Local gym wins three championship fights

Make text smaller Make text larger


  • Joe Tizzano lands a powerful body blow in his victory over Tyler Feist

  • Sean Santella delivers strikes against the cage in front of a partisan crowd full of Miller Brothers MMA & Fitness supporters.

  • Jim Fitzpatrick (Left), Sean Santella (Center) and Joe Tizzano (Right) all were victorious in their title fights at PA Cage Fight 29.

  • Jim Fitzpatrick wins his Lightweight Title fight with an armbar.

Miller Brothers MMA & Fitness turned up to PA Cage Fight 29 in large numbers on Saturday, with seemingly the entire room in attendance to cheer on our five fighters in action, and nobody left disappointed with the effort. By the time the dust had settled, the fight team had added three new title belts to its collection with Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella, Joe Tizzano and Jim Fitzpatrick all earning stoppage victories in their title fights.

They were joined by Frank Wallace and Mike Pagano who both had great fights, including a split decision in the Fight of the Night for Frank. The successful night built on the back of Tyler Bayer’s victory in his professional MMA debut just six days prior.

The main event featured Santella, the #1-ranked Flyweight in the Northeast, taking on the Midwest’s top fighter. Having needed less than two-minutes to submit Lawrence DiGiullo in his last bout, Santella squared off with the man who replaced DiGiullo atop the Midwest rankings, Nate Williams, for the PA Cagefight Flyweight Title. While Williams lasted longer against Santella, the end was still the same as Santella secured a rear naked choke at 1:43 of the third round to win his 10th Championship belt.

Santella set the tone for the bout early, landing the better strikes on the feet and maintaining constant offense when the fight hit the canvas. Although Williams was able to attain top position, Santella secured an overhook on Williams’ left arm and walked his foot along the cage to clear the head and lock on a deep armbar. The arm appeared to go significantly past straight, but Williams fought through the pain and escaped the hold.

“I felt his arm pop a couple times,” Santella said after the bout. “He didn’t want to give up.”

The second round was more domination for Santella. While Williams made him work hard for every position, Santella still managed to take his opponent’s back, nearly finishing the bout with a rear naked choke. After dropping Williams with a hook-cross combination in the third round, Santella finally sunk a submission to deep for Williams to resist to claim the title.

After the bout, PA Cage Fight owner and Matchmaker Paul Matreselva Jr. was effusive in his praise of Shorty, and had a request for UFC president Dana White.

“Dana White — sign Shorty Rock Santella. If he doesn’t get a contract after this fight, I have no idea what else he needs to do.”

Although it was often hard to hear Matreselva and Shorty’s post-fight interview over the supportive crowd, Shorty made sure to quiet his fans for a moment to dedicate the bout to two friends whose birthday fell on fight night.

“I want to dedicate this fight to a friend of mine, Jesse Sacks, who passed away a few years ago because today was his birthday. Also to my training partner Corey Anderson, it was his birthday too, and he asked me as gift to put in on Nate tonight.”

Fighting in the main event of the amateur portion of the fight card, Jim Fitzpatrick captured the PA Cagefight Lightweight title in a fast-paced affair, withstanding two slams by his opponent to win by armbar at :49 of the opening frame.

Fitzpatrick’s opponent, Omar Kellom, immediately looked to take Fitzpatrick down, however his successful shot soon proved to be a costly miscalculation. The newest of six Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt coaches at Miller Brothers MMA, Fitzpatrick showed off his world-class grappling skills with a pair of armbar attacks. Although Kellom was able to slam his way free of the first armbar, Fitzpatrick quickly secured another and when a repeat slam attempt proved unable to dislodge Fitzpatrick, Kellom was forced to tap.

The fight’s high-energy style may have been a result of the prior day’s weigh-in, where things got heated after Kellom hit Fitzpatrick in the back with a water bottle. With the fight behind them, however, Fitzpatrick was quick to bury the hatchet in his post-fight interview.

“There was an incident at weigh-ins,” Fitzpatrick said, “but that’s part of the fight game. We had our chance to settle things in the cage, and it’s all in the past now.”

Tizzano shows increasingly dangerous stand-up in TKO victory

The leadoff fighter of Miller Brothers MMA’s three title combatants, Joe Tizzano continued his perfect start to his MMA career moving to 4-0 and taking home the PA Cage Fight Amateur Featherweight title. Tizzano challenged Tyler Feist, who entered as champion having been unbeaten in his prior three years in the cage, but Tizzano dominated from the opening bell, landing powerful strikes throughout the first round and working to take his opponent down when Feist backed up to the cage.

Sensing Tizzano had a clear edge in the striking, UFC veterans Dan and Jim Miller, who were cornering Tizzano, told their young fighter to keep using his boxing.

“He’s done,” Tizzano recounted Jim Miller telling him between rounds. “That was a great first round, now keep pressuring and let your hands go.”

Tizzano listend to the advice, never stepping off the gas in the second round until the referee stepped in to put a stop to the bout at 2:14 of the second round.

“I want to thank everyone who came out to support us tonight,” Tizzano said to a loud roar from the partisan crowd after the bout. “Thank you, also, to Jim and Dan for creating such an incredible gym for us to train at, with coaches like Mike and Shorty and all my great training partners.”

Make text smaller Make text larger


Pool Rules


Local attorneys present at state bar meeting
Laddey Clark & Ryan, LLP Partners Thomas Ryan and Thomas Prol spoke on business litigation...
Read more »

January Thaw Festival to heat up area
Centenary Stage Company’s annual January Thaw Music Festival heats things up through the month of January with three...
Read more »

Workshop plans spring registration
HACKETTSTOWN — Centenary Stage Company’s critically acclaimed Young Performers Workshop is now accepting new and returning applicants ages 8-18 for the 2019 Spring...
Read more »

DEP more concerned about money than residents' safety
The NJDEP has refused to conduct a thorough investigation into the continued unpermitted dumping at 3 Silver Spruce Drive in defiance of Vernon Township and Sussex County Soil...
Read more »


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Community Newspapers


Local News
Overshadowed by opioids, meth is back
  • Dec 5, 2018
Local News
Five ways to use less salt
  • Dec 5, 2018


Find more about Weather in Lafayette, NJ