Written By: Barry Laminack
At the tail end of a three week run of Houston MMA shows, Friday night would see the return of Garcia Promotions to the Houston MMA scene. Back for their second show in the Cage Combat amateur series, expectations were high for the event following a very successful Cage Combat 1 back in December. A near capacity crowd at the Humble Civic Center was treated to an 11 fight card that featured some of Houston’s top amateur fighters.
A good indication of just how fantastic the action was is the fact that our TCD crew had a VERY difficult time deciding fight of the night. In fact 4 fights were up for the honor all getting votes and all worthy. Jiminez vs McCullough, Haydon vs Plata, Henson vs Jones and West vs Liberty ALL got votes for fight of the night.
Carlo Jiminez vs Randy McCullough turned in a barn burner of a fight. It was non-stop action from bell to bell. Jiminez was dominate on the ground and showed a much improved overall fight game since his last fight. Jiminez would end up capitalizing on a mistake by McCullough and secure the victory via RNC in the third. On most nights and on most cards this would be your no doubt fight of the night (and to be honest probably should have won co-fight of the night).
Not to be outdone, Terell Henson and Matthew Jones would do battle in what could easily be described as the heaviest hitting fight of the night. Both 205’ers stood toe to toe for nearly 3 full rounds, banging and slugging and mixing in a little ground work as well. Toward the end of round 3, Jones would land a solid left hook that would move Henson back in a daze. Jones pounced and forced the referee to step in and stop the fight. Match maker Jace Pitre told me before the fight that he was really looking forward to this fight…looks like he was right!
After a couple of impressive first round RNC finishes by Aaron Croon and Manny Lozoya, John Haydon and Rapheal Plata would climb in the cage and deliver one hell of a fight. Both fighters left it all in the cage as this 3 round war would have the crowd buzzing for most of the fight. Plata came out aggressive and never backed off that game plan, but once Haydon shook of some early jitters, he would prove to be a very game opponent for Plata. Plata couldn’t put the iron chinned Haydon away and left it up to the judges, who seemed to be confused with a 30-27, 27-30, 30-27 split decision in favor of Plata. Overall, this fight delivered solid action for nine minutes. Plata lived up to the tough as nails Submission Boxing reputation, while John Haydon put on an amazing display of heart and toughness reminiscent of his cornerman John “The Maniac” Malbrough. Interesting side not in this one: John Malbrough cornered Haydon while Jonathan Harris cornered Plata in this fight. Malbrough and Harris are set to do battle at the next Legacy show on April 9th.
In the end it would be Levi West and Chas Liberty that would turn in our Fight of the Night performance. Though equal in excitement of the other nominated fights, it got the edge in our final vote because it actually lived up to the pre-fight hype, something that rarely happens on the amateur circuit. Liberty, who earlier in the week on ESPN 97.5’s “In The Cage” radio show told Levi West to bring a Snuggie because he was going to “put him to sleep”, made his entrance in said Snuggie, getting the last pre-fight jab in before the opening bell. West was obviously not amused as he came out firing on all cylinders. The former golden gloves boxer showed good footwork and used a crisp and constant jab to set up and land multiple combinations. Liberty didn’t go down with out a fight and at one point had secured full mount on West and was looking to finish the fight. West, who continues to mature as a fighter, remained calm and was able to work his way back to guard. West’s stand up was the difference in the fight, even though he was able to get the TKO via ground and pound.
Aaron Croon earned submission of the night honors with his rear naked choke victory over James Gonzales. With less than 30 seconds to go in the first round, Croon was able to take Gonzales’ back and slap on a rear naked choke. Gonzalez was hanging tough and when the ref asked if he was OK he would give the ref a thumbs up. Croon had different plans, snugged up the RNC and put Gonzalez to sleep with just two seconds left in the round!
In the only title fight of the evening, Colin Wright won the vacant Garcia Promotions Bantamweight title by defeating out-of-towner Paul Reyes. Reyes came in the more experienced fighter at at 4-1, but the undefeated Wright would continue his winning ways with an outstanding performance over the tough challenger. At one point Reyes looked to have the fight in hand (no pun intended) as he was able to get Wright in an arm bar. Wright some how found a way out and would shortly after finish the fight via ground and pound.
All in all, the second edition of the Rumble In Humble was a great night of fight. Eric Garcia and Jase Pitre have done a fantastic job building this organization up and are producing fights and match-up that really showcase the young crop of talent that Houston has.
Matt Thompson def. Martin Garcia via split Decision
Ignacio Martinez def. Ian Hanes via unanimous decision
Cody Harell def. William Papp via unanimous decision
Carlos Jimenez def. Randy McCullough via RNC in Rd 3
Matthew Jones def. Terell Henson via TKO in Rd 3
Aaron Croon def. James Gonzales vai RNC in Rd 1
Manny Lozoya def. Christopher Zeglin via RNC in Rd 1
Rapheal Plata def. John Haydon via split decision
Jeremy Hunter def. Arturo Delgado via TKO in Rd 2
Levi West def. Chas Liberty via TKO in Rd 2
Colin Wright def. Paul Reyes via TKO in Rd 2
For a round by round recap of each fight, check out our live coverage page.
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