NIGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Alexis Davis stopped Tonya Evinger in the third round of their title fight Saturday night at Raging Wolf VII: Mayhem in the Mist series at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and kept her championship belt.
“I feel better than I look,” said Davis, with a fair-sized welt over her left eye and a puffy face, after the fight.
“She is one hell of a fighter.”
Davis, who fights out of Dayboll Jiu-Jitsu and Fitness Academy in Port Colborne, said Evinger hit her with a couple of good punches in the first round.
“Her right was pretty hard.”
Evinger, a wrestler, took the fight to the ground in the first round and maintained pressure on Davis. The Sacramento, Calif.-based fighter took the round 10-9 on all three judges scorecards.
When the second round started, the two fighters traded some punches and Evinger took Davis down again, but she wasn’t worried.
“I’ve been doing this for so long, I just stayed calm.”
Even while on the ground, she could hear trainer Dave Dayboll yelling instructions to her from the corner. She was able to turn the fight around using her jiu-jitsu training and skills and ended up taking the round 10-9 on all three judges scorecards.
Coming out in the third round, Davis was the more dominant fighter and took the fight to Evinger, who replaced Davis’s original opponent on short notice.
“She seemed gassed,” Davis said.
The Port Colborne-based fighter had been trying to lock a submission on Evinger and 1:47 into the third round she was able to sink in a rear-naked choke ending the fight. In a display of sportsmanship common in mixed martial arts, Davis helped up her opponent up off of the canvas.
With the crowd of more than 2,000 cheering for her, Raging Wolf president-owner J.C. Seneca wrapped the belt around Davis’s waist after the fight was over.
The fighter said she didn’t know what was next for her.
“I want more fights,” she said, adding she’d like to avenge some of her losses to fighters Shayna Baszler, Tara LaRosa and Sarah Kaufman.
Raging Wolf has another event in July, but Davis didn’t know yet whether she’d be fighting on that card. She had nothing but praise for the organization though.
“Raging Wolf has been awesome, lots of of events won’t have female fighters as the main event.”
But before she takes any fights, Davis will be headed back into the gym for more training.
Asked if she felt there was anything she needed to work on, Davis said ‘everything.’
“I can always improve my stand up and take down,” she said.
Davis’s teammate Sammy Pascuzzi was also victorious Saturday night, winning his first professional mixed martial arts fight.
Pascuzzi took on Buffalo-based fighter T.J. Sumler, a southpaw, and dominated all three rounds.
In a post-fight interview, Pascuzzi said Sumler dazed him with a couple of good shots in the second round.
“I saw stars.”
But the 36-year-old fighter didn’t go down. Instead, he took the fight to the ground where his jiu-jitsu skills took over.
“I feel more comfortable on the ground.”
Using punches and elbows, Pascuzzi was able to take the fight to Sumler.
“My elbows are sore, he has a really hard head.”
He also used inside leg kicks to keep the more-experienced Sumler away from him.
“When he came in with a wild left hook, I took him down.”
On the ground Pascuzzi was easily able to control Sumler, moving him around with a technique he and Dayboll call the Rhino.
The two said the technique calls for a fighter to stick his or her head under an opponent’s chin.
“It creates pressure on them and you can steer them around,” Pascuzzi said.
He said the technique allowed him to move his opponent around the “Wolftagon,” as the ring in Raging Wolf is called, Saturday night.
And while fighting Sumler, Pascuzzi listened to advice and instructions being called out by Dayboll from his corner and made the necessary adjustments.
Though Pascuzzi isn’t sure when he’ll be fighting next, he said Raging Wolf wants him to challenge welterweight champion Alan Arzeno, who had previously defeated Sumler to win the belt.
Asked if he thought he was ready to take on the champ, Pascuzzi said, “Dave will tell me if I’m ready.”
But before any fight takes place again, Pascuzzi, like Davis, will be headed back to the gym to work on all aspects on his fighting.
“There’s so much to learn,” he said.
Dayboll said he was happy with the results of both fights Saturday evening.
“Wendy (Dayboll’s wife) and I are very proud of both of them. They executed their game plans and listened between rounds,” said Dayboll.