With 16 IKF sanctioned Muay Thai fights on the docket Saturday night at the Four Points By Sheraton Hotel, the latest presentation in the Battle of the Champions Series had a little something for everyone, from the petite, young fräuleins all the way up to the 260 plus pound super-heavyweights.
Bout #1, consisting of 3-two minute rounds, had 20 year-old (5’1” tall, 108 lbs.) Jasmine Malik Xakhamdy (1-0) of Las Vegas, Nevada going up against 5’1”, 20 year-old Cecilia Lambert 113 lbs. of Team Double Dose Muay Thai and Fitness, Fontana, CA who was making her IKF Muay Thai debut.
Xakhamdy’s lack of defense in round one, led to her being smacked repeatedly with Lambert’s right crosses. As Lambert’s confidence grew, her punches and kicks had even more ferocity to make the judges’ decision easy.
Bout #2 was a rematch of a contest held at the same venue back on June 21, 2014. In that match, the 23 year-old Carla “Canelita” Saldana of The Reyes Gym, Tijuana, B. C., Mexico defeated the 5’8” Colleen Saylor of Elite Muay Thai Academy of San Luis Obispo, CA.
As in their first meeting, Saldana got off to a great start by mixing up her attack which featured flying back fists, straight rights that couldn’t have been any straighter, the hard pelting kicks and even a sampling of flying superman punches.
Saylor had her moments in the later rounds, and even turned the tables to become the aggressor. Still, she could not match the arsenal which Saldana displayed. With the win, Saldana improved to (5-0) while Saylor remains winless at (0-4).
In Bout #3, it was the 26 year-old veteran Allan Gabriel (5’7” tall and 140 lbs.) of Extreme Power, Oceanside, CA, giving the 21 year-old rookie Christian Rivera (5’10” tall, 135 lbs.) from Victory MMA, Point Loma, a thumping. The fact Rivera, in his debut, could take so much punishment and stay on his feet for the duration was quite an accomplishment.
Being a title match, Bout #4 was scheduled for 5-two minute rounds. It featured 22 year-old Ramon “Ray” Gallardo (4-5) from Team Double Dose who stands 5’7” tall and weighed in at 120 lbs. His opponent on this night was Erik Alignay (10-4) of Black House Team Nogueira in San Diego. The 30 year-old Alignay, who is 5’2” tall weighed in at the same 120 lbs.
Being savvy fighters both used the first round to size each other up and for the majority of the time only used kicks. By the close of round #2, you’d have to say Alignay was ahead, especially after landing the majority of the harder punches and kicks. One of his kicks sent Gallardo to the canvas.
But then, from the third round on, Gallardo took control and made amends for his slow start. His push kicks had more power, his punches were cleaner, his kicks to the thighs had more impact and one vicious kick sent Alignay to the canvas. The edge he held over Alignay was in his conditioning. He definitely looked a lot fresher right up until the final bell.
Bout #5, consisting of 3-two minute rounds, had 25 year-old Juan Campos (5’6” tall, 130 lbs.) of North Hollywood making his debut against 21 year-old Rolando Duron (5’8” tall, 130 lbs., 1-0) of the Black House Team Nogueira team in San Diego.
Each time the short armed, shorter legged Campos missed, Duron was right there to counter or to pull him in close for a steady diet of high knees. After a while, Duron had opened up his full repertoire which included several dandy right uppercuts.
By round #3, Campos must have felt a bit frustrated and resulted to landing back to back low blows which ended up costing him a one point deduction. As a result, Duron pitched himself a shutout and won every round.
Bout #6, consisting of 3-two minute rounds, had 25 year-old, Marcos Aguire (153 lbs.) of San Diego and training at the Victory MMA Gym going up against 24 year-old Paul Sample (146 lbs.) of San Diego and training at The Arena MMA, Point Loma, who weighed in at 146 lbs. Both fighters were making their debut.
In this one, you had Aguire relying almost exclusively on his kicking prowess while Sample favored his punching power. With no clear-cut victor, it was Sample getting the nod from all three judges.
Bout #7, the second of three title fights with it’s 5-two minute rounds, had 20 year-old Bruno Borges of the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista (140 lbs., 5’6” tall, with a 5-1 record), back to defend his welterweight title against Edward Gonzalez, a formidable foe, from the Muay Thai School USA in North Hollywood. The highly touted Gonzalez outweighed Borges by at least five pounds, was two inches taller and had a comparable record of 3-1.
In the opening round, both fighters showed some flash and slashed out with their hard kicks. Then, after making just one circle in round two, Borges went full bore with this big overhand right that caught Gonzalez flush and soon had him on his back.
The dramatics that followed make this a tale worth repeating. As he did against his last opponent in June, Borges scampered back to the neutral corner and excitably climbed the ropes to salute his backers. Looking back over his shoulder, referee Vichai “Rex” Supkitpol saw his antics and would have none of it. The veteran referee refused to begin the 10 count on Gonzalez until Borges acknowledged the proper decorum and came down off the ropes. The added time allowed Gonzalez enough time to clear his head and get back on his feet.
After resumption of the fight, Borges again went hard charging and landed a left hook that again sent his opponent down on the mat, this time on all fours. As he did earlier, the pinball wizard left Gonzalez and Supkitpol in his rearview mirror and was back up on the ropes as if he had just won a second multimillion dollar lottery. This time, Borges did look back at the car wreck, jumped down, then headed over to his opponent’s corner to climb the ropes. He didn’t leave that high perch until Supkitpol came tapping.
If asked to describe Borges and his antics, you’d likely use words like “High-strung, charismatic with an explosive style that shows a lot of potential.” The type of potential that fascinates the fans.
Bout #8, consisting of 3-two minute rounds, had 20 year-old, 5’8” tall, 160 lbs., Casandra “Cass” Costello (1-0) of Palmdale, CA going up against 28 year-old Lisa Morgan (5’10” tall, 160 lbs., 2-0) from the Black House Team Nogueira Team on Miramar Road in San Diego.
In this one you had Costello doing a better job of mixing things up to land the harder, swifter punches with the occasional kicks to out duel Morgan, who at times seemed to be coasting and only using the softer arm punches.
Morgan’s edge came by way of the higher, whipping kicks.
After Costello took round one, Morgan did just enough to even things up in round #2. Realizing the importance of that final round, Costello made certain to match and then exceed Morgan’s output to get the win.
Bout #9, consisting of three-two minute rounds, had the 28 year-old Ralph Edwards of San Diego (145 lbs.) and training at Victory MMA, Point Loma going up against 38 year-old Francis Jo Jo Aluagua (145 lbs., 5’6” tall) of the USA Muay Thai Gym, Las Vegas, Nevada. While Edwards was making his debut, Aluagua had a record of 1-0.
This one had an abrupt ending after one of Edwards’ contact lenses popped out and landed on the scorer’s table. After a brief conference, the referee ended up stopping the bout.
Bout #10, consisting of 3-two minute rounds, had 20 year-old Gary Koehler (2-1) of the Sitan Gym Arizona in Chandler, Arizona (155 lbs.), going up against 20 year-old Russ Nagtalon (3-1, 158 lbs.) from Chula Vista, CA who trains at the Alliance Training Center.
After heavy blows from both in round one, Koehler continued his onslaught of power punches to earn an early stoppage at 1:44 of round two. Not much can be said other than Koehler caught Nagtalon with a knockout blow.
Bout #11, consisting of 3-two minute rounds, had 21-year-old Paul Madrid (1-1, 138 lbs.) of Las Vegas, Nevada going up against 27 year-old Said Sanchez (3-1, 138 lbs.) of the Valor Muay Thai Academy in the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego.
In round one, there was a lot of wrestling and hard charging from Sanchez who went nonstop to land almost everything he threw. Then, in the second round, Madrid broke his left hand. After taking a second pounding from Sanchez, Madrid was issued an 8-count.
With the limitation in his arsenal, Madrid mostly clinched or kicked in an attempt to finish the fight. Noticing how Madrid was getting beaten up, referee Supkitpol ended up stopping the bout.
Bout #12, consisting of 3-two minute rounds, had 26 year-old Edgar Lopez (4-1, 155 lbs., 5’9” tall) of Bob Chaney Martial Arts, Murrieta, CA going up against 40 year-old Keith Beard (1-3, 155 lbs., 5’10” tall) of San Marcos, CA.
In both rounds one and two, Lopez landed the cleaner shots against Beard. By round three, Beard, running on an empty tank, managed to hold on until the bitter end.
Bout #13, consisting of 3-two minute rounds, had 23 year-old Alex Speaks (5’6” tall, 130 lbs.) of Victory MMA, Point Loma in her debut against 27 year-old, 5’6” tall, 130 lbs. Irene Tosta (0-3) of Elite Muay Thai, San Luis Obispo, CA.
In the all-action first round, Speaks dominated early but then Tosta controlled the remaining minute and a half. In round two Speaks scored with the high kicks while Tosta continued to rely on her punching power. When the final round ended, both ladies were completely spent and it was Tosta being awarded the victory.
Bout #14, consisting of 5-two minute rounds, had 24 year-old Michael Wenger (4-2, 175 lbs., 6’3” tall) representing the Bob Chaney Family Martial Arts Center, Murrieta, CA going up against 30 year-old James Ewton of The Arena MMA Gym, Point Loma (4-0, 6 foot tall) in another Best of the Best Light Heavyweight title fight.
This back and forth struggle had to be the closest contest of the evening. Just when you thought Wenger had put a round away, back came Ewton. For example, in the closing seconds of round five, Ewton landed three straight blows on Wenger’s chin, all of which could have had Wenger on his back. What did Wenger do? After being blasted with the three unanswered blows, he caught Ewton with the final blow of the contest.
This contest was so neck and neck, so even, it’s almost a certainty that no one would have complained if the judges had ruled it a draw. As it turns out, Wenger was awarded the close victory.
Bout #15, consisting of 3-two minute rounds, had 29 year-old Houssain Chouari (3-0, 155 lbs., 6 foot tall), who trains with Saroyan Corona at the Muay Thai School U.S.A. in North Hollywood, CA going up against 29 year-old Javier Hernandez (1-0, 150 lbs.) of the NAK Muay Thai, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Round one was a mixed bag with Chouari in charge early, then Hernandez finished the round strong. Chouari dominated round two by way of the knees to the head. By round three, Chouari had Hernandez completely exhausted to make the judges’ decision easy.
In the final bout of the evening, Bout #16, consisting of 3-two minute rounds, they had the big boys, Jesse Johnson (6’5” tall, 260 lbs.) representing Progressive MMA, San Marcos, CA going up against 20 year-old Alberto Alejandres (6’1” tall, 265 lbs.) of Black House Team Nogueira, San Diego. While Alejandres had a record of 1-1, this was Johnson’s first match.
With both men taking and giving, this was a wonder to behold. It was also a wonder the ring held as the two men went crashing backwards into the ropes. At one point, Johnson’s foot slid off the apron and it appeared he had fractured one of his toes. Round one ended with Johnson being knocked down.
At the end of round two, with both men measuring each other for the big knockout blow, Alejandres nailed Johnson a second time. At that point, Johnson was issued another standing 8-count.
In round three, with Johnson getting clipped over and over, the referee finally stepped in to stop the blows to the head. Despite being staggered, Johnson was like this tall timber who just would not fall.