Epic Fighting CEO Jason Stewart and the Epic Fighting Team are ending the month of September with a bang as live amateur MMA action returns to the Four Points Sheraton in Kearny Mesa for a fun-filled night of food, music, entertainment and mixed martial art action.
TheFightVoice crew is in the house for Epic 26 as fighters from around Southern California look to advance their MMA careers by representing their gyms and challenging each other inside the Epic cage.
Follow our livestream here, at http://www.thefightvoice.com, on Twitter @thefightvoice, Instagram at thefightvoice and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/fight.voice as we bring you all of the live round-by-round action.
Main Event – Featherweights (131.5 – 145 pounds)
Bruce Smith (3-0) vs Ryan Lilley (4-5)
In the main event of the evening, Bruce “Swift” Smith made his long awaited return to the Epic cage as he squared off against battle-tested Ryan Lilley in a non-title fight. Lilley, a veteran fighter out of Bas Rutten Elite MMA looked to get on the winning side of the coin as he was fighting in his tenth fight. Smith, who made a change in trainers and how has Chris “The Crippler” Leben in his corner, has been waiting to make his return to the Epic cage and looked to end the night with a victory for San Diego.
Rd. 1 – The main event kicked off with some good action as both men used the ring to their advantage throwing combinations and pushing the action. Lilley choose to throw some wild shots early and opened himself up for an early takedown that Smith took advantage of landing several punches on Lilley against the cage. A low blow on Smith caused a brief halt to the action before one last scramble against the cage saw the round coming to an end.
Rd. 2 – Smith flashed some exciting kicks and pushed the action in round two before landing a takedown and gaining full mount early in the round. A nice scramble by Lilley allowed him to escape danger before Smith once again earned control of Lilley’s back. Smith applied some good ground and pound and even made an attempt at an arm bar before the round came to a close.
Rd. 3 – In the third and final round things picked up where they left off with both men throwing leather and looking to end the fight. A good back and forth in the middle of the round led to a big slam by Smith at the end of the round. Smith took Lilley’s back and applied heavy punches before the fight came to an end.
Result: Bruce Smith by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Fight of the Night: Robert Marsters
Knockout of the Night: Chris Leon
Submission of the Night: Harlem Dillon
Fight #11 – Flyweights (115.1 – 125 pounds)
Jacquelyn Vandenburgh (0-2) vs Melissa Rivera (0-0)
For the first time of the evening, the ladies took center stage to a roaring crowd as Melissa Rivera looked ready to battle Jackie Vandenburgh from Team Quest.
Rd. 1 – Rivera started the round fast, showcasing her boxing skills as she landed several combinations that had Vandenburgh turned around and confused. A takedown by Rivera followed and she took the back of Vandenburgh in the middle of the round. An attempt for a rear naked choke didn’t come to fruition as the round came to an end.
Rd. 2 – The second round was a different story as Vandenburgh was the first to unleash an attack, quickly taking the fight to the ground and sinking in a tight rear naked choke on Rivera. Rivera was forced to tap early in round two.
Result: Jackie Vandenburgh by rear naked choke in round two
Fight #10 – Middleweights (170.1 – 185 pounds)
Adrian Gonzales (2-0) vs Michael Thomas (2-0)
In the tenth fight of the night, two Epic veterans squared off as the always physical Michael Thomas faced Defiant Muay Thai fighter Adrian Gonzales in a battle of middleweights.
Rd. 1 – The action was mild in the first round as both fighters were in a “feeling out” mode through most of the round. Gonzales landed what would have been a solid take down if not for Thomas grabbing the fence, however, Gonzales controlled most of the round on the ground and in the clinch.
Rd. 2 – The ground game took over in round two as a brief exchange on the feet kicked off the round before Gonzales earned another takedown and went to work on the ground and pound. The round ended with Gonzales once again on top in what looked to be his round.
Rd. 3 – Sensing the need for a knockout, Thomas started to take some chances on the feet and threw several solid combinations. Unable to land them all cleanly, Thomas looked frustrated as Gonzales took the fight to the mat once again with a nice takedown at the end of the round. A late scramble by Thomas brought the two back to their feet, however, it was too little too late as Gonzales walked away with the unanimous decision.
Result: Adrian Gonzales (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Fight #9 – Welterweights (155.1 – 170 pounds)
Anthony Peairs (1-0) vs Alex Trinidad (2-1)
After a brief intermission, the fights continued with none other than The Arena MMA making another appearance in the cage as Alex Trinidad took on Anthony Peairs from Team Quest. The well-represented teams looked to get the fans back on their feet and take their shot at the Fight of the Night title.
Rd. 1 – A brief back and forth on the feet started the round as both men were feeling each other out until Trinidad was able to take the fight to the ground and land an intense ground and pound that led to Peairs covering up on his stomach before the referee stepped in to stop the fight. The Arena MMA once again walked away victorious with a fast finish in the ninth fight of the night.
Result: Alex Trinidad via strikes in round 1
Fight #8 – Light Heavyweights (185.1 – 205 pounds)
Ricardo Lopez (0-0) vs Daniel Thompkins (0-0)
Two more Epic newcomers made their way to the cage for the eighth fight of the night as 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu was represented by Ricardo Lopez and OC Kickboxing and MMA Daniel Thompkins looked to earn his first victory inside the Epic cage.
Rd. 1 – It was fast, furious and ended quickly as Lopez made his presence known by dropping Thompkins just 10 seconds into the first round and ending the fight before it even started. Thompkins ate a hard punch behind the ear and several follow-up shots that sent the fighter to the ground hard, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Result: Ricardo Lopez by knockout 10 seconds into the first round
Fight #7 – Welterweights (155.1 – 170 pounds)
Kai Damico (1-1) vs Robert Marsters (1-0)
The trend continued into the second half of the evening as The Arena MMA was represented once again by Robert Marsters who looked to earn his second win inside the Epic cage. His opponent, Kai Damico, of Team Quest brought an even record into the cage and looked to challenge The Arena MMA fighter.
Rd. 1 – The phrase “fighting in a phone booth” could not be overused in round one as both men were content throwing punches and kicks throughout the round. Marsters landed some vicious combinations going low and high as Damico was on his bicycle for the second part of the round.
Rd. 2 – A fairly even first round was followed by another great round of action with both fighters landing strikes, evading big shots and showcasing solid stand up. Damico looked more comfortable in round two and setup what looked to be a sudden death third and final round.
Rd. 3 – The third round did not disappoint. With both corners likely advising their fighters that they needed the third round to win, both men came out strong landing vicious strikes and giving the crowd something to cheer about. At the end of the round, a brutal combination by Marsters hurt Damico and had the Quest fighter backpedaling against the cage. Marsters did his best to end the fight and kept Damico against the cage landing non-stop strikes until the referee was forced to step in and stop the fight.
Result: Robert Marsters by strikes in the third round
Fight #6 – Lightweights (145.1 – 155 pounds)
Diego Rivera (0-0) vs Peter Pellerito (0-0)
The lightweights continued the action as the night quickly moved along with Victory MMA fighter Diego Rivera squared off against Blackhouse MMA brawler Peter Pellerito.
Rd. 1 – Diego “Crazy Eyes” Rivera decided round one would be his as he earned an early takedown and applied heavy-handed ground and pound on Pellerito throughout the round. Rivera controlled the cage and the round and almost earned an early finish.
Rd. 2 – In round two, Rivera continued the onslaught and quickly took Pellerito to the mat before landing huge, non-stop rights and left to the body and face. A sequence of thudding body shots by Rivera had the crowd groaning as it was clear Pellerito was in trouble. Pellerito made a last-ditch attempt to escape the onslaught but was unable as Rivera earned a victory due to referee stoppage.
Result: Diego “Crazy Eyes” Rivera due to referee stoppage via strikes in round two
Fight #5 – Lightweights (145.1 – 155 pounds)
Joseph Williams (1-0) vs Jefferson Creighton (2-0)
Once again The Arena MMA made its way to the cage as Jefferson Creighton faced off against Joseph Williams in a battle of Lightweights.
Rd. 1 – An early slam by Williams led to a great back and forth scramble on the ground before Creighton made his way to his feet and landed a huge slam. Williams, who seemed confident on the ground, did his best to scramble into position before sinking in a tight Kimora on Creighton.
Result: Joseph Williams fighting out of Gracie Temecula by kimora
Fight #4 – Featherweights (131.5 – 145 pounds)
Joshua Marer (0-3) vs Christian Leon (1-0)
Epic highlight reel Christian Leon, from The Arena MMA, who went legend in his last bout with a knockout of the year kick, made his return to the cage in the fourth fight of the night against Joshua Marer from Team Quest.
Rd. 1 – The Muay Thai game was apparent in this fight as both men were more than happy to trade punches and kicks for the entire part of the first round. With chants of “liver kick” coming from the crowd, Leon once again made his presence known inside the Epic cage as he landed a vicious kick to the liver that sent Marer to the ground in pain. The fight was called immediately as Leon earned another walk-off victory.
Result: Christian Leon by referee due to strikes.
Fight #3 – Bantamweights (125 – 135 pounds)
Jose Carlos Cortez (0-0) vs Jacob Sandoval (0-0)
The bantamweights kept the night going strong as two newcomers to the Epic cage made their debuts from two of the area’s most respectable fight outfits. Sandoval, a fighter out of Blackhouse MMA squared off against Jose Cortez in the third fight of the night.
Rd. 1 – The newcomers took the fight fast in round one as nerves didn’t appear to be an issue for either men. A steady barrage of punches from Cortez led to an early takedown that was reversed by Sandoval in the middle of the round. Sandoval controlled most of the round from the top and landed decent ground and pound to end the round.
Rd. 2 – Cortez kicked off round two by showcasing his strikes, however, Sandoval used excellent footwork and head movement to avoid almost all of the attempts. A high kick by Cortez was quickly turned into a takedown by Sandoval who continued to control the round from the top position landing several solid punches and one attempt at a rear naked choke. Cortez escapes the round from the mat and we are heading to a third and final round.
Rd. 3 – The trend continued into the third and final round as Sandoval did his best to control the fight from the top landing an early takedown and applying solid ground and pound. The round ended with a bang as Sandoval easily scooped and slammed Cortez with ten seconds left all but sealing a victory for the Blackhouse MMA fighter.
Result: Jacob Sandoval earns his debut win by decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
Fight #2 – Light Heavyweights (185.1 – 205 pounds)
Harlem Dillon (0-0) vs Andreu Mendoza (0-0)
In the second bout of the night, Englishman Harlem Dillon took a trip across the pond to showcase his kickboxing skills and represent Victory MMA against The Fight Academy brawler Andreu Mendoza. Dillon, who trains with Dean Lister and Chris Leben out of Victory MMA, looks to make his name known on the San Diego MMA scene with an improved ground game and solid striking attack.
Rd. 1 – The brawling Mendoza came out fast and furious out-striking the striker in round 1 landing several combinations and keeping the Englishman at bay for most of the round. Dillon landed a takedown late in the round, but Mendoza was able to escape and land punches at will.
Rd. 2 – In round two the action continued as Mendoza landed several hard combinations before landing a takedown in the middle of the round. After being stood up by the referee, Mendoza went in for a takedown and Dillon found a window that allowed him to sink in a choke on the feet. After transitioning quickly to the mat with the choke still intact, Dillon sunk in the guillotine choke and walked away with an excellent victory.
Result: Harlem Dillon by guillotine choke in round 2
Fight #1 – Featherweights (131.1 – 145 pounds)
Timothy Molinar (0-2) vs Harrison Wilson (0-0)
Renowned San Diego gym, The Arena MMA, was represented in the first fight of the night as 20-year old Harrison Wilson made his Epic debut against independent fighter Timothy Molinar who looked to earn his first victory inside the cage.
Rd. 1 – Molinar kicks off the action with two spinning high kicks that only find air as grappler Harrison Wilson gets a solid takedown and begins controlling the action through most of the first round. Wilson gains full mount and transitions quickly to the back of Molinar before sinking in a tight rear naked choke for the tapout victory.
Result: Harrison Wilson earns his debut win with a rear naked choke in round 1 over Timothy Molinar.