Born to Fight XIV showcased 11 amateur MMA fights Sunday afternoon in Fremont

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Cung Le Javier Mendez Born to Fight 14 amateur MMA Andrew Salas Doyle Childs

Cung Le Javier Mendez Born to Fight 14 amateur MMA

Born to Fight Amateur MMA ring girls from Hooters Anaheim and Dublin

On August 24th, 2009 The California State Athletic Commission officially designated CAMO (California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization, Inc.) as the official regulator for amateur mixed martial arts and Pankration in the State of California. It was a boon for amateur fightsports in the state, and it added a valuable developmental step for fighters and gyms to prepare MMA athletes for professional competition. There has been a subsequent explosion of CAMO regulated events in the 8 designated in-state regions (Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange County, San Diego, Central Valley, Central Coast, Sacramento, Bay Area), culminating in the first ever California State Amateur MMA Championship tournament that finished late last year.

One of the most consistent amateur MMA events, in terms of both competitors and production, has been the south bay’s Born-to-Fight series. Developed by former kickboxing champion and American Kickboxing Academy founder Javier Mendez and former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Cung Le, Born to Fight regularly draws over capacity crowds and a who’s-who of professional MMA athletes that turn up to watch the action. Sunday night at the Saddlerack in Fremont, 11 amateur fights and an enormous 24+ foot cage provided a solid showcase for amateur MMA.

The main event featured FSA’s Andre Salas (3-0) vs. Team Battle Control’s Doyle Childs (1-1). After being dropped with a punch, Childs attempted a knee bar then an ankle lock before he succumbed to Salas’ withering groud and pound. The referee stepped in to stop the fight. In the co-main event, Undisputed/Gladiator Academy’s Nikko Jackson showed a clear advantage on the feet. Able to move in and out, he knocked down Team Sickness’ Alex Katrib but preferred to remain on his feet. In the second round, Jackson pinned Katrib up against the cage and landed more than a dozen heavy uppercuts. After continued punishment, the ref stepped in to stop the fight to a loud roar from the crowd. In a display of sportsmanship, Jackson raised Katrib’s hand as well as his own after the fight.

One of Sunday’s closest affairs came with young Brian Bothwell (AKA) against Fairtex SF’s Jay O’Conner. One week after his 18th birthday, Bothwell had several top professional MMA competitors yelling instructions at him ringside. O’Conner earned a takedown early in the first, but Bothwell was able to fight off a deep armbar attempt. The Fairtex fighter stuffed Bothwell’s weak single leg attempt at the end of the round. It would be the first of three critical mistakes the talented but inexperienced fighter would make.

After shaking off a low blow in the second, Bothwell tried another unsucessful takedown. Stuck in a neutral position, he tried to spin out and instead ended up on his back. Moments after touching gloves in the third, Bothwell popped a long punch off the face of O’Conner, but another unsuccessful takedown attempt ground his attack to a halt. The young AKA fighter tried to roll out of the position, but instead ended up on his back. After fighting off a RNC attempt by wall walking off the cage, Bothwell lost a unanimous decision loss to O’Connor.

Team Alphamale fighter Teshawn Walls (1-0) came into the cage with loud support from one section of the crowd. In the same stable as former Sacramento champion Urijah Faber, Walls quickly overpowered World Team USA’s Frank Waindle. After pushing him up against the cage and then getting him quickly to the ground, a Waindle did not tap out but was choked out by a RNC at 1:24. Walls is a talented fighter to keep an eye on.

Jose Perez earned a unanimous decision against Paul Copada, and earned one of the highlights of the night by sprawling his legs midair to prevent a takedown against. AKA’s Shamir Erfanian defeated Dustin “Baby Cung” Moore in a back-and-forth affair. “Baby Cung” tired considerably in the second round, and Erfanian gained full mount and pulled off a quality takedown in the third. Crispim BJJ’s Joe Neal earned a solid decision win over Casey Jackson. Instead of taking the fight to the ground with several opportunities, Neal controlled the fight on his feet and picked up his third amateur MMA win.

In early action, Pacific Ring’s Ricky Cheung earned a RNC submission, and Steve Tomayo earned a decision win over John T. Donaldson. Team AKA’s Aaron “the misfit” Singh earned slam of the night against Jeremiah Labiano. Singh also earned a split decision win (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) after three rounds. In Sunday’s opening bout, Felix Joseph Lopez was hit by a big right hand at the end of the first round by USH fight team’s Radames Garcia. Garcia was able to get top control in the second, but Lopez earned a verbal tap 56 seconds into the round.

The large cage with red mat was imported from Cung Le’s gym. With new lights up top, and a few extra monitors and large screens provided by the Saddlerack, it was one of the most well produced smaller shows this blog has visited. In attendance ringside or in the VIP section were UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez, former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thompson, Strikeforce competitors James Terry, Luke Rockhold, Nate Moore and several others. James Terry and Noad Lahat were in the corner for a pair of AKA fighters. Word ringside was to keep an eye out for the 5-0 Lahat, a beast on the ground reportedly unsubmittable by the talented crew at AKA.

There was also an announcement that Cung Le’s new gym would have a grand opening April 3rd in Santa Teresa. Born to Fight 15 will feature amateur kickboxing March 19th at AKA Milpitas. A photo gallery from the event is available here.

[Update] Official results:

Sunday, February 20th, 2010
Saddlerack Bar, Fremont, CA

Andre Salas d. Doyle Childs
Referee Stoppage – Round 1, 3:00.

Nikko Jackson d. Alex Katrib
TKO – Round 2, 1:18.

Jay O’Connor d. Brian Bothwell
Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) – Round 3.

Teshawn Walls sub. Frank Waindle
Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 1, 1:24.

Jose Perez d. Paul Copada
Unanimous Decision – Round 3.

Shamir Erfanian d. Dustin Moore
Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Round 3.

Joe Neal d. Casey Jackson
Majority Decision – Round 3.

Ricky Cheung sub. Rizaldy Celi
Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 1, 1:38.

Steve Tomayo d. John T. Donaldson
Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Round 3.

Aaron Singh d. Jeremiah Labiano
Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) – Round 3.

Radames Garcia sub. Felix Joseph Lopez
Submission (Verbal tap) – Round 2, 0:56.

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