Clockwise from left- Cody Chovancek, Vinny Dias, Kevin Popowick-Bastien, Vladimir Kazbekov, Zack Powell
Niagara Top Team Undefeated
The first weekend of March 2022 was a good one for St Catharines based Niagara Top Team, with team members going 5-0 in 3 separate events and in 2 different countries.
On Friday night Vladimir Kazbekov KO’d the “KO King” Joey Gomez in 18 seconds at CES 66 in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Also on Friday night, Zack Powell earned his third victory as a member of NTT since moving from Quebec to join the team. “Pow Pow” dominated his game opponent at Unified MMA 43 in Edson, Alberta, and earned a well deserved unanimous decision.
Saturday night had 3 NTT athletes compete at BTC 14 in London, Ontario.
Like both Ashley Nichols (who won last weekend) and Zack Powell, Kevin Popowick-Bastien moved to Niagara to join NTT, and he has become one of the most dedicated and hard working members of the gym. This dedication was obvious to everyone who watched his fight as he displayed superb striking and perhaps an even better ground game, as it was an arm-triangle choke in the second round that gave him his first win as a professional.
Cody Chovancek needed only 2 minutes to put away his opponent with a nasty Rear Naked Choke submission, which is a testament to his hard work in the gym. He is clearly an athlete to carry the NTT torch long into the future.
In the second round of BTC Fight’s $10,000 Bantamweight Tournament, Vinny Dias’ victory over Izzudeen Atmeh keeps him undefeated as a pro with a record of 3-0. In his combined 6 amateur and professional victories this unanimous decision was his first win that did not come via submission, but this was a terrific opportunity for him to learn that he can still push the pace late into a fight, a skill that will serve him well when he faces Albaraa Atmeh in the finals in June.
Scott Hudson and Xavier Nash battled to a razor thin split decision in the evening’s co-main event, and both fighters train part time at NTT. They accepted this fight when each of their original opponents fell through on fight week. What makes this match up even more special is that the pair train together often, so kudos to both of them for being the professionals that they are.