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Women on Top

Jackson's MMA Series IV brings the fights to the 505

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Ari LeVaux
the Greg Jackson cam

Saturday night, April 9th, hours before most fans of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) were turning on their televisions to watch Strikeforce, the stands were filling up at the Hard Rock Cafe theater in Isleta. Duke City fight fans turned out for the fourth-and-counting Jackson's MMA Series fight card, the eleven bouts of which featured five pro-fights, three of which were women's.

There were slick submissions, exciting knockouts, and some good decisions. One fight that didn't last very long was between Team Jackson's Jodie Esquibel and Brittany Horton of Belen. A former pro boxer (and now a Rio Rancho firefighter), Esquibel's hands where noticeably faster and more effective than Horton's. After blasting her to the cage with punches and body kicks, Esquibel dropped Horton with a head kick and finished the fight with ground strikes.

In a scrap to determine the first Jackson's Series women's bantamweight (135 lb) champion, Julie Kedzie defeated Kaitlin Young in a five round tactical war - and won herself a car from Good Carma as a win bonus. On a disappointing note for Team Jackson's, Kelly Renee was handed a tough loss by a very game Tsui'jen Conanan from Arizona.

The amateur undercard featured twin headlining bouts: the men's and women's finals of the Jackson's/Edge Challenge, a product of a recent talent search for local promising fighters conducted by The Morning Edge on 104.1 FM. In the women's final, Beckie Lobb of Team Renegades used a brutal kickboxing attack to subdue a game but overpowered Katrina Branchal in a bantamweight bout. In the men's final, Edgar Lopez of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Project let loose with a primal scream as he was introduced. After dropping the first round to Armando Medibles, he powered out a come-from-behind victory, thanks in part to some brutal kicks to the ribs and liver of his opponent. In both of these finals, the winner could have easily been a weight class above the losers, in terms of body frame. All four finalists have potential in their respective natural weight classes.

In the next few days I'll be posting exclusive fight and interview footage from the event. Right now I'll start you off with some Greg Jackson cam, if you haven't clicked it already. It shows the master craftsman at work cage-side, in his natural habitat, coaching his fighters through their bouts. Behind the camera, Albuquerque's one and only Diego Sanchez can be heard cheering his teammates until his voice goes hoarse.

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Hangover Sports Roundup:Strikeforce Returns,NMSU beats UNM

MMA
Strikeforce made their return into the mixed martial arts spotlight with a new logo and exciting fights on Saturday night. MMA bad boy Nick Diaz used his unique boxing technique to defeat KJ Noons by unanimous decision. Even though Diaz won, he was unhappy and continues to state he's not getting the respect he deserves. Meanwhile KJ Noons seems to be in no hurry to get a third match with Diaz and may look to compete in another boxing bout.

After some complaining from 135ibs women's champion Sarah Kaufman, she finally got her wish when she faced Marloes Coenen on the main card. Kaufman's wish turned into a nightmare when Coenen submitted Kaufman with an armbar in round two. Despite some clinching, the bout was mostly exciting and hopefully Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker will continue to promote women's MMA in his organization. In other action, lightweight Josh Thompson spoiled the Strikeforce debut of Gesias Cavalcante by unanimous decision despite almost being submitted in the first round. Also welterweight prospect Tyrone Woodley continues to be one of the most impressive rising stars in MMA by finishing Andre Galvao by TKO in the first round.

College Football
If there was one football game in which I rather watch MTV's Jersey Shore it was the annual rivalry game between New Mexico State and the New Mexico Lobos. Seven turnovers, five of which were the Lobos, made this game one of the worst games of season. The Lobos had their opportunities but too many mistakes and bone headed moves cost them their first win of the season. NMSU didn't even score an offensive touchdown and yet they had most of the momentum. It's sad these two teams represent the culture of football for New Mexico. Despite losing to the Aggies back to back years, Lobos Head Coach Mike Locksley's job is still safe. Firing Locksely means paying him a massive buyout and changing coaching philosophies. The best thing Lobos fans can do is hope for some of Locksely's prospects to show potential. Meanwhile they'll try to regroup and take criticism from the local media and fans while they prepare for San Diego State.

Boise State and TCU should send over a huge gift to South Carolina for the beatdown they gave No.1 Alabama. The normal power defense of Alabama vanished as South Carolina ran up and down the field, scoring 35 points on the Crimson Tide. Alabama Head Coach Nick Sabin will have to convince his team to not give up on their national title hopes. Despite Alabama losing, Boise State and TCU will have to hope other power teams falter in order to have a shot at the BCS National Title.

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