Friday, November 8, 2013
Epic Fighting 21 is now in the books. Once again the Four Points By Sheraton Hotel on Aero Drive in Kearny Mesa hosted another entertaining night of hard hitting competition in the toughest of sports, MMA.
Bout #1 featured 35 year-old Thomas Miranda from Team Roundhouse, Garden Grove, CA going up against 22 year-old Matt Jones from team All In MMA. Both fighters weighed in at 184 pounds (middleweights) and both stood 6’2” tall.
In this one, it was a case of the first round mostly striking format giving way to the second round ground game. In that second round Jones got himself in position for a rear naked choke which led to the submission victory. With the win, Jones improves to 3-0, while Miranda loses in his debut performance.
In his candid interview later, Jones nonchalantly answered, “What can I tell you… I just wanted to beat his ass.”
Bout #2 featured 30 year-old, 5’3” Juan Carlos Garcia of San Bernardino, CA training at Team Quest going up against 21 year-old, USAF reservist, 5’ 8” Taylor McMahon, an Independent from San Diego in the bantamweight division (125-135 lbs.). With his submission victory coming at 1:12 of the first round, Garcia improves to (1-1) while McMahon loses in his debut.
Bout #3 featured 20 year-old, 5’9” Razul Ware a U. S. Marine stationed at MCAS Miramar in San Diego taking on 28 year-old, 5’6” Ruben Covarrubias of Team Quest in the featherweight division (135 to 145 lbs.).
In Round #1, Ware showed his durability after surviving not one but two incidents that could have had catastrophic consequences. In the first mishap, he slipped and dropped to his knees directly in front of Covarrubias, then scrambled to recover his footing. In the second incident, Covarrubias landed a right hand flush that staggered Ware.
After surviving that rocky first round, Ware started to assert himself in Round #2. By Round #3, he was in his regular groove with the high kicks, hard sweeping kicks, and more accurate and aggressive punches to the head.
Winning by decision, Ware improves his record to 3-0 while Covarrubias’ record drops to 2-4.
Bout #4 featured two debutants, 21 year-old, 5’8” Colton Wandke of Imperial Beach, CA who trains at the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista going up against 26 year-old Emmanuel Gonzalez of Santa Barbara, CA who’s team/gym was listed as Vitalogy.
Vitalogy sounds more like a study of eating and exercise habits. The type you’d recommend to people hoping to become more vim and vigor.
In this one, Wandke secured the win by TKO when the referee stopped the contest after just 40 seconds into round #1. Gonzalez, who landed no punches, seemed like a fish out of water, totally unprepared for the rigors of MMA.
Bout #5 featured 21 year-old Ritchie Rodarte of Team Quest, San Jacinto taking on 29 year-old Devin Taylor of The Arena MMA in Point Loma in the lightweight division (145-155 lbs.) thriller.
In Round #1, it was Taylor concentrating on the kicks, while his opponent pressed forward as a striker. By Round #2, Rodarte had found his range and started using both hard kicks and punches, while Taylor found it more productive to switch his stance back and forth from righty to lefty.
In the third round, which turned out to be the deciding round, you had several momentum swings, a dramatic takedown by Rodarte and much strategy being played out against the cage. In the end, it was Rodarte winning a split decision victory 29-28, 28-29 and finally 29-28. With the win Rodarte moves to 3-2 while Taylor drops to 1-1.
Bout #6 featured a dramatic come from behind victory from Hector Saldana of Hemet, CA who trains at Team Quest, Murrietta, CA (3-0) who was up against 20 year-old Alejandro Gomez of the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, CA who was making his debut in the middleweight division (170-185 lbs).
In Round #1, Gomez was on top providing some ground and pound which resulted in a shiner under Saldana’s right eye. Along comes round #2, and there was immediate payback from Saldana. After gaining top position, he then administered a fight ending rear naked choke at 1:03 of the second round.
When the combatants for Bout #7 entered the cage, many heads tilted. Center stage were 6’3” Scott “Man of Steel” Steele (230 lbs.) resembling an NFL linebacker and Cody Bradley (264 lbs.) resembling the former SNL comic, John Belushi. After the opening bell, the mismatch lasted 25 seconds.
Immediately following the stoppage, Steele (1-0) did a back flip to amaze the crowd. Bradley (0-1), with the raised right eyebrow, wearing the menacing Venum shin guards and munching on his mouthpiece, was perhaps more reflective than his opponent. He just might have been thinking about one of John Belushi’s memorable quotes from the movie Animal House, “Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!”
As in Bout #7, Bout #8 was over in the time it takes to flip a pancake. ‘Bang, bang, bang!’ and the 169 pound Shohei Yamamoto of CSW, Fullerton, CA (2-0) had Jimmy Melendez of Team Quest, San Jacinto (1-2) on the canvas for a TKO. The ref stopped the contest at 12 seconds of round #1.
In Yamamoto’s corner was UFC standout Josh Barnett. He made his successful return to the Octagon in August at UFC 164. His first-round stoppage of Frank Mir marked the heavyweight’s 10th victory in his last 11 fights; 20 of his 33 career wins are by submission.
After three rounds, 21 year-old Tommy Morales (1-0) of the Ruthless Fighting Team, Las Vegas, Nevada in his debut was awarded the decision victory over the 23 year-old Kirby McKenzie (0-1) of Henet, CA training with Team Quest, San Jacinto in Bout #9.
Fighting in the 154 weight division, McKenzie, a southpaw, got the first takedown which ended badly. Morales reciprocated with some meaningful ground and pound. All the way through Round #2, it appeared everything was going Morales’ way.
In Round #3, after Morales used his knees to score, back came McKenzie trying to finish Morales, first with a rear naked choke then a guillotine choke. Showing his tremendous determination, Morales broke out of the rear naked choke and then survived the guillotine choke to secure the win.
Since Bout #10 featured 23 year-old David Fabian (3-1), an up and comer, challenging the 31 year-old Jacobe “The Problem” Powell (4-3) for the open lightweight title, this had to be the most anticipated bout of the night. While the southpaw Powell trains with Team Bas Rutten’s Elite MMA/Muay Thai Academy in Van Nuys (Los Angeles), Fabian was listed as an Independent from Redlands, CA. As luck would have it, the match lasted only 36 seconds before Powell tapped out.
At the close of Friday’s show a fan said, “Drat the luck, now we’re going to have to wait all the way until January for the next show! Damn, that’s a long ways off.” That’s right. Epic Fighting 22, their next show, is now on the docket for Friday, January 31, 2014. And if you are a diehard fan, it’s not a hundred years away, but it is 53 long days to have you chomping at the bit. Oh well, there’s always boxing.