Epic Fighting 5, another fun night with a host of great fights

After defeating Cordell Williams to win the Epic Fighting cruiserweight title, Manny Murillo (c) is joined by family, friends and well-wishers for a celebratory photo at the Fourth and B Music Venue in Downtown San Diego. Photo: J. Wyatt

After all the guzzling of spirits and girl watching, the night of Mixed Martial Arts began with a light heavyweight match between Lawrence Payton of Victory MMA and Walter Selva Jr. of Team Quest.

It’s important to note Selva Jr. was a late fill in and took the fight on a day’s notice. However, that didn’t make much of a difference as he won easily over a guy that was content to hold for the majority of the fight.

After his victory over Donnis Reed, Paul Blancaflor celebrates with friends. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #2 was in the middleweight division between Donnis Reed of Undisputed and Paul Blancaflor of Spirit Wolf. Blancaflor, who always wins, displayed his strong takedown skills and dominated with a complex series of slams and throws. Still, Mr. Reed had no quit in his game and managed to last until the final bell.

Bout #3, also in the middleweight division, matched Corey Sejera of The Arena Gym and Craig Cook of Team Quest. The fight went back and forth until it nearly ended when Cook secured a standing rear naked choke, that Sejera miraculously escaped. In the end, Sejera was the victor via unanimous decision.

Richard Horne (l) lines himself up to attack his opponent, James Beers (r) as they get set to begin Round one of Bout #4. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #4 had Richard Horne of 1-0n-1 face off against James Beersof Team Quest in a lightweight battle. Beers has often refereed such bouts. Horne won the decision victory by securing more takedowns and displaying more effective striking.

Bout #5 featured featherweights, pitting Larry Esparza of Apex MMA coming all the way from Tucson Dogo, Tucson, Arizona, to fight Francisco Castro, a U.S. Marine stationed at MCAS Miramar. The match was action packed with both men securing several takedowns and landing big punches. However, the fight was not without controversy, as Castro landed a series of low kicks close to the groin area that frustrated both Esparza and his corner. Putting the controversy aside, Castro was the more dominate fighter and got the win by pounding his opponent right until the very end.

Francisco Castro, a Marine stationed at MCAS Miramar, gets the well deserved win over Larry Esparza of Tucson, Arizona.    Photo: Jim Wyatt

Joel Munt has his arm raised after his victory over George Hernandez at Epic Fighting 5. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #6 featured welterweight George Hernandez of Fit MMA in Downtown facing Arena MMA’sJoel Munt, a wrestler. Since the match involved local gyms within a mile of each other, there were strong sentiments being expressed by the spectators. “Come on George, kick his M……F……A$$! No problem, George! He’s from Arena!

Unlike the first five fights, this match did not end in a decision. Munt was able to finish Hernandez via a spectacular guillotine choke. George, who had all those drinkers screaming out his name, was in la-la land.

Bout #7 was between featherweights, Marco Ortiz from the Alliance Training Center of Chula Vista and Ron Carrol of Team Quest. Carrol won the bout with a vicious arm bar submission, that appeared to damage Ortiz’s arm. According to the ring doctor, the arm was not seriously injured.

Jaime Reyes has his arm raised in victory after defeating Tony Souza with a spectacular arm bar submission. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #8 also ended in a submission victory. Featherweight Jamie Reyes of 1-on-1/The Proving Grounds defeated Tony Souza of Arena MMA with a spectacular arm bar submission in the second round. From the start, it appeared Souza had the upper hand, controlling Reyes with wrestling and maintaining top control. No matter, Reyes used his continuously improving BJJ to secure the lightning fast submission. It was his second arm bar finish in as many contests.

When interviewed after the fight, he exclaimed, “I just love Jui Jitsu!”

Despite the difference in size, Marcus Aven had little problem defeating Shane Daniels. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #9 in the featherweight division, pitted the much taller Shane Daniels of Irvine fighting out of a LA Boxing Gym against the mighty mite, Marcus Aven of Team Right Cross/Victory MMA. Size wise, it looked as if Aven had no chance. Those thoughts quickly disappeared after Aven started leveling the playing field with sweeping kicks and then he picked Daniels up and threw him to the ground to wrestle. After one dramatic takedown, it appeared Daniels had trouble getting back to his corner. Aven’s strong wrestling techniques gave him an unanimous decision victory.

At the end of the night, I quizzed Aven about his amazing ability to handle the bigger men. After mentioning that he had two older brothers, he didn’t have to go into any further details.

After their battle royale, Ken Sells (r) was quite gracious in defeat and showed his class by clapping for his opponent, Andre Lagdaan (l). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #10 was in the lightweight division between Ken Sells of 1-on-1/the Proving Grounds and Andre Lagdaan of So Cal Martial Arts. Lagdaan was able to pull out the victory by out wrestling Sells and neutralizing his rather tentative striking skills. Every time Sells used one of his high kicks, he seemed vulnerable to Lagdaan’s quickness.

Getting interviewed after a win is getting to be a regular thing for Odon Alvarez (l). His victim at Epic 5 was Ray Sylverne. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #11 was in the light heavyweight division between Ray Sylverne a U. S. Marine and Odon Alvarez of Team Quest. The fight was a striking war with both fighters landing big blows and consistently going for that one punch knock out. Alvarez ended up winning via unanimous decision for his control of the ring and for landing the majority of the heavy blows.

To the victor go the spoils. Henry Soto (c) not only won his heavyweight bout against Al Bose, the match with Bose was declared the “Fight of the Night.” Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #12, in the heavyweight division, was easily the fight of the night. Al Bose of the Undisputed Fitness and Training Center in El Cajon faced Henry Soto a local U.S. Marine who hails from Kensington, a neighborhood in North Philadelphia. From the outset, the punches thrown were of the knockout variety. After three rounds of a brutal struggle, Soto was awarded an unanimous decision victory.

Beating Nick Vega is quite a chore but on this night, Adam Griffis had no problem. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #13 was in the light heavyweight division between Nick Vega of Team Quest and Adam Griffis of Poway MMA. Griffis nearly finished Vega off in the first round via a rear naked choke, but Vega toughed it out. He controlled the action throughout by using his strong Muay Thai striking skills and wrestling techniques. After the Griffis win, it was hinted he might be in line for a light heavyweight title shot.

Manny Murillo has his arm raised in victory after defeating the very tough Cordell Williams to become Epic Fighting’s cruiserweight champion. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #14, the main event of the evening, was for the Epic Fighting 185 pound championship between Cordell Williams of Undisputed Fitness and Training in El Cajon, Ca. and Manny Murillo of Team Quest. The fighting was truly spectacular with both fighters securing dominant positions, submission attempts, and landing powerful strikes. However, Murillo was the better man on this night, winning via technical knockout to become Epic Fighting’s cruiserweight champ.

After the championship match, awards were given to Jamie Reyes for Submission of the Night, Manny Murillo for Knockout of the Night, and Henry Soto and Al Bose for Fight of the Night.

The next Epic Fighting event, EPIC Fighting 6 is scheduled for June 3, 2011 at the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley.

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