Looking back on it now, we might have realized something was up when Aaron Cerda dropped into the ninja pose during the pre-fight presser/weigh-in ahead of the Jackson’s MMA Series IX fight card, which went down Saturday night at Tingley Coliseum.
Cerda took the main event fight against Frank Gomez on short notice after Gomez’ original opponent, Mikey Lovato, had to pull out with a hurt knee. Not much was known about the 22 year-old Cerda, other than being a striker—rumor has it a 3rd degree black belt in Kajukembo.
As the bout opened, Cerda’s striking was crisp and menacing, and Gomez took the fight to the mat, where he controlled the young Texan. But Cerda was able to land a surprising, ninja-style elbow from the bottom that caused a large welt above Gomez’s eye. A second such elbow proved it wasn’t a fluke, catch Gomez again, this time in the eye.
The referee called a stop to the action so the cage-side doctor could examine Gomez’s eye. After Gomez acknowledged that he couldn’t see out if it, the fight was stopped, with Cerda declared the winner by TKO via doctor stoppage at 4:26 of the first round. If it had just been one elbow, I’d call that a fluke. But a striker who can stop a fight from his back? That, ladies and gentlemen, is some truly next-level shit.
In the co-main event, Hunter Tucker finally put an end to Nate Patterson’s winning streak against Jackson squad, putting him to sleep via first round rear naked choke. In the process, Tucker moves to 4-0 as a pro.
Those who arrived for the main card missed some seriously entertaining undercard action, highlighted by Eric Dodson’s display of Steven Segal-esqu patty-cake-slappy-chop-fu , as he recovered from being seriously rocked by a right hook from Fernie Garcia. While swatting away Garcia’s pesky attempts to finish him, Dodson flashed a jab so fast it was only visible by slow motion replay, and Garcia crumpled. You can see my pre-fight interview with Dodson here. Also on the all-amateur undercard, Ricky Esquibel moved to 2-0 as an amateur, finishing off Chris Brewer by sinking in a guillotine choke from the clinch and then rolling him beautifully to the mat for the finish. Watch a cool clip from Esquibel’s first fight here
See full results at swfight.com.
It’s worth saying that the Tingley Coliseum, which the Jackson’s MMA Series will call home for at least the next four years, is a great place to watch MMA. The lights, the way the music echoes, it’s all a lot more like the big leagues than it was at the Hard Rock Café. And the views are much, much better. Look for another card to shape up for December.