By Michael Heckman (Sentinel Sports Editor)February 3, 2011
FORT HOOD, Texas - Thwarted by his opponent's "good hands," Spc. Brandon Minor relied upon plan B to win the heavyweight division championship fight Jan. 28 at Abrams Physical Fitness Center.
"I was going to take him on the stand-up but he had pretty good hands on him so I took him to the mat," Minor, a 281-lb. member of the 41st Fires Brigade fighting under the ring name of "The Wolfman," said at ringside after his three-round bout with the "Giant Killer," 230-lb. Pfc. Marcus Williams of the 36th Engineer Brigade.
Their championship match was one of 16 fights held to determine the first three places in weight divisions ranging from bantam weight to heavyweight in the 2011 Fort Hood Combatives Tournament. The 154 fighters who began preliminary matches Jan. 25 had been whittled down to 32 finalists Friday night.
An experienced fighter, Minor said he had been wrestling for 20 years and boxed Golden Gloves in high school.
Even after being hit hard several times, Minor said, Williams "kept his composure pretty good. He's tough. A lot of heavyweights, when they get hit, lose their composure and try to rush you, but he kept his head."
When plan A failed, Minor said, "I had to find something else up my sleeve."
To prepare for the upcoming All-Army Combatives Tournament, Minor said, "I'll work real hard for the next few months to sharpen my mind and improve my technique."
The post's combatives team won the All-Army event last year at Fort Benning, Ga.
If they could win again, Minor said, "That'd be huge; we would be the first team to repeat as champions."
In another fight that drew an enthusiastic response from about 800 cage fighting fans in attendance, 41st Fires' Jimmy Chavez won the third-place light-heavyweight match.
Trailing on points early, Chavez fought back, forcing Pfc. Corey Charles to submit.
"I turned the tables and came out and knocked him out. I was pounding on his legs but I caught him with an uppercut and stunned him pretty good. I took him down and went after him from the top and bottom and he tapped out," Chavez said.
Before the tournament, 1st Sgt. Edgar Fuentes, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 220th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Bde., said his brigade and the 48th Chemical Brigade were, "I think, the two big horses here."
Fuentes, who also served as ringside announcer, predicted his brigade would win the unit trophy awarded to the team whose individual fighters scored the most points.
"Minor has great wrestling skills due to his Jiu Jitsu background. When it comes to the ground game, he's very, very good," and Chavez "is just plain fast; you can't hold him down," Fuentes said.
Fighting at 155 lbs., another 41st Fires Bde. contender, Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Hunt, won a unanimous decision in his third-place bout against Pfc. Daniel Moore, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Cav. Div.
Of his win, Hunt said: "It was more just the determination I had to get the takedown. He was a better striker so I just had to take it to the mat, where I made sure I dominated him.
"It feels excellent to get the win and bring the prize to my brigade and unit, 41st Fires," he added.
Although championship bouts continued through 9:45 p.m., Capt. Rob Stillings, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment rear detachment commander, said deployments and training commitments kept many fighters from participating.
"We had about 450 last year but we have good talent," Stallings said.
Winners of this year's championship bouts may get a shot at the post's All-Army combatives team.
"This year, since the team is established," Stallings said, "they're going to pull what their needs are. So if they have a hole in a weight class they're going to pull some guys (from this year's tournament) and in-fill them."