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Cage Vs Cons II – A Night of MMA

By Gina L. Caliboso (At Ringside)

On Saturday, I got a second chance to attend the Cage vs Cons event. I say second chance because I attended the first event back in May. And, even if you check the RSR archive, there was no article. And, it’s for good reason. It was a disaster on my part. That’s all I say. Cage vs Cons is a rather ambitious event that includes a music festival, a tattoo expo, an art festival, and finally, as the day unwinds, MMA bouts. Last night, I had the opportunity to sit ringside. Yes folks, I didn’t attend the other events and I had my hands full being able to sit ringside. The MMA bouts comprise of law enforcement officials (Cage) versus opponents that had brushes with the law (Cons).

The Saturday event was held outside. Since the fights were held outside, there was an off chance for some rain. As the night continued, the cage floor did have to be toweled off and several of the competitors did have difficulty executing simple kicks because of the condensation. The California State Athletic Commission sanctioned the fights. Well known referee Big John McCarthy held a ring inspection before the first fight began. But let’s get down to some MMA ringside reporting here.

Undercard bouts:

The first fight was an amateur featherweight division fight between Nate Arreola vs Daniel “Filipino Ninja” Vargas. At the start of the first round, neither fighter wasted any time. Both fighters got into the clinch immediately. Vargas took Arreola down in a sweep and then got mount position. Arreola gave up his back and soon Vargas had the ground and pound position. There was a solid connect with a punch and Arreola started bleeding. Finally, at 1:58 in the first round, there was a stoppage due to a tapout from a rear naked choke. Vargas wins.

The second fight was in the lightweight division between Eric Aarons, 6-4, 3 wins by submission vs Luke Adams, 3-5. In the first round, both fighters engaged and then Adams tried to clinch and take Aarons down. Adams came up with knees and eventually underhooked and almost pulled Aarons down. Aarons did a knee to the head and in a final takedown, Adams went to the ground. Aarons worked a good ground and pound with punches to ribs and head. Aarons continued to punch to the head while on the ground at the close of the round.

In the second round, Aarons took down Adams with a good punch kick combo then shot in. Aarons got side control trying to mount and maintained dominant position. Aarons continued to keep side control but didn’t do much. Adams failed to put anything together. In the third and final round, Aarons continued to work more than Adams; Adams didn’t do much of an offense – Aarons maintained the better position consistently throughout the third round.

With the decision going to the judges, Eric Aarons wins by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

In the third bout of the evening in the middleweight division, Chris Brown, 4-0, 3 wins by TKO went up against James Teele making his MMA debut. In the 1st round, Brown came out strong and immediately took Teele down to the ground.
Teele worked out of it from the ground to stand up. Perhaps feeling a bit jittery in his debut, Teele needed to settle down, relax and find his footing. Teele did manage to take down Brown, but Teele kept getting into the choke. While on the ground, Teele needed to knee and do more on the ground and Teele maintained dominant position until Brown tied up and locked Teele’s shoulder.

In the 2nd round, Brown proved more aggressive. Teele gave up his back and Brown rained down punches. Teele remained strong even after Brown had him down on the ground. Finally, at 1:05 in the 2nd round, Brown wins by submission due to a tapout from a rear naked choke. Brown remains undefeated.

In the fourth bout of the evening in the lightweight division, Carl Santiago went up against Alex Espinola. After a brief exchange, Santiago got mounted by Espinola and got the rear naked choke when he gave up his back. Santiago worked out of it and tried to take down Espinola with a slam takedown. Again, Santiago worked out of it, but eventually Espinola held on to a rear naked choke and Santiago couldn’t recover. At 1:40 in round 1, Espinola got a tap out due to a rear naked choke and earned the win.

In the fifth bout of the evening in the light heavyweight division, Marcus Gaines went up against Paul Karsky. The two engaged immediately and Karsky came out ready to punch. Karsky put Gaines in a choke, but Gaines was able to get half mount. Gaines had tied up Karsky’s arm/shoulder even after Karsky slammed him down to the ground more than once. Gaines held on to win by tapout. Gaines wins by an arm bar with the referee calling the bout at 58 seconds in the first round.

In the sixth bout of the evening, in the middleweight division, Mark Matthews fought Richard Blake. In the first round, Matthews started out with kicks and punches, both standing up, until Blake pulled him into the clinch to bring him down, but Matthews eventually pulled out. As the two engaged again, Blake got clocked or stunned but then recovered to do more punches. Matthews got Blake into a choke, and then pulled him down to the ground. Eventually, Matthews got Blake’s back and pulled off a rear naked choke. Finally, the referee stops the fight at 1:54 in round 1 due to a choke.

In the seventh and co-main event of the night in the heavyweight division,
Ben Davis fought against Ralph A’Au. In the 1st round, A’Au took down Davis and got side control. In the midst of the exchange, A’Au got cut but continued his attack and did a few ground and pound punches. Since I was ringside, I saw the blood and the thuds of the fist against flesh and also against the head. Davis was done. A’Au wins by tapout from strikes.

Finally, in the main event in the welterweight division, Ismail Gonzales, 10-8, 2 draws 4 KO’s fought against Nick Christy in a 3 round bout with each round 5 minutes and officiated by Big John McCarthy. And RSR readers, Ismael Gonzales looks like Anderson Silva.

In the first round, the mat got to be a little slippery. Both fighters attempted to kick, but both fighters slipped and were off balance. Soon Christy and Gonzales got into a tie up, standing up against the cage. Both were standing up but neither fight could get into a dominant position off the fence. Both Christy and Gonzales put slaps to the head, but they were expending a lot of energy doing nothing until McCarthy split them up to engage in the middle of the cage.

Both fighters worked stand up AGAIN and worked against the fence again until
Gonzales punched Christy in the rib cage. Gonzales tried to pull down and up to get a takedown, but couldn’t get the leverage. Both continued to work against the fence, failing to do anything that would resemble aggression or engagement. McCarthy had to split them up again. As the round ended, Christy tried to shoot in and Gonzales got Christy to go down. Round one ends. I scored it for Gonzales.

In the 2nd round, both Christy and Gonzales continued to do stand up without either fighter taking a risk. As the 2nd round began, both Gonzales and Christy showed their punching skills. Christy continued to counter against Gonzales until Gonzales decided to shoot in and got tied up in a choke. Gonzales got guard position and Christy tried to work out. Christy eventually got out. Gonzales shot in again and achieved guard position but didn’t do anything. Gonzales was able to do downward elbows but Christy defended well off the ground. Round two ends. I scored a draw in this round.

In the 3rd and final round, Gonzales looked a little tentative as the 3rd round opened. Christy continued to control his aggression well, but couldn’t cultivate any effective offense to take control of the fight. Christy did some knees and connected against Gonzales’ groin. McCarthy had to step in and allow Gonzales some time to catch his breath after the groin shot. Finally, the action of the round started to pick up – a sense of urgency for both fighters. Gonzales got Christy in an effective shoot and takedown. Christy showed great flexibility and Christy adjusted. Gonzales got locked into a crucifix type move where Gonzales shoulders were down on the mat and Christy had one arm in between his legs with the other arm extended into an arm bar. Christy had achieved a better position and got in more elbows. But you can see that Christy got exhausted and bloody. Christy was bleeding badly with a cut over the eye and he continued to punch up even with Gonzales raining punches down. Both fighters were extremely tired by the third round and since it was an outside venue, there was steam coming from their bodies while on the ground. The 10-second bell rang and both fighters fought harder trying to get in as much aggression in punches or dominant position. It was a tough round for me to judge. But if I had to call it, I’d give the round to Christy.

The judges had an interesting decision since the scorecards turned into a split decision. Two judges scored 29-28 for Gonzales and one judge scored 29-28 for Christy. It was a close fight to judge. And if body language is any indicator, I think the scorecards surprised Gonzales.

In Cage vs Cons II, the event proved to be an excellent night of mixed martial arts action. Even though I have covered larger venue fights, Cage vs Cons is an event that when true to the presentation of MMA, provides good match-ups with an interesting twist – law enforcement officers against those that had run-ins with the law. Everyone is always trying to prove self-worth, whether in life or in the cage, but for the fighters of this event, there is a common thread of sheer desire to win in MMA. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the beginning for an MMA fighter or for the seasoned fighters of the UFC or Strikeforce, mixed martial arts represents the toughness in all of us, the hard work, the drive that for a brief few minutes in the beginning, middle, or end of an MMA round, you want to give it everything because it’s the only way to really live and approach life. Cage vs Cons put on a great fight night and who knows, maybe next year, I’ll go to the tattoo expo.

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