North Iowa Fights 13 Recap: Kuntz, McPadden Victorious

Written By Gage Miskimen on May 31, 2022 - Last Updated on July 22, 2022
North Iowa Fights 13

Mixed-martial arts was back in Mason City last weekend with North Iowa Fights 13 at the Mason City Arena.

Twenty fighters entered the circular cage in the middle of the arena floor throughout the night, typically the home of the North Iowa Bulls hockey team.

Hundreds of Mason City residents cheered and jeered throughout the night as they supported their hometown fighters.

North Iowa Fights 13 Main Event: Kuntz vs Larrea

From North Dakota and fighting out of Florida, UFC veteran Leo Kuntz got it done quickly to cap off the night with a first-round, rear-naked choke over Eddie Larrea.

Larrea, who has fought for Bellator, was filling in for the absent Amartuvshin Khuukhenkhuu. Khuukhenkuu pulled out less than a week prior to the event due to an alleged knee injury. A quick Google image search showed that the picture Khuukhenkuu’s camp sent out of the injury was actually a picture they took from the internet of a swollen knee.

Kuntz and Larrea both came out swinging early and Larrea eventually took Kuntz down, but ultimately Kuntz reversed the position and sunk in the choke to seal the deal.

Kuntz previously told PlayIA that he is hoping to connect with Eagle FC and its president Khabib Nurmagomedov for a future contract. He previously fought Khabib protege Islam Makhachev during his UFC run.

North Iowa Fights 13 Co-Main: McPadden vs Dunn

The co-main event was awarded the Fight of The Night for a reason as both Minnesota’s Sean McPadden and Ankeny’s Chris Dunn brought their ‘A-game to Mason City.

The two fighters fought for the 145-pound championship, which ended with the belt draped over McPadden’s shoulder

Both guys were connecting with solid jabs and hooks throughout the bout. McPadden shot a few takedowns with Dunn deflecting most.McPadden also survived a flurry of shots and flying knees from Dunn in the second round that had McPadden up against the cage bobbing and weaving while covered up.

But in round three, McPadden got the final takedown needed, which led to him finding Dunn’s neck and getting the tap.

“Chris Dunn is top-tier talent and would beat any UFC, ONE, Bellator or PFL fighter,” McPadden said of his opponent. “Chris is a hell of a fighter and an even better man. Got nothing but love and respect for him, his family and his team.”

McPadden said being back in the cage after a couple of years off was “simply blissful.”

He said between job changes, depression spirals, getting COVID-19 three times and a tough break up, he had begun questioning his fighting career.

“Fighting like a champion is something I pride myself on and a champion’s ability to battle through and overcome adversity is the best quality that I possess inside and out of the cage,” McPadden said. “I’m very pleased with my performance.”

As for what’s next, McPadden added that he has a name in mind. He wants to fight the 7-0 Dustin Lampros. Lampros, who fights out of Sanford MMA in Florida and competes for Shamrock FC, was a season 28 contestant on The Ultimate Fighter.

Robinson, Stepleton, Mota fan favorites in Mason City

The Mason City crowd at North Iowa Fights 13 got hyped for the first pro fight of the night between Texas’ Jonathan Kennedy and Mason City’s own Jim Stepleton.

Stepleton, 56, made his pro debut in front of his hometown crowd against the 14-35 Kennedy.

Kennedy opened the fight with a couple of strong head kicks and Stepleton was bloodied early, but Stepleton was persistent on takedowns and had cage control for the majorityof the fight, lying on top of Kennedy to Kennedy’s frustration.

In the end, significant strikes mean more than cage control in MMA scoring and Kennedy got the split decision victory, which led to the loudest boos of the night as Mason City thought their guy won.

But Mason City had a lot to cheer for after Austin Robinson secured his victory with a first-round TKO over Eli Mefford. Many in the crowd could be seen wearing shirts with ‘Austin Robinson’ across the front.

Estus’ stepson, Robinson, also won his Legacy Fighting Alliance bout in Minnesota in April.

“I felt really good about my performance Saturday night. The fight went about how I figured it would,” Robinson said. “He’s crafty with his jits (jiu-jitsu) but I’m very comfortable on the ground.”

Time to recover

Robinson said that he has two hairline fractures on his right foot currently, so he will be taking a few months off for his full-time job in construction.

“As much as I would love to keep the streak going … I can’t confidently give myself the proper training needed to continue winning, so I’ll be taking a few months off to work then right back in it in the mid-fall through winter,” he said.

And LFA flyweight Carlos Mota came from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to give the performance of the night. He scored a TKO that began with a brutal kick to the body against Steven Merril of Fort Dodge.

Mota has finished fights with his body kicks before, but this one secured him the ‘Realest MF’ belt.

North Iowa Fights 13 Full Card Results

  • Ricky Field (5-4) def. Austin Locke (0-1) by Sub. (Rd 1, 2:43)
  • Dawson Closser (1-1) def. Brannon Samuelson (0-1) by Dec.
  • Dylan Stanke (1-0) def. Draven Lantz (0-1) by TKO (Rd 3, 2:08)
  • Jonathan Kennedy (15-36) def. Jim Stepleton (0-1) by Split Dec.
  • Austin Robinson (2-1) def. Eli Mefford (0-4) by TKO (rd 1, 4:34)
  • Kurtis Ellis (1-0) def. Paul Burgin (2-3) by TKO (Rd 1, 2:26) — Knockout of the night
  • Mark Currier (1-1) def. Ryan Fournier (0-1) by TKO (Rd 1, 1:55)
  • Carlos Mota (7-1) def. Steven Merrill (5-9) by TKO (Rd 1, 1:38) — Performance of the night
  • Sean McPadden (5-1) def. Chris Dunn (16-11) by Sub. (Rd 3, 1:19) — Fight of the night
  • Leo Kuntz (19-4-1) def. Eddie Larea (23-45) by Sub. (Rd 1, 2:21) — Submission of the night

(Records reflect May 21 card)

Photo by Gage Miskimen / PlayIA
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Gage Miskimen

Gage Miskimen is a journalist from Marion, Iowa, currently working at the Cedar Rapids Gazette. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and was editor of the award-winning Daily Iowan. He also previously worked for the Des Moines Register. Gage is a lifelong fan of combat sports and martial arts.

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