Lopez retained the KOTC heavyweight title with a second win over
Esteves Jones. | Photo: Dave Mandel
HIGHLAND, Calif. -- In what had to feel like a case of terrible
déjà vu, Esteves
found himself under assault by Tony Lopez
for the second time in three months, as Lopez retained his King of
the Cage heavyweight title at KOTC’s “Magnaflow”
on Thursday at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino.
Sierra Vista, Ariz.’s Jones came out like a man with something to
prove, rushing Lopez with a salvo of punches to the head and body
in the opening round. However, Lopez managed to eventually find his
range and kept Jones off balance with a variety of kicks; he even
took Jones’ back standing to end the round. Lopez found Jones’ back
again in the second and third rounds, constantly threatening with
chokes and a steady stream of punches to the former champion, who
made his last stand with a barrage of punches that failed to fell
Lopez at the beginning of the third frame.
Lopez’s back mount was too
Lopez took Jones’ back standing in the fourth round and eventually
toppled Jones with uppercuts from behind before finishing his foe
with follow-up ground-and-pound that forced referee Herb Dean
step in at 4:04 of the fourth round, giving Lopez the stoppage
The 38-year-old Lopez moves his record to 27-8 with his second win
In what was labeled as his retirement fight, California fighting
fixture Brian Warren
overwhelmed John De La O
in the welterweight co-feature, garnering the TKO win at 1:47 of
the first round.
Warren and de la O started tentatively, with Warren stalking and
looking to land his signature spinning back kick. Instead, Warren
eventually came forward and scored a takedown, following up with a
ground-and-pound barrage that left de la O turning and flattening
face down on the mat until referee Mike Beltran called a stop to
Despite the fight’s label as a farewell bout, the 37-year-old
Warren was noncommittal about his plans to retire, hinting at a
return to action in 2012.
Warren’s night was quick.
Elsewhere, former King of the Cage welterweight champion David Gomez
outlasted a game Tom
in a fight punctuated by curious refereeing and
After a close, position-based first round, Gallicchio largely
dominated the second, securing a body triangle on Gomez and
repeatedly threatening with rear-naked choke attempts. However,
with less than a minute to go in the round, referee Dean stood up
the fighters despite Gallicchio still being firmly locked onto
Gomez’s back. Gomez looked to capitalize on the call, rushing
Gallicchio in the frame’s final seconds.
The third frame saw an utterly exhausted Gallicchio picked apart by
Gomez, who landed a variety of strikes as the former M-1 Challenge
U.S. Selections winner was reduced to desperate shot attempts and
even bear crawling towards Gomez. Despite Gallicchio’s apparent
dominance, only judge Ron McCarthy saw the second round for him in
his 29-28 Gomez scorecard; judges Stephen Davis and Cecil Peoples
saw the fight as a shutout for Gomez, 30-26 and 30-27 in awarding
Gomez the unanimous decision.
Garcia bounced back from the first loss of his career, an
unsuccessful bid at Jared
Papazian’s 135-pound title in September, and earned a split
decision over against Lubbock, Texas’ Zach
Garcia displayed his usual brand of reckless aggression in the
opening round, swinging punches at Haney with such force that he
twice found himself on the mat after losing his footing despite
winning the round. However, Garcia’s aggression was nearly his
undoing in the second, as Haney snatched both a near-armbar and
back control off of an overextended Garcia, who spent the majority
of the round fending off rear-naked choke attempts before escaping
Garcia’s aggression got him a
close split decision.
In the third, the two clearly fatigued combatants were unable to
produce much meaningful offense, with Garcia trying to throw
strikes from the top while Haney searched for submissions. Garcia’s
aggression was enough to sway judges McCarthy and Davis, who both
scored the bout 29-28 for Garcia; judge Peoples turned in a
dissenting 29-28 card for Haney, giving Garcia the split
Garcia, now 7-1, was announced as the next challenger for the King
of the Cage bantamweight title, but his opponent is less certain,
given the aforementioned Papazian’s announcement that he is seeking
to drop to 125 pounds.
At 145 pounds, Millenia MMA’s Chris
Culley fought a nip-tuck battle against the Bodyshop Fitness
Team’s Vince Ortiz,
pulling out a close unanimous nod.
After an extremely close opening stanza, Culley won the fight’s
most decisive round in the second, landing left kicks to the legs,
body and head of Ortiz, including a high kick and follow-up left
knee that knocked Ortiz to the mat in the period’s waning seconds.
The third was another closely contested round, but judges McCarthy,
Davis and Peoples all saw the bout 29-28 for Culley, as he avenged
his previous decision loss to Ortiz and extended his current win
streak to three.
Joker’s MMA’s Johnny
Cisneros quickly dispatched a terribly overmatched James
Cooper, sending his middleweight opponent backpedaling with the
first strikes he threw. Cisneros followed it up with uppercuts,
body kicks and even standing hammerfists before finishing with a
salvo that included double hammerfists. Beltran mercifully stopped
the action just 40 seconds into the opening frame.
In the night’s opening bout, Joe Stevenson
205-pound pupil Jason
Walraven utilized a withering top game to grind out a unanimous
decision over American Top Team representative Lucas Taber.
After nine minutes of action, all three judges saw the fight a
30-27 shutout for Walraven, improving his record to 3-1.
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