Never leave it in the hand of judges, a phrase that is said by fighters worldwide.
Cage Fury Fighting Championships Light-Heavyweight Contender Jamelle Jones (7-3 MMA, 3-1 CFFC) learned this the hard way. In fact, Jones became familiar with the term after his first professional bout.
He lost to Walter Howard by split decision at CFFC 28 Oct. 26,2013.
Over two years later, May 19, 2016, Jones won six of his last seven fights coming into his bout against Mike Hayes at King of The Cage: Battle Zone. Jones dropped another split decision.
At CFFC 65, he faces Anton Berzin (4-1 MMA, 3-0 CFFC) for the inaugural light-heavyweight title at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 20, 2017. Jones is approaching this fight no differently.
“I could easily be (9-1), I have two split decision losses. I left both guys beaten up to where I didn’t even have to go to the hospital or get barely looked at by the doctor,” Jones said. “I left both guys beat up and damaged and lost by a split decision, leaving it to the judges.”
Jones’ record is proof on paper. The 29-year-old finished six out of his seven opponents.
At Bellator 121, he tapped to a first-round rear-naked choke against Ray Sloan June 6, 2014. In his next four bouts, Jones won via TKO with three finishes in the opening round.
After losing to Hayes, Jones relied on his hands once again. He re-entered the win column by earning a TKO victory over Matt Howell in the first round of their KOTC: Fall Out bout Nov. 17, 2016.
“I always try and finish my fights,” Jones said.
In the beginning of his professional career, Jones relied his wrestling.
A teammate of 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs at Winslow Township High School, Jones place third at 189 lbs. in the 2006 New Jersey State wrestling tournament.
In college, Jones won a NJCAA title at St. Louis-Meramec in 2009. After Meramec dropped its program, Jones transferred to North Idaho College.
Then Jones attended Campellsville University in Kentucky, placing third in the 2012 NAIA Nationals. In his second professional MMA fight, Jones stuck with his wrestling by finishing Daniel Holmes with a banana split in the first round at CFFC 31 Feb. 8, 2014.
“I’ve been wrestling all my life, been number one since the sixth grade,” Jones said. “To get that much out of it, I knew I had to put in the same work. I am putting the same work in with my hands.”
As he looks to capture his first professional title against Berzin, his plan is staying the same. A contestant on season 19 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Berzin earned submission in all four of his victories.
Like Jones has and continues to do, he will be looking to put away his opponent early. A wrestler since his youth, Jones is working to be a well-rounded fighter.
Most importantly, he is trying to leave the judges with no doubt.
“I want to be able to stand and band, not just wrestle,” Jones said. “I know he is good at jiu-jitsu, so that might not be my smartest plan.”
By Connor Northrup