Front Street Fights crowned a new Bantamweight Champion in May at Front Street Fights XII with Jesse Brock’s victory, but it was another Boise-bred fighter’s knockout finish that gained just as much attention from the crowds at CenturyLink Arena. Matt “The Stripling Warrior” Jones defeated Carson Frei in the Co-Main Event with a third-round knockout blow, one that has quickly made its way around the MMA world.
After an evenly fought two rounds, Jones caught Frei with a perfectly-executed spinning elbow that sent Frei to the mat and improved Jones’ record to 6-2-0. Jones recognized that Frei was strong along the cage walls for the first two rounds, but once the fighters returned to the middle of the cage there was an opening he could exploit.
“I did notice in the third round after we broke clinch that he just marched forward, and so did my cornerman, Ricky Steele,” said Jones recently. “[Ricky] yelled, ‘Spin elbow!’ and subconsciously I simply threw a spin elbow!”
Jones did not immediately realize Frei had been knocked out by the blow, finishing the fight with a final punch before the referee ended it. Shortly after Jones’ arm was raised, however, it didn’t take long at all for his spinning maneuver to spread throughout the MMA internet, with videos circulating Jones’ most eye-popping pro win.
“Ever since I knocked out Frei with that spin elbow, those closest to me who know me best told me it’s been a long time coming,” said Jones. “Sure I received a lot of attention over social media for it as well and received a lot of new fans, and that always makes you feel good. But my fellow fighters and I mainly respect the clean technique that was performed.”
“Most fighters go an entire career without a knockout as sharp as that spin elbow. I recognize this and I am deeply grateful that I pulled it off. It’s truly humbling.”
The highlight shot is only worth one win on Jones’ record, which of course is important. But is there added value to the way that Jones won, and the fact that his knockout earned so much attention?
“Records do matter, no argument there. What matters more than that, though, is that you are an exciting fighter that people want to watch,” said Jones “Ideally, I want to perform at my best from the very moment the ref says, ‘Are you ready? Are you ready? Fight!’ from the first round all the way to an exciting finish!”
“Add opponents who are worth fighting, who are both exciting and tough, and you will definitely get noticed. People will always remember a competitive fight with a spectacular finish.”
Jones was proud of his training regimen ahead of his bout with Frei, having trained at Duane Ludwig’s gym in Denver at BANG Muay Thai, as well as here in Boise with SBG Idaho with fighters like Brock, Steele, and Scott Thometz. Jones believes his victory was a culmination of all of his training since youth, when he first began under Sensei Keith Goode at the age of 12.
“I truly feel that all my training has played a part in my last victory. Learning to trust your coaches to adjust what needs adjusting, trusting in your teammates to be good training partners, and learning to trust in yourself,” said Jones.
Fight fans nation-wide now know more about Matt Jones than they did before his win over Frei. The accolades and popularity have been nice for Jones, but he appreciates the praise he’s earned from fellow fighters just as much.
“Nothing compares to the congratulations I receive from those I have the most respect for, like my coaches, teammates, family and friends. They all supported me throughout my training by being there for me at the beginning and at the end,” said Jones. “Had things gone the other way, I know they would all still be there for me. It is like we all hit that spin elbow in one way or another, everyone played their part.”
Before Jones even stepped into the cage for FSF XII, it was understood that a win would put either himself or Frei in very strong position for a shot at a title belt. That’s exactly what Jones anticipates this fall.
“I am going to fight for the FSF Featherweight Title in the fall and win,” said Jones. “The entire fight you will see the performance of my career, ending with an even bigger highlight finish!”
“A little insight into what I currently have written down in my journal of goals: This is what I am training for and this is what I will accomplish. I will be a champion this fall!”