BTC Fight Promotions delivered on all fronts with their first event of 2022.
In the main event, Adam Assenza (now 15-6) put on a near-flawless performance, winning every round against Kazuma Maruyama (now 12-6) in a unanimous decision victory.
Assenza has now won five straight contests, all against elite competition, and feels like it’s time he has his opportunity on the big stage.
“I feel like what’s next for me after having won five in a row against tough competition is a step up away from the regional scene to the UFC,” said Assenza in an interview with MMA Empire.
In the co-main event, Scott Hudson (now 13-5-1) was given all he could handle in a split decision victory over Xavier Nash (now 6-5) in what was a rematch from their first meeting in 2018, which also was a split decision in Hudson’s favour.
Hudson said it was a closer fight than he was hoping for in what he said was a risky matchup to accept, especially on short notice.
“It was harder than I hoped. That guy is just a f**king machine,” said Hudson in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I’m glad to be on this side of the win. I fought him before and he gave me a tough fight already, and I’m at a point in my career where something like this comes up I’m the one taking all the risk because I think people expect me to beat him. I know that it’s a tough fight. If I win, great, I’m supposed to win. If I lose, which is extremely possible, then it kind of looks bad on me because he’s a fighter with a smaller record. I just didn’t want to have to go another however many months without fighting, already coming off the longest layoff of my career.”
Hudson extended his winning streak to six, which is one of the longest winning streaks on the Canadian regional scene.
Hudson said he wants to continue challenging himself with toughest opponents possible and whether that’s in the UFC or another major promotion, he’s not picky.
“I’m in the process of hiring new management and then going over my next steps from there. Things are so weird right now with the UFC not really doing events in Canada or internationally for the most part, outside of Abu Dhabi and Las Vegas,” said Hudson.
“If they were doing events in Canada, like in the past, that was a doorway for Canadian talent getting the shot and then getting signed. I kind of missed the boat on Contender Series last year, which could’ve been an option. Obviously, I came close to the UFC before, but after that they told me with what’s going on in the world right now we’re not interested in signing Scott outright at the moment, and I think that was two wins ago. So if not them, I’ll maybe look to Bellator or get into PFL or something. I’m not set on fighting for a specific organization; I just want to be able to challenge myself on the world stage.”
In one of the BTC $10k bantamweight tournament semi-final matchups, Vinny Dias (now 3-0) used a suffocating grappling attack the take the unanimous decision over Izzudeen Atmeh (now 2-2) and advance to the finals.
Dias said he was happy with his performance and having the opportunity to showcase his full arsenal.
“I think, honestly, it went pretty well. I was able to control the entire fight. I stayed pretty safe on the feet; he wasn’t able to land too many shots and I actually feel like I was able to get some of my striking off a little bit, which I was happy about,” said Dias in an interview with MMA Empire.
“Takedowns went pretty much exactly how I thought they would be. He’s going to put himself against the cage for extra balance and I was going to have to work off the cage. I still managed to get him down plenty of times, but what actually surprised me the most was his ground work. He was actually more difficult to finish than I expected. But in hindsight he probably knew what I was going to try and do and worked really hard at defending it for the last eight weeks.”
Dias will now face Izzudeen’s brother, Albaraa, in the finals. Albaraa received a bye to the finals after his semi-final opponent, Ariel Zuniga, wasn’t cleared to fight due to medicals.
Dias said he expects to have the same success in the wrestling and grappling departments against Albaraa and feels he will be on another level than anyone Albaraa’s faced.
“He has shown some better takedown defence, but he’s also fought guys that don’t know how to wrestle. I said the same thing about Izzudeen; guys that are shooting takedowns on them don’t know how to wrestle. They’re not wrestlers and they’re still managing to get them down,” said Dias.
“The guys he’s fought I just don’t think are skilled enough to take down anyone worthwhile. He might be a little bit better, but I think there’s levels to this and I’m a pretty damn good wrestler. I don’t think he has enough time to catch up to me. I don’t think he can catch up in three months.”
Chris Lee Byrne, Kevin Popowick-Bastien, Jake Geauvreau, Cody Chovancek, Seth Connor, Liam Gallagher and Gino Ghalehpardaz all also left BTC 14 with victories.