Las Vegas – July 29, 2013 Rocktagon 28 “Journey of Champions – El Paso” had it all—spectacular fights, an energetic crowd, and an ending so shocking, it will keep fans talking for weeks to come.
On Friday night, Rocktagon made its official debut in El Paso, Texas with an event that not only exceeded expectations, but also will likely go down as having one of the year’s best fight cards.
In the main event, Martin Sano Jr. left chaos in his wake after a controversial first-round knockout over “Bad Ass” Billy Colon.
Earlier in the week, Colon, a submission specialist, said he wanted to “keep the fight standing” and “look for the knockout.” This ultimately proved to be his undoing against a technically efficient striker like Sano, who took advantage of an early opening and landed a massive right hand that sent Colon hurling backwards on the canvas.
Sano immediately followed up with a few ground punches, which actually helped Colon regain consciousness. Colon recovered and appeared to be working for a leg lock, but the referee had already made his move after the initial knockdown in calling a halt to the fight 27 seconds into the first round.
A stunned Colon could do nothing more than look on in disbelief as Sano paraded around the cage in celebration of his third straight pro victory.
Every attempt from Colon to protest the stoppage fell on deaf ears following the fight. There is no rewind button for MMA referees, and all decisions are final.
While Sano likely wishes the bout would have ended more decisively, he’ll take a win however he can get it, especially over a highly respected veteran like Colon.
Quick finishes appeared to be the staple of the entire main card. In the co-main event, Patrick “Skar” Dixon wasted little time in submitting Fort Bliss Combatives team member Anthony Stevens.
The margin for error in MMA is small at a professional level and Stevens learned the hard way after a simple slip on a failed takedown attempt gave Dixon the split second he needed to transition to back mount and latch on the rear naked choke for the tap at 2:40 of the first round.
Many had to watch the replay just to see exactly what happened. Dixon could just as easily change his nickname to “Neo” from The Matrix for his cat-like reflexes and ability to counter so quickly off a mistake.
Speaking of mistakes, Joe Torrez is definitely learning from his after turning in a disappointing performance against Rodrigo Sotelo.
Initially, Torres controlled the bout with an early takedown off a beautiful belly to back suplex and a deep rear naked choke attempt. Sotelo somehow managed to weather the storm and get back to his feet.
Torrez appeared to panic after the failed submission attempt, and he became overzealous in the standup exchanges. This proved to be a big mistake against Sotelo, who found an opening for a huge uppercut that hurt the New Mexico native.
It was all downhill from there as Sotelo swarmed Torrez with a barrage of unanswered strikes to net the first round TKO stoppage at 2:42.
Perhaps the craziest fight of the night and quite possibly an early candidate for “Fight of the Year” was the lightweight scrap between Brian Castillo and Matthew Hunt.
For 15-minutes, Castillo and Hunt battled it out in an epic bout that should serve as the epitome of modern-day MMA. Fans and fighters dream about fights like this that incorporate every aspect of fighting while simultaneously providing exciting, non-stop action.
Castillo and Hunt left everything in the cage on Friday night in a bout that will be remembered for years to come. In the end, all three judges saw the contest in Castillo’s favor, but Hunt can certainly walk with his head held high.
In other bouts, Alida Gray earned a second round TKO stoppage over Jessica Armstrong; Stacey Sigala bullied Jazmin Quezada in a unanimous decision; Adam McGurk submitted David Ruelaz in the second round by rear naked choke; Julio Hinojosa earned a blistering 52-second TKO over Ibrahim “Lion Heart” Eid; Jesus Urbina submitted Alan Lerma in the first round by rear naked choke and Randy McCarty stopped Derek Perkins in the second round by TKO.
Former UFC heavyweight Darrill Schoonover made a special guest appearance during the event, and it was announced that he would be featured on Rocktagon’s card when the promotion returns to El Paso on September 28.
Until then, he is hard at work preparing for his August 25 bout in Russia against Alexander Emelianenko, the brother of legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.
Rocktagon MMA is the mixed martial arts division of Rocktagon Worldwide, a sports and music entertainment company. Founded in mid-2010, Rocktagon MMA has successfully completed 28 events on two coasts and is the only promotion able to offer four types of shows to meet the needs of various markets: all Amateur, all Professional, Pro-Am, and Rock-n-Rage. Rock-n-Rages are premium events combining the cage of mixed martial arts with a stage featuring live musical performances by well-known artists. All Rocktagon MMA events are streamed live globally and filmed to air on multiple networks throughout North America, including Comcast, Comcast SportsNet, and the Fight Network.
Written By: Jordy McElroy for Big Shock Media
Photos By: Mike Wrobel for Rocktagon MMA