HIDALGO — “La Jaula” makes its debut in the Rio Grande Valley tonight as TS-1 Promotions presents Combate Americas Hidalgo at State Farm Arena with nine mixed martial arts bouts featuring nine fighters from across the RGV.
Former WWE champion and MMA fighter Albert “El Patrón” Del Rio, Combate Americas’ spokesperson, was on hand at Thursday’s weigh-ins at State Farm Arena to bring the fighters on stage to step on the scale and face off with their opponents. Del Rio, a Texan, said he’s proud to bring Combate Americas to the RGV.
“It’s the first time for Combate Americas coming to the Valley, and it’s a plus for me because I live here in Texas, just three hours away in San Antonio. For me, to bring the company that I love to the Valley — with all the Latin talent that we have in the company, to present this talent to ‘la raza’ here in the Valley — it’s going to be fantastic,” he said.
The nine-fight card will be scattered with fighters from the Valley throughout the night as there are local athletes in seven of nine fights, including two all-RGV matchups.
Fighting in the main event is Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios, a Mission High alumnus from the class of 2005, against Cooper Gibson in a catchweight bout. While Palacios is excited to be headlining the card in the RGV, he’s focused on one thing.
“I’ve been main event for this company many times, but being here in the Valley, the only difference is a lot of my family and friends are going to be able to come. I really don’t worry about those situations or those aspects of the fight. I worry about my opponent and what I have to do. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I have to worry about my fight,” Palacios said.
“El Gallero” (11-1) is electric every time he steps inside “La Jaula” as he’s won eight straight fights, including his last outing which was on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series on July 10, 2018. Six of his 11 wins have come by the way of knockout, with the other five by decision.
“If you’ve never seen me fight before, look me up and see how I fight. I’m an entertainer. I go in there and bang. I try to finish the fight every single round, every single second of the fight, I try to finish it,” he said.
Fighting out of McAllen is DJ Fuentes (7-3), who will be facing Cee Jay “The Autobot” Hamilton (14-7) in bantamweight action. Fuentes, who has won five of his last six dating back to 2014, will be looking to bounce back from an April 20, 2018 knockout loss.
Mercedes native Elías Urbina, who competed on Season 23 of UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter and fought under Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in 2017, will look to improve his 3-1 professional record in his first MMA fight under the Combate Americas banner.
There are two scheduled fights that will pit fighters from the RGV against one another beginning with the matchup of Elias Rodriguez and Juan “The Demon” Gonzalez, who both have 6-1 professional records.
Rodriguez, a Weslaco native, had a 6-0 record before being submitted in his last fight on Dec. 15, 2018. Rodriguez will try to bounce back, but standing in his way is “The Demon.”
Gonzalez is fighting out of New Mexico but was born in Pharr and has won seven of his last eight. He is currently riding a three-fight win streak.
In the other all-RGV matchup is Raymond “The Executioner” Banda (6-3) from Harlingen against Edmilson “Amazonian Warrior” Freitas (7-3), a Brazilian who trains out of McAllen.
Mission’s Luke Flores is set to go toe-to-toe with Mexico’s Eduardo Bustillos in the 155-pound division.
With nine-fights scheduled, Del Rio guaranteed fans in attendance will see the Mexican spirit on display inside “La Jaula.”
“We have a slogan in the company, ‘Fight like a Mexican,’ because everybody knows that we Mexicans like to always bring everything have — all of our love, all of our passion inside the cage, in the ring, in our jobs, in the street — in order to provide to give our families a better future, and that’s exactly what these fighters are doing. They’re fighters with passion, with heart and the Mexican fighting style. ”
State Farm Arena doors are set to open at 7 p.m., with the first fight scheduled for 8 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at the State Farm Arena box office in Hidalgo, or online by visiting hidalgoarena.com.