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Holly "The Preacher's Daughter" Holm
Will Fox

sports

Holly Holm fights Friday

and it could be the last time you watch her fight in Burque

Sure, it’s a damn shame that the UFC may never do a show in Albuquerque. After all, Duke City has some of the most committed fight fans on earth. On the flipside, we’ve got some of the best fighters as well, with both home-grown talent and fighters hat have immigrated here to train at Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA, as well as some of the other gyms, like FIT NHB. That adds up to local Mixed Martial Arts events stacked with top caliber talent, fighters that may very soon be competing at the sport’s highest level.

Case in point: Friday, Dec. 6, at the Route 66 Casino, the Fresquez Productions’ “Havoc” fight card, featuring Holly Holm vs Angela Hayes at bantamweight (135 lbs). The UFC has already expressed interest in Holm, and UFC president Dana White has acknowledge to being pestered to the point of desperation with questions about when the organization will sign her. Holm is being touted by many fans and media as a potential solution to Ronda Rousey's dominance.

Thus far, no opponent has escaped the first round without tapping to an armbar, much less beaten the UFC champion. Holm, a world champion boxer, and, according to her coach Mike Winkeljohn a “better kickboxer” is a fearsome striker, who has never been taken down or threatened on the ground in five professional MMA fights. But five of her opponent’s six wins are by submission, which means this could finally be the time Holm is tested on the ground. And we have the opportunity to see what happens, live. As soon as Holm gets picked up by the UFC, you might not be able to see her fight in Albuquerque ever again, so take advantage!

Also on the card, flyweight Nick Urso, a Jackson/Winkeljohn product like Holm. SouthWestFightNews notes, “Urso’s combination of speed, technique and natural talent has placed his name front-and-center in the discussion of who is New Mexico’s best fighter not-signed by a major MMA promotion.”

Urso will be fighting Jesus Urbina of Bushido MMA in El Paso. Again, SouthWestFightNews: “Urbina is very tough in all areas of MMA as he can trade punches in and outside of the pocket, he is very good at scrambling in his defensive grappling and he can finish fights when he gets top position on the mat. All of those compliments only accent his respected wrestling game; Urbina in fact has a collegiate wrestling background. “

Another fighter on the card we should be exited to see is Jackson/Winkeljohn welterweight (170 lbs) Clint Roberts, who will fight Eddie Gamboa, also of El Paso’s Bushido MMA. Roberts is a powerful, well-rounded fighter who would likely be making big waves by now if he didn’t keep getting injured. Most recently: a broken hand suffered in his last fight. It the knockout win, he ended up breaking his hand on his opponents’ head.

Many other local prospects will be fighting as well, including Cody East, Chuck Pieritz, Gabriel Benitez, Ricky Esquibel, and Mike Benefiel. The six-bout main card is preceded by a five-fight amateur undercard, which starts at seven. The public is invited to attend the weigh-in on Thursday at 2 pm, at the Route 66 Casino.

Tickets can be purchased online. For info, call 505-884-7484, or visit the Fresquez Productions website.

sports

Lobos Face George Mason in 2nd Round of NCAA Tournament on Sunday

UNM plays in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in a home game on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 5pm. Go Lobos!

sports

Team USA Beats Panama at the Last Minute

And does Mexico a favor

For a long bit in the game, it didn't look as though the US—already securely qualified for the World Cup—would pull out the victory.
Via LoboTV

sports

Lobos Drop High-Scoring Game Against UNLV

Despite rushing 400 yards in first half

On Saturday, the University of New Mexico Lobos started hot. The cherry-and-silver squad scored 21 points in the first quarter, running up 217 yards in the first twelve minutes alone. However, the energy couldn’t be sustained. The Rebels of UNLV came out with almost as much steam, and the Lobos ultimately fell 56-42, scoring consecutively less per quarter in a game that had seemed an almost-certain win at many points early in the evening.

While the Lobo offense hummed in the first quarter, UNLV came right back at UNM in the second quarter. The Lobos registered another 14 points, UNLV another 21, and come halftime, the score was knotted at 35-35. The running game maintained their domination of the offense, especially for the Lobos, who gained another 183 yards. The two teams combined at half for 749 yards, but the tied score wouldn't remain that way for long.

The Rebels started to utilize the passing game and took advantage of a Lobo fumble, holding the previously unfettered running game to a mere 97 more yards in the entire second half. Two consecutive touchdowns by UNLV in the span of a mere three minutes seemed to break the Lobos’ willpower to mount any kind of comeback.

With the loss, the Lobos drop to 1-3 for the year. Coach Bob Davie said, post-game, that the first half was unbelievable but admitted that the end result depended on being able to stop the other team. Lobos' offense has proven their capabilities, especially in the first half of Saturday's action, but the defense of the cherry-and-silver needs to continue to work in order to right UNM's year.

Looking past the sting of the defeat, the night also brought about a school record of three players each rushing for more than 100 yards: Kasey Carrier, Carlos Wiggins and quarterback Cole Gautsche each accomplished the feat.

sports

Team USA Qualifies for 2014 World Cup

On Tuesday night, Team America beat Mexico in Columbus, Ohio 2-0 and, later in the evening, when Honduras refused to hold on and beat Panama, tying 2-2 on a goal in stoppage time, ensuring that Team USA secured a qualifying spot in the World Cup.

The Americans had lost their last game, against Costa Rica, on Friday night. They were whooped, 1-3, and they lost the mental edge of having the longest win streak in the world, at 12. Moreover, they lost Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler for the Mexico match due to those players picking up their second yellow cards of the qualification process. Michael Bradley also sat out against Mexico, having suffered a freak injury during warmups when he sprained his left ankle.

Due to those absences—particularly Altidore, whose performance for the team has been impressive, to say the least—and the long-standing disadvantage America has maintained while facing Mexico, there were some who doubted the team's chances despite the home field advantage. However, the Mexican team seems to be in complete disarray, suffering from the endless tailspin that inevitably follows a sudden departure from previously winning ways.

However, when it came time to get things done, the team stepped up as a whole with their depth tested, and the team answered the call. The previous stars were particularly adept, with Eddie Johnson scoring in the 49th minute, once again off a header. He was spelled by Mikkel Diskerud in the 76th minute. Reviled when his plan didn't seem to be taking right away, coach Jurgen Klinsmann now looks like a genius, particularly when it comes to substitutions. Diskerud played a smart ball of a throw in with a deft first touch, putting the ball right in front of the Mexico goal. Clint Dempsey had a brilliant look at the clincher but whiffed his attempt. Luckily, Landon Donovan was there, as he's been for Team USA ever since making his comeback. Donovan put his goal in at the 78th minute.

When Honduras tied Panama nearly an hour after the USA/Mexico game finished, the work of the night was complete. Team USA is now officially qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It's worth noting that, of the 207 nations in the world who compete in the qualification process, only 32 make it. Eight nations have won the World Cup; the United States is not amongst that number. With this qualification, though, the United States becomes only the 13th nation to qualify for the ultimate tournament 10 times.

sports

Lobo Football Cannot Hold Lead in Season Opener

Are we in for another bumpy season?

When the University of New Mexico Lobos took the field for the first regular-season game on Saturday afternoon, things felt fine. The weather was good, the pre-season had gone well and second-year coach Bob Davie was looking to continue down the trail of improvement that he'd begun last year. For the first quarter—and most of the first half—things seemed like they'd stay pleasant. By the end of the game, though, the Lobos offense showed that it could not advance beyond an early spurt, and the defense proved porous the entire game long. The Lobos fell to the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners, 21-13.

The game started on a positive note, as SaQwan Edwards returned a fumble for a touchdown. Coach Davie, showing confidence in his team, went for two, but missed the conversion. A disappointment for the Cherry and Silver home crowd, certainly, but never a bad move at home, in the first game, after such an early touchdown. The first quarter ended with UNM up 6-0 and the second quarter proved more of the same; the Lobos scored quickly again on a perfect pass from second-year quarterback Cole Gautsche to a wide-open Marquis Bundy. UNM took the easy kick this time, and sat pretty on a 13-0 lead.

However, the Roadrunners began their comeback at the end of the second quarter, and the Lobos never scored again. The Lobos lost the game on every conceivable benchmark, possessing the ball for just under five minutes less than the Roadrunners, while throwing and running for fewer yards as well. As impressive as the game began, the Edwards touchdown came off the only turnover in the game. With the Roadrunners playing a protective game, UNM wasn't aggressive enough to cause any other opportunities. While Gautsche provided an impressive running game, tallying 118 yards, he only completed four of 12 passes, for 65 yards. In stark contrast UTSA's quarterback, Eric Soza, threw for 237 yards, completing 21 of 34 attempts. The Roadrunners ran for another 157, dominating a Lobos defense that seemed lost at times.

The Lobos have come a long way from going win-less through entire seasons, or winning a mere one game per. But the home opener proves that they still have a long way to go. Their next two games are at UTEP on September 7 and then at Pittsburgh on September 14, before getting a bye week and finally coming home. When the Lobos return to University Stadium, it will face a UNLV team that lost their first game as well (against the Minnesota Golden Gophers) and will have had three games in between. The game will be played on Saturday, September 28 at 6 MST.

NIck Urso, right, at the weigh-ins for Jacksons MMA Series XI, pictured with Jackson's welterweight  Clint Roberts
Will Fox

sports

Jackson's MMA Series XI, tonight

Homegrown MMA at Tingly

Jackson’s MMA Series XI is set to rock Tingly Colliseum tonight. The first bout of the amateur undercard starts at 7 pm. The undercard features one of my favorite amateurs to watch, Eric Dodson, younger brother of UFC Flyweight contender John Dodson.

The main card is headlined by a Featherweight contest between Conrad Padilla of Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA and Nick Rhoads, who makes the trip from Tucson into hostile territory.

Also on the under, Jackson/Winkeljohn product Nick Urso takes on Ronnie White of Lovato Fitness in Albuquerque, in what should be an exciting cross-town rivalry in the Flyweight division. Urso is just a win or two away from a shot at the UFC, according to his striking coach Mike Winkeljohn.

If you’ve never been to a Jackson’s MMA Series event in Tingly, it’s worth a trip. The flashing lights and bone-shaking sound system are on par with the big shows, like UFC and Bellator, and the caliber of fights usually are too. If you’re stuck at home, like I’ll be, you can stream it live.

Go to http://jacksonsmmaseries.jacksons.tv/ for info on streaming and tickets.

sports

MLB Continues to Fight PED-Use

Rodriguez Fights Back

On Monday afternoon, Major League Baseball dropped the hammer on Alex Rodriguez, handing down a 211-game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic. Biogenesis, which billed itself, while it was operating, as an 'anti-aging' clinic located in south Florida, is the center of a long investigation by MLB involving performance-enhancing drugs. 12 other players were also suspended—and all 12 accepted their suspensions with deals that limited the terms to a mere 50 games. This willingness to accept the suspensions—and the mea culpas that accompanied the punishments—open the possibility of All-Star Nelson Cruz rejoining his team, the Texas Rangers, when the playoffs begin. Cruz joins two other All-Stars, Everth Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta, as well as nine others, as the latest players punished by MLB. However, there is no doubt that Rodriguez is the biggest fish.

Rodriguez has always invited a certain kind of scorn. He was never Derek Jeter, diving into the stands for a fly ball. He was a machine, programmed to hit baseballs, longer and father than had been done before, seemingly destined to break records. One reporter at least, wonders: Why did Rodriguez feel this need? What he stands accused of now is willfully flaunting that fate, spitting in the face of a league that he could have ruled. All 12 other players accused in the Biogenesis case accepted deals for shorter suspensions and gave up their right to appeal the sentence.

Rodriguez, however, as seems to be par for his personality, is intent on fighting. Unique amongst his peer group in this case, A-Rod suited up for the Yankees and played on Monday night. For those who delight in schadenfreude,New York was squashed by the Chicago White Sox, 8-1. Rodriguez himself went 1 for 4, striking out once, flying out twice—once to center and once left—with his one hit going left.

For some baseball fans, these latest revelations prove to be a bridge too far. They seem to indicate that Rodriguez was never clean. And the greatest shame of yet another dark day in baseball's fight to clean up the sport is that Rodriguez was supposed to be one of the greats to lead the way out of the PED-era. MLB, it seems, is still waiting for that player to come along.

Bellator Welterweight Champ Ben Askren
courtesy of Bellator FC

sports

Bellator 97: two dominant champs dominate

Michael Chandler and Ben Askren did what they do

Funky is Ben Askren’s official knickname. I might suggest "Glue." Or better yet, "Velcro." His tight curly hair looks like one half of that material, and he has a way of sticking to his opponents. He need only make contact with a single point of his opponent, and then he doesn’t let go. He leans on them, tangles them, applies his weight to the exact leverage points to make them work their hardest. He holds them down and hits them.

Askren won the first round while inflicting little damage, but in subsequent rounds he ratcheted up the pressure, eventually out-striking his opponent 293-3 in what seemed like a foregone conclusion. Askren attempted a few submissions, but gave them up when they opened up opportunities to improve his position. Koreshkov came out at the beginning of each subsequent round looking more and more terrified of being taken down. All Askren had to do was fake a takedown and he’d jump backwards. Koreshkov fought gamely at first, but seemed to lose his will.

Perhaps the most dramatic moment was at the beginning of Round 3, when Koreshkov caught Askren with a knee as he shot in for a double leg. It was a good knee, and such a knee is a potential Achilles heel to any wrestler. But if the knee hurt Askren, it wasn’t apparent. He continued doing his thing, which was basically what a cat does to a living mouse. Askren toyed with Koreshkov until he gave up and stopped fighting back, and Askren was awarded the finish by TKO.

“Snap crackle pop,” is how he described his treatment of Koreshkov afterwards, in his post-fight interview with color commentator Jimmy Smith.

It was unarguably a brilliant, dominating performance, but the crowd hadn’t liked it. This is Duke City, after all, and they hadn’t come to watch a wrestling match. During the fight there had been a few half-hearted chants of USA, USA, USA—Koreshkov was, after all, a foreigner—but these were soon drowned by in a sea of boos. This hadn’t been the only wrestling match of the evening. Mohamed “King Mo” Lawal had also dry-humpted his way to a tko victory due to ground strikes.

Perhaps, in hindsight, feeding a wrestler-heavy card to an Albuquerque crowd, following a prelim card that consisted of squash matches where local lambs were sacrificed to Bellator prospects to pad their records and their highlight reels, wasn’t the best idea. And the crowd wasn’t MMA-nerdy enough to appreciate the surprise announcement of Rampage Jackson vs Tito Ortiz, on a November 2nd Pay-per-view. But then, this was a card designed for television. The ABQ fight fans were there to fill the place up, and 3,000 + showed up.

In his post-fight interview, Askren called the crowd communists for booing him, and announced that he’s the best fighter in the world. Ten minutes later, freshly showered, Askren pranced around the cage-side VIP area, completely unmarked, taking thumps-up photos.

The fisticuffs-craving crowd got what it wanted in the final fight, as Michael Chandler quickly and ferociously knocked out David Rickels in 42 seconds to defend his belt. Not much more to say, as it was so quick, except that even in that short window of a performance, it’s clear that Michael Chandler is an explosive, impressive athlete. After the fight Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney called Chandler the best lightweight in the world. One reason he didn’t say the same about Askren is that he hadn’t just signed Askren to a multi-fight contract, as he had Chandler. Askren, in fact, had just fought his final fight on his current contract.

Askren and Chandler. Two different fighters, two different but dominant performances. Two Bellator champions that could give their UFC counterparts runs for their money.

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