It's that time again, folks. As I sit and look at my calendar, I realize that we're less than 72 hours out from the first Pinnacle FC offering of 2016.
A month after the successful debut of Pinnacle boxing, mixed martial arts will once again be front and center as Pinnacle FC 13 takes place at Syria Shriners in Cheswick, Pennsylvania. We are down to very limited numbers on tickets so reserve yours now through this link here.
Pinnacle matchmakers once again have a great fight card in store for you, including a main event pitting literally the two hottest fighters in the area with Mark Cherico's old featherweight title on the line.
Pinnacle FC bantamweight champion Dominic Mazzotta (9-1) will bump up a weight class, as he takes on unbeaten Ohioan Rob Hanna (7-0) for the 145-pound title. But not only that, the talk has already started with Hanna calling for the KO and Mazzotta promising a punishing performance.
When I say these are the two hottest fighters in the area, I remember back a couple of months ago when their fan bases were furiously voting to crown one of them the 2015 BluegrassMMA Fighter of the Year for the Ohio Valley area.
5 - Hanna was the fighter of the year
Hanna and Mazzotta's fans stayed home on New Year's Eve to participate in a crazy back-and-forth vote-off to crown one of them fighter of the year in the Ohio Valley. After Mazzotta lead throughout most of the voting process, Hanna's fans had a big late push and put him over the top.
Both fighters were deserving of the crown, with Hanna posting a 3-0 record over top level competition while Mazzotta went 6-0 last year and stormed onto the national scene with some highlight reel finishes.
4 - This is a great style matchup
I think the thing I like best about this fight is that each guy will test the other where he has yet to be tested. Hanna has a grinding, top heavy fighting style, but it will be interesting to see how he handles a guy in Mazzotta who has serious firepower both on his feet and on the ground.
Mazzotta proved that he can top tough wrestlers in his last fight when he ran through Justin King, but Hanna is a different breed with a never say die attitude that has helped him pull out the victory on more than one occasion.
3 - The belt is on the line
There haven't been many champs in Pinnacle history, and in talking with Matt Leyshock and Co., that has been on purpose. Pinnacle belts mean something. In short, they mean that the guy has been willing to face all comers and is likely ready for a shot on the next level. One of these guys will be handed Mark Cherico's old belt with a win here.
2 - The winner could get the call
If you've been paying attention at all, you've probably noticed that Mazzotta is dangerously close to getting the call to the big show. So close, in fact, that he's been told at multiple points to stay ready in case he's needed. He was already considered in multiple short notice situations including a rematch against Cody Garbrandt here in Pittsburgh earlier this year.
At 7-0, Hanna is also out to prove that he can hang with the best in the sport, and he'll need to go through a tough guy like Mazzotta to prove just that.
1 - It's the main event
Looking back through a dozen shows, literally every main event in Pinnacle FC history has delivered.
Hanna has a grinding, wrestling based style that makes him a difficult matchup for just about any type of opponent, and he's also proven to be incredibly durable (remember his fight with Joey Holt where he seemed to be knocked silly before coming back and winning?). These two attributes seem to compliment each other well and have helped Hanna amass a perfect record over the region's best.
Another X factors in this fight is Hanna's air tight submission defense. In his last fight against Matt DiMarcantonio, he spent a good portion of the fight defending constant kimura attempts and was never caught in anything substantial.
With that in mind, DiMarc is a solid purple belt in jiu-jitsu, while Mazzotta is a new adorned black belt who has made a habit of submitting opponents in his fights. Most of the time it's because he's nailed them with something big standing and hops on to the openings while they are trying to recover.
Mazzotta would also seem to have more firepower on the feet, but Hanna has an underrated and unorthodox striking style where he can make the fight dirty and keep opponents on the defensive. If he can use what will likely be a size advantage against Mazzotta, he could steal some early rounds and make this a dog fight. My recommendation; be prepared for something amazing.