Friday, September 13, 2013
With so many bouts on the docket for this year’s CAMO 2013 California State Southern California regional tournament, Epic Fighting 20 got off to an early start at the Four Points By Sheraton Hotel in San Diego.
In the preliminary match Robert Marsters of The Arena in Point Loma, San Diego, CA, in his MMA debut, went up against 32 year-old Tony Bugno (0-1) an Independent from San Diego. Their 170 pound clash ended in round #2, after Marsters got top position and began to rain down the blows on a defenseless Bugno.
Bout #2 was a 125 pound match in the CAMO Tournament between Chris Kirk (2-2) of Victory MMA and Michael Reyes (5-2, 2 KOs) a southpaw from KnuckleHeadz MMA in Pomona, CA. This also ended early. After just 13 seconds, Reyes was on his back and unable to stop the onslaught of blows.
During the quick dust off, Reyes got his right arm dislocated. After the quick stoppage the attending medical team placed Reyes’s arm in a temporary cast and he left the cage with his arm a sling.
Bout #3 featured 25 year-old, southpaw Julio Aguilera (2-4) of Team Quest (Murrieta, CA) taking on David Fabian (2-1), an Independent from Redlands, CA in the 155 pound division.
After a quick reversal, Fabian got himself in position for an armbar, resulting in a verbal submission by Aquilera at just 1:33 of the first round.
Bout #4, a 205 pound match in the CAMO Tournament, featured the 27 year-old Jerell Cephas (4-2) of Cephas Karate of Corona, CA going up against Jens Grau (7-4, 1 KO) of Elite MMA.
At first, Cephas’ high kicks and spinning back fists were off target as the seemingly indomitable Grau stood his ground in the center of the cage ready to fire back with powerful strikes. That being said, you’d still have to give the more active and elusive Cephas the edge in that action packed first round.
Early in the second round Cephas connected with a hard left hook to Grau’s forehead which resulted in an ugly four inch gash which wasted no time streaming blood down the side of Grau’s face, a stream of blood that had to blur his vision. From there on, it was just a matter of time before the beleaguered Grau was done in by the constant takedowns, onslaught of knees, high kicks and punches.
Whenever the blood stream slowed, Cephas was right there to reopen the floodgates with another left hook.
Now comes the levity from this contest. With Grau’s blood everywhere, across the cage floor, on the ref, on both fighter’s gloves, shorts and rash guard shirts, a gent from Grau’s corner turned to the Grau and said straight faced, “Well, let’s see how the judges score it.”
The announcer didn’t mince words. Grau had won every round.
The cornerman’s aplomb reminded me of the fight scene from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Like Grau, the Black Knight would never entertain any thought of defeat.
My stifled mirth continued as I watched one of the many videographers acting like one of those photographers you see at a crime scene. He was down on his hands and knees, going from one splotch of blood to the next, painstakingly capturing for all time the evidence of this bloodbath.
Suffice it to say, the cleanup of the cage took a long time.
Bout #5 featured 22 year-old bantamweight sensation Richard Alarcon (3-0) from Team Oyama of Lakewood, CA going up against Jose Jimenez of USSD MMA (3-1, 1 KO) from San Clemente, CA. in the 125-134 pound division of the CAMO Tournament.
This was our first thriller of the night. Alarcon definitely took round one after delivering the hardest punches and managing to secure the first two takedowns. As far as great advice from a mate in the crowd, Jimenez heard, “Got to get up!” and “Work it!”
Instead of keying on those profound statements, Jimenez concentrated on landing the big overhand right. The very close second round could have gone either way. In Round #3, Alarcon was back in control with another takedown followed by knees to the head.
In the end, the split decision victory went to the more technically sound Alarcon who managed a total of seven takedowns.
Bout #6 featured two featherweights (135.1 to 145 pounds) 20 year-old Razul Ware (2-0), a United States Marine stationed at USMC Air Station Miramar and training at the Pit Bull Gym in Point Loma, going up against Ashraf Hamideh (1-0) of Murrieta, Ca who trains at Dan Henderson’s Team Quest.
After the feeling out round, Ware came out strong in the second starting with a hard takedown and adding some strong ground and pound with an occasional hammer punch. Then round three was a repeat of round two, only this time the head thumping went unanswered which forced the quick thinking ref to call for a stoppage at the 2-minute mark.
Bout #7, in the 170 pound weight class, saw Jeremy Howard (3-2) of American Top Team, Temecula, CA taking on the undefeated Cesar Gonzalez (4-0) from Knuckle Up Nobodys MMA in Vallejo, CA.
Gonzalez used this strategy of never allowing too much distance between him and his opponent. Slowly but surely he kept pinning Howard against the gage so he could wear him down with knee kicks, short punches and elbows. It wasn’t pretty to watch, but since Gonzalez appeared stronger than Howard, it insured victory.
Even though both fighters had their moments, Gonzalez in Round #2, and Howard in Round #3, the judges awarded Gonzalez the split decision victory so he will be the one headed to the CAMO quarterfinal match.
Bout #8 had Joey Bryant-Sowka (1-5) of Swift Kick in Escondido, CA going up against 28 year-old Devin Taylor, a rookie from The Arena in Point Loma in a lightweight (145.1 to 155 pounds) match.
At this time patrons became distracted by the same videographer who recorded the earlier blood droppings. This time around he had his lens focused on a glass of beer while matching the cadence of a waitress who was delivering the cold brew to a thirsty patron. Can’t wait to see how he incorporates this and other highlights into the show’s video.
Back to our match:
With their quickness, Bout #8 had many twists and turns. After Bryant-Sowka came out boxing, Taylor countered, catching him with a solid right hand to stagger his opponent. Like any good boxer, Bryant-Sowka quickly grabbed Taylor to tie him up. After recovering, Bryant-Sowka chased after Taylor to get a dramatic takedown.
Then Taylor got in the dog house for landing this direct kick to the groin. After taking the allotted time to recover, Bryant-Sowka ended the round strong. Impossible to know which fighter took the round.
In round #2, another close round, you’d have to give the edge to Taylor who was the busier of the two.
Before the start of the final round, the two fighters embraced to show their mutual respect. Bryant-Sowka began the round with a takedown. A second takedown followed featuring hammer punches to the head. Even though Taylor raised Bryant-Sowka up in the air, Bryant-Sowka maintained position and finished the round strong.
In this close match, the judges awarded the decision to Taylor.
Before leaving the cage, Taylor was interviewed by the show’s MC, Carlos Kremer. In the interview, Taylor mentioned he had come all the way from Hawaii specifically to train at The Arena and since March he has learned much under their tutelage.
In Bout #9, it was 23 year-old Ruben Quinonez (3-0) from Pimpit Fight Team Academy in Rancho Cucamonga, CA going up against Edward Duron (4-0) from USSD MMA, San Clemente, CA in the 145-154 pound weight class of the regional tournament.
Again, the crowd got whooped up for this one, especially since both fighters were undefeated and both had large followings.
Since a Quinonez backer had the loudest voice, his instructions could be heard from one end of the Sheraton Ballroom to the other. They were simple, “Use your right Bro! Right hand! Right hand! Right hand! Use your right F...... RIGHT HAND!”
To shut his friend up, Quinonez finally landed that big right hand and followed with several left, right combinations. Just when you figured Duron was in trouble, back he came with a takedown, followed by three additional violent takedowns. Before you knew it, the referee was looking for Quinonez to tap. This had to be the WOW!! round of the night.
In round #2 and #3, the fighters stuck with their specialty - Quinonez with the all out striking and Duron with the high knees and an occasional takedown. In the closing seconds, Quinonez in desperation finished with a strong takedown. In the end it was Duron getting the nod to continue along in the CAMO tournament.
At this point, the show had a brief intermission during which they gave away theatre tickets and had a troupe from Capoeira Luanda San Diego give a demonstration of their Art Form which is composed of dance, music, acrobatics, culture and the martial arts.
Bout #10, another match in the CAMO tournament, featured 22 year-old Tim Quiroga (4-0) from Lake Elsinore and training at Team Quest going up against 21 year-old Javier Garcia (4-1) of Team Cani Showdown Training Center (Covina, CA) in the 155 pound weight class.
This was another match for the yearend highlight reel. Initially, Garcia got nailed by a big overhand right. Instead of going down, he got all excited and went after Quiroga with a vengeance. He even ended the round with his own big punch to knock Quiroga off his feet.
Then, as mentioned, at the start of round #2, came this surprise ending. Both fighters went with high kicks simultaneously and both went flying backwards. The one from Quiroga did the most damage because it caught Garcia flush and coming forward. Quiroga’s spill was nothing more than a flash knockdown from which he was up in an instant and ready to finish off the helpless Garcia. The quick thinking referee stepped in and called for an immediate stoppage.
Garcia went from being the more dominate fighter to the victim of a knockout within seconds.
Bout #11 featured veteran middleweight (170.1-185 pounds) 32 year-old Chris Lloyd (5-2-1-1) of Victory MMA going up against 22 year-old Adrian Garcia (4-1, 1 KO) from Millennia MMA in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
This one was over in a hurry after Lloyd, a southpaw, hit the 6’1” Garcia with a head snapping straight right, pinned him against the cage, then pounded him with four straight knees to the head.
With time running out on the CAMO stipulation to have all bouts begin before 12 midnight, the two fighters were moved swiftly from the cage. One of Lloyd’s bosom buddies broke everyone up when he called out, “Hey, what about the interview? Give him the mike! He has some s... to say!”
Bout #12 featured 6’3”, 260 pound Avedis Terzian (1-0) from Team MTA in Glendale, CA going up against 5’10”, 246 pound Sergio Sosa Marroquin (1-0, 1 KO) from Team Lights Out from Power House Boxing in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA.
After an early knee to the groin area at :30 of the first round, the 21 year-old Terizan went down and refused to get up. After a parlay between the officials, the fight was declared a no contest pending a review to see who continues along to the CAMO quarterfinals.
The 22 year-old Marroquin was extremely apologetic.
Bout #13, the final bout of the evening, feature 38 year-old Luther Smalls (3-1, 2 KOs) fighting out of The Pit in Austin, Texas going up against 23 year-old Tyler Sidders (3-0-0) of The Arena here in San Diego, two great fighters fighting for the 145.1 to 155 pound, Epic Fighting Championship Lightweight belt.
In round #1, Sidders opened with combinations featuring the high kick followed by a straight right hand. He followed up that strategy by pinning Smalls against the cage and using a barrage of shorter knee kicks. Since he was the more active of the two, round one went in his column.
In Round #2, both Sidders and Smalls failed on their attempts to go for the armbar and rear naked choke. By round #3, it was clear father time has finally caught up with Smalls as he was getting the worst of each exchange.