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MMA vet Chad Vance ‘retires’ with TKO victory

By John Burbridge

CEDAR RAPIDS — Chad Vance capped a long mixed martial arts run with the shortest victory of his career.

But it wasn’t as quick as either of his son’s recent lightning-fast stoppages.

“He’ll always have me there,” the 45-year-old Charles City man said of his son Dakota’s first two MMA bout victories that were over in a little more and a little less than 20 seconds.

As for the elder Vance’s latest win — it took 34 seconds.

As part of the Elite Fighting League No. 6 outdoor card held Saturday at the Black Stock Motorcyle Company in Cedar Rapids, Vance scored a first-round TKO over Keyes Nelson in a professional middleweight (185-pound) bout.

“I went back to my roots … which is a strong wrestling background,” Vance said. “It was something I should have done in my last fight.”

Vance’s previous bout was back in May during the EFL No. 5 card held at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo. For Vance, it was a comeback from a long hiatus, and it was supposed to be his “retirement fight”.

But after suffering a first-round TKO loss to John Poppie in a fight Vance thought was stopped too soon, Vance decided to give it one more shot to go out with a victory.

Nelson was a replacement for the fighter Vance was originally scheduled to face.

“He wasn’t the same caliber as the other guy, but he is an accomplished wrestler and he trains out of Nebraska City at a respected gym with respected fighters,” Vance said. “I studied videos of his fights and I knew he was good on the ground.”

Vance opened with a freight train two-legged takedown and went into ground-and-pound mode from there. Dakota was in his corner and was quick to offer some of his quick-stoppage expertise to his father from outside the cage.

“When I took him down, he went right into his guard and tried to get me into an armbar,” Vance said. “I heard Dakota shouting from my corner … he was seeing things I had yet to see.

“I was able to keep my posture up, find some openings and land some hooks.”

Though Vance had announced his “retirement” before, he insists Saturday’s fight was indeed his last.

“I takes too long for the body to heal when you get to be my age,” Vance said. “When you end with a tough loss, it’s hard not to want to come back for another chance to go out with a win. But when you win, you have people coming up to you saying that you look like you still have some good fights left in you.

“But 29 fights are enough for me.”

Vance says he’s going to focus more on Dakota’s training and the promotion of his budding MMA career.