A complete recap of our night out with Epic Fighting for local San Diego MMA fights
On Friday, July 25, Epic Fighting and Jason Stewart presented local MMA fight fans with a stacked card of local fight action that included some of the best amateur fighters from the San Diego area. The Four Points Sheraton in Kearny Mesa was home to an exciting night of fights, fans, food and entertainment as more than eight bouts took place inside the grand ballroom of The Four Points Sheraton in Kearny Mesa.
While Comic-Con dominated the downtown San Diego landscape, the outskirts of town provided the perfect backdrop for a night of fights, which included two Epic titles on the line in the 135lb and 185lb divisions, two exhibition grappling matches and a handful of entertaining fight between fighters from some of San Diego’s best gyms.
The doors opened promptly at sundown as fight fans funneled in to the grand ballroom to get their seats cage side for the first set of bouts. With classic hip-hop and the latest hits blaring from the speakers, the atmosphere was electric as fans enjoyed music, food from local vendors, such Poppa’s Fresh Fish Company, and had the opportunity to check out some of the latest MMA gear from Bathala.
The cage was decorated with banners from proud Epic sponsors, such as Guedes Construction, Mann v Pest, Kremer Insurance and Epic Promo Girls, and inside the cage the glimmering hardware for Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night, and Submission of the Night stood tall awaiting their new owners.
As usual, the Epic staff, such as CEO Jason Stewart and matchmaker Heather Hyatt, paced the floor talking with fans, media and fighters throughout the night. The ringside table of hard-working Epic staff commentators, including local renaissance man, Carlos “The Los” Kremer, and the king of multi-tasking Harvey Castellano, worked the microphones and cell phones throughout the night ensuring all aspects of social media were covered and the crowd was continuously involved with the action.
Fight #1 – Karlee Pangilinan v Desmond Jackson
The first fight of the main card kicked off to a roaring crowd of fans as Karlee Pangilinan (0-0) from Team Quest, faced off against Desmond Jackson (0-0) from the Academy of Striking and Grappling in their amateur debuts.
The flyweights squared off in round one to a packed house as Epic 25 got underway. Pangilinan, who stands a stout 5’3” faced an obvious challenge as Jackson, the taller fighter at 5’11”, would maintain an obvious reach advantage throughout the fight.
From the opening bell, both fighters came out strong and Pangilinan landed several looping overhand rights that broke Jacksons guard and sent him back into the cage. A brief break in the action allowed Jackson to land a nice kick fending off Pangilinan for a brief period. Within moments, three huge overhand right from Pangilinan landed cleanly on Jackson’s jaw forcing him back into the cage. The relentless pace of Pangilinan was too much and the referee stopped the fight with seconds left in the first round.
Pangilinan was ecstatic about his debut victory and was able to execute his game plan to take home the victory. “You know the fight had changed this week, and when I knew who I was fighting I knew that he would have the reach advantage so I made sure that my overhand right was on point,” said Pangilinan.
Result: Karlee Pangilinan by TKO
Fight #2 – Parker Reid v Jose Jimenez
The action continued promptly as fighters from Victory MMA and USSD MMA San Clemente took to the cage in a bantamweight title fight for the Epic belt. Parker “The Amazing Spiderman” Reid (5-1), a fighter known for possessing a complete set of skills was set to face Jose Jimenez (6-2), defending 135lb titleholder, in a showdown of two state-ranked fighters.
The action in round one started fast and furious and never let up as both fighters showcased their complete set of skills with solid striking, vicious knees and a consistent clinch. Jimenez, the defending champ, was able to find a home for his knees landing several nice body shots.
Reid, who was able to break away from the strong clinch of Jimenez, recognized that he needed to fight from the outside and landed a stiff straight left that found its home on Jimenez chin sending him to the mat instantly. Jimenez was clearly out and the fight was stopped as Parker Reid became the new 135lb Champion and earned the Knockout of the Night.
In the post-fight interview Reid, who was making his return to the ring after a year-long layoff, was highly complementary of his team, friends, family and friends for helping him get to where he is today. With Victory MMA instructors and former UFC legends in his corner, Reid, a skillful fighter, will certainly be someone to keep an eye on in the future.
Result: Parker Reid by KO
Fight #3 – Ryan Rosas v J.W. Lee
In what ended up being the Fight of the Night, Ryan Rosas (2-1) from Victory MMA, faced off against John “J.W.” Lee (3-3) from Team Hallaway.
Rosas and Lee, both Epic Fighting veterans, came out quick as Lee was able to hold Rosas against the cage and land knees from the opening bell. Rosas was able to gain momentum and land several hard leg kicks that caught Lee’s attention, but a late takedown by Lee may have stolen the round.
Going into round two it was obvious that Rosas would need to use his superior footwork and leg kicks to change the momentum. Lee, an experienced and proven wrestler, did his best to get Rosas down and once again forced a takedown late in the second round despite Rosas’s relentless striking attack.
With the fight on the line, the crowd on their feet, and both fighters knowing they needed to turn up the action in order to secure a victory, Rosas and Lee came out fast with Rosas landing significant strikes early. A solid round for Rosas continued as he was able to land the significant strikes and end the fight on a high note. The win was Rosas’s third in Epic and gave the Victory Team another mark in the win column as coaches Chris Leben and Dean Lister continue to put quality fighters in the cage.
Result: Ryan Rosas by decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
A brief intermission in the action allowed for a “who’s who” of local San Diego MMA legends and celebrities as UFC legends Chris “The Crippler” Leben, Dean Lister, television star Conan Neverdunn and local professional boxer Rich Power were called to the cage. Jason Stewart, CEO of Epic Fighting, addressed the crowd, introduced the group of local celebrities and treated the fans to some free t-shirts that were tossed into the crowd by the beautiful Epic Promo Girls.
Fight #4 – Michael Thomas v Isaiah Grant
After the short break, two strong welterweights entered the cage as independent fighter Michael Thomas (1-0), made his Epic debut against Isaiah Grant (1-1) from Tapout Los Angeles, 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu and EFC.
Thomas managed the first round by taking Grant to the ground before the referee brought the fighters back to their feet after a lull in the action. A second takedown off a straight right by Thomas sent Grant to the mat late in the round and Thomas began a brief onslaught of ground and pound.
Round two started with striking from both fighters before Grant intentionally pulled guard sending the fight to his back. Grant, a jiu-jitsu practitioner, attempted to control the action from his back, however, a second referee stoppage brought a halt to the action. Grant pulled guard once again to the crowd’s dismay and Thomas took advantage applying a solid ground and pound for the better part of the round.
With the fight hanging in the balance, Grant was unable to execute his grappling strategy and allowed Thomas to achieve two more takedowns, a massive slam that nearly sent Grant through the mat and enough ground and pound to secure a unanimous victory.
Result: Michael Thomas by decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Fight #5 – Jordan Taylor v David Durant
The action didn’t stop as the middleweights squared off for the vacant 185lb Epic title in a highly anticipated bout between Team Quest combatant, Jordan Taylor (3-1), and #6 ranked David Durant (5-1) from The Arena.
Durant, an accomplished grappler, was able to secure an early takedown in round one that sent him straight into side control. Durant, who looked to be in perfect position to control the round landed some decent punches from side control before being stood up by the referee. Durant continued dominating the first round and landed a thudding slam ferociously sending Taylor to his back to end the round.
The second round started fast for Taylor as he was clearly behind on the judge’s scorecard and needed to force the action. Taylor found some success with strikes in the early part of the round, however, the superior grappling of Durant came to the surface as another big slam led to immediate side control for Durant. The late takedown kept Taylor on the mat preventing him from landing the strikes he needed to win the round.
With the vacant 185lb title on the line, both fighters traded strikes early in the third and final round, before Durant landed another takedown, all but securing the victory and designation of new Epic middleweight champion. A referee stoppage in the middle of the round opened a window for Taylor, however another takedown by Durant quickly closed the window once again.
With moments left in the fight, Durant pulled an arm triangle forcing Taylor to tap out and making David Durant the new 185lb Epic champion and earning him Submission of the Night honors.
Result: David Durant by arm triangle
Fight #6 – Chris Cabrera v Angel Zamora
In the final fight of the night, middleweight fighter Chris Cabrera from Tapout Los Angeles, made his Epic debut against grappler Angel Zamora from the Academy of Striking and Grappling.
Zamora controlled the first round with a sound ground attack and equally devastating striking. A deep gash on the top of Cabrera’s head was cause for concern in between rounds, but the referee allowed the fight to continue.
In round two, Zamora smelled blood in the water and was able to secure one final takedown and applied vicious ground and pound to end the fight early in the second round.
Result: Angel Zamora by referee stoppage due to ground and pound
As the night came to a close, I found myself hungry for more fights and ready to get back to an Epic event as soon as possible. Epic Fighting will be back on September 26 for Epic 26 live from the Four Points by Sheraton.
Special thanks to Epic Fighting, Jason Stewart, Harvey Castellano, Carlos Kremer, Heather Hyatt and Hiram Lopez. Fight fans can buy tickets NOW for Epic 26, which goes down September 26, 2014 at Four Points by Sheraton in Kearny Mesa. Doors open at 6pm. Purchase your tickets at http://www.epicfighting.com. Follow Epic Fighting on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EpicFight and Twitter @EpicFighting.