Maybe if Brewer shaved that warrior hairdo he'd have made weight
Watching some fights down by the railroad tracks just got a lot less ghetto.
The newly refurbished Rail Yards, just south of downtown, is now the go-to spot for hipster points, and will be hosting its second weekly community market mere hours after they pack up the cage. But tonight the old blacksmith shop belongs to the fighting community, as an all-amateur card of fighters will strip to the waist and try to use each other as stepping-stones as they climb the mountain of glory.
The nine-fight Jackson’s MMA Series card, Protégé, starts at 7, at 1100 2nd St SW, and will feature Albuquerque fighters from local gyms taking on comers from elsewhere in state. Tickets to this uniquely-set event are available at Hold My Ticket.
At the top of the card is a fighter whose career I’ve followed ever since he won the Jackson’s Edge Challenge in 2011. Ricky Esquibel, of the Jackson-Winkeljohn camp here in Albuquerque, battles Chris Brewer of Alamosa in a main event battle that should have been a 125 lbs (flyweight), had Brewer not missed weight by 2 and a half pounds.
To see some rare footage from Esquibel’s first fight—in which he impressively got out of a tight spot by picking up his opponent, slamming him, and strangling him—please refer to this blog post I wrote at the time.
NIck Urso, right, at the weigh-ins for Jacksons MMA Series XI, pictured with Jackson's welterweight Clint Roberts
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.
A passerby who happened to be wandering through the Hotel Albuquerque ballroom yesterday would have noticed the weigh-ins for tonight’s Jackson’s MMA Series (JMMAS) fight card. To his or her untrained eye, it was a bunch of dudes taking turns weighing themselves in their Underoos. If the passerby happened to miss the occasional brief moment when the fighters tensed their muscles and raised their fists at each other, the mood in the room may have been more suggestive of a needlepoint contest. There was handshaking, hugging, back patting and giggling—yes giggling—as the fighters squared off and tried to look menacing in each other’s faces.
These gentlemen are looking forward to punching one another, and who are we to stop them? They are fighters. This is a fight town. And everyone is so gleeful because they know that as soon as this formality is over they can finally eat again, and rehydrate their shrunken bodies.
The card goes down tonight at JMMAS’ new home in Tingley Coliseum at Expo New Mexico at the fairgrounds. I wrote about it more yesterday, and everything I said remains true, except that Nick Urso’s opponent, who we won’t bother naming at this point, showed up two weight classes above the 135lb bantamweight limit, and that scrap was scrapped.
Taking its place in the coveted "co-main event" category is a fight between stocky and clean cut Manuel Cespedes and the skinny, hippy-dread-headed Mike Justus of Jackson’s MMA. They say that style-matches make fights. So do matches of body types. Will the tall guy use his massive reach advantage to pick apart Cespedes on the feet, or submit him in a tangle of limbs? Or will he fold like a lawn chair when he feels the Cuban's power?
One thing that’s for sure: for a moment the giggles will stop.
The Jackson’s MMA Series returns to Tingley Colliseum tomorrow (Saturday) night. If you’ve never seen a live MMA event, Tingley is a great place to start. It’s big enough to accommodate the cheers, the jeers, the thumping music and flashing lights of a big show, and that’s what it feels like at fight time. This venue is altogether a massive improvement over the event’s former home, the Hard Rock Café. And as a bonus, if you get too drunk to drive home, the walk is a heckuva lot shorter.
Only the card’s top two fights have been announced, both 135 lb contests: Matt Leyva vs Anthony Birchak and Nick Urso vs Dave Ruelez. Two additional pro fights and a full amateur undercard are on tap as well, according to a Nov 27 press release.
The event’s weigh-in takes place today at 2pm at the Hotel Albuquerque, free to the public. It can also be streamed online (the fight card can also be streamed from there as well, for five bucks).
One fighter on the amateur undercard is Eric Dodson, whose older brother John will challenge Demetrius Johnson for the UFC Flyweight title on January 26, 2013. Eric will enter the cage for his second career fight tomorrow, against Scott Ingram, which he discussed in an interview with Jorge Hernandez of Albuquerque’s Low Blow Podcast.
The Alibi was at the younger Dodson’s first fight in October, and we shot this video, which you should now enjoy. Dodson appeared to be having the time of his life, even when he got rocked, before entering temporary matrix mode and becoming temporarily unhittable, finishing Fernie Garcia with a single lighting –fast jab.
There are some other interesting fights on the undercard as well, including Jackson’s Ricky Esquibel against Aurora, Colorado’s Nick De Fiore. Seriously, anyone who shows up late and misses the undercard better have a damned good excuse.
For more on the undercard and main card matchups, visit our local nexus for sport combat: http://swfight.com/ Fights start at 7 pm at Tingley Coliseum at Expo New Mexico at the fairgrounds. Tickets are $20-$125.
Boxer turned MMA fighter Jodie Esquibel picked up her second win as a pro, at the Jackson's MMA Series VII on Saturday night at the Hard Rock Cafe. She defeated Amy Reihle by unanimous decision with crisp boxing. That woman has lightning in her hands.
Ahead of the January 21 Jackson’s MMA Series VII fight card, a press conference was held earlier this week. Though it was set up to hype some fights, the event showed all of the bad blood and barely contained aggression of a quilting party. Headliner Diana Rael made the trip down from Denver to square off against Albuquerque’s Michelle Waterson, but spent more time coo-cooing with her opponent’s baby daughter than mean mugging in her face.
Co-main event fighters, Albuquerque’s Henry Martinez (6-1) and Denver’s Ali Hanjani (3-1), were equally cordial, thanking each other for taking the fight and offering quiet praise for one another. This is how martial arts competitions should be, but all to often in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, the tradition of respect is upstaged by a cafeteria brawl mentality.
Diana Rael Interview
It isn’t that these fighters don’t plan on putting a hurting on each other when the cage door locks on January 21. But until then, and presumably afterwards, these athletes don’t bear a grudge against each other. Indeed, they need each other in order to be able to compete at this sport they love.
The Alibi caught up with both Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson and Diana “Dianomite” Rael after the presser. Rael is coming off her upset victory over Albuquerque’s hometown favorite Angelica Chavez at MMA Fight Pit - Genesis this past August. This is Waterson’s first fight since her daughter Araya was born last March.
The Jackson’s MMA Series VII fight card goes down at the Hard Rock Café on January 21 at 7 pm.
Matt Leyva's cheering section, including Diego Sanchez and family (and stash).
It was a pleasant evening of punching, kicking and strangling at the Hard Rock Café, a warm and fuzzy reminder of just how enamored our town is with the whole ultimate fighting thing. UFC star Diego Sanchez was in attendance, yelling himself hoarse in support of his Jackson-Winkeljohn teammates. Former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski was there as well, and he managed to make it through about a hundred fan photo-ops without once cracking a smile.
Ricky Esquibel escapes trouble by the time-tested method of picking up his opponent, slamming him to the mat, and choking him out. Note the tap, seconds before the buzzer, that should have ended the fight early.
The amateur undercard was a clean sweep for the home team. John Sparks submitted Adam McGurk of El Paso in the first round by rear naked choke in a lightweight bout. Then at middleweight, Adam Gonzales needed only 17 seconds to knock out Fabian Salas, also of El Paso. Gonzales caught Salas with a straight right as the Texan charged. At the top of the amateur card, Ricky Esquibel won an impressive decision over Juan Carlos Mora of Santa Fe, for the Edge Fighter Challenge Championship. Esquibel was persistent with knees from the clinch. Near the end of the third round, Esquibel escaped a bad situation on the ground with the time-tested method of standing up with your opponent on top of you, slamming him, and choking him out. The referee missed Mora’s tap, with seconds left in the third round, but the tap did not escape the Alibi’s camera.
Freddie Crosby taps to Hunter Tucker's choke
In the first fight on the pro card, Nate Patterson of Las Cruces used vicious leg kicks to visibly hurt Rich Chavez of Jackson-Winkeljohn, draining the spring from his step and taking away his takedown ability. Patterson didn't do much more than land those leg kicks, but it was enough to earn him the judges decision and bring him to a perfect 3-0 against the hometown squad.
Then, Tucson’s Freddie Lux handed Jackson’s flyweight Nick Urso his first loss in a split decision. In a strange post-fight speech, the crowd clearly hated Lux, but when the Tyson-voiced 125 lber asked if the crowd wanted him back next time the room filled with cheers. Go figure.
Joey Villasenor thanks his corner
In the only fight where neither fighter had the home field advantage, Freddie Crosby of Albuquerque Kickboxing took on Hunter Tucker of Jackson-Winkeljohn at featherweight. The bout was competitive until Tucker caught Crosby with a guillotine choke midway through the second round, forcing him to tap and silencing half of the room.
The co-main event featured recent UNM graduate, and former marine, Matt Leyva, who won a close unanimous decision against Federico Lopez of Temecula, Cali. While two of the judges gave all three rounds to Leyva, the fight was closer than that. Each round was close, and Lopez made a strong case for winning each. Perhaps Leyva’s vocal and well-appointed cheering section made the judges nervous.
In the evening’s main event, “Smokin’” Joey Villasenor made his welterweight debut, and smoked Chuck Parmellee of Sioux City, IA, by first round TKO. Parmellee, a game opponent, was the aggressor early on, while Villasenor stayed elusive and patient until he found an opening for a left hook that landed on his charging opponent, knocking him to the mat. Villasenor swarmed Parmellee with punches before he even hit the ground, and the fight was waived off seconds later by referee Craig Zellner.
In his post-fight remarks, the former middleweight Villasenor said he felt reborn at 170. “It feels like my career is brand new. Last might I was pinching myself that I actually made 170. I was outsized my last few fights. But ‘70 feels good. I feel good.”
The amateur undercard at Jackson’s MMA Series VI, at the Hard Rock Café, was a clean sweep for the home team. John Sparks submitted Adam McGurk of El Paso in the first round, by rear naked choke in a lightweight bout. Then at middleweight, Adam Gonzales needed approximately 17 seconds to knock out Fabian Salas, also of El Paso. Gonzales caught Salas with a straight right as the Texan charged. At the top of the amateur card, Ricky Esquibel won an impressive decision over Juan Carlos Mora of Santa Fe, for the Edge Fighter Challenge Championship. Esquibel was persistent with knees from the clinch. To seal the third round, after being taken down Esquibel stood up with Mora on top of him, lifting Mora in the air and slamming him.