Another in the series of EPIC FIGHTING MMA Shows is in the books and like the rest, Friday’s event was a real crowd pleaser. From the competitive match-ups to the gorgeous hostesses, the patrons had their heads on a swivel. MMA events have become such a unique experience. Where else do you have all these beautiful, scantily clad women strutting about the venue with the aplomb of a top fashion model and yet have not one prudish bone in their body. Like the competitors in the ring, they have become part of the evening’s entertainment.
How revealing were the dancers’ outfits? Since there wasn’t much left to take off, one patron broke everyone up when he yelled, “Take it all off!”
Also on the lighter side, there was a VIP table nearby with a fun loving group of burly gents making merry. They were poking fun at passerbys. When a gentleman wearing an outlandish outfit with the brightest of colors sat down at an adjoining table, one of the jokesters asked, “Who ordered the b#$% job?”
A rap artist was introduced and opened his introduction with the customary greeting of, “How you doing tonight?” After no one answered, the entertainer added, “That’s what I’m talking about!” The furrowed brows and oddball expressions on the faces of the oafish jokesters was priceless.
Since males at these events rarely dress to impress, the insignia on the T-shirt usually speaks volumes about where their allegiance lies. With six of the 22 fighters on the 11 bout fight card coming from the 1-ON-1 Fight Company of El Cajon, that group benefitted the most from a very loud and adrenalized cheering section.
On the UNDERCARD
Bout #1, in the 155 pound weight class, featured ANTHONY SOLTERO of TEAM CAGE versus RICHARD HORNE of 1-ON-1 Fight Company in El Cajon. Horne looked the more impressive in both rounds one and two, especially with his two dominate takedowns. Soltero made a push at the end after catching Horne with two strikes right on the chin and almost had Horne in trouble with a choke hold. Too little, too late as the decision went to Horne.
Bout #2, in the 145 pound weight class, featured FRANCISCO CASTRO of the U. S. Marine Corps stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar versus TOM PHO of TEAM PUNISHMENT. Castro, now 3-3, was in control of this one from the outset until the very end. Takedown after takedown, the constant windmill punches to the head and an occasional choke hold demonstrated his determination. After the bout, Castro’s two offspring, beaming with pride, joined their dad in the ring.
Bout #3, in the 155 pound weight class, featured KEN SELLS of 1-ON-1 FIGHT COMPANY in one of the most anticipated bouts of the evening versusJOE WAGAMAN of TEAM QUEST.
This one got serious in a hurry, especially after Wagaman showed his superior strength by flipping Sells over like a pancake. After mounting his opponent, Wagaman landed blow after blow to Sells’ head. If he didn’t have Sells pinned against the netting, he was on top. Round two began with a kick to the head by Wagaman who later landed two solid left hooks. In Round #3 Wagaman had Sells on his back for the third time. Seeing that Sells was in deep trouble, the referee stepped in to stop the bout.
Bout #4, in the 170 pound weight class, featured SEAN MARSICANE of PITBULL DANGEROUS versus GRANT HANKINSON of 180 FIGHT TEAM. Early on, Hankinson’s strategy involved smothering his opponent, either against the cage or being on top while grabbling. The highlight for Marsicane in that first round was a crowd pleasing high kick. Round #2 saw Hankinson with another takedown and again he was back on top. The round ended with Marsicane applying a rear choke but Hankinson was able to hold on. Round three saw a nice leg sweep and a strike to the face before the round ended with Hankinson back on top. Hankinson won an unanimous decision.
In the TOURNAMENT MATCHES
Bout #5, in the heavyweight 205 pound and up weight class, featured JOHN MORGAN of 1-ON-1 FIGHT COMPANY versus GIBRAN ALVAREZ of VICTORY MMA. In this one, Morgan, with his tattoos and NFL middle linebacker physique, looked to be the favorite, especially when he came out swinging for the fences. After all, Alvarez was flabby around the middle and seemed to move much slower.
A short time later, Alvarez proved the naysayers wrong. After taking Morgan’s best shots to the head, Alvarez’s heart could never be questioned. Little by little he introduced Morgan to his superior wrestling and grappling skills. Alvarez ended the match by landing three sold shots to Morgan’s head.
It was another case of, “you can’t always tell a book by its cover.” Every person with a little something extra in the middle was on their feet cheering for their new hero.
Bout #6, also in the heavyweight division, featured ADAM GRIFFIS of BLACKHOUSE TEAM NOGUEIRA GYM on Miramar Road in San Diego versus ODON ALVAREZ of TEAM QUEST. Griffis, who’s much taller that Alvarez, used his leverage, his reach advantage, his escapability and superior grappling skills to dominate an opponent who usually dominates his foes.
Throughout the fight, Alvarez’s supporters kept yelling to him, “Get inside, get in close!! He’s picking you apart with that jab!! Go for the takedown!!”
Griffis’ corner had devised the perfect game plan which worked to perfection.
Bout #7, in the 170 pound weight division, featured JOEL MUNT THE ARENA on Sports Arena Boulevard in Point Loma versus BRANDON DOUCETTE of 1-ON-1 FIGHT COMPANY.
Doucette, who appeared stronger and scored the takedowns, took the first round. The second round had a lot more give and take and could have gone to either fighter. Then in the third round, Doucette came back to insure the win with high knee kicks and two solid shots to the head.
Bout #8, in the 185 pound weight class, featured KYLE KLEINSCHMIDT of THE ARENA versus NEIL FRENCH OF WORLD MMA. This one was tough to watch because of the constant pummeling by Kleinschmidt from round one through round three. You could see the referee was also bother by the disparity of skill levels as he kept asking French if he was all right. “Do you want to continue?” To his credit, French hung in there despite the punishment taken.
Bout #9, in the 135 pound weight class, featured JAIME REYES of 1-ON-1 FIGHT COMPANY versus SEAN NEJJAR of the UND1SPUTED FITNESS & TRAINING CENTER in North Park.
Not to take anything away from Nejjar but Reyes appeared drained in this one and not his usual self. The end came swiftly as Nejjar won by submission by arm bar in the very first round.
In the TITLE FIGHTS
Bout #10 featured middleweight PAUL BLANCAFLOR of SPIRITWOLF MMA winning an unanimous decision victory over OSCAR GONZALEZ of VICTORY MMA.
Twice in the first round, Blancaflor got a takedown and mounted his opponent to land the solid blows to the head. In the second round, it was more of the same except for a late reversal. In the third round, Blancaflor again took Gonzalez down and then applied a non-sustainable choke hold.
Gonzalez, knowing he was well behind on the scorecards, gave it one last try in the closing seconds of the final round. The flurry of rights and lefts could not put his opponent away.
Bout #11, Epic Fighting 7’s Main Event, featured MARVIN MADARIAGA of the BLACK HOUSE TEAM NOGUEIRA GYM on Miramar Road in San Diego going up against CRAIG COOK of TEAM QUEST of Temecula, CA.
As you might imagine, this was one of the best matches of the evening. Both gentleman are well schooled in all facets of the Mixed Martial Arts. After Madariaga would land a blow, back came Cook to answer in kind. After tallying the judges’ scores for the blows landed, the takedowns and ring generalship, Madariaga came out on top by the closest of margins.
At the end of the final bout, the CEO of Epic Fighting, Jason Stewart came into the octagon to present additional trophies, one for “Best overall performance,” one for “Knockout of the night,” and a trophy to the fighters who competed in the “Bout of the night.”