The tension was in the air as the athletes warmed up on the final day of competition. These are a few of the matches that stood out.
48kg Female Finals
The first fight set the bar high as Janet Garcia Borbon and Jessie Lee both immediately let loose with a barrage of kicks, knees and punches that continued throughout all three rounds. When it was all over, Janet Garcia Borbon inched out a very game Jessie Lee to take the gold medal.
57kg Female Finals
The fourth bout was another noteworthy battle between Tierra Brandt and Natalie Morgan. Both fighters left it all on the table, but the high paced and technical striking from Brandt was too much for Morgan to deal with, leading Brandt to the gold medal.
63.5 kg Male Finals
Bout 9 was a nail biter, with the first round going back and forth non-stop. But once the bell rang for round 2, Joseph Mueller went all in, landing some vicious kicks to the leg of Sean Climaco that resulted in a ref stoppage. The victory overcame Mueller with emotion and left the ring in tears.
71kg Male Finals
In bout 11, Luke Lessei started off the first round strong, staying in range and leading with a high volume of kicks and knees. Jordan Weiland responded in the 2nd and 3rd, coming out strong and landing some great shots. But Lessei’s attack proved too much for Weiland, and in the end, Lesseis’ hand was raised for the gold.
81kg Male Finals
This fight was amazing from start to finish. Aaron Ortiz appeared to be the more technical striker combined with the advantage of age, size and cardio. But Zachary Bunnell showed incredible grit, continuing to push forward non-stop and landing some great shots along the way. But despite a great show of grit, in the end it wasn’t enough, and Aaron Ortiz walked away with the gold.
91kg+ Male Finals
The ground shook as the Superheavy weights made their way to the ring with Bellator MMA pro fighter Sullivan Cauley facing Joseph Stripling for the gold. Clearly the dominant fighter, Cauley’s professionalism shined as he landed strike after strike. But Stripling reached deep into his bag of tricks and pulled out some spinning sh*t to try and catch Cauley off guard. In the end, the veteran Cauley was prepared and took home the gold in the final bout at USMF ’22 World Games Qualifier.