By Harold E. Kemp
Fabian Rosario did his best to keep two titles Saturday night.
First, he defended his welterweight championship with a hard-fought unanimous
decision against rugged Danny Massa at the Darwish Brothers’ Extreme Fighting
Championships: “Relentless” event in the Trump Taj Mahal’s Xanadu Theater in
The main-event victory kept the Bloomfield grappling specialist – nicknamed “the
Baby Face Killer” — unbeaten at 7-0 and on track to turn professional in the near
Rosario, 20, also did his best to the keep the other title that means so much to him:
role model to “his” 70 or so children.
“Although I have no kids biologically, I have plenty that look up to me and I help
guide,” said Rosario, a jiu-jitsu brown belt under Master Johnny Guerrero who
teaches at Guerrero Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Caldwell. “Showing them that
dreams do come true is important to me. As long as you bust your butt and put in
the work, good things are going to happen.”
Fighting in front of a large contingent of fans, Rosario had to work hard to defeat
“Massacre” Massa, a tough standup fighter from Westchester Fight Club in New
Rochelle, NY. Massa entered the cage with just a 2-2 record, but had won two
“I knew he was going to be tough, and I didn’t expect him to be a slouch,” Rosario
said. “If he had been a slouch, I would have been disappointed.”
No need for that. After a brief feeling-out period, the fighters went to work and
soon established a pattern – Rosario getting the takedown and controlling much
of the action with his grappling and ground attack, with Massa battling back each
time and landing the occasional big punch on the feet.
Rosario bloodied Massa in the first round, and worked the 22-year-old onto his
back several times. After Massa landed a big shot early in the third, Rosario took
his back and tried to lock up a rear naked choke, but could never finish the New
Yorker. It was only the second time Rosario has been the distance in seven fights.
“What starts to happen is that everyone knows my game, and when I get him down
– there’s no striking to the head (while on the ground in amateur fighting) — their
instinct is to clam up,” Rosario said. “When I go pro, and I can start dropping
bombs to the head, I’ll start landing a couple of more stuffs. Not that I haven’t
landed a bunch already, but softening up the head is definitely going to help set up
my submission game.”
The night’s other co-main event saw Brooklyn’s Christopher Vallaro improve his
record to 5-2 with a second-round submission win against Newark’s Alejandro
Dominguez (0-3) in a light heavyweight battle.
The fighters slugged their way through the first round with fists and knees, before
Vallaro, fighting out of Ardon MMA, scrambled onto Dominguez’s back late in
the second round. Dominquez, of Ironbound Fight Club, escaped a rear naked
choke attempt, but couldn’t get out of the guillotine that soon followed. The end
came at 2:53.
“That’s the way we do it in Brooklyn,” said Vallaro, who credited his cardio and
determination for the win. “It’s a fistfight.”
Three other fights went the distance.
Barat Jan of Eagle Mixed Martial Arts in Boonton remained unbeaten (3-0) as
he gutted out a close decision against Renzo Gracie’s Joseph Curcio (2-4). Both
men gained the mount at different points, and each landed bombs in a physically
Nicholas Kracsun of Lionheart MMA used superior wrestling to dominate Spartan
Fitness’s Nile Dillon over three rounds, but Dillon’s teammate, Robert Bodden,
earned a modicum of revenge when he outlasted a game Salvadore Lopez of
Lionheart in a slugfest.
All of the other fights ended early.
Katlyn Chookagian worked Marley D’Ettorre into an arm bar at 1:15 of the first
round in the lone women’s bout of the evening. Adam Timberlake stunned Maxim
Calixte with a right hook before battering his rival en rout to a TKO win at 2:12
of the first. Gabriel Ruiz used an arm bar to submit Damon Bonner at 2:16 of the
opening bout of the evening. Mustafa Khalil won via strikes against Matthew
Murphy in just 50 seconds. Nick Mauriello needed just 23 seconds to submit Sean
Castagna with a rear naked choke. Eddie Diaz used an arm bar to submit Kevin
Bradham at 1:44 of the first. Monstir Mohammad’s guillotine choke stopped
Victor Oquendo at 59 seconds of the second round. And Tim Dooling won by
disqualification against Ibrahim Yoldas due to strikes to the face while on the