Two New Mexico MMA fighters stepped up to the plate in Ledyard, CT Friday, September 17 for King of the Cage: No Mercy. Abel "The Silent Assassin" Cullum and Donald Sanchez represented New Mexico at KOTC's first East Coast event. The event was broadcast on cable channel HDNet to viewers all across the nation.
Sanchez (21-10-0), a fighter from FitNHB, held his 145 title in a defense match against Pat "The Real Deal" McGreal (5-1-0) who hails from Massachusetts. Sanchez quickly took the fight to the ground and was able to work his way to McGreal's back to lock in a rear naked choke. The fight was called at 2:27 of the first round as Donald Sanchez once again took the win. This was his first title defense since obtaining the bantamweight title from Angelo Sanchez on May 14, 2010 by split decision.
In what was the main event of the evening, Tucumcari's Abel Cullum faced Jimmie "El Terror" Rivera in an exciting 5 round battle. The fight went back and forth between the two and in the end could of gone either way. Kicks were flying and each landed low kicks to the other, which meant timeouts for both fighters. Rivera was able to avoid Cullum's take down and kept the fight standing. Blow after blow was thrown and Compustrike had Rivera landing 56% of his punches to Cullum's 50%. After five rounds, the judges scored the bout in favor of Jimmie Rivera. This is the first loss for Cullum since Dream in 2009 and his first loss ever in King of the Cage since his first KOTC match in 2007.
Cullum's loss surprised many New Mexico MMA fans who follow The Silent Assassin's career. As for Donald Sanchez, his title defense outside of his home state broadens his horizons for new opponents all around the country. Both fighters fought with heart and represented the Land of Enchantment to the fullest.