U of MMA Fight Night 16 starts of with a Bang! at Club Nokia

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 1.02.59 PMThe U of MMA brought it’s sixteenth Fight Night to Club Nokia on May 31, and once again delivered exciting MMA action to Los Angeles! This is amateur MMA, people—fast two minute rounds, with combatants pushing the pace to prove themselves in the cage.

Fight Card (in reverse chronological order)

University of MMA Lightweight Championship Tournament Finals:
155 lbs. – Julio Lopez (Kings Combat Sports) vs. Antonio Lopez (Gooch Training Academy/Saekson Muay Thai)
Julio showed his Muay Thai skills early in the first round when he got the classic Muay Thai clench and landed knee after knee until Antonio escaped and after a brief moment of stand up, took Julio down. They battled on the ground and Antonio got Julio’s back. Julio stood up, crouched over carrying Antonio on his back until he tumbled, forcing Antonio into the mat.

Round two was barely underway when Antonio took Julio down and they fought on the mat for position. Antonio spent the entire round on top.

Julio did a much better job of staying upright in round three, taking it to Antonio with punches and, once they clinched, Muay Thai knees. The first and second time Antonio shot, Julio was against the cage and successfully defended the takedown while landing elbows and fists to Antonio’s body. Toward the end of the round, Antonio shot, and got Julio down. At first Julio popped back up, but Antonio slammed him back down and spent the rest of the round on top.
Winner: Antonio Lopez, Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

University of MMA Bantamweight Championship:
135 lbs. – Vince ‘The Anomaly’ Cachero (Systems Training Center) vs. Demar ‘King’ George (Dream Killer Fight Team)
This is a championship fight, so both guys are good. They know this, of course, and the majority of the round was spent feeling out each other, getting a sense of timing and fakes and feints. George was the more consistent actor in the round, even trying a couple of spinning attacks. It wasn’t until close to the end of the round that Cachero shot in on George and took him down, after a brief clinch against the cage. Cachero didn’t have much time to work, though, before he was reversed as the round ended.

Round two: more caution on behalf of the fighters until Cacheco again took George down, and after a brief battle on the ground, took George’s back and battled for a rear-naked choke before transitioning onto the side, then to an arm bar that was close and tightening when the bell range.

It would all be up to the third round, it seemed, and the fighters answered the bell with caution, circling and feinting until George rushed forward with a flurry of punches and Cachero charged back, getting George against the cage and down. from guard to half guard to side control to mount, Cacheco worked on the ground, all the while landing some hard punches and hammerfists. A kimura attempt followed, but was abandoned in favor of more hammerfists as the round ended.
Winner: Vince Cacheco, Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-25)

University of MMA Featherweight Championship:
145 lbs. – Ryan ‘The Lion’ Lilley (Bas Rutten’s Elite MMA Gym) vs. Albert Veloz (Cage Combat Academy)
Lilley came out striking well, and looked like he was going to take this, but about halfway through the round, Veloz started coming on. A low blow stopped the action as Veloz recovered. Once they fight began again, Veloz and Lilley traded fairly equally.

Round two began with the crowd chanting “Albert! Albert” but once the action started, that died down. Lilley landed a few good shots and that further quieted down the crowd. Vaeloz was throwing single kicks and Lilley countered well. Veloz got Lilley against the cage, and they went to the ground. Veloz took his back and Lilley spent the rest of the round fighting off a rear-naked choke.

Third round. Veloz is landing kicks quite a lot. Lilley fights back, and connects on a few punches, but they don’t have the impact that Veloz’ kicks seem to. At one point, Lilley complained of an eye poke after an echange, but the Ref didn’t see it and they fought on. Lilley ended the round strong, with a flurry and a slam takedown.
Winner: Albert Veloz, Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Note: My impression in the moment was that Lilley did enough to win. But I think it was close. Certainly not 30-27…

120 lbs. (catchweight) – Jasmine ‘Tapout Queen’ Pouncy (Nubians MMA) vs. Akari ‘AK-47’ Wang (Systems Training Center)
Pouncy put together combinations, which Wang answered with single shots, and while Wang never stopped moving deliberately forward, it was Pouncy who took the day, dropping Wang* and, um, pouncing to land a few devastating fists on the ground before the Ref jumped in to end it.
*Pouncy hit Wang so perfectly that it knocked Wang’s contact lens out!
Winner: Jasmine Pouncy, KO, 53 seconds of the first round

205 lbs. – Travis Williams (Elite Training Center) vs. Jonathan ‘Jonny McGregor’ Sweitzer (Valhalla ETC)
Sweitzer looked good for the first few seconds of the round, which I’ll call “all the stand-up in the round” but then Williams took him down and controlled him from top position, landing body punches and going for a kimura. Sweitzer successfully defended until the round ended.

Round two: Sweitzer swings for the fences and lands enough to force Williams to take him down. Working from top position, Williams eventually gets mount and lands punches from there, forcing the Ref to step in and stop the fight.
Winner: Travis Wiliams, TKO (Strikes) 1:34 of round two

155 lbs. – Remington Thorne (Saekson Muay Thai) vs. Michael Jackson  (Systems Training Center)
Jackson stepping in on short notice, and by short notice, I mean THE DAY BEFORE THE FIGHT so props to him. He lives the slogan “Stay Ready” because he was certainly ready and came out super aggressive and looked to take the round easily from the first minute, but Thorne was able to fight back and make it a much more even round. At one point, Thorne was threatening a triangle but Jackson escaped and made him pay.

The second round saw Jackson stay on the attack and take the fight to Thorne, but when he went in after Thorne to the ground, he got caught in an arm bar attempt and spent the rest of the round fighting off arm bar and triangle choke attempts. Stacking and eventually slamming Thorne, Jackson lasted until the bell.

The third round was all Jackson. Taking Thorne down, eventually getting mount and raining down fists until the end of the fight.
Winner: Michael Jackson, Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)

155 lbs. – Troy Hargrow (Nubians MMA) vs. Zach Kraschinsky (Bas Rutten’s Elite Training Center)

Sometimes a fighter comes out with what can only be described as a frenetic energy, almost a nervous quick stutter pace, and Hargrove came out for the first round like this. Aggressive and quick, twitchy energy, Hargrove pushed the pace. Kraschinsky hung in there, and answered back. When Hargrove went for a leg lock, they rolled and rolled, and like a well-choreographed fight scene, got up in sync and locked arms immediately.

The second round began with the same energy but once he could Kraschinsky got it to the ground through a front choke, he quickly got mount and started landing punches left and right, forcing Hargrove to give up his bakc and get up. Working his way to his feet, Hargrove was unable to stop Kraschinsky from jumping on his back and riding him to the ground, where he sunk in a rear naked choke.
Winner: Zach Kraschinsky, Submission (RNC), 1:14 of the second round

125 lbs. – Matheus Leaondro Santos (MMAFC) vs. Angel Diaz (Systems Training Center)
After a brief intermission, the fights resumed with this barn-burner of a bout! Diaz was the more aggressive fighter in the first round, but the pace was fast, and both guys were very active… there was no “feeling out” period in the first round! These guys went for it!

Round two started a bit more equal, but didn’t last long—Santos jumped into an arm bar and go the tap! The first submission of the night!
Winner: Matheus Leaondro Santos, Submission (Arm Bar), 59 second of round two

170 lbs. – Aaron Landry (Ring of Fire Martial Arts Academy) vs. Lance ‘Black Ranger’ Bush (Team Lagarto)
Bush is the taller, rangier fighter and pushes his advantage when he stays out of the pocket. Landry is stockier and more powerful, and has the advantage in the pocket. The majority of the first round is spent at range, and Bush is able to land as Landry moves in. Once inside, Landry is able to punish Bush, but this happens infrequently in the first round. Landry takes Bush down to end the round.

Round two is more advantageous for Landry, as it takes place in close quarters, but both fighters land often.

Landry charges out to start the third round, and Bush throws him for a powerful slam. Bush is able to land fists on Landry from top position, interrupted briefly by Landry attempting to control his posture.He’s able to resume his attack from the top, getting mount and punishing Landry as the bell ends the fight.
Winner: Lance Bush, Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)

145 lbs. – Victor Rivera (Nubians MMA) vs. Juan Vasquez (Team Victory Muay Thai/Dream Killer Fight Team)
You know how they say you should almost never throw a single kick without setting it up, or you risk being vulnerable to a counter strike or shot? Vasquez got a good lesson in this bout. Throwing kicks with no set up or follow up, Rivera was able to counter with punches and takedowns throughout the match. Rivera easily won the first round, landing a barrage of strikes on a turtling Vasquez. The second round was also Rivera’s, with an early takedown and awkward stalking of Vasquez as he lay on this back, inviting Rivera to come to the mat for the majority of the round.

The third round was the most even, with Vasquez returning to his ‘solo kick and get countered’ strategy but this time, Vasquez got to spend some time on top before being reversed by Rivera.
Winner: Victor Rivera, Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

195 lbs. (catchweight) – Christopher Llanes (Team Quest) vs. David Boyko (Bas Rutten’s Elite Training Center)
Llanes, who walked out (well, danced out) to Ceelo’s “Crazy” sought to get the early advantage, and looked good, landing a quick strike that sent Boyko reeling, but Boyko soon recovered and it was his turn to land. Boyko’s moment was short-lived though, when Llanes overpowered him and took the fight to the mat, where he was able to get mount before giving up position to attempt a submission. This allowed Boyko to reverse position and end the round on top.

Round two started with a bang as Boyko landed a powerful kick before Llanes shsot in and took him down. Boyke was able to get back up quickly, and looked good in the stand up, forcing Llanes back until a low blow sent Boyko to the canvas. After a brief rest, Boyko came out ferociously, dropping Llanes and pummeling him until the bell sounded.

Round three was almost all Boyke as he seemed to land at will from range, and stuffed Llanes’ takedown attempts. Don’t get me wrong—Llanes impressively took all Boyke gave him and never went down, punching back until the bell. But it was Boyke landing the majority of strikes and the more powerful ones.
Winner: David Boyko, Unanimous Decision (29-28)

145 lbs. – Andrew Secaida (Dream Killer Fight Team) vs. Kurt Eberhard (Saekson Muay Thai)
Secaida looked to take control fo the stand up in the first part of the first round, but Eberhard would not be denied and by the end of the round had battered Secaida with punches standing and took him down and landed fists on him from above as the round ended.

Eberhard came out confidently in the second round and quickly took Secaida down and landed hammer fists from above. When he stood, Secaida swung his heels heavily but was unable to land a solid upkick. The rounded ended the same way the first did, with Eberhard on top landing powerful hammerfists.

Secaida is clearly the fancier striker, throwing spinning attacks and a variety of punches, but when he shot in for a takedown (in almost slow motion, it seemed), Eberhard was able to sprawl and gain top position, raining hammerfists down on him.
Winner: Kurt Eberhard, Unanimous Decision (30-27)

135 lbs. – David Perez (Riverside Submission) vs. Julio Santa Cruz (Systems Training Center)
Santa Cruz is physically smaller than Perez, and wisely chose to work from range in the first round, landing several impressive kicks and combinations (smartly, never throwing a kick without punches as well), but eventually Perez caught a kick and took Santa Cruz down. The rest of the round was fought in the clench, as Santa Cruz impressed with his ability to get back up and fight off the larger Perez.

Round two saw Santa Cruz dominate the stand up until he made the mistake of trying to take Perez down and got caught in a guillotine attempt. The round ended this way, with Santa Cruz on top but fighting off the submission attempt.

Round three began the same way round two did, with Santa Cruz landing kicks and punches at will, and, like the first round, Perez shot in for a takedown and had some success initially, but Santa Cruz was able to turn the tables and batter Perez, first against the cage and then in the center, landing several punches to the face. Santa Cruz put the cherry on his performance by taking Perez down at the end of the round.
Winner: Julio Santa Cruz, Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-25)

145 lbs. – Benito Mendez (Kings Combat Sports) vs. Sergio Gonzalez (Yuma United Fight Team)
This is the way you start an event! Both guys going full steam ahead! Mendez seemed to have the advantage in the wrestling/judo area, and threw Gonzalez almost immediately after they touched gloves, sending Gonzalez’ legs windmilling in the air as he was thrown! A powerful moment, for sure, and one that would define the fight.

For three rounds, these guys went hard. The first two rounds saw Mendez taking Gonzalez down and for the most part, controlling him on the ground. The third round was when Gonzalez sought to knock Mendez out, and landed several powerful punches and kicks to start the round, but it wasn’t long before Mendez took him down and worked for a submission.
Winner: Benito Mendez, Unanimous Decision (30-27 on all three scorecards)

It was a beautiful Southern California night, and an action-packed, exciting night of MMA at the University of MMA’s Fight Night 16!

Keep your eye out for Fight Night 17, and if you’re within driving distance of Los Angeles, get out here and enjoy the fights! Support live, local MMA wherever you are—as a friend of mine says, it can’t be beat!