HIDALGO — Mixed Martial Artists from across the Rio Grande Valley stepped into Combate Americas’ “La Jaula” on Friday night at State Farm Arena and put on a show stacked with fast finishes and vicious submissions.
The nine-fight card began with four straight first-round finishes, highlighted by Mercedes’ Elias Urbina’s complete domination of his opponent Carlos Martinez out of Pearland.
Urbina wasted no time going to work as he immediately established himself as the aggressor with a devastating kick and knee to the head, leading to an easy takedown for the former “The Ultimate Fighter” contestant. Once on the floor, Urbina’s ground and pound took over, resulting in Martinez giving up his back. Urbina quickly flattened his opponent out on the ground, sunk his arm under his chin and locked up a rear naked choke for the win two minutes into the first round.
The win improves Urbina’s professional record to 4-1.
In an All-RGV matchup, one of two on the night, Pharr’s Juan “The Demon” Gonzalez earned a second-round TKO victory over Weslaco’s Elias Rodriguez. Rodriguez began the fight like a bulldozer, getting inside on Gonzalez by landing leg kicks and taking the fight to the ground.
But when the two fighters got back on their feet, the momentum began to swing in Gonzalez’s favor as his striking took effect.
Normally a jiu-jitsu fighter, Gonzalez, a brown belt, said he didn’t want to stay on the ground against a black belt in Rodriguez, so he decided to keep the fight standing.
“I always rely on my jiu-jitsu because that’s always been my base, but I knew this guy was probably going to be better than me, so I said this time, let’s use my striking. It looked like I broke his nose in the second with a cross, and I just went after him after that,” Gonzalez said.
“The Demon” said he was proud to be able to put together a dominant performance in front of the RGV MMA fans, including his family.
“It’s awesome, I had so much family out there right now, so it’s good to be able to get that victory in front of them, in front of ‘el Valle,’” Gonzalez said.
McAllen’s DJ Fuentes and Cee Jay “The Autobot” Hamilton put on a three-round thriller that had the crowd on its feet as the two bantamweight fighters exchanged blows, each winning one of the first two rounds. With the fight up for grabs in the final round, Hamilton’s quickness proved too much for Fuentes as the Georgia native took a split decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 28-29). The loss drops Fuentes’ pro-MMA record to 7-4.
Luke Flores, who coaches at the UFC Gym in McAllen, had his hand raised due to a technical submission and tapout from his opponent Carlos Bustillos 40 seconds into the first round. Flores stuffed a takedown and locked on a guillotine, but during that sequence, Bustillos injured his shoulder resulting in the tap signalling he could no longer continue. Flores is now 8-1 in his professional career.
Edmilson “The Amazon Warrior” Freitas, who trains with Team Ferreira out of Pharr, secured a first-round submission win over Mission’s David Salazar by way of rear-naked choke in the first bout of the night.
Roy “The Red Rooster” Sarabia secured the first win of his pro career with a rear-naked choke submission win against Mission’s Isaac “Ice” Matamoros.
In the only women’s bout on the card, Waco native “Dirty Dez” Desiree Yanez handed Mexico’s Paulina Vargas the first loss of her career with a third round stoppage by way of technical submission after Vargas suffered an apparent leg injury. The victory moves Yanez’s record to 5-1.
In the co-main event, Laredo’s Kike “Baby Bull” Gonzalez pulled out a split decision win (30-27, 29-28, 27-30) over Mexico’s Alejandro “Pato” Martinez. After losing round one, Gonzalez used his grappling to turn the fight ugly and take control of the contest.
Mission’s Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios fell in the first round of the main event after California’s Cooper Gibson locked in an arm triangle. After the fight, Palacios left his gloves in “la jaula” as the 31-year old announced his retirement from MMA. The loss was Palacios’ first in nine fights as he closes his career with an 11-2 professional record.