O’Neil stops Woodall in bloody main event

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After losing to tough Brazilian Gil de Freitas earlier this summer, Chuck O’Neil needed a change of pace to get back on the winning track.

“I got right back to training camp and began putting those elbows to use,” O’Neil.

Veteran Chris Woodall (12-5) bore the brunt of O’Neil’s frustration Saturday night, absorbing a series of elbows midway through the opening round, the final one opening a nasty gash on Woodall’s forehead and prompting the referee to mercifully stop the bout at the 2-minute, 24-mark second mark in the main event of Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “November To Remember” pro-am card at Foxwoods Resorts Casino’s Fox Theater.

O’Neil (12-6, 4 KOs), a Bridgewater, Mass., native who starred on The Ultimate Fighter reality series several years ago, got off to a quick start in Saturday’s main event, taking Woodall to the canvas within the first 30 seconds. From there, it was a series of unanswered strikes followed by the vicious elbows that subsequently busted Woodall wide open and put an end to the night.

“After my loss, I got right back into training camp and made some improvements,” O’Neil said. “I added some extra muscle. I have a great team and it paid off tonight.”

The evenly-matched co-feature lived up to all the pre-fight hype as Amsterdam, N.Y., veteran Harley Beekman (5-2) got back on track with a hard-fought, unanimous-decision win over former UFC vet Thomas Egan (7-4) of Dorchester, Mass. Beekman won the fight 30-27 on all three scorecards, but it appeared much closer inside the cage until the third and final round when Beekman scored an early takedown and proceeded to wear down Egan over the final four and a half minutes. On his back for the majority of the round, Egan had no answer, though he did an admirable job of sustaining further damage.

“I wanted to stand up with him. He’s a hell of a striker,” said Beekman, who snapped a two-fight losing streak, “but when Plan A doesn’t work you have to go to Plan B.”

Fighting out of Dorchester, Mass., and working with famed boxing coach Peter Welch, featherweight James Murrin (1-0, 1 KO) let his hands do the talking Saturday in his professional debut, peppering fellow newcomer Douglas Monteiro (0-1) of Framingham, Mass., with relentless combinations, opening a vicious gash over Monteiro’s right eye and forcing the ringside physician to stop the bout at the end of the opening round. Utilizing his boxing training, Murrin consistently switched between working the body and landing cleanly upstairs. Monteiro had no answer other than try to attempt a takedown to stem the tide, but Murrin stuffed each attempt and cruised to a near-flawless win.

Looking to snap a two-fight losing streak, Providence flyweight Dan Cormier (2-3) came through swimmingly, defeating newcomer Marvin Maldonado (0-1) of Latham, N.Y., by split decision, 30-27, 30-27, 28-29. Also on the undercard, Meriden, Conn., Willie Brown Jr. (2-0) won for the second time in as many fight, this time exerting his will against the taller, leaner Chaz Dowdell (0-1), defeating the Pittsburgh, Pa., newcomer by submission via the rear-naked choke at the 1:18 minute of the second round.

Asked if submission victories are his new forte, Brown Jr. said, “I just take what they give me.”

In a rematch of one of his few losses as a professional, heavyweight Josh Diekmann (14-5, 10 KOs) of Groton, Conn., made quick work of journeyman Chris Guillen (13-16), stopping the 41-year-old veteran with a series of unanswered strikes at the 1:15 mark of the opening round. Guillen submitted Diekmann in 2007, but was no match for Diekmann this time around, prompting Diekmann to seek yet another rematch during his post-fight celebration.

“I want to thank Chris for coming out here from halfway across the country to give me a rematch. That’s what real men do, not yellow-bellied cowards like Tyler King,” Diekmann said in reference to King, who beat him by unanimous decision in October of 2012.

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