Written By: Barry Laminack
Photos: Justin Trapp
Decision, Decisions. That was the theme Saturday night, April 9 at the 6th installment of the Legacy Fighting Championship. The fans got every penny of value for their ticket price as the first 7 fights of the evening went the distance. Fight number eight between Andrew Craig and Bubba Bush almost went the distance but was stopped with just seconds remaining in the 5th and final round. Daniel Pineda provided the exclamation mark on the night, soundly and quickly defeating then current lightweight champion Ray Blodgett in just 58 seconds of the first round.
One decision that was easy to make was the moment of the night. No doubt it was the wedding ceremony between Robert Perez (4oz Fight Club) and Jennifer Josey. The two tied the night in the center of the cage for in front of the entire Houston MMA community. Newly licensed Collin Cantrel married the two in the cage, and during their “intro” he jokingly announced their records in previous marriages. The ceremony itself was poigniant and beautiful, especially the applause the crowd gave Jennifer as she walked down the isle toward the cage. I was very proud of my city and my scene as everyone showed the utmost respect and support to the couple who wanted to share something so special with the community and the sport that they love so much.
There were also a couple of announcement on the night. The first being that David Armas and Manny Lozoya are set to do battle at the next Legacy Amateur series for the 135lb amateur title . Lozoya has skyrocketed up the rankings as is currently the #2 bantamweight in the city (and ranked 10th pound for pound). Armas is also on the rise, bouncing back after losing in his Garcia Promotions title fight to the #1 Bantamweight in Houston, Colin Wright. This is going to be a great fight!
The second announcement of the night was the five finalist for the fan vote involving Jason David Franks’s next Legacy fight. Legacy is letting the fans pick his next opponent, and have narrowed the field to five finalist. Three of the five are fighters from the Houston area. Those three are Jermain Anugwom (Windy Sport and Fitness), Shawn Machado (Hoger MMA) and Edgar Verdin (Submission Boxing). The other two are Texas fighters Marcus Anthony Baca and Evan Thompson. You can read more about all five finalist here. You can vote in the official poll here.
The only real disappointment from the evening was the judging. I usually try be very positive when I do these recaps but even I can’t go with out mentioning this. I really think that something needs to be done about the scoring system here in Texas. MMA isn’t boxing and shouldn’t be scored like a boxing match. Also, I think judges need to be educated better on how to score. It seems like sometimes judges get their best education from watching the UFC, but just because Joe Rogan says that Fighter X stole the round with a takedown in the last 10 seconds, doesn’t mean that should apply EVERY TIME. I can say this, I talked with a judge last night, who mentioned that Big John McCarthy might be holding a class here in Houston soon. Let’s hope that help, because after last night it can’t hurt.
Enjoy the fight recaps and pictures. You can read the round by round action from our live play by play here.
Garcia and Greene kicked of the night with a close contest that could have went either way. Garcia, who’s nickname is “Kant Get Right” finally “got right” in the win column as he squeaked out a split decision victory over Greene. Garcia looked like a different fighter on the ground. With a Muay Thai background he’s always had good stand-up, but seems to have improved his overall game as of late. It also didn’t hurt that he had more than twenty four hours to prepare for the fight, as was the case in his last two fights.
Hutton and Bierschwale turned in a spirited fight that was back and forth as well. Hutton tore his bicep early in the first round but grinded out the fight and earned a split decision victory of his own. I think the pivotal point in the fight came at the end of the second round with about 10 seconds left. The round was close but Bierschwale threw a half hearted hook that Hutton shot under. Getting the take takedown allowed Hutton to secure the round. Because of that, I had it 1-1 going into the third, but it could have very well been 2-0 in favor of the Bison. Hutton made a point to come up to me after the fight and let me know he will fight anyone at middleweight and that he plans to put his name back on the top 10 in the rankings.
The fight didn’t live up to the hype, that’s for sure, but it did live up to expectations. Young was much faster than Mack and was able to move in and out of the pocket at will, but Mack was not going down with out a fight. He showed what he’s been saying all along, that he has solid hands and a great chin. Young picked him apart, for 3 rounds, but I would have like to see him finish the fight. Young needed a bounce back fight and got it. Mack picked up a ton of fans and a healthy dose of respect from the MMA community.
Going into this fight, it seemed as though both fighters were heading in opposite directions. Malbrough was riding a two fight win streak as a pro, while Harris had climbed to the top of the mountain (so to speak) only to come up short in his title fight with current Legacy Middleweight champion, Mike Bronzoulis. On paper, Harris was to be Malbrough’s toughest test in his young pro career. Harris was very patient in the fight. Malbrough clipped him early and it looked like it was going to be over pretty quick, but Harris gathered himself, staved off the attack and would go on to win a unanimous decision. Harris looked good on the ground despite spending most of the time inside of a Malbrough triangle. Malbrough was unable to finish the choke because Harris did a good time keeping him pinned against the cage. Harris would worked Malbrough’s body and stay busy for most of the fight. Expect Malbrough to bounce back and look for Harris to climb back into the rankings with the win.
FUN FUN FUN! This was so much fun to watch. Snyder and Black put it all on the line, and it was close…real close. Black was back at 145 after losing to Gilbert Jiminez at IXFA in a 155 fight. Snyder KO’ed Aaron Barringer in his last fight. It was said that the winner of this fight could be in line for a title shot with Daniel Pineda. Black came out aggressive early, but Snyder wasn’t rattled at all. It was clear early he was willing to trade, bang and stand in the pocket until somebody dropped. Most of the last two rounds was fought in the clinch. Black would lock in a nice, tight plum and throw knees, while Snyder would fire back with devistating upper cuts. If I had to guess, I would say it was a 3 to ratio of knees to upper cuts. Black was cut pretty bad by one of those upper cut’s, but it was below the eye so it was never a danger as far as stoppage goes. The judges awarded Snyder the split decision victory.
If we gave an award for most skilled (or most technical) fight of the night, this would win it. Morono came out and let his…well…let his legs go. Yes, I know the normal verbage is to “let your hands go” but Morono had more kicks than a Rockette. Rexroad, being the veteran that he is, didn’t panic and methodically went to work, chipping away at Alex and getting inside. He won the fight by being able to dictate where the fight would take place. If ever there was a way to look good in a loss, this was it. Morono showed what many have been saying all along, he is and will be a force to recon with. With the win, Rexroad should crack the top 5 in the Q2 rankings. Heck, it’s possible we could see Paradigm fighters occupy the first 3 slots of the 170lb division here in Houston.
I don’t think people knew what to expect going into this fight. On they one hand, Huerta is a phenomenal striker who knows how to finish. Garza has a rock hard chin. Based on that, I think most people, including myself expected a slug fest. Instead, most of the fight was spent against the cage in the clinch. Huerta did a nice job of dirty boxing when he needed too. Garza was no doubt ready to bang, but Huerta dictated the pace (and place) of the fight and improved his record to 4-0-0 as a pro. Angel has done things the right way thus far, and has been very quick to say that he wasn’t ready for top tier fights, but he’s slowly working his way up the rankings list, in terms of opponents. I hope we’ll get to see Huerta vs [Steve] Garcia in the future! Pretty please with sugar on top!!
This wasn’t just a battle between Andrew Craig and Bubba Bush, nay, it was way more than that. This was a battle between the University of Texas (represented by Andrew Craig) and Texas A&M (Represented by Bubba Bush). More importantly, this was a battle between beard (Craig) vs no beard (Bush). In the end, and on this night, beard would prevail…and so would Craig. All kidding aside this fight lived up to expectations. For those that didn’t know much about Bubba Bush, they got to see what a tough son of a gun he really is. They also got to see why Andrew Craig is deserving of his number one ranking at 185lb in Houston. After not being able to stop the takedowns from Bush, he kept his cool and slowly started to chip away at Bush. In fact, on my score card, I had Bush winning rounds 1 & 2 and Craig winning rounds 3&4.
Going into round 5, it was anyone’s fight, but Craig was clearly the fresher fighter, wich seems next to impossible when you consider he spent the first 2 rounds on the ground with the stronger Bush. Craig started to connect and let his hands go in the 3rd and 4th, and as the fight progressed it was obvious the moment was shifting. With time running out in the 5th round, Craig connected with a right hook and cut Bush open (causing large quantities of blood to land on yours truly). The shot obviously rocked Bush, but how bad I couldn’t tell, I was too busy shreeking like a Jr. High school girl because I had some Bubba Bush blood on me (It was in fact maroon FYI). Depending on who you talk too, Bush was either out on his feet or going for a single. The odd part is that the referee stopped the fight but did not restart it in the exact position. I was told later that the referee said he ruled it a slip and that’s why he separated the fighters. Craig pounced and it wasn’t long until the referee would step in agains (all be it very hesitantly) and stop the fight…with about 10 seconds left in the fight. I’ll let the fans and others debate if the fight should have been stopped or not, but I will say that I have VERY reliable sources that said they saw the score cards and that Bush was on his way to a split decision victory had Craig not finished him.
This fight was thought by many (including yours truly) to be one of the most evenly matched main events in a long time. Most people felt like the fighters were fairly equal skill wise and that we would see a 5 round war. Unfortunately, Daniel Pineda had other ideas as he came out and beat a very tough Ray Blodget just 58 seconds into the first round. Watching the video a couple of times now, I don’t think Blodget landed a single strike. Pineda enforced his will from the get go, and as soon as he landed a well timed right on rocked Blodget, he pounced like a pitbull on a steak. Legacy match-maker and announcer Collin Cantrel said in the cage after the fight that up next for the new dual champion (145 and 155 pounds) would be 155lb stud and Strikeforce vet. Carlo Prater. My guess is that we won’t see that fight because I don’t think we’ll see Pineda fight again at 155. In talking with people close to his camp, I’m told that Pineda was simply trying to prove a point. Point taken.
Bottom line, Pineda’s last 3 fights have been nothing short of impressive. He’s faced 3 of the top 10 155’ers in the city (Rey Trujillo, Levi Forrest and Ray Blodget) and beat all three of them in a TOTAL of 5:45 combined.