Gross Dominates; Rich Steals The Show At Pro Fighting Series III

Josh Rich - MMA

Josh Rich wins his bout at Pro Fighting Series III – Photo by Jeff McCoy/Kaoss Studios

Two Chatham-Kent mixed martial artists stole the show this past weekend at Pro Fighting Series III from the Sarnia Arena, as headliner Jesse “The Ghost” Gross completely dominated sloppy veteran Tony Hervey, and Josh “The Ripper” Rich stole the show with a Fight Of the Night win over tough bantamweight Ryan Thomson.

Hervey came out with reckless abandon and pretty much kept his desperate, Hail Mary approach all the way through the fight. Gross stalked him, pounced on Hervey’s every sloppy move and punished him at will for three solid rounds. Gross simply went with it and went with it well as he took every opening that was presented to him and he battered the Detroit native from top position. Hervey had no answer and Gross landed everything but the finish in this one. It was hard to gauge improvements in Gross’ stand up or wrestling game in this fight as Hervey’s telegraphed attacks allowed Gross to dominate position easily.

With the victory, The Ghost gets back in the win column, has now won three of his last four in the last two years and improves to 9-4 as a professional. If you follow Gross and his career, in my opinion, three of his first four losses were very controversial with a questionable stoppage against Brad Cardinal followed by two tough losses to Alexandre Bezerra and Daron Cruickshank, two elite level fighters who Gross should not have been fighting at that time. Of course Gross took those fights and will fight anyone, but my point is that he was thrown to the wolves much too soon and I would have much more confidence in Gross fighting those guys now than I did when he fought them in 2011. There has been some solid progression in his game, especially since his move to 145-pounds and he is just a more mature individual in general. Years and losses will do that.

I would like to see Gross fight Alberta’s top featherweight Josh Machan (12-4) next. Machan last fought in WSOF Canada in February and won a split decision against Adam Lorenz. Gross, Machan and former UFC veteran Antonio Carvalho are all in the mix as the best Canadian featherweight’s currently outside the UFC, and I would like to see Gross fight someone tagged as better than he is in his next fight, so that he is motivated to train to the fullest.

Gross wasn’t the only Chatham-Kent fighter battling it out tough in Sarnia this past weekend as Tilbury’s own Gracie Barra Chatham fighter Josh Rich pulled off a beautiful third round submission victory after a tough back and forth battle with Adrenaline Training Center product Ryan Thomson. Thomson got the better of Rich in many and most of the back and forth exchanges in the first two rounds, and many had him up on the scorecards going in to the final round.

Rich hurt Thomson with a punch in a flurry early in the third round and it turned out to be the telling blow as he was able to go in for the submission finish on a stunned Thomson. Once Rich was able to get a hold of Thomson’s neck, he was relentless and got the stoppage by guillotine choke nearly two minutes in to the round. It was a great fight and an example of how a fight can turn on the dime if you are willing to persevere. The battle took home a well deserved Fight of the Night awarded by the promotion and Rich has proven he is a force to be reckoned with at 135-pounds. So is Thomson for that matter, and there are many tough guys out there for these two to fight to climb the Canadian bantamweight ladder.

Chatham had a fighter on the card as well as Hooked MMA’s Tyler Kirk took part in his third professional fight in his young career losing an exciting 125-pound battle to Bojan Kladnjakovic. The two traded bombs early and engaged in a solid back and forth before Kirk was forced to tap out to a triangle choke in the middle of the first round.

Pro Fighting Series III Official Results:

  • Jesse Gross defeats Tony Hervey via Unanimous Decision (30-27,30-27,0-27)
  • Bobbi-Jo Dalziel defeats Tamikka Brents by TKO (Knees) in Round 3, :42
  • Adam Assenza defeats Mike Sledzion via TKO on Round 3, 2:31
  • Woodrow James defeats Taylor Lang via TKO (Strikes) in Round 2, 2:39
  • Josh Rich submits Ryan Thomson via Guillotine Choke in Round 3, 1:47
  • Bojan Kladnjakovic submits Tyler Kirk via Triangle Choke in Round 1, 2:27
  • Paul Jalbert submits Matthew Socholotiuk via Rear Naked Choke in Round 2, 4:37
  • James Mancini defeats Ryan Dunphy via Unanimous Decision (30-27,30-27,30-27)
  • All Results and fighter statistics sourced from Sherdog.com and topmmanews.com
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    Director 8 years

    Worked some of Jesse’s first shows. That fight against Cruickshank was not too much too soon in context – they were both rising hard and fast in the SE Michigan MMA scene and it only made sense to have them square off.

    Jesse would be far better suited as a boxer I always thought. He can hang with the best in MMA but I never really saw him as an exciting finisher against top-tier people and even against an aged and sloppy Hervey he couldn’t get the TKO or sub. Glad to see he’s still safe and fighting though and hopefully he continues on improving every step of the way for a while, regardless.