Sixteen months after declaring his intention to compete in mixed martial arts, and six months after making his successful MMA debut, former Edinboro All-American wrestler Chris Honeycutt has claimed a world title.
Honeycutt, 2012 NCAA runner-up at 197 pounds, won the world middleweight championship for the Up & Comers Unlimited promotion at their UPC 16 event at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Saturday night.
According to his Facebook page, Honeycutt won the title by unanimous decision over Manny “Sergeant” Murillo in a five-round bout. Independent MMA website Sherdog.com reports that Murillo’s record prior to his match with Honeycutt was 5-1 going back to June 2011, with three knockouts and two decisions.
“Top MMA prospect Chris ‘The Cutt” Honeycutt utilized his wrestling pedigree to smother the heavy hands of Team Quest’s Manny Murillo in the evening’s main event,” according to TheClinchReport.com. “The 5 round title fight was everything the fans expected it to be.”
Murillo won the first round with solid inside striking and picking up and slamming Honeycutt to the canvas on two occasions, according to the official UPC Unlimited website. “I never thought I would see Chris lifted 6 feet in the air and then slammed to the canvas, and it happened twice in round one,” said UPC President Jason Weiner.
Despite that rough start, Honeycutt came back to win the next four rounds to take the unanimous decision, 49-46.
Prior to his title bout at UPC 16, Honeycutt was 2-0 as an MMA professional. In Jan. 2013, the former Fighting Scot made a winning first impression when the referee stopped his first fight at 1:06 of the first round after Honeycutt’s opponent could not continue. In his second pro MMA bout, Honeycutt submitted veteran Richard Blake by rear naked choke at 2:20 of the first round of the scheduled three-round match at UPC 15 in Fresno on May 11.
Honeycutt announced his intention to compete in mixed martial arts the night before his appearance in the 2012 NCAA 197-pound title match, which he lost to Cornell’s Cam Simaz, 7-5.
Before entering MMA competition, Honeycutt crafted a successful amateur wrestling career. The Massachusetts native won high school state titles in his home state and in Ohio, wrestling for nationally-ranked prep powerhouse Lakewood St. Edward High School in suburban Cleveland (alma mater to Lance Palmer, former Ohio State All-American who won the Resurrection Fighting Alliance featherweight title in June, and for Mark Moos, ex-Michigan mat star who just accepted the head coaching position at Lorain High School west of Cleveland).
Honeycutt continued to find success in college on the mat at Edinboro University in western Pennsylvania. Honeycutt earned NCAA All-American honors by placing fifth in the 184-pound weight class at the 2011 NCAAs, and runner-up at 197 in 2012. He was a two-time EWL (Eastern Wrestling League) champ in 2009 and 2011, losing in the 2012 EWL finals – his only loss hi senior year prior to the NCAAs — to Pittsburgh’s Matt Wilps, who was just named an assistant coach at his college alma mater.
Want to see more? For videos, photos and a brief write-up of the Honeycutt-Murillo bout, check out TheClinchReport.com.
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