Shortly after celebrating their one year anniversary, Jessie Wray's Virtual Fight Tour was back in action Saturday night with a card full of up-and-coming talent and seasoned professionals. In addition to the exciting point fighting matchups, Maria Routel-Ferguson of Team AmeriKick demonstrated her bo routine and Gakuji Tozaki performed his traditional Japanese kata after recently winning gold at the Karate-1 Premier League event in Cairo, Egypt. There were several great storylines throughout the fighting divisions that included four head-to-head matchups and two team fights. Keep reading to find out how it all went down.
Ezekiel Peña def. Chiron Jefferson (FINAL: 19-16)
The first bout of the evening was an underbelt matchup between Ezekiel Peña and Chiron Jefferson. Peña is under the tutelage of Michael Simmons and Troy Binns, while Jefferson hails from the Next Level camp. Jefferson attempted to get his leg going early, but he could not quite find his range and was not kicking to score. Peña showed great timing and patience, picking his spots carefully and using a mix of back-fists and body punches to construct a lead. By the end of the second and final round, Jefferson was starting to kick more effectively but it was too little, too late as Peña held on to his lead through the final seconds.
Chris Walker def. Juan Camarena (FINAL: 17-8)
This fight had a wild storyline coming in, as Chris Walker was originally booked for a continuous match against another opponent. With just one day's notice before the fight, Juan Camarena stepped in to fill the vacancy for a point fighting match against the Team All Stars veteran. Despite the difficult circumstances and significant adjustments, Walker was in control of this match from the start. He used his fight IQ and fundamentals to secure an early lead, then started attempting some highlight reel techniques once he was ahead. Camarena had his moments while Walker was showing off his creative arsenal, but Walker eventually landed a hand combination after exploding off the cage to become the first fighter in VFT history to score using the cage. This earned Walker an extra point for the technique, and some extra prize money at the end of the evening.
Team Binns (Jones/Porter) def. Team ATL (T. Lazenby/J. Lazenby)
Luck was on the side of Team Binns before the event even started, as both duos that would be taking the mat for them won the coin toss that gave them control of the matchups during the fight. Porter and Jones would use this advantage to make Trey Lazenby fight back-to-back rounds, which proved to be a major turning point. Porter matched up with Jalen Lazenby in the opening round and used a methodical approach to defend the energetic attacks of Lazenby, finding his own opportunities to score as well. Trey was able to close the gap a bit in the second round against Justin Jones, but then walked out of the ring not realizing that he would need to fight Chak Porter immediately after. Trey was lead back to the ring and Porter took advantage of the fatigue to extend the Team Binns lead. In the final round, Jalen Lazenby attempted a leaping technique on Jones, but lost control mid-air and landed awkwardly on his lower back. Seemingly in a great deal of pain, he was unable to finish the round and Trey had to return to the ring once more. The final minute and a half would be relatively uneventful as Team Binns cruised to victory.
Brianna Nurse def. Katy Lacy (FINAL: 30-16)
The lady warriors were well-represented at VFT X, with the great Regena Thompson becoming the promotion's second-ever female referee as talented fighters Brianna Nurse and Katie Lacy squared off. Both combatants looked strong early on, as Nurse got her leg warmed up with a variety of axe kick combinations and Lacy scored mostly on clean blitzes. Lacy was only behind one point going into the second round, but Nurse shifted the momentum heavily in her favor in that round as she continued to rely on her axe kick and it started connecting for two points each. Nurse jumped out to a huge lead and was able to coast through the third round with good movement that prevented a Lacy comeback. Nurse also added a highlight towards the end of the match as one of her kicks landed squarely on the face of Lacy, putting the proverbial nail in the coffin.
Team Binns (Dorsainvil/Noel) def. Team Diamond (Zabala/Bargainer)
Troy Binns sent out his second squad of the evening for the penultimate bout, as Aaron Dorsainvil and Josiah Noel took on Team Diamond's Ronald Zabala and Dwight Bargainer. Team Binns once again employed a strategy in which the older opposing fighter was forced to fight in back-to-back rounds, but the story of this fight would be much different than that of the first. Dorsainvil and Zabala traded back-and-forth throughout the opening round, neither able to jump out to much of a lead as blitzes and body punches were exchanged. Bargainer then faced Noel and Dorsainvil in consecutive rounds and was successful in keeping the match close so that Zabala would have a chance to steal the win. However, it was Noel who delivered the most clutch performance of the evening as he drilled Zabala with a pair of side kicks to the body that knocked the wind out of him and secured victory for Team Binns yet again.
James Pore def. John Curatolo
The main event of the evening saw James Pore go to battle with John Curatolo. Curatolo has been very active during the COVID-19 era, but Pore had only recently returned from a period of inactivity at the AmeriKick Internationals where he suffered a loss to the formidable Kevin Walker. In this match, it did not take Pore very long at all to knock the rust off. He looked as good as he ever as, using his signature speed and movement to circle the outside of the cage as Curatolo attempted to find scoring opportunities. Curatolo is typically a cerebral fighter who lets his opponents go on the offensive so that he can score with counter striking, but Pore jumping out to an early lead significantly impacted Curatolo's game plan. The second and third rounds became a cat-and-mouse game as Pore continually evaded Curatolo en route to a win in his first Virtual Fight Tour appearance.
Pore, who won the coveted ring at the Diamond Nationals in 2018 against the legendary Jack Felton, was asked about the upcoming Diamond Nationals after the fight. He said that he will be in attendance and plans to add another ring to his collection. The Virtual Fight Tour will be at Diamond Nationals as well, hosting a special bonus event in which the heavyweight and lightweight grand champions will face off in a battle of the best. Stay tuned to Black Belt Magazine's website and social media accounts for live updates from the Diamond Nationals, coming up October 8-9. 2021.