HIGHLAND, Calif. -- Despite scintillating knockouts, upsets and not
a single bout that saw the final bell, King of the
Cage’s live television debut on MavTV ended with a whimper,
leaving the masses at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino -- and
likely home audiences -- craving more.
Taking a break from mopping up larger heavyweights, former
two-division and current heavyweight KOTC champion Tony Lopez
cut to 205 pounds to face well-traveled veteran Trevor
Prangley for the vacant KOTC light heavyweight title. A UFC,
Strikeforce and Bellator veteran, 40-year-old Prangley proved a far
tougher foe than the big men Lopez is used to dispatching,
utilizing his superior athleticism and wrestling to repeatedly
ground and stifle the Yucaipa, Calif., fighter.
Lopez succeeded early on as he blitzed an unprepared Prangley in
the opening seconds, landing knees and punches before being brought
to the mat. While the offense was arguably enough to give him the
opening frame, Lopez was afterwards repeatedly grounded and stifled
by Prangley, who slowly but surely advanced position on the mat and
landed an increasing number of blows on the feet.
The fourth round looked to be a turning point as a clearly fatigued
Prangley could no longer defend Lopez’s strikes and found himself
trapped precariously against the cage. Lopez scored with several
blows before returning to his feet and throwing an ill-advised knee
to Prangley’s head, catching the South African near his left eye
and causing referee John McCarthy to halt the action. Almost
immediately it appeared as though Prangley would be unable to
continue, complaining of a lack of vision from his damaged eye, and
the bout was called shortly afterward.
Scoring the truncated fourth round along with the previous three,
judges Ron McCarthy and Michael Bell turned in scores of 39-37 for
Prangley, while judge Cecil Peoples dissented with an even 38-38
scorecard, giving Prangley a technical majority decision and the
title. The result pleased few in attendance: not either fighter,
their respective camps or the fans shouting for a rematch.
Prangley, now 27-9-1, has won four straight since his November 2011
loss to Hector
Lombard. The 39-year-old Lopez falls to 38-10, having lost two
Gomez started strong in defending his 170-pound title,
repeatedly finding the chin of challenger Sam Liera in
the opening frame of their match, but it wasn’t to be for Rancho
Cucamonga, Calif., native.
For his part, Liera looked to dig to Gomez’ body early and often,
but had few answers for an effective Gomez left hook counter. On
their feet in the first round’s closing moments, an innocuous right
hand behind the ear ruined Gomez’s equilibrium and put the Shark
Tank fighter into retreat. Liera followed up with several more
punches, dropping Gomez to the mat and raining down blows as
Gomez’s defenses collapsed. Referee Mike Beltran had little choice
but to rescue Gomez from further punishment, giving Liera the title
and win at 4:42 of the first round. Liera’s fourth straight win
snapped Gomez’s own five-fight win streak.
Liera seized Gomez’ welterweight title.
Looking to finally capitalize on his third shot at King of the Cage
gold, local favorite Marvin
Garcia finally lived up the expectations of the heavily
partisan crowd, as he choked out WEC veteran Justin
Robbins to take the vacant KOTC 135-pound title.
Garcia utilized his usual hyper-aggressive style to wear Robbins
down, who managed to gain temporary top position, but little else
on Garcia in the opening frame. A wild exchange to open the second
round saw Robbins shoot in on the implacable Garcia, who countered
the ineffective takedown with a powerful guillotine choke,
augmented by the “Riverside Warrior’s” sparkplug-like frame.
Robbins appeared to be unconscious for several seconds before
referee John McCarthy intervened, giving Garcia the technical
submission victory at 48 seconds of round two.
For the first time in recent memory, undefeated prospect Johnny
Cisneros battled for the Highland crowd’s affections against
Upland, Calif.’s Joshua
Aveles, as dueling chants of “Johnny” and “Joshua” filled the
arena. Ultimately, the verbal battle between the fans would last
longer than the bout itself, as a single laser-guided right hand
from Aveles dropped Cisneros in a heap, and three more right hands
on the prone “Tattooed Terror” sealed the deal just nine seconds
into the bout. Aveles, now 10-8, has won eight of his last nine
In post-main event action at 145 pounds, Millenia MMA’s Roberto
Vargas overcame a difficult first round against Musa
Toliver, quickly grounding the Bodyshop Fitness rep and
grabbing a standing guillotine choke in the ensuing scramble,
forcing Tolliver to submit at 1:09 of round two.
In the night’s final match, Frank Park
made quick work of the winless Ken
Tonorio, stopping his undersized foe with strikes from the
mount at 1:23 of the first round.