MMA to create Yankee Lake Brawlroom

MMA Brawlroom will present an amateur MMA card on Saturday with 14-bouts on tap at Yankee Lake Ballroom.

The card marks the 37th mixed martial arts event that promotion director Chuck Haskell will be hosting. The feature event will be a 170-pound title elimination match between Twinsburg’s Marlon Baker and Bekzod Abdurakhmanov of Clarion University.

“In a one-on-one sporting event it’s not the event, but the person that you are fighting at that event,” Haskell said. “From my amateur card all the way up to Bellatore and UFC, these athletes are in excellent shape as they train very hard and are ready to go once inside the ring.”

Abdurakhmanov, who wrestled collegiately for the Golden Eagles, is a native of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and a two-time National Junior College Athletic Association national runner-up while wrestling for Colby (Kansas) Community College.

He will put his 3-0 mark on the line against Baker, who is undefeated in two amateur bouts.

Baker earned his initial win when he stopped Matt Hester by submission guillotine choke in the second round of Haskell’s Youngstown Fall Brawl 1 on Nov. 17.

He then followed that up with a win by TKO on strikes over Freddy Lee at St. Lucy’s Winter Brawl 2 in Campbell on Feb. 23.

“Fighters for this event are usually from Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania,” Haskell said. “This area has a rich boxing, wrestling and martial arts history and provides the ideal location for combat sports such as boxing and MMA.

“MMA Brawlroom concentrates on pairing local fighters in fair and competitive match-ups.”

Saturday’s card will feature five 155-pound and five 170-pound match-ups with heavyweight (206-265 pounds) and super heavyweight (266 pounds and up) pairings also slated.

Topping the list of local fighters is Youngstown’s Samuel Lemin, who will be matched against Pittsburgh’s Jason Bailey in 170-pound action.

Warren representatives Ron Vincent, Jason Bevly, Josh Faison and Gage Sunderland-Jewett will fight at 155 pounds while super heavyweight Eddie Faison also is ready for action.

Lemin is an independent while all five Warren fighters train at Boardman’s Jungle Gym facility.

Local wrestler Justin Michael of Hermitage, Pa., will be making his MMA debut when he takes on Daniel Donoghue of Pittsburgh in a 170-pound scrap.

Pittsburgh’s Treja Smith and Altoona’s Adken Torchia, MMA newcomers, will be making their cage debuts when they meet in a 145-pound pairing.

All fights are sanctioned by the Ohio Athletic Commission and its director, Bernie Profato.

In amateur MMA, six- to eight-ounce gloves are used. Unlike Ballator MMA or UFC-MMA bouts, no knees or elbows to the face are permitted.

There are three, three-minute rounds with the cage 24 feet in circumference, placed on a platform and raised three feet off the ground.

A fence five feet high surrounds the opponents.

The first MMA Brawlroom event was held on Oct. 27, 2007 and was known as Yankee Lake Brawl Room 1.

Youngstown firefighter Kevin Zalac fought in that first MMA event. Since that time, Haskell has hosted an average of six events per year at the Yankee Lake site.

Venues in Niles, Youngstown and Campbell have also been used by Haskell.

Future MMA action includes Summerbrawl 2 at St. Lucy’s Palermo Center in Campbell on June 8, and a Pro-Am event at Quaker Steak and Lube in downtown Sharon on Aug. 10.

Tickets cost $20 prior to the event and $25 the night of the show. They may be obtained by calling Haskell at 724-699-1725, through one of the fighters or at the Yankee Lake ticket office.

Their website is

The event will start at 7:30 p.m. with gates opening at 6 p.m.

Greg Gulas writes about boxing for The Vindicator.

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