With a new year comes new opportunities.
After an exciting 2013 for local MMA fans, we can now start gazing towards a new year of potentially even more excitement. With the emergence of Bellator MMA in New Mexico to compliment the local promotions who have already made their mark in the area, fans should be clamoring for some high quality shows, fight cards and match-up’s.
With that line of thinking, how could we not come up with our own five fights that we’d like to see happen in 2014 that would contribute in making 2014 even better than 2013.
“The Trilogy” …. Any MMA promotions dream; a fight that sells itself. There is zero need for promoting this fight as the legacy of both fighters and their storied rivalry sells itself. You can even use the “Trilogy” label as your event name and honestly, save so much in fight advertisement.
The two fighters have fought twice previously, Angelo (12-5) and Donald (29-13) crossed paths twice under the King of the Cage banner and each time they competed for the promotions 145-pound title. At King of the Cage “Retribution II” in May of 2009, Angelo would upset Sanchez by capturing his title with a split decision victory. A short 12-months later, the two would be paired again in Ruidoso, New Mexico at the event called “Honor”. Donald would regain his King of the Cage title with his own split decision victory.
After two title bouts, it could be argued that both fighters have won five of ten rounds over the other. Since split decisions mean that the scorecards were scored twice in favor of one fighter while the third scored the fight for the other fighter, three judges have felt Angelo beat Donald and the other three scored Donald besting Angelo. It doesn’t get more evenly competitive then that.
In the actual fights, the striking advantage went to Donald while Angelo took advantage of the fight as soon as it hit the mats. The outcome of each close round came down to which fighter was able to implement their gameplan more successfully. Fight fans loved the fights, they cheered and watched much of the fights on their feet in excitement.
There would be a lot of different factors heading into a rubber match that makes this fight even more intriguing. Donald was based out of FIT NHB and Angelo out of Santa Fe BJJ, currently Angelo works more of his game alongside Ray Yee at Albuquerque Kickboxing and MMA, while also working with boxing trainer Pat Holmes and training partner Josh Montoya while Donald has most recently made the move to the Jackson-Winkeljohn gym.
This fight has to be made.
The hiccup could be that Angelo currently is looking to dig out of a two fight skid while Donald is riding a four fight win streak but in terms of pleasing fight fans… the trilogy would be huge!
If you are a fight fan following the New Mexico regional scene then you will not need to be sold on this match-up. These two fighters are arguably the top two talents in the state currently not signed with a major MMA promotion and they happen to reside in the same weight class. What more needs to be said? Not sold? These two fighters represent the two most recognized gyms in the area in that Borg (5-0) fights out of FIT NHB and Urso (7-1) represents the Jackson-Winkeljohn gym.
Borg is the epitome of “new era” mixed martial artist. He possesses very solid striking skills, completely underrated wrestling talents and a top-level grappling game. He can win anywhere inside the cage and his talents allow him to comfortably adapt to any type of opponent’s style of fighting. He is a true “hybrid” fighter that has talents in all disciplines of combat.
Urso in fact, isn’t so different; he has tight, crisp striking and the ability to end the fight with his power and slick combination striking. He has won three of seven via submission and his top-game grappling is a facet of fighting that his opponents definitely don’t handle well. Urso is well-trained and his talents are extremely polished, making him a very mature regional fighter.
The pairing couldn’t be anything short of spectacular and “fireworks” is a word that could be used to describe the potential of what these two fighters could bring inside a cage for competition. The fight would come with some gym rivalry as well as the opportunity for one fighter to truly emerge as the state’s top prospect. Both fighters are considered to be on the short path to the next level and a win over the other may very well punch their ticket to the big leagues of MMA competition.
This would be more of a “fantasy” superfight due to the fact that Cerrone (21-6) won’t be fighting locally anytime soon as he remains a mainstay in the UFC’s 155-pound division and Means (19-5) is currently on the comeback trail, fighting his way back to the UFC as a 170-pound welterweight for Legacy FC.
The intrigue in this battle is that both fighters have similar Thai-boxing styles and vicious striking advantages over most, if not all of their foes. During his UFC stint, Means and Cerrone could have ended up on a collision course and their aggressive talents would have made for fireworks inside the UFC’s Octagon on either national television or pay-per-view.
Should Means pick up a win at the end of the month against his opponent at the Legacy FC event, he won’t be far a UFC return. Should Means drop down to his natural weight class of 155-pounds, this fight may sound more realistic. Until then, we can salivate at the idea that the brutal knees and elbows of Means would be unleashed against the cringe-worthy power leg-kicks and laser quick straight punches from Cerrone.
Who wants some WMMA action? Answer: everyone!
I don’t think there is a better local match-up between two local women competitors then a fight between Brown (3-1) and Chavez (4-2) and this fight actually makes complete sense and could be a very realistic opportunity. Brown broke out in 2013 with her “Upset of the Year” performance in Japan and while Chavez didn’t fight in 2013, she remains one of the more recognizable figures in New Mexico’s MMA scene.
This bout could very well be set-up for Invicta FC where Chavez has already competed and since Brown is considered a free agent, the highly anticipated fight would be a welcome addition to the undercard of their typically stacked shows. With New Mexico’s Julie Kedzie now the promotions match-maker, the likelihood that local WMMA athletes are given their due credit is now much more likely.
The match-up would be fun and favorable for fight fans as Brown’s lethal clinch fighting would be put up against the technical talents of Chavez’s ground and stand-up game. Training out of the Chavez Dojo, Chavez has a very active bottom game to compliment her bag of submissions that she is very crafty in utilizing. Representing FIT NHB, Brown showed in his bout with top-ranked Kikuyo Ishikawa that she not only has the stand-up game working for her but has a very slick submission game as well.
Two of New Mexico’s most talented women facing off with one another? Sign us up!
5. Quinn Mulhern vs. Josh Lanier In A Jiu Jitsu Match
Mulhern and Lanier have at least three things in common; they both are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belts, they both are very long limbed athletes and both have recently announced their retirements from active MMA competition. The two grappling based competitors have a storied Jiu Jitsu history and if both should feel the urge to stay in action, what better way to do so then to compete in the discipline that got them to where they are today.
Lanier and Mulhern have both won several prestigious titles including big tournaments like NAGA and Grappler’s Quest. Mulhern plays a tricky style of Jiu Jitsu that capitalizes on long limbs for triangle chokes and omoplata’s and Lanier uses his length to snatch up legs for leg locks.
The two could be part of a “superfight” grappling match for New Mexico’s Grapplefest tournament or easily could be featured for one of the national grappling tournaments. While both fighters may be retired from MMA and focusing on instructional duties, the two could make for one exciting Jiu Jitsu match between arguably two of the best grappler’s in the entire state.
There is our list fight fans! Does anyone care to add their own or do you agree with our selections? Let us hear your opinions on what you’d like to see in 2014!