Portland, OR – The Full Contact Fighting Federation (FCFF) has released their "Best of 2016" list. This list recognizes the top fighters within the organization in twelve categories and will become part of the annual Fighter Hall of Fame which has been recorded since 2009. The FCFF's "Best of 2016" list features categories ranging from "Fighter of the Year," "Best Knockout," to "Most Improved" and the "2017 Fighter to Watch." A number of these award winners are on the fight card for the FCFF's "Rumble @ The Roseland 90" event scheduled for Saturday, January 28th 2017. This event features two FCFF Championship Fights and a loaded undercard.
The FCFF's "Best of 2016" official list is comprised of athletes who fought in the 2016 calendar year in the FCFF's "Rumble @ The Roseland" event.
2016 FCFF Fighter of Year: Cris Williams
In 2015 Cris Williams was named the FCFF's 2016-Fighter-to-Watch and he did not disappoint. In 2016 he extended his undefeated streak to 8-0 including two FCFF Championship belts in two different weight divisions; plus a 150-pound superfight belt. Seven of his eight fights ended by his hands - not the judges (four armbars, three chokes and one TKO due to strikes). At Rumble @ The Roseland 87 he faced Yan Kuvaldin in May earning the Featherweight Title via a round two rear naked choke. He then took on Joey Dursse at Rumble @ The Roseland 88 in July to earn the Lightweight Championship Title. Williams is one of very few to hold two belts in two different weight division simultaneously. Williams ended 2016 with two fights outside the FCFF, one at Ax Fighting Championships in August where he defeated Jake Furney by rear naked choke in the second round to take home their title belt. And most recently at King of the Cage: High Caliber event in October in which he finished Cass Bell in round three via a triangle choke also gaining the amateur title. He is set to turn professional in 2017.
2016 Bout of the Year: Ryen Betzhold vs Tristan Lindi
In May of 2016 Ryen Betzhold faced Tristan Lindi at Rumble @ The Roseland 87 for the FCFF's Bantamweight Championship title. This was an epic battle that was also the FCFF's bloodiest fight of the year. This fight was nail-biting as the lead bounced back-and-forth between these warriors. Lindi secured the fight via a rear naked choke in the final 90 seconds of the fifth and final round.
Most Improved Fighter: Michael Collazo
Michael Collazo started his mma career in 2014 and bounced between winning and losing in a variety of shows in the Pacific Northwest. Something clicked; he found his purpose - his passion. Collazo's quest was ignited after his win over Shalamar Washington at Rumble @ The Roseland 84. He won again at the Arena Wars event in April of 2016 with a submission victory in the closing seconds of round three. He had six months off due to injury but also gave him time to focus and train for his title shot at Rumble @ The Roseland 89 in December of 2016 against Derek Rottenberg. Collazo came back from a near knockout in the first round to earn the tapout victory via a guillotine choke at :26 of round three. The Roseland Theater erupted with emotion from his friends, family, peers, co-workers, fellow fighters, and everyone who has walked with him on his road to recovery from addiction. His dedication paid off, Collazo is truly the most improved fighter in the FCFF in 2016.
Fastest KO of 2016: Fernando Alvarado
At Rumble @ The Roseland 89 in December of 2016 Fernando Alvarado (at an impressive 220-pounds) knocked out Kyle Weese in only ten seconds of round number one. The best part, Alvarado is on the fight card for Rumble @ The Roseland 90 on Saturday, January 28th.
FCFF Rookie of the Year: Exie Benitez
In 2016 Exie Benitez (Phillips) entered the FCFF's slammer for the first time at Rumble @ The Roseland 85 in January. He took on Nick Clark and won via a round two TKO. He then took on Matthew Miranda at Rumble @ The Roseland 87 in May and finished in the fight via a round one submission victory. Eduardo Torres tripped him up at Rumble @ The Roseland 88, where he suffered his first loss in July. The FCFF's matchmaker says she is expecting great things from Benitez in 2017 who plans to return to the SLAMMER for Rumble at the Roseland 90!
2017 Fighter-to-Watch: Tunde Arigbon
The FCFF's match-maker, who has been in the trenches with our local gyms and fighters has chosen Tunde Arigbon as the 2017 Fighter-to-Watch. He has one fight in the FCFF during 2016 at Rumble @ The Roseland 85 where he faced a tough Austin Allen of Gracie Barra ending the fight via a round two TKO. Arigbon trains out of Portland Thai Boxing which has held several FCFF Champions inside its gym walls and he is eager to make a name for himself in the sport and hold his own FCFF title belt! He is expected to be on an early 2017 FCFF card and will be looking to work his way up the ladder achieving that goal in our promotion!
Best Female Fighter of the Year: Makena McCluskey
At Rumble @ The Roseland 86 in March of 2016 Makena McCluskey faced Alofa Lealiiee in a 130-pound catch weight undercard fight. Makena defeated Alofa by a tapout due to choke in round two.
Best KO of 2016: Zach Moore
The FCFF's best knockout of 2016 came in May at Rumble @ The Roseland 87. Two warriors were going toe-to-toe and in their third and final round, Zach Moore made it happen - the KO punch that put Matt Charaba on the ground.
Best Submission of 2016: Aaron Lopez
There must have been something in the water during Rumble @ The Roseland 87 as the Best KO, the Rookie of the Year, the "Best Comeback" fighter, and the Best Submission all took place that night. We are sure fight fans will remember the arm crunching win by Aaron Lopez (aka Jack Smash) over Brandon Lunny. These 205-pounders brought fight fans to the edge of their seats - Lunny did not want to give this one up and suffered an elbow injury and loss via the submission victory.
Best Comeback of 2016: Quinten Wyland
At Rumble at the Roseland 87 Quinten Wyland and Thomas Patrick squared off for the FCFF's Lightweight Superfight belt. This was Wyland's first fight in the cage after an almost 5 year hiatus. Thomas Patrick earned the round one win via technical submission in under 90 seconds in what many called a very controversial stoppage. The fans demanded an immediate rematch and Patrick, who has a true fighter's spirit and integrity, agreed to the instant rematch at Rumble @ The Roseland 88 in July. There, Quinten Wyland took control and knocked out Patrick in their second meeting. An epic comeback by any standards.
Best Intro to the Slammer: Scott Baker
At Rumble @ The Roseland 89 Scott Baker entered the FCFF's Slammer with his two sons supporting him on the approach to the gate. The FCFF recognizes that to become a Champion it is often a family affair and supporting a fighter on his/her quest takes an entire family of support. Baker won his fight that night and thanked the fight fans for their support of his MMA career, calling that his retirement fight.
Best Crowd Following: Gracie Barra
In 2016 Gracie Barra took home a total of four FCFF belts: 1.) Cris Williams for Lightweight Championship at Rumble 88. 2.) Cris Williams for Featherweight Championship at Rumble 87. 2.) Thomas Patrick for the Lightweight Superfight Belt at Rumble 87. 4.) Cris Williams for the 150-pound Superfight belt at Rumble 86. In addition to FCFF belts Exie Benitez is the FCFF's 2016 Rookie of the Year, Fernando Alvarado has the honors of Fastest KO in 2016, and Cris William has earned the overall top title of 2016 "Fighter of the Year." This gym brought amazing talent, up-and-down the FCFF's fight cards in 2016. A special THANK YOU to the coaches, trainers, corners, and athletes at Gracie Barra who are a great team, prepping these warriors to be ready for battle in the FCFF's Slammer.