Archive for the ‘UFC’ Category

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report and Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Thirty-seconds earlier, a confident Richard LeRoy awaited the opening bell in the biggest fight of his young career. During the introductions, LeRoy stared across the cage at his opponent before briefly acknowledging his fans. The moment for LeRoy had been a long time coming, and he seemed like he was ready for the challenge.

The thirty-seconds that immediately followed don’t exist for Leroy, because he has no memory of them. “Do you remember what happened?” LeRoy joked. His opponent that night Jalin Turner punched the time clock right on the pause button when he cracked LeRoy so hard and so often, the entire first 3 minutes turned into a blur. As LeRoy covered up on the ground, the thunderous shots echoed. He knew the referee was getting close to stopping the fight, and admittedly that was all he knew. Richard LeRoy still doesn’t remember what happened, but he sensed he was very close to losing everything he had worked so hard to regain. As all these thoughts ran through his head, and the referee approached all he could think was, “Im not fucking going out like this.”

Two years earlier, after a dramatic come from behind knockout win over Brandon Hastings, LeRoy began feeling discomfort in his right shoulder. Hastily he was initially diagnosed with an AC separation. Initially the arm was immobilized and a rehabilitation program would follow to facilitate the healing. Throughout his time off LeRoy kept training the best he could, using only his left arm. After the rehabilitation program was completed, the pain persisted. Following the advice of a friend with connections in the medical field, LeRoy was able to get an MRI which revealed a torn Labrum, an injury that would require immediate surgery and yet another extensive rehabilitation. While on the shelf, LeRoy watched as the promotion he called home crowned their first ever CXF lightweight champion. ” It is just a matter of time.” LeRoy thought to himself.

In a haze and in a heap, LeRoy somehow coherently realized he was about to lose everything he fought so hard to get back. It was that thought alone that inspired him to survive. A momentary reprieve in the assault by Turner would only make the next barrage seem that much more cruel. As again Turner sent LeRoy in search of level footing. Trying to find his equilibrium, LeRoy was rewarded with a nasty knee that again dropped him to the canvas.  Wobbling and in retreat for most of the round, LeRoy cleared the cobwebs and like a cornered dog he began snapping back. “Late in the round at one point, somehow I ended up in mount, and  that is when I really started to get my head clear.” LeRoy said. Finishing the round in top position, LeRoy appeared to have weathered the storm, but that was only the first round and the hell that greeted him 5 minutes earlier was again waiting for another encounter.

As the second round began, again Turner found success with his range, as he began to pepper LeRoy from angles the shorter fighter could only imagine. However this time LeRoy didn’t seem as effected as much as was in the previous round. Relentlessly he pressed forward and soon he began to break-down the range of Turner.  Finding some success on the inside, LeRoy began chopping down his longer opponent, but Turner obliged and kept the violent merry-go-round going. As the moments ticked by, the pendulum of momentum started to swing in LeRoy’s direction. “I remember dropping him with an inside leg kick, and I popped right into mount. I could see he was starting to get tired.” LeRoy said. Continuing his attack until the bell, a confident LeRoy went back to his corner thinking he had won the second. “I though for sure I won the round,” LeRoy said.

Drenched with sweat, referee Mike Beltran was long past exhausted and his normal jovial expression had hit the road sometime in the first round, in its place a stone like expression I’m glad to say I don’t know. The air was thick in the Burbank Marriott ballroom as the third round opened. Again the aggressor, LeRoy kept his foot on the gas. The more he pressed, the more his opponent began to slow. Late in the third round with Turner starting to fade, Leroy found himself in the top position. Sensing the end LeRoy looked to inspire the finish with some nasty ground and pound, punctuated effectively with elbows in between. The referee again came close, and after a few warnings from urging Turner to defend went unanswered the assault was stopped at 4:18 in the final round. Capping one of the best comebacks ever in the CXF cage.

The win earned LeRoy a spot in the semi final round for the CXF promotions ‘Cali Kings’ tournament. Putting him just one fight away from the title. However the epic war with Turner came at a cost, and due to injuries suffered in the fight LeRoy withdrew from the tournament. “I really wanted that title. When I was injured and I first saw the CXF belt I sort of already considered it mine,” LeRoy said with confidence.

After a three-month layoff that included a trip to Europe, LeRoy is back in the hunt for the CXF title. Standing across the cage this time in a lightweight title-eliminator will be the well-travelled and equally explosive Christian “The Beast” Aguilera. A well-rounded fighter  like LeRoy, Aguilera is an equal opportunity ass kicker. He can knock you into next week with one shot, or he can choke you to sleep. His dangerous skill set and hybrid pedigree is something LeRoy is well aware of; “Christian’s a tough dude, and he looked great in his last fight.” LeRoy said. “He is very good on his feet; a good striker, and he has great jiujitsu as well. The fight is going be a challenge for sure, but I will be ready.”

With the winner of the bout earning an immediate title shot at the conclusion of the ‘Cali Kings’ tournament, LeRoy once again finds himself just a few steps away from the title he coveted for so long.

CXF 10:Fall Brawl will take place November 4th, in Studio City, CA at the world-famous Sportsmen’s Lodge. For tickets go to: www.mmatixx.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

That epic

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By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Edited By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

The Sportsmen’s Lodge was once again the scene of the crime, as Lights Out Promotions and Bash Entertainment once again put together an amazing card of fights, as California Xtreme Fighting continued it’s running streak of standing room only shows. Currently the only pro mixed martial arts show in the San Fernando Valley, CXF 7 featured three title fights that sat atop one of the most entertaining under card in recent memory.

Taylor Alfaro (1-1) defeated Milton Arguello (0-1) via unanimous decision 135lbs

Setting the tone for the evening with an extremely exciting fight, Taylor Alfaro and Milton Arguello wasted very little time engaging each other almost as soon as the bell sounded. It appeared Arguellos strategy was to stay at range and land with his heavy kicks to the body of Alfaro. However Alfaro proved to be on to the plan, catching multiple kicks before countering with straight punches. The standing exchanges were quite even, but it was the ground attack of Alfaro that swayed the fight in his direction. Consistently able to bring the fight to the mat, Alfaro methodically and effectively wore away his opponent and the clock, cruising to a unanimous decision victory.

Edmen Shahbazian (2-0) defeated Dearmie Street (0-1) via TKO 3:16 Rd 1 185lbs

Picking up where the first fight left off, middleweights Edmen Shahbazian and Dearmie Street also came out throwing heavy leather, and after an early back and forth exchange the fight found its way to the mat, where Street was able to transition out of a few very dangerous arm bar attempts from Shahbazian. Once they both were standing, again they traded punches with Shahbazian clearly taking control. Late in the first round a quick combination forced Street to the mat. Smelling blood in the water Shahbazian swarmed and forced referee Mike Bell to call a halt to bout, after some IQ changing ground and pound.

Mike Jasper (12-4) defeated Jonathan Rivera (4-2) via TKO 4:57 Rd 3 170lbs CXF Welterweight Title Fight

Defending his title for the first time, CXF welterweight champion Mike Jasper came into the event looking to add legitimacy to his strap. However early on his opponent Jonathan Rivera quickly gained control with a surprisingly effective ground based attack. Once on the mat Rivera transitioned to the back of Jasper and looked to steal the title with a rear naked choke, but Jasper defended and was able to even turn the tables in the next round by taking Rivera down. However, unlike Rivera, Jasper selected to strike in the dominant position, softening up the challenger for a majority of the round. In the third round, the roundabout continued as Rivera again was able to gain top position before transitioning to the back of Jasper. Looking for the submission at one point, Rivera torqued Jasper’s leg like a banana split, but Jasper was able to escape the hold, and wound up on top. With seconds to go, Rivera again attempted a submission, this time a leg lock, but again Jasper was able to get free. Once out of the hold, the champion uncorked a barrage of strikes that rocked Rivera in the waining moments prompting the referee to stop the bout at 4:57 of the final round. Although he was able to defend his title, Jasper was injured in the final moments of the fight, apparently tearing his hamstring.

Chris Saunders (16-8) defeated Derion “DC” Chapman (4-7) via Unanimous Decision 155lbs

In the next bout Derion Chapman moved up in weight to take on perhaps his biggest challenge yet, in the form of UFC veteran Chris Saunders. For Saunders, this marked his first bout in over a year, but both proved extremely prepared as the early exchanges quickly had the crowd on their feet. In the second round Saunders looked to implement his jiujitsu pedigree, and almost had a guillotine before Chapman freed his head and got back to his feet. The third round was equally entertaining, as the two continued their tango, before Saunders again brought the fight to the mat. Once there, Saunders was able to control his opponent for most of the round. The effort was enough to convince the judges that Saunders was the winner, much to the chagrin of many of those in attendance.

Gabriel Green (4-2) defeated Matt Hagge (7-6) via Submission (rear-naked choke) 3:20 Rd 1 Catchweight 166 lbs

Former Bellator MMA veteran Gabriel Green was looking to make an impressive statement in his CXF promotional debut, and he certainly did deliver. After an early exchange between the two, Hagge quickly brought the fight to mat however Green quickly swept him, and took his back. Locking in the body lock, Green began setting up the choke with some punches to the side of his opponents head. While defending, Hagge for a moment exposed his neck, and Green quickly locked up the choke inspiring the tap at 3:20 of the very first round

Chase Gibson (5-2) defeated Sergei Minasyan (7-10) via Unanimous Decision 145lbs CXF Featherweight Title Fight

In the co-main event of the evening, Chase Gibson and Sergei Minasyan faced off in a very evenly matched three round war. In the first round, the fighters seemed content to stand and trade, with both fighters having their moments. In the second frame, Chase Gibson began to secure opinions, relying on his ground game to neutralize Minasyan on the mat. However, Minasyan was able to survive the onslaught. Halfway through a pretty even third round, Gibson again found his opponents back after Minasyan moved away from the clinch. Again Gibson was able to bring the fight horizontal, and although he was unable to find the finish, his control on the ground proved dominant, and the judges awarded him the fight and the vacant CXF featherweight title.

Terrion ‘Flash’ Ware (17-4) defeated Jared ‘The Jackhammer’ Papazian (21-13) via KO :20 Rd 3 135 lbs CXF Bantamweight Title Fight

In the third installment of one of southern California’s most memorable trilogies, Terrion Ware and Jared Papazian went face to face in the CXF cage in the main event, to settle their three-fight vendetta once and for all! With the vacant bantamweight title on the line, the fierce rivals met in the center of the cage, and immediately they picked up where they had left off. Both fighters landed nasty shots in the first round however, a late combination from Ware staggered Papazian as the round came to an end. In the second round, Papazian still hurt, showcased his tremendous heart looking to trade with Ware again. Utilizing his speed, Ware moved effectively in and out of range, surgically picking a slowing Papazian apart. Between rounds an exhausted Papazian could hardly sit on his stool, collapsing to the mat. However he refused to quit, answering the bell for the third and final round. However it was only a matter of time. Ware immediately pounced, and again rocked Papazian, felling him face first for the KO victory. The win earns Ware not only the bragging rights in the grudge match with Papazian, and the CXF title, it also almost certainly assures Ware of his long awaited chance to fight for the UFC.

Richard Leroy (4-0) defeated Marlen Magee (4-5) via Submission (rear-naked choke) 3:11 Rd 1 Catchweight 162 lbs

Returning to action after over a year off due to injuries, Richard Leroy looked better than ever, dominating his opponent in route to a first round submission victory. After dominating the standing exchanges, Leroy quickly took Marlen Magee down out of the clinch and immediately asserted himself from the top position with some nasty ground and pound. The relentless assault forced Magee to give up his back where Leroy swiftly threaded the choke and secured the tap, and the victory.

California Xtreme Fighting continues to grow, and the next event is scheduled for June 17th 2017. Make sure you follow CXF on Instagram to keep track of all the latest details. For ticket information to future events check out www.mmatixx.com.

 

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“May see thee now, though late, Redeem thy name, And glorify what else is damn’d to fame” Richard Savage

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Edited By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix

Perspective can bring clarity. Unfortunately there is no time line for understanding. For some it comes early, for others it may never come at all. For Joe ‘Daddy’ Stevenson, perspective has been quite elusive. As a young fighter Stevenson made his pro debut in 1999 at the tender age of 16, now nearly 50 fights later, that perspective has arrived.

Long after his last fight, Stevenson found himself on the mat at his gym, working with his younger fighters. He told them he wanted them all to define their goals as fighters clearly. He wanted to know what each of his fighters expected of themselves, so he, the coach, could do his best to make those expectations come true. Everything was going according to plan until one of Stevenson’s young proteges, Jamal Pogues, asked, “What about you coach?”

The seemingly innocent question may have been considered a wise-ass response, but instead the question stabbed its way through 17 years of fighting and attacked a soft spot inside of Stevenson that he himself had never addressed! “I thought about his question for quite some time.” Stevenson said, with the answer eluding him at every turn.

As a coach, Stevenson has many young students who count on his experience and knowledge to light the dark passage that is a fight career. During the ‘goal definition’ process, Stevenson realized he himself had never completed the exercise. “I’ve had a lot of great coaches, but I’ve never had someone in my ear outside of the cage” Stevenson said. Although he had many coaches that focused on technique, Stevenson didn’t have a coach to lean on during the difficult times away from the cage.

As young wrestler, Stevenson’s stock skyrocketed with his success. At 16 years old he was already training with the likes of Oleg Taktarov, Bas Rutten, Ted Williams, and Genki Sudo. All of whom, were successful mixed martial artists at the time. For Stevenson, this opportunity was all he had. “Wrestling was the only thing I was ever good at!” Stevenson said. After working with these legends, fighting seemed to be the next logical step. His pro debut came against Joe Camacho (rest in peace) one month before his 17th birthday.

His career was off to a terrific start, and after a successful stint with the King of The Cage, Stevenson moved to Las Vegas to pursue his black belt in jiujitsu. During this time, Stevenson pretty much retired from fighting. Instead he focused on coaching, training and helping others prepare for fights. Things stayed the same until UFC matchmaker Joe Silva came into the gym to watch Stevenson train. After watching, Silva insisted that Stevenson join season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter. Just one year earlier this show launched the sport of mixed martial arts into the main stream. With the epic bout between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar fresh on his mind, Stevenson leapt.

Opportunity once again knocked, and Stevenson was ready to answer, but still he was going through the motions. Once he was isolated inside the TUF house, the demons that haunt so many came knocking. “I was very self conscious about my drinking, thats why if you re-watch the show I always had a red cup!” Stevenson said. “I didn’t want my kids or any kids to see me drinking!” So, he tried to keep the demons hidden, away from view.

Still, Stevenson thrived professionally, winning season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter. Inside the cage, Stevenson was becoming one of the most feared men in the lightweight division. However outside of the cage, and away from the lights, Stevenson’s life was beginning to unravel. Now the centerpiece in the crowd, Stevenson never felt more isolated.

Celebrity can bring with it a loneliness. For Stevenson, he looked for the answer in the bottom of a bottle, or three. “I was a undefeated as a drinker!” Stevenson said. Depending on how you look at the situation, one could certainly agree or disagree depending on what you consider defeated. “The day after the Ultimate Fighter Finale, the day after the biggest night of my life, I was given my first DUI.” Stevenson said. Apparently the alcohol from the celebration had not found its way out his body, and on his way back home, the TUF season 2 winner found himself in hand cuffs.

As a fighter, Stevenson could always rely on his god given talent. So the dance with demons continued between fights, and even sometimes during the fights. At the age 20 Stevenson’s marriage fell apart. And Stevenson responded by healing the only way he knew how, in the gym by day and the bar by night.

Still, inside the UFC cage the wins kept coming! After a self imposed hiatus from drinking, Stevenson went on a tear, winning four fights in a row, earning him a shot at the vacant lightweight title against the future legend B.J. Penn. A fight that still evokes a very deep emotion from Stevenson. “B.J. and I were actually friends.” Stevenson said. “I can remember hanging out with him in a bar one night, and he came over and said ‘You now one day we are gonna fight bro, good knows good!'”, and although that meeting ended in celebration, their next meeting was not so easy.

Penn won their fight decisively in what would be remembered as one of the bloodiest fights in UFC history. “I remember seeing my blood shoot out of my head in a stream that was about five feet long”, Stevenson said. According to a ringside doctor the gash on his head caused him to lose over 500 ccs of blood. You would think a loss like that would be devastating, and to some extent it was, but after all, Stevenson had never planned on even getting there. Up until this point, one of the best fighters in the world still didn’t have a single defined goal. Instead the loss was handled much the way the wins were, with a few pills chased by alcohol.

After that fight, Stevenson returned with an impressive win over Gleison Tibau, but then alternated 2 wins with 2 losses. One of the wins was an impressive domination of current lightweight contender Nate Diaz. Up until this point, Stevenson was always able to maintain two lifestyles. at first he was a fighter who liked to party, but soon he became a partier who moonlit as a fighter. Soon the perennial fight of the night contender now found himself in rather boring fights. An uninspiring decision loss to George Sotiropoulos was followed by 3 more losses, including a KO loss to Mac Danzig, which was the only time Stevenson had ever been knocked out in his career. After his loss to Javier Vasquez, Stevenson was released from the UFC.

Although devastating, the loss was quickly washed away, and soon the mediocrity of everyday life became the daily reminder to what he had pissed away. Stevenson began to realize he had not only lost his job, but he was beginning to loose himself as well. Nearing bottom Stevenson began to look for answers. He found some of those answers in familiar faces that were now anonymous. It was in these meetings that, Stevenson began to discover himself. He found both comfort and solace listening and sharing. He reveled in being an example.

In the gym, Stevenson was quickly becoming known as one of the best young coaches in the sport. His pedigree and wrestling base made him a fountain of knowledge that even the most seasoned of fighters could drink. Rapidly his young stable of fighters began to start making names for themselves. And Stevenson himself was also starting to evolve professionally.

After working on the show ‘Breaking Bad’, Stevenson began his love affair with Hollywood. Soon after he received a phone call from coach Greg Jackson that would change his direction. Jackson had been contacted by the powers that be in Hollywood, who were looking for a fight choreographer for a new show that showcased the world of mixed martial arts.

The show created by Byron Belasco starred Frank Grillo, Nick Jonas, Jonathan Tucker, Matt Lauria, Mac Brandt, Paul Hauser, Natalie Martinez and Nikki Going as a dysfunctional fight family native to the Venice Beach area. One of the main problems with shooting a show about MMA, is making it look real. In the past, the sport has not been kind to the translations of MMA incarnations on film, which weighed heavy on Belasco. So they brought in Stevenson to sculpt the cast into fighters, and to add certain level of authenticity that would resonate heavily with mixed martial arts fanatics.

Taking his time, and working from the bottom. Stevenson began to shape these actors. “I only know how to train fighters,” Stevenson said. ” I don’t know how to pretend to fight”. So these actors pretty much went to bootcamp. Their bodies changed, their diets changed, and even their outlook on the sport changed. The show ‘Kingdom’ debuted to raucous reviews, and quickly became a hit. Not only were television audiences impressed, but the MMA community specifically was considerably thrilled. A testament to the actors, and the choreography of Stevenson.

Busy on many fronts, Stevenson found himself torn between coaching and working in Hollywood, living somewhere in the nexus between an old itch returned. Constantly being involved a long forgotten flame began to burn again, and soon ‘The Daddy’ was ready again, to take to cage. Returning to the action for the first time in 3 years, Stevenson took on very tough prospect Dominique Robinson. The fight ended up not going Stevenson’s way (he lost a 5 rd split decision) but his performance was hindered by poor preparation and by an infection that had him on antibiotics the day of the fight. He simply forgotten how much preparation was necessary, and Robinson was more than willing to remind him. Even still the fight could have gone either way.

The loss bothered Stevenson, but his performance is what left a particular bad taste. “I didn’t prepare for the fight properly.” Stevenson said. “Even though mentally I was in the right place, physically I didn’t take enough time to prepare. When you are out of action for 3 years you can’t just jump into a camp and get ready, and I thought I could.” Stevenson said.

For the next few months, Stevenson went back to the usual grind. Alternating between cornering fighters, coaching, and working on set, while maintaining his role as the father of four young boys. However this time he kept his weight down, returned to training, and for the first time in his life Joe Stevenson was doing everything the right way, but he didn’t know where he was heading.

Then came the answer in the form of a question. “What about you coach? What are your goals?”

“I went home after Jamal asked me about my goals, and thought about it.” Stevenson had often looked for answers, and often found them from within, but this time he was at a loss. Was his purpose now to coach, or was his goal now to grow as a coordinator in film industry? The answer once again came back to fighting.

“50 wins” Stevenson said. “My goal is to win 50 fights, then I can move on.” Currently Stevenson would need another 17 victories to accomplish that task (Some websites differ with regard to record). At 34 years old he is still young enough to compete at a very high level, and his pedigree will always translate to the sport. But why would he want too?

The goal although defined, remains obscured by certain mitigating factors. Truth, fear, the past, and even the demons themselves are all part of the motivation. For a fighter of Stevenson’s caliber his last performances can’t be easy to live with, especially since now he thinks he could today, out perform his younger self. ” I’d instigate the 25 year old version of me into a brawl, before I double legged him and pounded him out!” Stevenson confidently claimed. Perhaps that is who he will be facing the rest of the way.

For Stevenson, the goal may have been defined. The 50 win plateau may hopefully end up being the destination. The end may justify his goals, and what Stevenson finds on the road to redemption remains to be seen. However it appears in coming full circle as a person, Joe Stevenson has finally arrived as a fighter.

 

Notes: Joe Stevenson returns to action July 30 in his hometown of Victorville CA, fighting under the California Fight League promotion. Click the link for ticket information. Joe Stevenson is also set to fight in August under the Tru-Form Entertainment Promotion, it what could be one of the best SoCal fight cards of the year! For information on where to watch the hit television show Kingdom (click the link).

CXF Clark Vs Chavez-23

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Merriam-Webster defines the term ‘Proving Ground’ as “a place where things or people are tested or tried out for the first time.” The sport of Mixed martial arts in many ways needs a proving grounds. A place for pedigreed fighters to face other well rounded scrappers in matches that are crafted to test each participant. A place where each win is earned, a place where the wheat is separated from the chaff. This is the CXF: Proving Grounds

The first bout of the triple-headed main event featured 3x Bellator MMA veteran Curtis Millender and 7x Glory Kickboxing veteran Casey Greene in a 5 round fight for the vacant CXF Welterweight Title. The intriguing matchup of strikers did not disappoint.

Early on in the fight Millender began to lead the dance working well behind his jab. Starching the charging Greene with every advance before circling away without damage. In the second round, the blood began to flow as Millender’s trip hammer jab instigated a leak above the eye and the nose of Greene. However Greene kept charging, and seemed to get stronger as the fight wore on. Even after a Millender spinning heel kick sent him across the cage.

Battered, bloodied and down on the cards Greene came out in the fourth round a much different fighter. Perhaps sensing he needed a knockout, he stalked Millender who continued to score but more in retreat as he countered his aggressive opponent. In the fifth round the Saeksons Muay Thai product came out even more aggressive, winning the round on many scorecards however Millender’s early investments were at that point already safely in the bank, and he cruised to a unanimous decision win.

Curtis Millender defeats Casey Greene for the CXF Welterweight Title via Unanimous Decision 

The second title fight of the evening featured Emilio Chavez and Dominic Clark in a lightweight showdown to crown the 155 lbs king of So Cal. However the excellent matchup quickly became a one sided affair.

After a short feeling out process, Clark was able to duck under a Chavez advance scoring with the takedown.  Once horizontal, Clark scooted Chavez to the cage and patiently looked for his opening. Chavez did an excellent job defending, however a untimely transition attempted exposed his back and Clark transitioned in a flash, taking his back and sinking both hooks. After softening Chavez up with a few shots, Clark was able to thread his arm under the neck and secured the tap at 4:35 seconds of the very first round.

Not only did Dominick Clark end up with the CXF Lightweight Title, but during his post fight speech he dropped to a knee and proposed to his longtime girlfriend, and she said yes! Congratulations to the Clarks!

Dominick Clark defeats Emilio Chavez for the CXF Lightweight Title via Submission (RNC) 4:25 Rd: 1

The final title fight of the evening saw Alfred Kashakyan defend his CXF Bantamweight strap against a very tough Anthony Perales normally a flyweight, Perales took the bantamweight title fight on short notice and in the champions backyard. The fight started out rather slow, with both opponents clearly respecting each others skills. But it wouldn’t take long for the crowd to be on there feet.

Perales tried to score with a takedown, however Kashakyan kept his footing and immediately went in pursuit of of his opponents chin. After a few brief exchange, Perales aggressively charged the champion missing with a combination who staggered the challenger with a left hook, right uppercut chaser that turned the lights out, leaving Perales unconsciously supine against the cage. The devastating knockout win should have Kashakyan on a short list of bantamweight prospects heading to the UFC.

Alfred Kashakyan defeats Anthony Perales Defending his CXF Bantamweight Title via KO (punches) :45 Rd: 1

The undercard:

Michael Quintero defeats Andril Vasylenko 3:28 Rd: 2 via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Leon Shahbazian defeats Eric Johnson 3:48 Rd: 1 via Submission (modified Guillotine)

James Acosta defeats David Duran 4:17 Rd: 2 via Knockout (punches)

Georgie Garcia defeats Gary Michaelyan 2:14 Rd: 1 via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Rob Gooch defeats Paul Amaro 1:17 Rd: 1 via Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

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Seizing the day, The Spartan Delivers

Seize the day, put no trust in the morrow!”- Horace

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Going into his fight with Karen Darabedyan at RFA 38, Christos Giagos appeared as as calm as the day is long. Waiting for his walkout music, he patiently paced back and forth, pausing for a moment to acknowledge a few fans in the crowd. He didn’t seem concerned in the least, instead the young fighter appeared oddly at peace. Almost tranquil, it appeared as if the Spartan already knew the outcome. For the day was at hand, and Giagos appeared as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

Did he know that this was perhaps the most important fight of career? He had to know that Dana White, his former boss, was in the building filming ‘Looking for a Fight’, (a show that showcases White’s search for emerging talent that airs on the UFC network Fight Pass). If not he was certainly aware of the danger before him.

His opponent Karen Darabedyan is one of the fiercest grapplers in the division. If you make a mistake against him, you can loose an arm, a leg, or end up asleep looking up at the lights wondering what the hell just happened. However as soon as the fight started it became clear The Spartan’s calm almost ‘laissez-faire’ approach was the result of proper preparation.

As Darabedyan bounced in and out Giagos countered with a crisp jab, cross combination that sharply snapped the head of Darabedyan back. A few moments later, after eating a sharp jab from Giagos, Darabedyan charged in looking to engage in a fire fight, but instead walked into a three punch combination from Giagos that clipped his chin, sending him to the canvas. A few ground and pound strikes later and Giagos finally came to life.

Running towards the cage, ‘The Spartan’ ran a flip off the cage, and then began screaming with all his might, for the first time all night he appeared uncomfortable. He didn’t know what to do. For months, this moment was all that was on his mind. Now having seized the moment, the raw emotion simply took over.

The fight ended up producing one hell of a MMA equation. The fashion of the victory, multiplied by the caliber of the opponent equaled UFC President Dana White saying ” This last kid was in the UFC, and tonight he looked like he should be back in the UFC.” (interview with Ron Kruck on Inside MMA). How about that for some MMA math?

Where Giagos fights next remains to be seen, however he has certainly proved he belongs in the UFC. In his first run with the promotion, Giagos compiled a 1-2 record, with the win splitting the losses. When he was cut, it seemed odd, as he had not lost consecutive bouts, and the last loss to Chris Wade ended up being an extremely entertaining fight.

Not only was Dana White impressed with his performance but UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby was in the building as well and appeared extremely interested as well.  So it appears all the stars are lining up for The Spartan’s return to the UFC. However making it to the UFC is one thing, but staying there is a completely different animal. If Giagos hopes to remain, he will have to continue to conquer each day, as if it is his last.

 

All photos and content are owned by The Clinch Report, LLC. Any unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. Email news@theclinchreport.com for licensing. 

 

Albert Morales needs only 20 seconds to leap beyond the RFA cage and inside the UFC Octagon.

Albert Morales needs only 20 seconds to leap beyond the RFA cage and inside the UFC Octagon.

By: Jonathan M. King

Photos By: John Walsh

 

“Isolated, with no before or after, But a lifetime burning in every moment…” Thomas Stearns Elliot

Last night lightning struck, the moons lined up and everything went according to plan for Albert Morales now (6-0). After losing an earlier scheduled opponent ‘The Warrior’ needed an opponent. Fights fall off, its just part of the game. However the only fighter willing to accept the bout on short notice was a much more seasoned opponent. Mario Israel came into the bout with a (10-1), a world of experience and he was also on a short list of fighters UFC President Dana White and UFC Matchmaker Sean Shelby were there to witness.

It took Albert Morales 20 seconds to spoil there plans. It took Albert Morales 20 seconds to silence his doubters. It took Albert Morales 20 seconds to secure his place in the UFC! However, the moment was years in the making. Morales has been steadily improving as a fighter. From his days as Spar Star MMA champion, to his pro debut and win under the Bellator MMA banner, Morales continues to rise to every challenge put in front of him. Now his greatest challenge ahead.

Now a part of the UFC roster, Morales will certainly face his toughest test yet. Getting to the UFC is like graduating high school, the big fish leaves the little pond, for the big sea but quickly they realize they are swimming among sharks!

Weather or not Morales continues to find the same success at the next level will as always depend solely on his effort. The path before him has been blazed and continues to be by great men and women. The formula is not a secret. Hard work, and effort will define or its absence will sink any ship that floats in the UFC sea. As talented as Morales is, he cannot rely on that alone. Every horse that runs in the UFC is a thoroughbred. Only time will tell if ‘The Warrior’ is ready for the stakes, but if last night is any indication, it is obvious ‘The Warrior’ is capable of burning a lifetime in any moment.

Check out the Image gallery bellow from Last night, and some other Albert Morales “Moments”

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By: Jonathan M. King

Photos By: John Walsh

The Hollywood Park Casino has always been friendly to the combat sports. Since openings its doors in 1994 beneath the shadow of its big brother the world famous horse racing facility of the same name, the Hollywood Park has been in the fight business. Of the many who hosted events at the Hollywood Park, two promotions had the credentials to call the place home.

One of those promotions Spar Star MMA will be hosting their last ever event at the Hollywood Park. Since 2012, Spar Star MMA has hosted an astonishing 21 events within the doors of the casino, offering countless fighters the opportunity to showcase their skills. Many of those fighters have moved on to the big shows like Bellator MMA and the UFC.

Saying goodbye to the Hollywood Park will be certainly bring a nostalgic malaise, however Spar Star MMA memories will continue to keep you warm and fuzzy on the inside. Some great fights, some incredible knockouts, and who can forget the time Dub-C and the fellas tore the roof off the building?

Saturday will truly be a bittersweet day. The end of an era. Places like the Hollywood Park Casino have always been a refuge for the emerging fighters. They offered a haven for promotions to build the fighters, creating a consistent environment for grass roots campaigns to become professional endeavors. Places like these are certainly an endangered species.

Spar Star of course will continue. Although the goodbye is bittersweet the truth is they had somewhat out grown the venue.

Make sure you head out to the show early, the event will certainly sell out. Click here: For Tickets.  The event will also be streaming live courtesy of our friends at The Global Combat Network

The champions list(Spar Star Champions Crowned at The Hollywood Park Casino): Bellator MMA veteran Albert Morales, Farren Romero, Oneida Diaz, Paola Ramirez, Andre Nickerson, Bellator MMA veteran Marcos Bonilla, Matthew Spencer, Leo Imai, Jose Lopez, Jose Diaz, Daniel Rodriguez, Joseph Williams, Keith Carson, and Benji Gomez.

Check out our gallery of Spar Star Events Past!

All photos and images are the property of The Clinch Report, LLC all rights reserved. Any unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. Please contact us at news@theclinchreport.com for licensing information.

 

Stephen Quadros is known as ‘The Fight Professor’ for a reason. He has been involved with every single aspect of the martial arts. As lifelong practitioner, the former judge in the UFC’s early days and Pride commentator has been cage-side for some of the most memorable moments in the sport.

Last week he called in to the The Brutally Honest Show, to talk about everything that is going on in the world of MMA. Check out what he had to say about the sports evolution, and the status of one of the sports biggest stars!

 

CXF Gold Rush Karen v Condon-9

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

When Karen Darabedyan entered the Sportsmens Lodge Ballroom, he appeared completely relaxed. A rather disconcerting smile from ear to ear showed, as he approached the cage to engage in hand to hand combat. Inside the cage a very seasoned Joe Condon was waiting for him. Pacing back and forth, a stoic Condon appeared extremely ready for a fight. Yet, Darabedyan seemed perfectly relaxed, almost reveling in the crowd support. Was he over confident? Or, perhaps he just knew something the rest of us were about to find out.

The fight itself started out rather slowly. Something you can expect when two savvy veterans face off. Darabedyan started with some nasty leg kicks that wobbled Condon but never stopped his advance. Each time he entered range, Darabedyan would attack the legs before looking to land with the hands. The leg kicks kept coming, and after faking low Darabedyan buried a kick to the body of Condon that for a second doubled him over.

That second was all Karen Darabedyan needed. As Condon absorbed the shot, Darabedyan jumped on his neck. Darabedyan than flattened out his opponent with a sprawl while maintaining the hold, before pulling guard and cinching in the guillotine. Condon defend at first, but he was unable to clear his head. The more he tried the tighter the hold became, and he was forced to tap just over a minute into the round.

Like most of the fighters who compete under the Lights Out Promotions and Bash Boxing banner, Karen Darabedyan is a top prospect in his division. With the doubt and injuries no longer in the picture it appears that Karen Darabedyan is back in full force. It is only a matter of time before Darabedyan’s management team have him fighting in a big show. If not, he may have a hard time finding opponents on the regional level. After all, would you fight a lion for anything less than six figures? I certainly would not!

The win was important on many different levels. First of all Joe Condon is the best opponent Darabedyan has fought in 4 years. The fact that he was able to dominate a former World Series of Fighting Lightweight Contender adds some sweetness to an already ripe and seasoned fighter. Secondly the win earned Darabedyan the CXF Jr Welterweight Tile (160 lbs), which will only add to his confidence making him that much more dangerous. Lastly and most importantly, the win came before Darabedyan’s home town Armenian crowd. With the 101 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 as the backdrop, the win served as inspiration to an entire nation who collectively have endured so much. The struggle continues, and will continue until justice has been served!

All of us at The Clinch Report stand together with our Armenian brothers and sisters. #WeAreOne

All photos are the property of The Clinch Report, LLC. Any unauthorized use is prohibited. Please email news@theclinchreport.com for licensing information.

 

The Beginning of the End

The Beginning of the End

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

According to Hemingway people with ‘guts’ always show “grace under pressure.” Coming in to his fight against Andrew Natividad, Alfred Kashakyan personified that saying. Returning off of a loss in his last fight and fighting with the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide as the back drop, Kashakyan was shouldering a ton of weight. He was not only fighting for the CXF Bantamweight title, but he was also fighting for a nation people who still to this day, continue to fight for themselves. Despite the pressure Kashakyan performed with grace, and showcased his power along the way.

Once Kashakyan made his way into the ball room it became clear who the crowd was there to see. Once he made his way into the cage it became clear who he was see! Charging to a halt an inch from his opponent Kashakyan stomped defiantly in front of him before circling away to take his corner. The aggressive display was not a taunt as much as it was a precursor for the chaotic storm on the horizon.

As the fight began Natividad looked to stay low, and after a few strikes from Kashakyan he shot in an attempt to take the fight to the mat. However Kashakyan was able to fend off the takedown, and once out of danger, he separated and looked to get busy with his hands. Each punch he threw was meant to end the fight. Although Natividad was able to block a few, in retreat a head kick backed him up against the cage and once there Kashakyan unleashed a flurry of strikes that dropped him a couple of times. The stoppage came moments later as grounded strikes went unanswered forcing the referee to stop the bout.

After the win an emotional Alfred Kashakyan spoke to the crowd about how personal the fight was for him. He spoke of his struggle, and of the Armenian struggle and vowed to continue his reign as CXF Champion declaring “This belt is mine, and its not going anywhere”.

The win moves Kashakyan to 6-2 as a pro and also earns him his first mixed martial arts title. As with most of the CXF fighters, Alfred is on a short list of UFC hopefuls in the bantamweight division. It would not be a surprise to see both Kashakyan and fellow 135 lbs prospect Terrion Ware in the UFC in the near future, if not perhaps we will see them square off in the CXF cage. Only time will tell!

Wherever Kashakyan fights next is only a guess, however as he starts to get bigger and bigger fights you can expect a seasoned fighter, one used to the pressure. A fighter who Hemingway himself would say has ‘guts’ in spades, a fighter with ‘Grace’!

The next CXF show is scheduled for June make sure you follow Lights Out Promotions and Bash Boxing for more information.

All photos are the property of The Clinch Report, LLC. Any unauthorized use is prohibited. Please email news@theclinchreport.com for licensing information.