24/7 Entertainment brought amateur MMA to Midland in a big way, this past Saturday, Feb., 16, at Midland’s Horse Show Arena. The show, 'No Remorse' featured 13 amateur MMA fights, and filled the floor of the arena, with more than half of the fighters making their ring debut; the card displayed talent from around West Texas and New Mexico. The evening’s main event saw West Texas MMA’s Jonathen Nieto (3-1) against Ferocity’s Alec Williams (2-0) at 155-lbs. There were three nearly identical rounds of brief standup exchange followed by takedowns for Williams, and Nieto’s frustrated attempts to escape dominant position by the Williams, whose wrestling was evidently superior, but who could not seem to lock in a submission. Williams won the fight by unanimous decision, but the main event was far from the most exciting fight of the evening.
After five years hosting successful grappling tournaments, New Mexico based Combat Sports Club presented their first event of 2013, a first ever jiu-jitsu tournament for the “City of Crosses.”
Picacho Middle School was the site of this inaugural combat sports event. More than one hundred Las Cruces area grapplers showed skill and sportsmanship alongside athletes from Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Amarillo, Tucson, Lubbock, Santa Fe, and more.
Perhaps the biggest presence was from El Paso, with eleven teams and many independent grapplers who competed. All told over three hundred competitors attended; the result was a competitive well run tournament that left everyone asking: When’s the next one?
On Friday, December 7th Holly "The Preacher's Daughter" Holm faced power punching Aussie Diana Prazak, delivering a flawless performance en route to a unanimous decision.
Coming into the fight with an 11-1 record, seven by knockout, Prazak was undeniably a legitimate threat. Having recently avenged her knockout loss to Anne Mathis, it begged the question: would Holm employ the same stick and move strategy against Prazak.
In the lead up press conference coach Mike Winklejohn spoke of Holm's evolution into a power puncher and finisher. These improvements were evident each time Holm stepped in and fired. She felt Prazak's power but stayed on the offense, more than on the run.
To explain how much former Marine and MMA fighter Matt Leyva is beloved by family, friends and fans is to explain how deafening the silence seemed after Leyva was dispatched by Anthony Birchak in the main event of Jackson's MMA Series X.
After a minute and a half of frenetic exchanges on the feet and the canvas, Leyva was caught by a well-placed straight from Birchak at 1:22 of the first round. While disappointing, the loss for Leyva should serve as lesson and happens to the best on their way up.
Big ups to Nick Urso in the co-main that should've been but wasn't, his opponent came in 15-pounds over. Did he forget what weight he was fighting at? I was looking forward to seeing Nick "The Juggernaut" Urso fight; we'll all just have to weight (sic wait) – perhaps the next Jacksons card – to see Nick bang.
On Saturday, November 17th New Mexico boxing fans and Johnny Tapia devotees were treated to three main events preceded by a superbly matched undercard in Johnny Tapia Presents. Inspired by the promotions namesake each hometown fighter elevated his game, putting forth gutsy, hard-charging performances, reminiscent of Tapia himself.
In the main event Santa Fe’s Joaquin Zamora, 19-4-1, 12 KOs met a game Bernardo Guereca, 16-15-1, of El Paso in an eight round slugfest. Zamora threw everything but the kitchen sink at Guereca who kept coming forward despite the constant barrage of punches by Zamora.
Zamora used his range well keeping the shorter Guereca at bay for much of the earlier rounds. In the later rounds Guereca tried taunting Zamora, hoping to force a mistake and open up counter punching opportunities. Instead Zamora found more chances to test the solid chin of Guereca: Unanimous Decision Zamora.
FIT NHB's Frank Baca (13-2) scraped out a win against a very tough opponent in Isaac Colon (2-3 of High Altitude MMA in Colorado Springs, CO), at King of the Cage: Final Countdown, on Saturday, November 10, 2012, at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino just north of Santa Fe, NM.
Colon pushed forward with flurried combinations, and Baca responded by pulling Colon's head into a Thai clinch and delivering knees to Colon's head, as well as powerful body-slamming takedowns. Colon soon learned not to lead with his head, avoiding the knees and delivering his hook combinations, even knocking Baca down at one point in the second round.
However, Baca continued to get takedowns and dominant position in each round, and finished 2nd round with a body lock and rear-naked-choke attempt. After three rounds, two of the judges felt Baca had won all three rounds, while one saw Colon winning two, so Baca took the split decision against Colon. "It really felt like a 'split-decision' fight, he's a tough opponent," acknowledged Baca in his post-fight interview.
Cage Fighter V took place on Saturday, November 3, at the Carlsbad Civic Center. This was the fifth show presented by Aragon Fight Promotions. After a game of musical, chairs the main event pitted favorite Jorrel Sparenberg of The Works against Mean 1's Justin Archuleta, who was making his amateur debut, in a title fight.
Sparenberg and Archuleta were originally slated to fight in the co-main, but after fighters dropped out and last minute replacements fell through the two moved up to headliner. Despite being thrust into a five rounder in his first ever fight, Archuleta saved the show with an amazingly gutsy performance against the bigger, rangier Sparenberg.
Both fighters had moments, standing and on the ground, that would've finished lesser fighters. These two showed technique beyond their young ages and maintained a frenetic pace for five rounds fueled by tremendous heart and determination.
Grapplers of all ages, sizes and skills filled the gymnasium at the Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho on Saturday, October 20, for the 2012 Southwest Grappling Championships.
Although many things remained the same for this event, there were a few new features. For the first time, divisions were given specific start and end times, and the universally-agreed result was that everything went much more smoothly, as evidenced by completion of the event prior to sun-down, a first for the tournament, for which attendance was actually up from last year.
"I think this is due to the schools staffing (wrestling team) stepping up," noted an appreciative Dave Friedlander, promoter of the event. Another first was the much-appreciated award of medals to every competitor under the age of 10, an encouraging incentive to encourage kids to stay in the sport.
For the second time in its history, Rumble in Rio was won by the "boys in blue" of New Mexico's Law Enforcement, with an ironic finishing score of 9-1-1 (9 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw) against New Mexico's Firefighters.
The "Rumble in Rio" is a non-profit promotion, which raises money for the "Jim Franklin Bike Give-Away Program" and other youth charities, including this year, the addition of "Children's Cancer Fund of NM".
Each year, Fire faces Law, not only to raise funds for charity, but also for bragging rights on which public service is the toughest in the state. Historically, the firefighters have held sway over the event, winning 4 times, and tying twice, with the cops winning their first event last year at Rumble 8.
Frank Gomez (10-6, Jackson-Winkeljohn) suffered a heart-wrenching technical loss to Premier MMA's Aaron Cerda (4-3) at Jackson's MMA Series 9, held for the first time at Tingley Coliseum on the New Mexico State Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 8, 2012.
Gomez, father of a newborn baby girl, was originally slated to face Mikey "The Burque Bulldog" Lovato as the main event, but Lovato suffered a knee injury just a week before the event.
Cerda, a third degree black belt in Kajukembo and martial arts practitioner of 10 years, had been working for the last several weeks with other fighters in his gym who had potential matches on the card; so with only six days' notice, he still felt confident that he would be ready to face the WEC veteran.
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