Cat Zingano, Carla Esparza Earn Wins At "Winter Brawl"UFC heavyweight Chris Tuchscherer presented another solid night of action tonight at Crowbar MMA: “Winter Brawl” in Grand Forks, North Dakota. TUF alum Dane “Red Horse” Sayers dominated Wayne “Butch” Hajicek in the main event, stopping the veteran with punches in the second round.

In a pair of excellent women’s bouts, Colorado’s Cat “Alpha” Albert-Zingano remained unbeaten with a one-sided stoppage victory over Carina “Beauty But The Beast” Damm, while two-time All-American wrestler Carla Esparza earned a hard-fought decision win over fellow prospect Nina Ansaroff.


Zingano (5-0-0) displayed crisp Muay Thai striking early in her bout with Damm (15-5-0) before reversing a takedown. She struck from the top and the fighters returned to their feet where knees were exchanged in a clinch against the cage. Zingano reversed another takedown and landed on top, where she scored with short punches and elbows. Zingano cut Damm beside the left eye and continued to punish the Brazilian with punches. Zingano stood and landed an axe kick, then returned to Damm’s guard. Damm attempted an armbar, but Zingano punched free and landed more elbows. She powerbombed Damm just before the bell to put an exclamation point on a one-sided round.

Round two began with a bang as Zingano floored Damm with a lead right hook. She pounced with more punches on the ground, but Damm recovered and looked to set up a submission from her back. Zingano postured up and landed a flurry, but Damm kicked her off and stood. Zingano clinched and threw Damm to the mat. She used short elbows to set up a move to mount, then teed off with punches. Damm tried to buck Zingano off, but could not. After another salvo of elbows and nearly a dozen punches, Damm rolled to her side and turtled and the fight was stopped.

Winner: Cat Albert-Zingano by TKO (Punches & Elbows) at 3:37 of round two. She improves to 5-0-0.


In the second women’s bout on the card, Esparza (4-1-0) rebounded from a competitive loss to Megumi Fujii by edging Ansaroff (1-1-0) via a close decision. Ansaroff scored with kicks and punches in the first round, but Esparza promptly took the fight to the mat and struck from the top. Ansaroff got back to her feet, only to be taken down again. Esparza controlled the action for the latter half of the round.

The second and third rounds were more of the same, but Esparza appeared to fatigue late in round two and Ansaroff capitalised with crisp striking combinations. Esparza circled away and took the fight back down to the mat, but Ansaroff’s superior striking won over the judges. In the final stanza, Esparza once again took Ansaroff down repeatedly, but continued to face challenges when the fight returned to the feet. Esparza again backpedalled, but her top control was enough to win the round and the fight.

One judge strangely scored all three rounds for Ansaroff, while the remaining wto rightfully awarded the hard-fought victory to Esparza.

Winner: Carla Esparza by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30) after three rounds. She improves to 4-1-0.


The night’s main event saw Sayers (8-1-0) get back on the winning track following his time on Season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter, as he battered Hajicek (18-16-0) for much of their catchweight fight. Sayers opened the fight with leg kicks, but was clipped by a lead right hook from Hajicek. Sayers staggered, but regained his composure and clinched. He slammed Hajicek down and struck from the top before taking Hajicek’s back. Sayers used punches to try to set up a rear-naked choke, but Hajicek defended and eventually regained guard. Sayers scored with elbows before the bell.

Round two began with an early takedown from Sayers, who resumed his assault with punches and elbows from the top. He passed to half-guard and landed more strikes that allowed him to move to mount. From there, Sayers unloaded with dozens of punches as the referee stood by and watched. Finally, Hajicek opted to save himself from further punishment and tapped out.

Winner: Dane Sayers by Submission (Punches) at 2:15 of round two. He improves to 8-1-0.


Another highlight of the night was UFC veteran Steve “The Hooligan” Steinbeiss’s (5-4-0) impressive submission victory over Isaac Appel (5-2-0). Steinbeiss secured a modified one-arm guillotine choke from the bottom and switched to an inverted neck crank that forced Appel to submit while in obvious pain at 4:39 of the first round. Elsewhere, another UFC veteran was also victorious when Jesse “Kid Hercules” Forbes (15-5-0) battled back after a rocky start to defeat Justin Guthrie (5-4-0) with a triangle choke at 1:57 of round two.


Crowbar MMA: “Winter Brawl” Results:

– Dane Sayers defeated Wayne “Butch” Hajicek by Submission (Punches) at 2:15 of round two.
– Cat Albert-Zingano defeated Carina Damm by TKO (Punches & Elbows) at 3:37 of round two.
– Jesse Forbes defeated Justin Guthrie by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 1:57 of round two.
– Steve Steinbeiss defeated Isaac Appel by Submission (Inverted Neck Crank) at 4:39 of round one.
– Carla Esparza defeated Nina Ansaroff by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30) after three rounds.
– Josh Huber defeated Dave Helmbrecht by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:55 of round three.
– Jeremy Stetz defeated Chris Lane by TKO (Punches) at 3:18 of round one.
– William “Jay” Jackson III defeated Zachery Evans by TKO (Punches) at 4:42 of round one.
– Scott Cleve defeated Jos Eichelberger by TKO (Punches) at 4:40 of round one.