U of MMA: Fight Night 5 at Club Nokia

uofmmaIt was a memorable Sunday in LA as the University of MMA brought it’s fifth “Fight Night” event to Club Nokia at LA Live. I willingly chose to postpone the Walking Dead’s mid-season finale (no small sacrifice) to trek to downtown. Why? Because the U of MMA’s events are that good.

Amateur MMA is a slightly different beast from professional MMA—the rounds are shorter, the refs move in faster to stop the fights and the energy is  a little different. The fighters are a little more… charged. It can be frantic at times but always entertaining. Plus, you get to check in on fighters at the beginning of their careers. I’ve seen several go into pro MMA from events like these, and it’a always something special to have seen a fighter make that leap.

1) 205 lbs. (3 x 2 min., shin guards) – Bruno Casillas (Valhalla ETC) vs. Dominick Reyes (Cage Combat Academy)
Round one: Both of these guys have come to fight and this is a great bout to start the night with! In the first minute of action, Reyes gets a solid connection on a hook, momentarily dazing Casillas. Reyes moves forward to push his advantage, but Casillas seems to have woken up, full of determination and comes back strong. Both guys are fairly evenly matched, and both land some solid strikes.
Round two: The action continues at a fast pace. Both guys have an impressive work rate. Fairly even, an ill-placed knee by Casillas brings a temporary pause to the action. Once resumed, both guys get at it again. Reyes gets a takedown but Casillas uses pure power to reverse position. It’s clear that Casillas wants to avoid going to the ground with Reyes, and he backs up.
Round three: Again, fast action. Lots of stand-up and another close round. Both guys are going for it. A perfect first fight of the night. Difficult to call.
Winner: Domenick Reyes, Unanimous Decision

2) 145 lbs. (3 x 2 min., shin guards) – Juan Orta (Lightning MMA) vs. Saverio Dalessandro (Glendale Fighting Club)
Dalessandro’s nickname is “The Bull” and he certainly lived up to his name in the early moments of this bout. both guys are making their debut and both displayed opposite pre-fight demeanor. Orta, calm and collected; Dalessandro bouncing and energetic. The Bull brought it, too, rushing at Orta and attacking. Orta looked overwhelmed at first but a solid right to Delessandro’s chin slowed his attack down, and once the fighters settled in a bit, Orta displayed solid counter striking and fairly well developed stand up, attacking the body and head of Dalessandro. As The Bull rushed in, Orta caught him with a right and dropped him. Pouncing and punching, Orta was stopped as the ref stepped in to end the fight.
Winner: Juan Orta, KO, round one

3) 135 lbs. (3 x 2 min., shin guards) – Demar George (Dream Killer Fight Team) vs. Luis Carmona (10th Planet Costa Mesa)
Round one: A grappling match as much as anything (which one might expect from a 10th Planet guy), the first round saw both fighters traverse the cage in clench mode primarily, dirty boxing when not defending a possible takedown. Hard to judge the round.
Round two: Carmona got a takedown early, right into half-guard and sought to pass and ground and pound. After a bit, Carmona got mount, and was able to land posture up and land some vicious fists in between George’s attempts to grab on and stifle his attack.
Round three: Once again, Carmona shoots in and gets the takedown early. Transisions to mount. Dominates the round but this time switches to a triangle choke attempt as time expires.
Winner: Luis Carmona, Unanimous Decision

4) 135 lbs. (3 x 2 min., shin guards) – Erik van der Lee (Lightning MMA) vs. Milton Arguello (10th Planet Van Nuys)
Round one: You ever see a fight when one guy comes out and it’s like he’s got a much faster tempo in his head than the other guy? One guy’s a slow starter and the other starts very fast? Now imagine both guys were that fast starter and you’ve got the first round of this fight. There’s a frantic energy here. This is one of those “don’t blink” fights. Pretty even, until van der Lee gets the advantage in the stand up and Arguello takes him down at the end of the round.
Round two:  Arguello quickly takes this to the ground. They grapple. Both guys are good on the ground and, although Arguello seems to be getting the better of it, van der Lee is able to escape and stand back up. The round ends with Arguello taking a hard punch to the face and pulling van der Lee down to the mat.
Round three: The fight takes them all over the cage, and both men are landing shots. Arguello pulls guard and works hard to get a triangle, locking it up and getting the tap moments before the round ends.
Winner: Milton Arguello, Submission (Triangle Choke), 1:56 of round three

5) 170 lbs. (3 x 2 min., shin guards) – Jose Jovel (Dream Killer Fight Team) vs. Ronald Minera (Nelson’s Boxing)
Round one: Jovel dominates the beginning of the round, taking the fight to Minera. Minera gets the first takedown, although Jovel quickly reverses and gets Minera’s back.Minera works for the reverse and ends up in Jovel’s guard. He is able to land some solid punches from top position, but Jovel gets up and pushes Minera against the cage as the round ends.
Round two: Jovel moves forward. Constantly. Always in pressure mode, always attacking. They clench and move around the cage and trade punches and work for position. they separate, just enough for Minera to land a right and drop Jovel. Minera pounces as the ref steps in.
Winner: Ronald Minera, TKO, of round two

6) 185 lbs. (3 x 2 min., shin guards) – Oscar Jimenez (XFit) vs. Sven Manseau (10thPlanet Van Nuys)
Round one: Manseau has a significant reach advantage and uses it well. A head kick lands, which seems to anger Jimenez and he responds by chasing Manseau around the cage, throwing haymakers which Manseau avoids. This is repeated later in the fight, and is a very dangerous “all or nothing” type technique, leaving him open for counters from his lankier opponent.
Round two: Jimenez is again chasing Manseau, but this time catches him and takes hi down. Jimenez seems happy to avoid spending too much time on the ground with the 10th Planet guy, kicking from a standing position until deciding toward the end of the round to jump into Manseau’s guard. This is a mistake, as Manseau quickly gets a triangle choke on Jimenez but time runs out before he gets the submission.
Round three: Jimenez seems more tentative to begin the round. He takes another head kick before launching into his haymaker mode, but this time he catches Manseau and they grapple. Ultimately, Jimenez is able to take him down. Manseau works and is able to reverse, getting back mount and pummeling Jimenez at the end of the round.
Winner: Sven Manseau, Unanimous Decision

7) 155 lbs. (3 x 2 min., shin guards) – Pious Enilobo, Jr. (BJMUTA/Flying Kick Martial Arts) vs. Michael Jackson (Systems Training Center)
Round one: The backstage area was buzzing about Enilobo when he came out. “This is the guy” was said by more than one person in attendance before the fight began. And he lived up to the hype. Michael Jackson, aside from the obvious name issue, is no joke. Enilobo shot in, took him down and got the arm bar tap quickly.
Winner: Pious Enilobo, Jr. Submission (arm bar), 32 seconds of the first round

8) 150 lbs. catchweight (3 x 2 min., shin guards) – A.J. Bryant (XFit) vs. Emilas Jimenez (10th Planet Costa Mesa)
Round one: Jimenez came out kicking. Eight kicks before his first punch thrown. He landed as many as Bryant in that time: one. And for all the kicking, Bryant’s was harder. They are moving well around the cage, trading sporaticaly until Jimenez shoots in and takes Bryant down. It is short-lived, though, as Bryant works to his feet quickly and lands a solid punch, pushing Jimenez against the cage as the bell sounds.
Round two: They are moving and trading, with Jimenez mixing up his punches and kicks a little more this time. Jimenez appears to be physically bigger, but it is Bryant showing strength, pushing Jimenez off of him and landing the harder punches. Jimenez shoots in for a takedown but Bryant is able to stuff it and separate. The round ends with Jimenez shooting in and holding Bryant while Bryant lands fists to his body and head.
Round three: Jimenez gets the takedown and works to Bryant’s back, at one point getting back mount but Bryant escapes out the back door. Jimenez shoots in and while he is holding Bryant, attempting a double-leg, Bryant lands some loud punches to Jimenez’ abdomen. The round ends.
Winner: Emilas Jimenez, Decision

9) 170 lbs. (3 x 3 min., no shins) – Flavian Pilgrim (PKG) vs. Jarett Conner (Upland MMA)
Round one: Connor is the aggressor, landing kicks and shooting for takedowns. His first attempt stuffed, he found success on his second attempt. As Pilgrim worked to get up, Connor threw him down again. This time, Pilgrim worked on the ground and reversed. Utilizing top position, Pilgrim landed some nice ground and pound and worked to side control. When Connor attempted to get up, Pilgrim locked in a Kimura attempt and seemd to have it as the bell sounded.
Round two: Conor is a dynamic striker, and caught Pilgrom coming in, momentarily stunning him. Pilgrim shot in but Connor turned him around and pulled him down. Up against the cage, Pilgrim works back up to standing position, separates and they strike, trading low leg kicks. It isn’t long before Conner shoots in but this time Pilgrim sprawls, and lands on top of Connor in north-south position. They stand and Connor shoots in again, getting his double-leg as teh bell sounds.
Round three: Connor shoots in, unable to take Pilgrim down, and gets caught in a headlock, with Pilgrim landing powerful knees. Connor gives under these strikes, and Pilgrim lands on top, fists descending, landing loudly to Connor’s abdomen. As Connor attempts to work back up, Pilgrim lands three knees to his body.
Winner: Flavian Pilgrim, Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

10) 265 lbs. (3 x 2 min., shin guards) – Unurjargal (Unuruu) Boldpirev (CSW) vs. David Sands (Sweet Science Boxing & MMA)
Round one: Big guys. The crowd is standing from the beginning. No one wants to miss any of this! Sands comes out looking to stand but Boldpirev gets ahold of him and trips him down. Gets mount. Gets backmount. Sinks in a rear-naked choke but the bell sounds, saving Sands.
Round two: Sands lands one straight right before Boldpirev gets ahold of him and takes him down. Working from top position, sinks in an Ezekiel choke (yes, an Ezekiel choke. He grabbed his own glove. Awesome). Gets the tap.
Winner: Unurjargal (Unuruu) Boldpirev, Submission (Ezekiel Choke), 1:01 of second round

11) 170 lbs. (3 x 3 min., no shins) – Shohei Yamamoto (CSW) vs. Dean Bo Moskowitz (House of Champions)
Round one:  Cracking is a good word to describe this fight. Both fighters came out swinging. Both fighters landed. Yamamoto landed one more.
Winner: Shohei Yamamoto, KO (strikes), 28 seconds in round one

12) 205 lbs. (3 x 3 min., no shins) – Jerell Cephas (Xtreme Couture) vs. Ozzy Diaz (NZT Pankration)
Round one: One. Punch. Knockout.
Winner: Ozzy Diaz, KO (strike) 18 seconds of round one

13) 155 lbs. (3 x 3 min., shin guards) – Jacob Rosales (CSW) vs. Ryan Lilley (Bas Rutten’s Elite MMA Gym)
Round one: Rosales grabs Lilley early, slams him down. Lilley gets up and Rosales suplexes him. Then does it again. As they roll, Rosales gets backmount with hooks in. Lilley bucks and twists in his attempts to get out and manages to get into an arm bar from Rosales. He slips out and ends the round on top, landing knees to the midsection and punches to Rosales’ face.
Round two: They stand and strike, but end up in a clench in the middle of the cage. Rosales catches a kick and uses a trip to take Lilley down and works on top, landing punches from above. Lilley twists, and Rosales takes side control. Rosales passes into mount. Lilley works and almost reverses position as the bell sounds.
Round three: They stand and Lilley moves in, clenches. They go to the mat. Lilley has Rosales but Rosales escapes out the back door. They stand. Lilley uses punches to move in and clench. Rosales takes him down after some clench work. Rosales attempts an arm bar and appears to come close but Lilley guts it out and is able to escape. Lilley ends in top position as the bell sounds, ending the round.
Winner: Jacob Rosales, Unanimous Decision (29-28)

Congratulations to U of MMA Champions Ozzy Diaz and Jacob Rosales. The U of MMA puts on great shows. The fights are generally as well matched as amateur MMA can be, and exciting! The atmosphere is fun and the crowd is lively. Keep an eye out for their next fight night!