This past weekend, highly-touted amateur standout Jerald Spohn (1-0) successfully made his professional MMA debut at Cage Fury Fighting Championship’s Friday CFFC 96 show.
Spohn, 26, made the jump to the pro ranks after a 5-0-1 amateur career, one that saw him amass a 100% finishing rate in his five victories.
A product of Strong Style Fight Team — the Ohio gym that boasts former UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (20-4) among other notable competitors — Spohn has been on the radar of hardcore MMA fans for some time. In January, news broke that Spohn signed with Gary and AJ Vaynerchuk’s upstart Vayner Sports’ MMA division, a high-profile stamp of approval for the emerging talent.
Spohn surpassed the lofty expectations that surrounded his pro debut, scoring a dominant first-round rear-naked choke submission of Nick Olson (0-2) to earn his first professional victory.
It was a great showing from the 6’1″ welterweight prospect, who pressured Olson from the opening bell.
A minute into the fight, Spohn relied on his grappling abilities honed wrestling at Kent State University (where he was named to the Academic All-MAC Team during the 2016-2017 season) to defend against a leglock entry from Olson, avoiding the entanglement and ending up in top position.
Spohn stifled Olson with smothering side control, negating Olson’s leglock entries and dangerous upkicks with relative ease. With just seconds remaining in the first round and following a series of aggressive ground-and-pound strikes, Spohn snatched the neck of Olson to win the fight with a rear-naked choke variant.
The terrific performance prompted CFFC commentator and MMAJunkie/USA Today journalist John Morgan to exclaim, “Wow, Jerald Spohn! What a debut!”
With the win, Spohn instantly establishes himself as a prospect to watch in the welterweight division. CFFC is a promotion known for its ability to develop successful fighters, having promoted the likes of UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (20-3), UFC contenders Anthony Smith (35-16), Merab Dvalishvili (13-4), Sean Brady (14-0), and many more in past years.
Now 1-0 as a pro fighter, training out of an elite gym, managed by a high-powered firm in Vayner Sports, and charismatic on the mic, Spohn could be on the fast track for stardom in the sport.