Real Talk 9: Talkin’ ’bout real figh-in’ – SoCal Knockouts in 2016

I gotta be honest with you guys, writing so much about pro wrestling in Southern California is getting annoying to me. So instead, this column is just going to be about Mixed Martial Arts in Southern California! More specifically the knockouts that have occurred in Southern California this year from major events, as well as events people probably didn’t know took place here in SoCal this year.

Now, there are tons of fight cards and combat sporting events going on in Southern California. This year SoCal has seen a huge UFC event, Bellator MMA at the Honda Center, several Invicta FC events, various King Of The Cage shows, the rise of Combate Americas, and many more regional pro and amateur events. Getting results from all these shows is tough, and a lot of stuff that goes on either doesn’t get filmed or is never seen. Chances are, these aren’t the best knockouts that have taken place in SoCal in 2016, but this is just a sample of what’s been happening in the area this year.

Combate Americas: Road to the Championship 3 – Jose Estrada vs.  Jonathan Quiroz – Los Angeles, CA

One of my favorite fight promotions to watch is Combate Americas. It’s a promotion that showcases unsigned Latino fighters putting on tons of fun fights with their events streamed live on UFC Fight Pass. As someone who was more of a fan of World Extreme Cagefighting (which was purchased by Zuffa and later absorbed by the UFC to help create the 135 and 145 pound divisions) I get a lot of the same vibes from Combare Americas as I did with WEC. At Combate America’s April 18t, 2016 event, Road to the Championship 3, Jose Estrada dropped Jonathan Quiroz with an overhand right to the chin after catching a leg kick attempt, followed by several hammerfists before referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 1:44 of Round 1.

Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova – Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino vs. Daria Ibragimova – Costa Mesa, CA

Another thing that’s great about UFC Fight Pass (I swear, this is not a shill for UFC Fight Pass) is that it features Invicta FC events, an all-women’s MMA promotion that has also sent several fighters to the UFC, including Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. Cyborg has a reputation for being perhaps the most dangerous female fighter in the world today, and on January 16th, 2016 in Costa Mesa, CA, Cyborg would defend her Invicta Featherweight Championship in dominating fashion against Daria Ibragimova, and knocking her out with 2 seconds left in the first round.

Invicta FC 17: Evinger vs. Schneider – Megan Anderson vs. Amanda Bell – Costa Mesa, CA

Another knockout from Invicta FC, this time from their May 7th, 2016 event and return to Costa Mesa, CA at Invicta FC 17: Evinger vs. Schneider. Megan Anderson was doing some damage on Amanda Bell in the final seconds of the first round of their fight. In the closing moments of the round, Anderson landed a hard lead head kick to Bell, and followed that up with a lead hook-cross-lead leg body kick combo to Bell, and landed a right cross as the round came to an end. Referee Herb Dean would call the fight soon after the round, giving Anderson the victory.

Bellator 160: Henderson vs. Pitbull – Chinzo Machida vs. Mario Navarro – Anaheim, CA

You might be familiar the name Machida, as Chinzo Machida is the older brother of former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida. Chinzo, who was making his Bellator debut on at the Bellator 160 prelims this past Friday against Mario Navarro. Machida would spend most of the fight using counter attacks to catch Navarro coming in. At 2:57 of Round 1, Machida finished Navarro after backing him up against the cage and dropping him with an uppercut to Navarro’s chin as Navarro looked to be setting up a Jab/Overhand Right combo. Machida would deliver some ground and pound before referee John McCarthy stopped the fight.

California Xtreme Fighting: The Return – Keith Cutrone vs. Edgar Khachatryan – Studio City, CA

On March 4th, 2016, Bash Boxing and Lights Out Promotions presented the return of California Xtreme Fighting at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, CA. In the third fight of the event, Keith Cutrone and Edgar Khachatryan had a fun, wild brawl with both guys looking for the knockout finish until Cutrone hit Khachatryan with a knee to the head from a Thai Plumb clinch at 2:05 of Round 1. Fights like this are a good reason why people should be checking out the regional MMA scene, as there are fun fights being produced in the area.

RFA 38: Moises vs. Emmers – Christos Giagos vs. Karen Darabedyan – Costa Mesa, CA

The Resurrection Fight Alliance has sorta become an unofficial feeder-promotion for the UFC, with about 40 or so former RFA fighters having gone from the RFA to the UFC. While many fighters who compete on RFA events are looking to establish themselves and hope to catch the eyes of a major promotion like the UFC or Bellator MMA, Christos Giagos was looking to begin his road towards a return to the UFC in this fight against WEC-veteran Karen Darabedyan.

UFC 199: Rockhold vs. Bisping 2 – Polo Reyes vs. Dong Hyun Kim – Inglewood , CA

The UFC’s return to the Los Angeles area at the Forum in Inglewood, CA was a memorable event. From Michael Bisping defeating Luke Rockhold to become the UFC Middleweight Champion after taking the fight on two week’s notice, to Dan Henderson knocking out Hector Lombard in spectacular fashion, UFC 199 might be one of the best MMA events of the year. Opening the show that night was Polo Reyes and Dong Hyun Kim, who fought on the UFC Fight Pass prelims broadcast. These two guys went to war for three rounds before Reyes landed a vicious lead hook/right cross combo wobbling Kim, followed by two right hands to finish the fight. This fight would end up being named the Fight Of The Night by the UFC, and both guys were given a $50,000 bonus for their efforts.

Fight Of The Column

In the spirit of this column being about knockouts, here’s a fight from Resurrection Fighting Alliance‘s December 5, 2014 event in Costa Mesa, CA, RFA 21: Juusola vs. Baghdad, with a TKO finish. Joe Murphy takes on Bruno Frazatto in an exciting one round fight that saw Murphy get the win after knocking Frazatto down with a nice uppercut, followed by some vicious ground and pound before referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 2:59 of Round 1.

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