Epic Fighting 15 celebrates Marine Corps’ birthday

After defeating Odon Alvarez in Bout #12, David Durant (C) of The Arena MMA is joined by his support staff, coaches Pat Speight (R) and Vince Salvador (L). Photo: J. Wyatt

With their MMA show at the 4th and B Concert Hall in Downtown San Diego falling on Saturday, November 10, 2012, the organizers went out of their way to celebrate the 237th birthday of the United States Marine Corps which has three bases in San Diego County – Marine Corps Recruit Depot Point Loma, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Camp Pendleton in Oceanside. 


One of the first people to set up shop on Saturday was Ryco Ontiveros aka. DJ REO. He also provides the sounds at Eastlake Tavern & Bowl in Chula Vista. While he’s a Kanye West fan, lately he’s getting more requests for Gangnan Style. Photo: J. Wyatt

There’s certainly a lot of work that goes into each Epic Fighting show. In the photo on the right we see Bryan Brown singing our National Anthem to begin the festivities.

(Top right panel) One of the show’s sponsors, Brian Kapitz along with his wife Viciouss of Reckless Intent Tattoo and Huntington Ink So Cal, are two of the most famous tattoo artists in the land. When asked to name some celebrities they’ve worked on, they had a slew of names to recite: Anna Kournikova, Dennis Rodman, Eminem, Jaime Pressly, Jeremy Shockey, Joey Fatone, John Salley (“Best Damn Sports Show Period”), Lance Bass, Mark Wahlberg, Melissa Joan Hart, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Leach, Tony Hawk. Their clientele is a regular who’s who of Hollywood. (Lower panel, L to R) Retired Marine Corps Lt. Colonel, ladies from the Native American Indian Color Guard, Armando Telles, President/Co-founder of the Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego County. All photos: Jim Wyatt

Below are the results from last night’s show:

In Bout #1, it was Adam White (Red Jersey) getting the nod over Daichi Hirahara.

Bout #1, in the 135 pound weight class, saw 21 year-old, southpaw Adam White (1-0) of IKUSA Dojo in San Bernardino, Moreno Valley, CA win an unanimous decision in his CAMO debut by outworking fellow debutant, 31 year-old Daichi Hirahara (0-1) of Torrance, CA, a righty who trains with Team Yamato.

Bout #2 winner Jake Hesselgrave (L) has his arm raised by referee Jim Blair after he defeated Sam Reupena (red jersey). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #2, in the 170 pound welterweight class, had 25 year-old Jake Hesselgrave (2-0) of ISD, the International Self Defense Team of Poway, CA winning by TKO over 21 year-old Sam “The Tusunami” Reupena (0-1) of IKUSA Dojo in San Bernardino, CA at the 1:37 mark of the first round.

After defeating Tizoc Uribe (L) in Bout #3, Joel Ortega (R) has his arm raised by referee Jason Herzog. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #3, in the 170 pound weight class, saw 30 year-old Joel Ortega of Camp Wolverine in San Bernardino, CA (1-1) gain an unanimous decision victory over 32 year-old, 5’10” Tizoc “The Aztec Samurai” Uribe from El Cajon, CA (0-2) who trains with ISD, International Self Defense.

At the conclusion of Bout #4, Eric Wilson (L) of Victory MMA has his arm raised by referee Jim Blair after he defeated Jaime Reyes (R) who works out at The Proving Ground.

Bout #4, in the Bantamweight class, saw 28 year-old Eric Wilson (4-0) of the Boxing Club and Victory MMA and from La Mesa, CA gaining an unanimous decision victory over 22 year-old Jaime Reyes (3-5) from Lakeside, CA who now works out at the Proving Ground.

In Bout #5, it was Bruce Smith (Blue Jersey) defeating Isaac Soto (red jersey).

Bout #5, in the 145 pound weight class, saw 21 year-old Bruce Smith (1-0) of San Diego, who works out at Und1sputed, getting the KO win at 01:59 of the first round over 27 year-old Issac Soto (0-3) of Cobra Kai in Victorville, CA.

In Bout #6, Martin Georges (L) and David Judd (R) fought to a draw.

After his battle with David Judd, Martin Georges (C) was asked for his thoughts.

Bout #6, in the 155 pound weight class, had 20 year-old David Judd (2-1-1) of Right Cross of El Cajon, CA going up against 25 year-old Martin Georges (3-1-1) of Team Quest of San Jacinto, CA. Early on, Georges scored these two thunderous takedowns that got everyone’s attention.  Despite the great start, Judd hung in there to get the Draw.

The four Marines are shown receiving their EPIC Fighting awards. Mike Hanes, Francisco Castro, Carlos Kremer and David Smith.

During  a brief intermission four gentlemen representing the high standards of the Marine Corps received EPIC Fighting’s community awards. They were former Marine Corps Captain, TV and Radio personalty, Master Motivator, Carl Kremer, the Empowerment Award, Gunnery Sergeant David Smith, a survivor of a near fatal accident, the Perseverance Award, Mike Hanes, the Innovation Award for being the founder of Dang!!! Hot Sauce and current Epic Fighting lightweight title holder, Marine Sergeant Francisco Castro received the Commitment to Excellence Award.

In Bout #7, it was Jimmy Melendez (R) getting the TKO win over Dustin Allen Michel (L).

Bout #7, in the 170 pound weight class, saw 34 year-old Jimmy “El Pedrino” Melendez (1-0) of Team Quest of San Jacinto, CA defeat 27 year-old Dustin Allen Michel (0-1) an Independent who has worked out at Und1sputed Downtown. The TKO came at 0:54 of the first round.

At the conclusion of Bout #8, (top left photo) referee Jim Blair raises Ben Fanjoy’s arm in victory after he defeated Jorge Velazquez (right, in the Blue Jersey).

Bout #8, in the 170 pound weight class, had 19 year-old Ben Fanjoy (4-0) from El Cajon, CA and training at The Arena getting the quick submission from 23 year-old Jorge Velazquez (1-2) of San Ysidro, CA who trains at the So Cal Martial Arts Center in Chula Vista, CA. The end came at 1:04 of the second round.

In the above collage of photos, we see Roberto Lerma (right side) getting his arm raised in victory after defeating Julian Wilson (Blue Jersey).

Bout #9, in the 195 pound weight class, saw 22 year-old Roberto Lerma (1-1) from Temecula, CA and training with American Top Team, getting the best of 40 year-old Julian Wilson from Chula Vista, CA who trains at Precision MMA. Wilson (0-1) was making his debut.

In Bout #10, it was Tim Quiroga (R) getting his arm raised in victory by referee Jason Herzog, after he defeated Chris Fluke (L).

Bout #10, in the 155 pound weight class, saw 21 year-old Tim Quiroga (2-0) from Lake Elsinore, CA and training with Team Quest, get the TKO victory over 22 year-old Chris Fluke (0-2) from Temecula, CA who trains with Pumanador. This one was stopped at 2:00 of the second round based on the fight doctor’s recommendation.

Tom Watson (top right panel) of The Arena in Point Loma, San Diego, CA has his arm raised in victory by referee Jason Herzog after defeating Julio Aguilera of Team Quest (top left hand side) of San Jacinto, CA in Bout #11. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #11, in the 155 pound weight class, saw 22 year-old Tommy Watson (1-0) of The Arena in Point Loma get an unanimous decision victory over 24 year-old, southpaw Julio Aguilera (0-4) from Murrieta, CA who trains with Team Quest.

At the conclusion of Bout #12, David Durant of The Arena in Point Loma has his arm raised by referee Jim Blair after defeating Odon Alvarez of Team Quest, Temecula, CA

Bout #12, saw 27 year-old David Durant (3-0) of San Diego who trains at The Arena in Point Loma, get the Round one, 1:37 submission victory over Odon Alvarez (3-7) of Team Quest, Temecula, CA.

In the battle for the 185 pound Championship belt, Kyle Kleinschmidt (Blue Jersey) earned himself an unanimous decision victory over Chris Lloyd. In the lower right panel, Kleinschmidt is joined by his coaches Charles Martinez (L) and Pat Speight (R).

In Bout #13, it was 30 year-old Kyle Kleinschmidt (7-1-1) of San Diego and training at The Arena in Point Loma making his first defense of his 185 pound belt against his arch nemesis, southpaw Christopher Lloyd (5-2-1-1 NC) from Victory MMA.

In this one, a rematch of their July 13, 2012 Title fight which ended in a draw, Kleinschmidt averaged at minimum of two takedowns per round and once he had top position he made certain to deliver more of the telling blows.

The final bout of the evening, for the 135 pound Championship Belt, took all of 32 seconds after Nick Kaluza (R) was able to secure the submission victory over Chris Kirk.

At the conclusion of Bout #14, there was a war of words between the Nick Kaluza group and the disgruntled Sean Najjar group. Initially, Najjar, the reigning 135 pound champion was scheduled to fight Kaluza on Saturday night but then there was talk he was giving up his title and instead planning to turn pro. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Sean Loeffler (back to us) is shown expressing a strong point to the Sean Najjar faction in support of his fighter, Nick Kaluza.

The final bout of the evening, Bout #14, between two debutants, was over in a flash. It ended with a quick submission victory taking 32 seconds. In that bout, 23 year-old Nick Kaluza (o-0 according to CAMO, the California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization), an active duty Marine training at The Compound in Oceanside, CA, defeated the 22 year-old Chris Kirk (0-0) of Victory MMA/Team Janex to win the 135 pound crown recently vacated by Sean Najjar (4-2) who had told Epic Fighting he had plans to turn pro.

Just as the new champion, Kaluza, was having the belt placed around his waist, the former champion, Najjar, entered the cage. For some reason it wreaked of the shenanigans you see in the WWE, a reminder of Wrestle Mania, their Attitude Era, with “Roudy” Roddy Piper in cahoots with the evil raslin’ promoter Steve McMahon.

Instead of congratulating his successor, Najjar uttered some unflattering words. He made it known he was having second thoughts about giving up his crown. In the end, he issued Kaluza a challenge.

After more heated words, Sean Loeffler, Kaluz’s coach entered the fray, “This is not the appropriate time. Where’s your respect? This is Nick’s moment and here you are …”

Pushing and shoving followed. In the meantime, the villainous Najjar made the statement that he intends to return to Epic Fighting just to whip Kaluza’s butt.

So, who won Saturday’s inter-gym battle? The Arena MMA Gym of Point Loma made the biggest statement by going undefeated, 4-0 to prove a point. Earlier that day, in far off Macao, China, Jon Tuck of the same Arena MMA Gym won his UFC debut. That development sort of put icing on The Arena cake. They’ve always had a slew of top pro fighters but nothing like they have at present. Also, Cristiane “Cris Cyborg” Santos is now back in the gym preparing to face Rhonda Jean Rousey. This proposed fight has become MMA’s version of the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather Jr. mega fight.

Prior to The Arena’s domination in the world of MMA, Team Quest ruled the roost. Since the bragging rights are important when it comes to recruiting new students, you know it’s just a matter of time before Team Quest under the guidance of the H-Bomb (Dan Henderson), Black House Team Nogueira with the Nogueira brothers (Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio), the three Und1sputed Fitness & Training Centers, the Alliance Gyms, Victory MMA, So Cal MMA, etc. start ramping up their programs in an attempt to knock The Arena MMA off its almighty perch.

Talking about people on a perch, how about this major player? Christopher Leyva, artist & venue relations chief for BCMG, the Black Cherry Music Group, was surrounded by the ladies on Saturday night. The one pointing her finger, just happens to be Juliana Nogueira, the baby sister of Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Mr. Leyva best be careful.

At the close of each show, it’s picture taking time and two of the Epic dancers posed for a photo with the Fight of the Night Trophy as did female MMA fighter Lena Hellqvist (bottom right with friend). Above and to the right is a young lady who bares a striking resemblance to the singer, songwriter Katy Perry. She also knows the words to, “I kissed a girl.” Until the next Epic Fighting show, everyone’s going to be wondering, “Who’s that lady?”

Top right, we have the one and only Katy Perry. The difference in this photo and the one taken on Saturday night of the hostess is the unsmiling, pensive, more serious look as opposed to the smile and carefree look. The hair is also different. The photo below (on the Left) is of the Epic Fighting dancers. Bottom right, we have fighter Bruce Smith who has his girlfriend presenting him the trophy for “KO of the Night”.





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