Andres Quintana Shoots for Rage In The Cage Featherweight Belt Against Frankie Saenz
Andres "Bullet" Quintana, 3-1 of Mean1 MMA & Fitness and one of New Mexico fastest-rising stars in MMA, will be stepping into the cage against Frankie Saenz (4-2 out of the Den) for the Rage in the Cage featherweight title at RITC 161, on July 20, 2012, at Wild Horse Pass Casino, in Chandler, AZ.
Quintana entered the world of combat sports at the age of 12, when he joined Team Roswell's "The Dungeon" and began to learn boxing from head coach Lupe Perez. Just three months later, he had his first boxing match, and over the next six years, garnered an impressive 26-4 amateur boxing record, earning several titles and placing fourth in the nation as an amateur boxer.
In his sophomore year of high school, Quintana began to train in MMA, when training partner Richard Villa (the one who gave Quintana his nickname) brought the sport to The Den. He took to that sport with just as much flair, putting together an 11-4 amateur record, including three title belts.
He graduated from Roswell High School, and made his boxing debut, a difficult fight against another pro debut, Oscar Valenzuela (now 3-0), which went all four rounds and left Quintana with a broken rib. Undaunted, he continued to train and took a few more amateur MMA fights before he moved to Albuquerque, about two years ago, at the advice of Jacksons/Mean1 Coach Chris Luttrell (whom he met at one of his amateur matches through a mutual friend, DJ San Marco, and who told him he saw a bright future for him in combat sports) and began to train at Mean1 MMA & Fitness.
Mean1 was founded by Keith "The Dean of Mean" Jardine, TUF participant and UFC star, who collaborated with Jackson-Winkeljohn trainers, Mike Winkeljohn and Chris Luttrell, to start a gym that brought MMA to the public, not only for fighters of every level to get the individual attention they desired, but also as a means to better, well-rounded fitness and self-defense.
Quintana was one of the first fighters to begin training full time at the facility, making his professional debut just 1 month after he started at Mean1. That fight, against Matt Hunt, went the distance and ended with a split decision for Hunt. However, Quintana took what he learned from that fight, and to prove Luttrell right, went on to win his last three fights.
In his most recent fight, he was a heavy underdog against The MMA Lab's Yaotzin Meza (18-7) at WMMA, taking the fight on two weeks' notice, when his friend and teammate from Mean 1 and Jacksons, Lionel Lanham, told him they were looking for a featherweight. One of Quintana's friends, a ring doctor who was affiliated with RITC had told him that, if he somehow beat Meza, he could get him a shot at the RITC Featherweight belt.
"Everybody told me I was crazy for taking the fight," said Quintana, but his coaches felt he was ready, and Quintana "did not want to miss the chance to put on a show" for the many promoters who came to the event. And put on a show he did; knocking Meza out with a headkick in the 1st round for the win by TKO at 2:43. That win not only earned him this fight for Rage in the Cage, but it also cemented his place in WMMA's Featherweight tournament this August.
"This is gonna be a tough fight," said Quintana, "but I'm bringing my A-game. I always do." That game is put together by a crack team consisting of head coach Chris Luttrell, wrestling coach Chris Avila, retired Marine Rob Ange for conditioning, Jesse Lucero for pool work, and Hein Smit and Evan Richardson for striking.
Quintana wants to thank his team at Mean1 MMA and his sponsors: Streamline Insurance, Mild to Wild, Integrated Wellness, Apocalyptic Sports Nutrition, and Dr. Jeffery Schnapps.
For more information on the upcoming event, visit www.rageinthecage.com.
Photo courtesy Larry Slater