber fight against Sam Agushi and Jacob Igartua’s title fight against Payton Brezinski.
Spreading the Love
Keenan Love exuded confidence from the moment he somersaulted into the cage to fight Mike Rynearson.
The 27-year-old Kankakeean, who works in private security, relied on his striking to subdue Rynearson in his first fight since 2013.
Love hopped around the ring and mixed in a flurry of kicks and punches. At times, he dropped his gloves, daring Rynearson to come at him. He stood over Rynearson after knocking him to the ground and allowed him to get back up to fight some more.
“I am a confident guy,” Love said. “I trained extremely hard. I trained two, three times a day to get ready for this.”
The officials called the match after Love knocked Rynearson to the ground and delivered heavy blows, improving Love’s record to a perfect 3-0.
In defeating Rynearson, Love avenged his friend, Mike Suprenant, who lost to Rynearson at MoreMMA XII.
“I am proud of myself,” Love said. “It’s been a while. I started this journey a long time ago. It was my first fight since 2013. So, this fight was my redemption. I’m back. I’m writing my story again, and I want to go pro.”
Piece of Pizza
Tyler Barnett expected to sit in the stands and watch the fights Saturday night. Instead, the 20-year-old from Cullom ended up in the cage with Mileta Rondovic for a Muay Thai fight.
Barnett walked into the venue wearing a T-shirt and shorts when MoreMMA owner Ed Walz approached him about possibly fighting because Rondovic’s original opponent, Tim Trost, didn’t show up.
“I just came in to watch the fights,” Barnett said. “I actually went to Chicago Dough Pizza before I came here. I was on a full stomach. I was already tired. They asked me to fight, and I agreed.”
So, for his first career fight, Barnett fought an opponent who was more than a foot taller than him.
“When I stepped into the cage and saw him, I said to myself, ‘Dang, he’s going to hit me hard.’ And he did.”
Despite getting knocked out in the first round, Barnett said he wants to fight again.
“I’ve always wanted to do this since I was 14 years old,” he said. “I turned 18 and went to do it, but the guy never showed up at weigh in. That gave me some time to figure it out. Then, tonight happened. I want to do it again. I really do.”
Hammond takes a loss
Marquon Hammond lost to Brian DeLeon by a technical knockout in the second round.
Hammond opened the first round with some energetic kicks and punches, but DeLeon’s adjustments in the second round proved too much.
DeLeon knocked Hammond to the ground and delivered a flurry of punches, prompting officials to end the match.