Virtual Fight Tour VII: Next Level Tops the All Stars, Merricks Outlasts Turner

Virtual Fight Tour 7

Jessie Wray brought back the Virtual Fight Tour for a seventh promotion, complete with a competitive lineup of point fighting matches.

Virtual Fight Tour VII was headlined by a team fight between the rising superstars of Team Next Level and Team All Stars, but that was far from the only excitement in the sport karate promotion hosted by Uventex TV. The card also had an heavily anticipated matchup between nationally-known fighters Chance Turner and Anthony Merricks in the Co-Main Event, and several other well-contested bouts throughout the card. There was also a pair of special performances by forms and weapons world champions Julia Plawker and Shaquan Parson, who both represent Team Next Level and put on a great show. Keep reading for complete results and analysis for every clash at Virtual Fight Tour VII!

Autumn Blommer def. Olivia Skelly (FINAL: 22-15)

Autumn Blommer

Autumn Blommer of Team Straight Up looked sharp early in her matchup with Team Leclerc's Olivia Skelly, using lateral movement and her quick back fist to amass as much as a 9-point lead in the opening moments of the second round. Skelly remained patient and did not panic, going on a 3-0 run in the middle of the second round. This woke Blommer up and ignited a run of her own to balloon her lead back up to ten points going into the third round. Skelly fought more aggressively in the final round to put some points on the board, but it was too little, too late as Blommer continued to score as well and secured victory by a comfortable 7-point margin.

Ronald Zabala def. Aaron Dorsainvil (FINAL/OT: 30-29)

Ronald Zabala

The next bout saw an action-packed showdown between Ronald Zabala of Millennium Martial Arts and Aaron Dorsainvil. Both fighters exploded off the line early, exchanging points with blitzes on the first few clashes. The back-and-forth match shifted in Zabala's favor with a quick head kick off the line that earned him two points. Zabala's fadeaway back fist also proved to be effective as he scored with it several times in the opening round to build a 13-6 lead. Dorsainvil, however, would not be denied and came out guns blazing in round two. He beat Zabala off the line more consistently and landed a key round kick to the head as Zabala attempted to attack, which swung the momentum in Dorsainvil's favor. The second round wound up being a ten-point swing to give Dorsainvil a three-point lead. The tone really intensified in round three as Zabala's fadeaway back fist started clicking again as he regained the lead. Dorsainvil answered with a two-point side kick to the chin of Zabala, but Zabala answered right back on the next clash by checking the leg and scoring to the body to tie the score. As Dorsainvil continued to blitz, Zabala continued to land the fadeaway back fist, at one point landing three in a row. Dorsainvil was able to break through the defense on the final two clashes and force sudden-death overtime. Zabala struck with a big left hand that earned him the win.

Michael Lettieri def. Justice Floyd (FINAL: 22-21)

Mike Lettieri

Justice Floyd began his match against Team Leclerc's Michael Lettieri with a somewhat unorthodox style, often circling the Virtual Fight Tour cage with his shoulders square to his opponent. This helped Floyd accumulate a comfortable lead, at which point he settled for fighting off the line and Lettieri was able to steal a couple of points. Floyd answered the small Lettieri run with a beautiful hook kick to the head that put another two points on the board and gave him an eight-point lead. The first points of round two would also go in Floyd's direction after he landed another hook kick to the head, this time fading away from Lettieri in defensive fashion. After Floyd expanded the lead to as much as twelve, Lettieri had enough and began landing punch combinations and defensive reverse punches to trim the lead all the way down to six headed into the third round. The comeback was in full swing for much of the third round as Lettieri continued to score with his hands and Floyd responded a few times to cling to his lead. The match became very back-and-forth in the closing moments and ultimately Lettieri scored the buzzer-beating blitz to take home the win.

El Java Abdul-Qadir def. Julio Lugo (FINAL: 29-19)

El Java Abdul-Qadir

Julio Lugo of Team KTOC looked sharp in the first round of his match against Team Top Ten USA's El Java Abdul-Qadir, showing off his speed and even landing a hook kick to the face. However, Abdul-Qadir was able to get his timing down more quickly and had Lugo biting on several fakes that presented opportunities to score. Abdul-Qadir used this advantage to carry a three-point lead into the second round. Lugo continued to fight well in the second, but Abdul-Qadir continued to out-time Lugo consistently throughout the round with a variety of fakes and an exclamation point defensive side kick to double his lead. Lugo attempted to kickstart a comeback attempt with a head kick early in round three, but Abdul-Qadir answered with a head kick of his own and proceeded to score at will on Lugo for the remainder of the fight. He even landed a Karate Kid style front kick in the closing moments, a technique that is rarely even thrown in point fighting as a traditional technique, let alone a "crane stance" rendition.

Anthony Merricks def. Chance Turner (FINAL: 20-15)

The next bout was a highly-anticipated matchup between outspoken opponents Chance Turner of Team Gypsy and Anthony Merricks of Team Next Level. Merricks, the #3 ranked heavyweight point fighter in the world by the Black Belt Magazine Sport Karate Rankings, scored the first two points with aggressive hand combinations. This was answered by a wide-swinging attack by Turner that put Captain Texas on the board. A series of more controlled, fast takeoffs allowed Turner gain a slight lead and end the first round up 5-4. Round two saw a battle of speed and timing, as nearly every point was scored by a back fist or a punch that came off of a fake or being first off the line. Merricks got the better of the majority of these exchanges, and shifted the lead in his favor with the total score being 12-10. Turner landed a huge head kick early in round three that looked like it could have given him the momentum, but Merricks returned fire quickly with his hands and quelled Turner's efforts. Turner began to fatigue midway through the final round, fighting very flat-footed, and Merricks took advantage to score on multiple consecutive clashes and cruise to a five-point victory.

Team Next Level def. Team All Stars (FINAL: 29-16)

The main event of the evening was a team fight that saw Paolo Serafico and James Roberts IV of Team All Stars take on Tyson Wray and Darren Payne of Team Next Level. According to Virtual Fight Tour's two-man team fighting rules, both fighters on each team fought both opposing fighters, giving sport karate fans four total matchups.

The first was James Roberts IV vs. Tyson Wray. Roberts was able to draw first blood but Wray quickly responded with a few scores of his own. Wray looked very loose throughout the round and used his quicker first step and a pair of clean side kicks to the body to get the advantage on Roberts. Roberts had his moments, but Wray earned his team an 8-4 advantage going into the second matchup.

Wray would stay in the ring for the following round to take on Paolo Serafico. Serafico was able to get a couple of points back for the All Stars in the opening moments, but Wray answered back with a textbook sidestep-to-side kick combination that had him walking back to the line with a smirk. He then faked the side kick on the following clash to set up a beautiful back fist to score again. Wray stayed hot with a sidestep back fist, then struck again on a blitz. Serafico was able to stop the bleeding temporarily with a nice blitz of his own, but a clean defensive side kick and subsequent back fist by Wray gave Next Level the momentum right back.

Next Level sent out Darren Payne to protect their 10-point lead courtesy of Wray for the final two rounds. The All Stars first sent out James Roberts IV to begin the comeback effort. The fresh Payne scored three straight to begin the round including a powerful leg check-overhand right that expanded the lead to thirteen points. Roberts was able to answer back and get his hands going to score consistently throughout the round, but ultimately dropped the round to Payne by an individual score of 6-5.

Paolo Serafico joined Payne in the ring for the last matchup to attempt a miracle 12-point comeback to win the match. Things got chippy as Payne rejected a glove-touch attempt by Serafico before the match, then proceeded to score three consecutive strong points. On the next clash, Serafico had visibly stopped fighting because he felt there was need for a stoppage by the referee, but Payne continued to press forward and knocked Serafico to the ground with a huge right hand. Serafico answered back by scoring on the next couple of clashes, before Payne stopped the run with a crisp back fist to the nose of Serafico, which aggravated a bleed that had started in Serafico's match against Wray. After an injury time out to get the bleed under control, Payne pumped his kicking leg continuously for the rest of the match to prevent any hopes of a miraculous comeback for the All Stars. Team Next Level made a statement by taking the win in convincing fashion.

Bonus Exhibition: Kwame Theodore def. Tyson Wray

Kwame Theodore

It should also be noted that Virtual Fight Tour did something inspiring for this event by hosting the first special needs exhibition match for 46-year-old Kwame Theodore. Theodore was able to take the victory over kind-hearted champion Tyson Wray. Everyone here at Black Belt Magazine tips our cap to promoter Jessie Wray for this excellent idea and great moment.

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