Fight fans know that New Mexico is a very busy area for mixed martial arts. While the state may not be hosting an event every weekend, fighters from the area are constantly competing all around the world and this weekend was not an exception. In fact, two very high-profile New Mexico trained athletes returned to the “505” with big-time wins.
Last week, SWFight covered a big-time fight bout featuring FIT NHB’s top prospect Ray Borg who was about to head out to Hinton, Oklahoma to fight an opponent with a reputable name in his own region, an impressive record and a very good skillset. Borg raised his stock tremendously notching his fifth career professional win, which when we include his amateur runs pushes the perfection of Borg to a total of nine career victories. Seven of those wins have come via submission, adding to the reputation that Borg is absolutely phenomenal on the ground.
The win is significant for Borg for several reasons including capturing his first promotional title. The win keeps the unblemished record intact for Borg and cements his name atop any list labeling New Mexico’s very finest talents. Borg finished 2013 with a 4-0 record and is now in high consideration for being the state’s “Fighter of the Year”.
Another fighter picking up a huge win is Kevin Croom (12-4), who is making some noise with his impressive seven-fight win streak that includes five first round finishes. The Jackson-Winklejohn trained Croom is knocking on the door of a UFC opportunity with his seven-fight win streak which is only more impressive when you realize that all of those fights have come within the last 12-months. 12-months, seven-fights, seven wins and no reason why New Mexico shouldn’t be anticipating Croom’s call-up to the big leagues. Croom gets the best of New Mexico as he cross-trains with several prominent gyms including Ray Yee’s Albuquerque Kickboxing, Lutrell’s MMA, Danny Romero’s Hideout and Gracie Barra.
This past weekend, Croom made quick work of Deryk Ripley who is a veteran of 32-professional MMA bouts. It took less than four minutes to lock in a fight-ending rear-naked choke and Croom returns to New Mexico as one of the favorites to become the next athlete to represent the New Mexico area in the UFC.
Another significant fight from this weekend included a top-ranked women fighter competing on the very same card as Ray Borg. Bushido MMA’s Alida Gray represented El Paso, Texas in a big way down at the Sugar Creek Showdown when she improved her record 4-0 and took top-ranked status in the process. The victory came by way of crushing right hands that punished Gray’s opponent until one clean punch got through the defending gloves and ended the fight. One of the sports most-recognized ranking sites Fight Matrix has Gray ranked as their #8 Strawweight. That ranking is significant more so now than ever as the UFC has recently announced plans to start-up that weight class for women in the near future.
Gray may be recognizable to fans in the area after we posted her viral knockout video where she landed an overhand right that put her in the front running to win our annual “Knockout of the Year” award. Gray has unique power for a competitor in the lighter women’s divisions and her 2014 bouts will be ones to keep an eye out for as she may be another notable women from the Southwest on her way to big things in the world of WMMA.
Join us in sending our congratulations to these fighters as well as our admiration for their hard-work that earned them big-time victories over the weekend.