WILLIAMSON - Cody Abbott lost to Jacob Willyard in his MMA professional debut on Saturday night at the Williamson Fieldhouse.

Willyard won at the 1:11 mark of the opening round due to a tap out.

Abbott, also a former all-state wrestler for Logan High School and also an amateur youth boxer in his teens, last saw amateur MMA action on March 9 at Williamson in which he beat Matthew Tennant, a No. 2-ranked fighter in West Virginia, via decision, in the first New Line Cagefighting event.

This was his first ever pro fight, however.

As an amateur, Abbott sported a 5-1 record, including four first-round wins and was ranked No. 1 in the state for three plus years in his bantamweight class (126-135 pounds). He's currently ranked 23rd in the East Coast Division.

Willyard, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, improved to 1-3.

The match was one of four pro bouts on the NLC card.

In the other Co-Main Event, Mingo County native Austin "Speedy" Marcum beat his opponent, Nikk Willyard at the 1:26 mark of the second round due to the referee stopping the match due to strikes.

Both fighters were making their pro MMA debuts. Marcum, a Breeden native, is a former Toughman and Rough 'N Rowdy boxing champion. He has logged 23 professional boxing matches.

There were other MMA amateur fights on the card, as well as boxing and kickboxing matches.

In an amateur MMA match and also the NLC Heavyweight Championship bout, Madison's Brandon Boggs (3-0) beat Mikey Mitchell (1-2) of Harts with 56 seconds left in the second round via knockout. Boggs became the first ever NLC Heavyweight Champion.

In an amateur kickboxing fight, Chapmanville's Austin Bledsoe scored a TKO over Anthony Stewart of Varney at the 0:57 mark of the first round. Bledsoe was awarded the "Knockout of the Night" by the NLC staff.

In another kickboxing match, Chris Pontier of Nitro won via split decision over Joshua Dotson, a Raccoon, Kentucky native. Pontier became the first ever NLC Middleweight Kickboxing Champion.

One other amateur kickboxing match was on the card and Seaford Smith (1-1) of Madison was able to score a win over Jose Schultz (0-2), also of Madison in a unanimous decision by the judges.

Bryan Wiseman defeated Travis Bender (1-2) Madison in an amateur MMA fight at the 1:48 mark of round 2 due to a rear naked choke. Wiseman (2-3), a Clendenin native, became the first ever NLC Super Lightweight Champion.

Other amateur MMA results are as follows.

Avery Ray (2-0) of Inez, Kentucky, scored a quick win over Pete DeLeon (0-3) of Jacksonville, North Carolina, with a knockout only at the 0:12 mark of the first round.

Densel Chapman (2-1) of Delbarton won over Skylar Mauller (0-1) of Crooksville, Ohio, at the 0:37 mark of the second round due to the referee stopping the fight due to strikes.

Austin Baker (2-0) of Chapmanville beat Chase Thompson (1-1) of Madison in a split decision as the match lasted the entire three rounds with no knockouts or submissions.

Chase Stafford (1-1), an Oceana native, defeated Eric Musick (0-1) of Inez, in another split decision.

Jonathan Rowth (1-1) of Fairmont, beat Randall Maynard (0-2) of Logan due to a Guillotine Choke at the 1:47 mark of the first round.

Ryan Blankenship (2-4) of Oceana topped Ronnie White (0-2) of Williamson at the 1:34 mark of the first round due to a tap out from an arm bar. Blankenship was originally slated to fight Smith. Blankenship was awarded the "Submission of the Night" by the NLC staff.

Zackary Craddock (1-0) of Madison won over Shawn Estep (0-1) of Logan after a verbal tap out at the 1:29 mark of the third round.

Two other amateur boxing matches were on the card as well.

In one of them Daylan Jemerson scored a TKO win over Ramon Burgess with 1:32 to go in the second round.

Dylan Dowd (1-0) of Madison) won by unanimous decision over Richie Smith (0-2) of Gilbert.

The cagefighting event was brought to you by New Line Cagefighting, founded last summer by Logan High School graduates Keith Noe and Greg Robinson. It's the second NLC event held in Williamson with the previous one taking place back in March.

MMA is a blend of different fighting disciplines including boxing, kickboxing and wrestling.

The sport's increased popularity, especially under the flagship Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has not gone unnoticed.

Such former and current stars as Ronda Rowsey, Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, Chuck Liddell, BJ Penn, Matt Hughes and Randy Couture have taken UFC and cagefighting into the worldwide stratosphere.

"MMA has gone from being banned all across the country to full on mainstream," Noe said in a previous interview. "When you think of sports, you think of ESPN. UFC recently signed a 5-year deal with ESPN and everyone is watching it now. We wanted to bring the sport of MMA to the coal fields and give these athletes the chance to compete and make to the next level."

Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at padkins@hdmediallc.com

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