Honsvick taps out, loses to Dillon in pro debut at ‘Mountain Force 22’ MMA event in Hurricane

HURRICANE — Mixed martial arts fighter Brandon Honsvick of Hurricane was defeated by opponent Joshua Dillon in the first round of the headline bout at Saturday night’s “Mountain Force 22.”

Brandon Honsvick vs. Joshua Dillon, “Mountain Force 22” MMA event, Washington County Legacy Park, Hurricane, Utah, Feb. 13, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

The MMA event, which attracted an estimated crowd of around 500 people to Washington County Legacy Park, marked the professional debut for both fighters. The Honsvick vs. Dillon matchup was the 10th and final fight of the evening, with the other nine being amateur contests.

Midway through the first round of the last bout, as both fighters were grappling on the mat and pushing up next to the cage, Dillon managed to apply a rear naked chokehold on Honsvick, who tapped out to signal the end of the match.

“When I tapped out, I felt like I let the whole crowd down and everybody at home watching,” Honsvick said in a public social media post on Monday, “especially those that I promised that I would win it for.”

Immediately after the loss, Honsvick said his coach Ryan Phillips told him not to hang his head.

“(He told me) that I should raise my head and be proud, for everything that I have overcome just getting ready for that fight. That I should be proud of everything I have achieved and everyone still loves me and is proud of me.”

Later, Honsvick told St. George News he plans to resume training for his next fight right away.

I plan on getting straight back into it,” he said. “I have a few friends that are fighting in couple of weeks, so I want to help them out and get them ready and prepared. I am going to change up my diet and start hitting the weights more, and then as soon as the first opportunity comes for a fight, I’m probably going to take it.”

Brandon Honsvick vs. Joshua Dillon, “Mountain Force 22” MMA event, Washington County Legacy Park, Hurricane, Utah, Feb. 13, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“This loss made me hungry more than ever and I want to get straight back into it. This was only a bump in the road and only the beginning of the story. I learned a lot and know what I need to change for my next fight.”

Honsvick, who is popularly known by the nickname “Warrior,” said he’s hoping to fight in Utah again soon, under either Fierce MMA or Steel Fist, or Mountain Force MMA again.

Honsvick reflected on the positive experience he had Saturday night, as he thanked his fans, teammates and family for their support.

“On Saturday night I had one of the most amazing experiences when I walked out to the cage, the whole entire crowd erupted and were cheering me on. I could feel the love for me from the crowd,” he said.

“As I watched all the videos, I could hear everybody cheer for me even after I lost and say how proud they were,” he added. “Even in a loss, I still have tons of friends and family they still care and want to see me achieve and will always have my back. When I got to the back, my team and my coaches were all there, showing their love and support for me.”

“This is just a setback,” he said. “Now it’s time for me to learn from this loss and become even greater for my next one. This isn’t the end, but only the beginning.”

Following is a recap of each of the evening’s other nine fights, in order:

The first bout featured local fighter Jeremiah Kaliko, who trains at Fusion MMA in St. George. Kaliko defeated opponent Michael Case by TKO just 55 seconds into the first round.

Next up was the first of three female bouts of the evening, as Sophia Smith faced Kyleigh Lopez in what ended up being an evenly matched fight lasting three full rounds. The panel of three judges each had Smith as the winner by decision, with their scorecards all having Smith ahead by a single point, 29-28, according to announcer Juan Pablo.

The third bout, which featured Joseph Smith vs. Kolton Haycock, lasted just 18 seconds, as Smith caught Haycock in a standing guillotine, causing Haycock to drop to the mat on his back momentarily as the referee waved the fight over.

Amanda Taylor vs. Jordan Raulston, “Mountain Force 22” MMA event, Washington County Legacy Park, Hurricane, Utah, Feb. 13, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

In the fourth fight, Kaleo Meheuela defeated Daniel Arellano by TKO about 42 seconds into the first round.

The fifth fight was another female matchup, with Wendy Freeman going up against Dylan Sprague. Freeman won with a kneebar submission hold at the 2:49 mark of the first round.

In the sixth fight, local fighter Hyrum LeBaron defeated Noel Can with a TKO about one minute into the second round.

The seventh fight featured Josh Remington, who, like Honsvick, trains at Empire MMA and Fitness in Cedar City. Remington was pitted against Brady Rivera, with Rivera winning the bout with a rear naked chokehold at the midway point of the first round.

In the eighth bout on the card, female fighters Jordan Raulston of Reno faced fellow Nevadan Amanda Taylor of Las Vegas. Both fighters drew blood as they pounded on each other for two and a half rounds, before Taylor eventually prevailed with a TKO late in the third.

The ninth fight on the card, billed as the co-main event, featured Ernesto Rodriguez vs. Dylan Forzani. The two fighters grappled on the mat for much of the three rounds, with Rodriguez consistently appearing to have the upper hand. He was named the winner by unanimous decision of the judges.

Hyrum LeBaron vs. Noel Can, “Mountain Force 22” MMA event, Washington County Legacy Park, Hurricane, Utah, Feb. 13, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

That brought up the evening’s finale, the Honsvick vs. Dillon matchup, which ended about 10:30 p.m. 

Two other fights that had been scheduled, each of which involved one participant from the St. George area (Hanna Silva and Morgun Colledge), were scratched from the card due to COVID-19 exposure protocols, Pablo said. 

COVID-19 protocols were also in place for the audience at the venue for Saturday’s event, with crowd-size restrictions, socially distanced seating and mask-wearing requirements

Pablo, who is the president of the Logan-based Mountain Force MMA, told St George News that Mountain Force’s first foray into southern Utah was a success and that they hope to schedule another MMA event or possibly two at the same venue later this year.

“I’m in talks with the Washington County Fair Board about doing one during the fair in April,” he said.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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