Looking back at Celtic Gladiator 17 in Burbank, CA

The Ireland based MMA promotion Celtic Gladiator (in conjunction with SparStar MMA & California Xtreme Fighting) presented Celtic Gladiator 17 in Burbank, CA last night. In this article I take a recap the action from last night. Oh, and GIFs!

To watch the full event, click the videos.

Amateur Bouts
Soichino Sasaki defeated Samuel Tucker via KO (Punch) at 0:17 in Round 1

This was a quick bout. Tucker had the heigh advantage on Sasaki. Sasaki would knock Tucker out early in Round 1 with a hard right overhand hook. Mike Beltran called the fight at just :17 seconds.

Soichino Sasaki scores a huge KO win on Samuel Tucker.

Arturo Guevara defeated Luke Duran via Unanimous Decision. (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)

Both guys came out swinging wildly in the early part of the first round. The pace started to slow down midway, but picked back up in the last 30 seconds of the first round. In the second round, both guys came out more patient before they ended up in a clinch exchange. Duran was able to score a takedown towards the end of the second round. Much like the first round, both guys came out swinging in the opening minute of the third round. Guevara would get caught with a left hand from Duran before the bout ended. The judges gave this to Guevara, which wasn’t a bad decision to be honest.

Professional Bouts
Taylor Alfaro defeated Mark Alvidrez via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:21 of Round 2.

Both guys ended up in a clinch battle early in the first round and would engage in several clinch battles throughout while landing body kicks on each other from time to time. Alfaro opened the second round by taking the back of Alvidrez, later getting the fight to the ground. He would eventually get both hooks in for full back control while working for a Rear Naked Choke.

Alfaro showed a lot of patience while having the back of Alvidrez, landing a lot of ground strikes while looking to set up a submission. Alfaro would eventually get the win with a Rear Naked Choke victory in the final minute of Round 2. After the bout, it was said this bout was made on 24 hours notice, with Mark Alvidrez stepping up on short notice. Hats off to Alvidrez for taking this fight at the last minute.

Taylor Alfaro gets the win with a Rear Naked Choke.

Eric Steans, Jr. defeated Christian Bizaretty via T.K.O. (Strikes) at 3:48 of Round 2.

Slow pace to start the fight, as both fighters appeared to be feeling each other out. Steans would land a takedown early on, but Bizaretty would cause a scramble. Steans would look for another takedown, but Steans ended up on top. They would exchange guillotine attempts before Steans hit two more takedowns. Eventually Steans took the back of Bizaretty and went for a Rear Naked Choke attempt that Bizaretty would fight off. Steans later got him in an armbar. Bizaretty would counter that by dropping Steans on his head. The round would end with Steans on the back of Bizaretty.

Christian Bizaretty counters an armbar by Eric Steans, Jr., followed by Steans hitting a takedown on Bizaretty.

Steans would score a takedown on Bizaretty early in the second round. This would allow Steans to take the back of Bizaretty where he landed some vicious ground strikes. Bizaretty would escape before Steans took him down again. The two fighters kept countering each other’s grappling techniques during the fight. Eventually Steans would get Bizaretty’s back one more time, landing more ground and pound before referee Michael Bell stopped the fight when Bizaretty was hit with repeated shots.

Eric Steans, Jr. with a TKO victory.

This was a fun bout while it lasted and displayed some great counter-grappling. It was a great showing from both fighters. Both of them showed tons of heart.

Mark Matsumoto defeated Chris Bruno via T.K.O. (Strikes) at 4:08 of Round 1.

Bruno is 51 years old and an actor. He was making his professional MMA debut in this fight. Bruno isn’t a novice though, as it was mentioned on commentary that he was a lifelong martial artist. He also has an amateur MMA background. It was also mentioned that he cornered former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez in a few fights.

This fight had a fast pace to start. Matsumoto would land a takedown early in the first round on Chris Bruno. Moments later, Matsumoto would attempt to lock in a Triangle Choke on Bruno that Bruno was able to escape. Despite his best efforts, Bruno was unable to fight off Matsumoto’s ground attack. Matsumoto would advance to full mount and landed lots of ground strikes on Bruno before referee Mike Beltran ended the fight, giving Matsumoto a TKO victory.

Mark Matsumoto with the TKO victory.

This was a strong performance from Mark Matsumoto. With that said, Chris Bruno should not be overlooked. Stepping into a professional MMA fight at 51 years old is nothing to scoff at. Most people who are 21 or 31 years old wouldn’t have the courage to do that.

Donte Stubbs defeated Brandon Van Cleave via T.K.O. (Strikes) at 4:35 in Round 3.

Both guys were reading each other’s movements early on. The pace would pick up as the fight went on and both guys kept things standing until Van Cleave dropped Stubbs with a punch. Van Cleave would then get a mount and back control on Stubbs in the final minute of the round. The round would end with Van Cleave landing ground strikes on Stubbs from back mount. Stubbs would walk away from the round with a bloody face. This was a really fun opening round. Both guys had their moments, but Van Cleave sealed the round for him by dominating the last minute of the round.

Brandon Van Cleave vs. Donte Stubbs

Stubbs would come out swinging heavy strikes before Van Cleave tied him up in a clinch and pushed him into the cage, setting him up for a takedown. Van Cleave would attempt a heel hook on Stubbs, but Stubbs was able to escape. The fight would become a striking battle in the closing moments of the second round, with both guys trying to land big shots.

Brandon Van Cleave vs. Donte Stubbs

The opening moments of the third round started with both guys fighting at a faster pace. Stubbs would get mount quickly before Van Cleave escaped and scored a takedown. Van Cleave would shoot for a takedown, but was stuffed by Donte Stubbs. Stubbs landed heavy ground strikes on Van Cleave after countering the takedown attempt. Stubbs would eventually get the win after a wild striking exchange that ended with Stubbs scoring a T.K.O. finish on Van Cleave.

Donte Stubbs scores the TKO victory.

This was an awesome fight. Both guys showed a lot of heart. This was one of the best to take place in SoCal this year. I highly recommend people check it out.

Jonathan Martin defeated Julian Baez via K.O. (Punch and Strikes) at 1:29 of Round 2.

Baez was in control early on before getting hit with a nice Judo throw from Martin. Martin would score another takedown off a single leg later in the round. Baez would reverse that and began landing several strikes on Martin. He would continue to land more strikes on Martin in the closing minute of the first round.

The second round saw both fighters throwing strikes as Baez controlling the outside. He would have Martin backed up against the cage while landing various combos. Eventually Martin would catch Baez with a straight left hand after Baez tried to get inside, followed by some ground strikes for a vicious knockout victory.

Jonathan Martin with a vicious KO victory.

The family of Julian Baez would end up yelling and complaining at CSAC officials about the extra punches that took place after Martin knocked him out and the fight was stopped by the referee. This was very understandable as it looked as if Martin kept punching Baez

Brian Del Rosario defeated Anthony Taylor via T.K.O. (Strikes) at 4:59 of Round 1.

Taylor would score a leg trip takedown early on in the opening round on Del Rosario. Del Rosario would try to get the fight back to standing, but was having a hard time countering Taylor’s grappling. Taylor was relentless with his takedown attempts, and kept pressuring Del Rosario up against the cage. Del Rosario would eventually stuff a takedown attempt from Taylor in the final minute of the opening round and kept scrambling to fight off the takedown attempts. Del Rosario would land several vicious ground strikes after countering Taylor’s final takedown attempt. This would prompt referee Mike Beltran to stop the fight, giving Del Rosario the win with one second left in the first round.

Brian Del Rosario gets the TKO victory.

David Roberts defeated Jose Marroquin via Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:09 of Round 1.

Both guys threw heavy, wild strikes early on and busted each other open in the first minute of the fight. Marroquin would look for a takedown, but was caught in a Guillotine Choke where Roberts picked up the submission victory early in the first round of a wild brawl.

David Roberts with a Guillotine Choke for the victory.

Daniel McWilliams defeated Eddie Jackson via Technical Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:56 of Round 1.

McWilliams started off trying to use his length advantage, and landed a takedown early on while taking the back of Jackson. After spending some time on the back of Jackson while landing strikes, McWilliams put a Rear Naked Choke on Jackson that caused him to go to sleep. This was a strong performance from McWilliams, and Jackson showed a lot of heart for not tapping to the choke.

Daniel McWilliams puts his opponent to sleep with a Rear Naked Choke.

Jonathan Rivera defeated Daniel Hernandez via Submission (Choke) at 1:23 of Round 1.

The opening minute of the bout had a lot of action before Rivera got a choke submission about a minute and a half into the fight. Rivera didn’t have both hooks in on his choke and was in half guard, but his choke was applied well enough to get Hernandez to tap. This was a fun, quick fight.

Jonathan Rivera gets the win with a choke.

Derion Chapman defeated Jacob Rosales via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-37, 29-28)

Rosales looked to have landed the first punch, and both guys had a wild striking exchange in the first 0:20 of the fight. Chapman looked to have rocked Rosales at the end of that opening exchange. The two fighters continued to have high-volume striking exchanges before Rosales took the fight to the ground. Chapman would survive Rosales’ grappling attack and got the fight back to standing. He would end up landing several big strikes on Rosales, but to Rosales’ credit, he kept going. He would eventually score a takedown on Chapman in the closing moments of the first round.

Derion Chapman lands some heavy shots.

The second round would see both fighters coming out more composed compared to the first round. Rosales looked to have been bleeding from the nose after being on the receiving end of many strikes from Chapman in the first round. In the second round, Chapman would land several more strikes, but Rosales kept coming forward like a zombie. Rosales would eventually score another takedown and fished for a Kimura.

Jacob Rosales vs. Derion Chapman

Rosales would score a takedown in the opening moments of Round 3. They would end up in a scramble that saw Chapman stand the fight back up. Both fighters exchanged strikes, looking to score a knockout blow. Chapman was landing some crisp shots before Rosales scored a takedown followed by some ground and pound. Chapman would fight off the attack and engaged in another striking battle with Rosales in the final two minutes of the round. Rosales would score one last takedown with less than 20 seconds in the fight and ended the fight on top of Chapman.

Jacob Rosales vs. Derion Chapman

While Rosales scored more takedowns, I gave the fight to Chapman. The judges scored it 30-27, 30-37, and 29-28 for Chapman. I would’ve scored it 29-27 for DC, as I thought it could’ve been argued either of the first two rounds could’ve been scored a 10-8 for him.

This was a really fun fight. Both guys went all out. Chapman did a good job at fighting off Rosales’ grappling attacks, and Rosales was able to survive some hard strikes from Chapman.

Final Thoughts

This was a really fun event full of finishes. With Celtic Gladiator working with California Xtreme Fighting to put on this event and make matches, it was only natural that this card would end up being a fun one. Celtic Gladiator will be running in Chicago in January, continuing their expansion into the United States market. I hope Celtic Gladiator returns to SoCal and works with CXF again.

If you have even the slightest interest in MMA, check this show out. The fights are fun and there’s plenty of finishes to satisfy both diehard and casual fans alike. You’ll enjoy it.

About the Author

SoCal's favorite son. Won 1st Place in my division at the 2013 Gracie Worlds. 2019 East San Fernando Valley Water Champion. Keyboard Warrior.