Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mountain Force MMA card this weekend, more

Mountain Force MMA is having its inaugural card in Utah this Saturday in Logan. Let's hope that a good crowd shows up. In recent years a couple of regular MMA promotions in Northern Utah has ceased operating, although SteelFist is still going strong and Jeremy Horn's has a couple of cards a year. It's at the Eccles Ice Arena at 7 p.m. Website is here. The promotion has a strong Facebook presence here. The card is here. Main bout matches Anthony Miller versus Allen Silva, pros. Another pro bout has Nick Clemm meeting Justus Minardi, who is a fill in for an injured Miles Welk. A pro bout matches Andy Pitcher and Ben Goins. An amateur 205 pound title bout matches Joe Flores versus Colton Hildebrand. Another amateur fights has Brittany Guillemin against Stephanie Hernandez.

Readers may have noticed the belt above. It will be at the Mountain Force MMA card. Stackd Fitness and AlphaSetBoxing have come together to donate this MMA championship belt to a child who is undergoing his cancer treatment. They will be surprising him this Saturday at the MMA event. If anyone wants to know more about this and offer assistance you can message professional fighter Christian Nava via Facebook. We give kudos to Stackd Fitness and AlphaSetBoxing for sponsoring this effort.

Mountain Force MMA also plans a June 2 card in Ogden. It will be a Pat Reeves Fight Night with some of the proceeds benefiting the late fighter's family. MMA pro Thomas Hughes will be fighting on the card.


Fierce Fighting Championship in Price was last Saturday. In the 155-pound pro main event Nate Kearsley scored a decision over Cy Nelson. In a 125-pound amateur title bout Brandon Rease scored a decision (5 rounds) over Thomas Prestriedge. I was able to watch that bout via a smart phone video over Facebook. Both fighters competed very well. To get all the results go to Facebook's Fighting Out of Utah MMA News here.

I also watched amateur kickboxer Kaecy Raddon win a WAKO bout Saturday in Wisconsin thanks to a smart phone and social media. Raddon, who also fights as an amateur MMA, fights for a belt next month in the Pacific Northwest.

Invicta is having an MMA card Saturday, March 24 at the Union Event Center in Salt Lake City. The card is here. DeAnna Bennett is part of the co-main, fighting Karina Rodriguez of Mrexico. The undercard includes local Kaytlin Neil against Tracy Cortez of Arizona.

Finally, The Complex in Salt Lake City is scheduled to have a boxing pro am card on March 24. I have not garnered much information on it but it has been reported on social media that undefeated professional boxers Christian Aguirre and Bladimir Estrada will be meeting with the state title on the line (middleweight?). 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Interviews with Brandon Rease, Thomas Prestriedge

(UPDATE: We learned this early afternoon that MMA pro Miles Welk has to pull out of his March 17 bout in Logan. He suffered a severe MCL sprain in hand and knee as well as a severely sprained thumb. We wish him well in his recovery. He hopes to fight again in April or May. )

This Saturday night is Fierce Fighting Championship's latest card. You can see it here. The main pro bout matches Cy Nelson against Nate Kearsley. An amateur rematch places Brandon Rease against Thomas Prestriedge. It's for a promotional title and we're very intrigued by this fight. Utah Fight Game interviewed both Thomas and Brandon:


UFGYou fought Brandon a couple of years ago, lost a split decision. Now it's for a title. What are you looking for from your opponent? Do you think there's more to learn about your opponent? Or are looking for an updated version of the same bout? 

PrestriedgeI'm looking for a good fight from him, I'm really hoping Brandon has improved since the last time we fought like I have. There's nothing I hate more then a easy fight 😅I only wanna fight the best! It's the only way I'll ever reach my goal in life.

UFGWhat is training like? Who are your main coaches, who are you training and sparring with? 

Prestriedge: To me training is a awesome experience. It's where I get to work on all my weaknesses and spend time with awesome people. I always train harder then the day before! My main coaches are professor Rob Handely, Pedro Sierra, Paul Tom, and coach Pat Garcia and I work on my Jiu-Jitsu at Paul Tom's academy of BBJ and I work on my wrestling sparring and my MMA training at Absolute MMA.

UFGWhat advantages do you take into the bout? What are some challenges that your opponent will bring to you?

PrestriedgeI think my advantages in this fight are gonna be my stand up and my Jiu-Jitsu, not to mention my mentality. I am not willing to give up no matter how hard he comes at me! And I think one of the biggest challenges he will bring at me is having the same mindset; he is not gonna be willing to give up either and when both opponents aren't willing to give up that's when the fight really becomes interesting.


UFGYou fought Thomas a couple of years ago, won a split decision. Now it's for a title. What are you looking for from your opponent? Do you think there's more to learn about your opponent? Or are looking for an updated version of the same bout? 

ReaseI’m looking to see a mor improved Thomas. I have a feeling he’s gonna come at me with everything he’s got and I will be bringing everything I got to him. I know this fight will be a war.

UFGWhat is training like? Who are your main coaches, who are you training and sparring with?

Rease: Training, I’m not gonna lie is very brutal. I train at KOA which is now the home for the Garage MMA and we got some high-skilled "bangas" in there, like Bryce Edminister, Bobby King, Miles Welk, Hector Lopez, Bryce Scanlon, Alonzo Salas, Edgar Soto and Kelsey Skillman; so many well-skilled fighters. My coaches are Anthony Lobato, David Castillo and Bobby King! Those are some big names in Utah MMA. Sparring at KOA isn’t no walk in a park and I love it.

UFGWhat advantages do you take into the bout? What are some challenges that your opponent will bring to you?

ReaseAdvantages I will bring into this fight are I already beat him -- that’s gonna be on his mind this fight -- (and) also my skills in everything have improved since we last fought. The challenge he will bring to me is his reach and heart; that kid can bang. ... also this fight is dedicated to Pat Reeves (Ogden MMA fighter who recently died).

We wish both Thomas and Brandon the best. I admire both these veteran amateurs. Brandon rebounded well from some tough, early losses in his career, and improved to become a consistent winner. Thomas, in his last fight, won a SteelFist crown after taking quite a beating in round one against a very talented opponent. He withstood the early attack and battled back to take a five-round decision. Saturday's bout is also for five rounds.


A reminder that Mountain Force MMA card is next Saturday in Logan. We have interviewed Miles Welk, pro fighter on the card. The entire card is here. Anthony Miller fights Allen Silva in the main pro bout. Also on the card are debuting pros Andy Pitcher and Ben Goins, and amateurs Hayden Brown and Joe Flores. ... Hector Lopez, 3-0, amateur out of KOA, is fighting on the April 6 FitCon card in SLC. 

Notes: Amateur MMA fighter/kickboxer Kaecy Raddon, who fights out of Colorado now, is competing in a WAKO Team USA  K1 Kickboxing card this weekend in Janesville, Wisc. Raddon will be back in the  cage on April 7 in Everett, Wash., fighting for the Sparta Combat League 155 pound amateur belt. ... By the way, Eric Tillotson is calling the Fierce Fighting Championship card on Saturday in Price. He recently previewed the card on a podcast. You can find it here on Facebook.

Friday, March 2, 2018

SteelFist results, upcoming bouts

A quick Utah Fight Game blog post this week: Last Saturday SteelFist had its MMA pro/am card in Salt Lake City. In the main event Fabio Serrao defeated Cody Bunderson in round three and in another pro bout, Trever Bradshaw stopped Daniel Benjamin Grass is the opening stanza. Amateur winners included Jordan Matrshall, Jayden Marshall and Hayden Brown. ALL THE RESULTS are at the Facebook page Fighting Out of Utah MMA News here.

There was an amateur card Saturday at the South Salt Lake PAL. I don't have all the results but here is what I have:

Austin Garcia dec. Diego Cabrera, 50 pounds (both Team Unbreakable)

Alyssa Mendoza (Alpha Boxing Club) dec. Soledad Rodriguez (Louie's Boxing Club) 114 pounds

Shane Saunders (SSL PAL) dec. Corbin Lloyd (Team Unbreakable) 65 pounds

Erik Castenada (Fullmer Bro. Boxing Club) dec. Joe Gibson (Foley's gym) 95 pounds

Fernando Quintanilla (SSL PAL) dec. Guillermo Martinez (Louie's Boxing Club) 85 pounds

John Ortiz (Reyes Boxing) dec. Robert Chaiarez (Salt Lake City)

Jay Wright (Foley's gym) dec. Abuch Jones (Team Unbreakable) 141 pounds

Nicole Sontag (Logan, UT) dec. Bethanny Wurster (Cache Valley Boxing Club) 141 pounds

Heneli Paea (Salt Lake City) defeated Tyson Haddon (Cache Valley Boxing Club) 165 pounds


Back to MMA: SteelFist has a great main event on April 13, Clay Collard versus undefeated Carson Gregory. An amateur 185-pound bout will match Eric Munoz, who trains at Foley's, against Cole Shafer. ... Next week is the Fierce Fighting Championships card. A great amateur title bout matches Thomas Prestriedge against Brandon Rease. We should have interview with both on the blog next week.

Here is a list of upcoming events in Utah courtesy of the state athletic commission website. Mountain Force MMA and Invicta are in Logan and Salt Lake City March 17 and March 24. Rumor has it a boxing card is on tap in March kin SLC but it's not listed as of yet. Mountain Force MMA plans an Ogden card in June, and Jeremy Horn's will be in Ogden in August.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Weekly update of the fight game in Utah

Last Saturday was a fight night at Foley's, an amateur boxing card. Winners included Jon Bryant, Michelle Maya (seen (at right) fighting Mary Quinn below) and Jesus Saldana. There was a 10 count prior gto the fights in memory of the late boxer/MMA fighter Pat Reeves. In the other photo trainer Dave Foley tends to fighter Joe Gibson between rounds.

There were three events last weekend devoted to Pat Reeves memory, and at the memorial service on Sunday it was announced that Boston University researchers will study Pat's brain as part of an effort to learn more about potential damage to the brain after years of fighting. This is a good effort that may help increase our ability to protect fighters. Read about Pat here and it includes a link to a Go Fund Me page to assist his family with funeral costs.

--- Tomorrow night is SteelFist MMA action at the Union Event Center (235 N 500 West) in Salt Lake City. Card starts at 7. It's a big card (see it here). I'm very interested in the main event between Fabio Serrao and Cody Bunderson and a pro bout between Trever Bradshaw and Benjamin Daniel Grass. Amateurs competing include Jayden Marshall, Jordan Marshall, Brittany Guillemin, and Hayden Brown.

-- We have learned that two undefeated Utah boxing prospects, Bladimir Estrada and Christian Agguire, will meet in March for a state pro title (super middleweight). Also in boxing, local pro Tim Carroll traveled to New York recently, losing a decision to Akeem Mauzon. ... In MMA action, local Josh Burkman fought on last week's UFC card in Omaho, Neb., losing to Alex Morono. ... Also, pro grappler John Valentine will be competing in Utah on May 5 at the Proving Grounds Super Fights.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

We honor the life of Pat Reeves, MMA professional

Pat Reeves died this week, and his death saddened a lot of us. He was the heart and soul of the fight game community here for more than a decade. I was not nearly as close a friend as many others, but every time I saw Pat, we talked a spell, whether at Foley’s gym or at the fights. I interviewed him often, whether for the blog or the Standard-Examiner. I admired the guy, not only for his fighting skill and passion, but for his desire to share his skills with others, to teach and be a mentor. Besides training at Foley's, Pat was also a member of the Assassins fight team. 

I love the above photo of Pat. It reminds of the first time I saw him fight. He took on tough opponent, Drayton Woods, from southern Utah who went on the attack on Pat. From the ground, Pat weathered the storm and maneuvered his foe into a triangle choke. The guy fought it hard, but he succumbed. Pat’s joy and love of MMA is captured in that photo. We ran that photo, or one similar, in the Standard-Examiner, in our recap of the card.

Pat never ducked a fight – he even had a couple pro boxing matches -- and he had bravado. A year after the first fight I mention he was on a card at Raptors field in Ogden, against a contemporary named Gabe Francis. Pat dared him to hit his face. Gabe obliged him. The punches did little to stem Pat’s enthusiasm but unfortunately they drew a lot of blood, forcing a doctor’s stoppage. (18 months later, Pat got another shot at Francis, and this time he won in the first round, via a triangle choke).

Pat won a regional belt in 2013, traveling to Vernal and beating the very tough Daniel Stratton to take the Rocky Mountain Fight Championships title. He won in round 4, a championship round, by – you guessed it – a triangle choke. Pat’s lean, tall, rangy physique was ideal for the triangle choke. I wasn’t at that bout, but I interviewed Pat at Foley’s gym a few days later. He was wearing his belt. I wish I could find the photo I took of him with the belt. He took a lot of deserved pride in that win. He defended the belt successfully once before losing it in the cage.

I got to see Pat’s final two wins, and his last fight, a loss to a world-class fighter, fellow Ogden colleague Steven Siler. Pat was a well-established pro who fought not only the best regional opponents, but the elite too. Besides Siler, he also tangled, and acquitted himself well, against Lance Palmer, in Orem a few years ago.

One time, several years ago when we were chatting at Foley’s gym, Pat told me he wanted to do something to help others, to use some of the blessings he had received to give others a boost. I believe Pat achieved this goal the past couple of years with “The Pack,” a group of MMA fighters that he trained and trained with at Foley’s. Until very recently, “The Pack” was a fixture of fighters working hard at Foley’s. Until the day I die I will treasure the memories of Pat working with these MMA hopefuls in the cage, patiently sharing his wisdom with them, watching sparring, sparring with them, going over the mechanics of the sport, patiently improving their skills. Eric Munoz, who recently retired, is just one example of an MMA hopeful that, through Pat’s guidance, moved from MMA novice to respected, talented amateur veteran who earned a regional belt.

It’s going to be very hard to go to Foley’s gym and not see Pat there. When I learned of his death Monday, I moved away from my work desk, and found a place to shed some tears. We won’t forget Pat, and not forgetting will include taking some harsh lessons from his untimely death and helping others who will face some of the challenges that overwhelmed Pat in his final days.

Right now, we honor our friend. Here’s a link to Pat’s obituary. On Sunday at 1 p.m. a celebration of his life will be held at Foley’s gym in Ogden, 375 31st Street, an appropriate spot to honor Pat because he honored so many of us there, and at other gyms and arenas. Also, Friday, beginning at 5:30 p.m., Foley's will host a night dedicated to Pat with some martial arts instruction (Bang Muy Thai courtesy of Jarrett Kelton), some grappling and a silent auction, all to remember Pat and help his young family. Admission is free.

-- Doug Gibson

Here's a photo essay the Standard-Examiner published prior to Pat's final bout.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

An interview with MMA pro Miles Welk

On March 17 Mountain Force MMA will have its first promotion at the Eccles Ice Arena in Logan. The card is set and you can see matchups at the promotion's Facebook page. One of the pro bouts matches Miles Welk (of KOA gym in Layton) (at left above) with Nick Clem. Both fighters are undefeated. We have observed Welk's career for several years, from a successful amateur who captured regional titles through two successful pro bouts. We took the time to chat with him recently.

Miles, there have been fairly long gaps between your two pro fights. Do you have plans to fight more often?

Welk: Yeah I've struggled to stay in the gym and be consistent in my training. I've rededicated myself and I'm going to see if I can't take my career to the next level so I'm planning to fight at 3 times this year maybe 4 depending on how healthy I stay.

How is training going? You train at KOA. Who are your trainers and other fighters you work out with?

Welk: I do train at KOA. I love it. It's an amazing gym and it has so much to offer to everyone, especially fighters. It's a great fit for me. Training is good. I'm working hard in every aspect. I’m just trying to get better at being a mixed martial artist every day. My head coach is David Castillo, my Jui Jitsui Coach is Anthony Lobato, My strength and conditioning Coach is Bobby King. I have a room full of great partners. Bryce Edminister, Bobby King, Hector Lopez, Edgar Sorto, Brandon Rease, Kelsey Skillman, Bryce Scanlon,Alonzo Salas. We have a pretty stacked team right now.

How do you match strongly against your opponent?

Welk: My opponent is Nick Clem from Colorado. He's a tough guy, had 12 amateur fights, 1-0 as a pro. He has good footwork and lateral movement and I can tell he likes to wrestle and grapple so I feel like I match up well against him. I feel like I can wrestle with anyone in the 125-pound weight class and my striking is getting better every day and so is my jui jitsui . Overall I'm ready for whatever and match up well with him.

You are fighting, and getting some good publicity, from a new promoter. What are your plans beyond this bout. Do you have a schedule, plans to move forward in MMA?

Welk: This is a new promotion Mountain Force MMA. They have been awesome to work with. Juan (Pablo) is the man, and I'm looking forward to fighting and trying to get the W on the very first card. Hopefully they'll have me back. I don't have anything scheduled yet but I have plenty of teammates who do so I'm just going to stay in the gym and stay ready for the next fight and help my teammates get ready.

Thanks Miles for your time and good luck on March 17.

Some extra news: SteelFist has announced a very strong matchup for its Friday the 13th April card. Undefeated Carson Gregory versus former UFC veteran Clay Collard. This will be highly anticipated; either a gate for Gregory to move up early in his career or perhaps a means for Collard to move back into the major promotions. ... Locally, we are intrigued by a Fierce Fighting Championship promotional amateur title fight between Thomas Prestriedge, of American Fork, and Brandon Rease, who fights out of KOA. The pair fought two years ago at at SteelFist card with Rease getting a split decision. It's in Price on March 10, and we'll likely try to interview both soon.

And more ... Kelsey Skillman, amateur at KOA, is set to fight in April for SteelFist, and this weekend, Kaecy Raddon, formerly at One Hit MMA, who now fights out of Colorado, is fighting Roy Sarabia for a Sparta Combat League 155-pound amateur belt.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Boxing, MMA Jiu Jitsu results and more

A quick blog this week:

Some boxing news: There was a pro/am card last weekend at The Complex in SLC. I'm a bit frustrated at not getting results but here is what I have: Undefeated young pro Bladimar Estrada is now 5-0 after logging a win. Female boxer Lisa Carroll was a winner as was amateur boxer Jay Wright of Foley's gym. If we get more results we will share them.

The Complex may have another card in March. Also, as we have mentioned, West Jordan pro boxer, and world ranked featherweight Jose Haro will fight March 17 on ESPN, nationally televised, at Madison Square Garden in New York City against another world-class boxer, Jean Carlos Rivera.

Jiu Jitsu -- As we mentioned last week, John Valentine, who is competing in Jiu Jitsu and has won a world belt, competed professionally in a Submission-Only card alongside his three sons, Cody, James and Kyle, in five-minute bouts. All competed well and you can read about the fights, see photos and watch a video at John Valentine's Facebook page. Valentine went the distance, meaning a draw, with Mark Wegener.

On social media this past week Valentine announced he will have another sub,mission-only bout soon in Utah. We'll keep on top of that.

In MMA, Rowdy Akers, a pro fighter from One Hit MMA, headlined a pro card in Casper, Wyo., but came ups short against Kehlin Rozsel. (You can see a photo spread of the card via the local media here). Unfortunately, Rowdy broke his hand in that bout and will miss a planned March fight.

More info: Amateur MMA fighter Destiny McCubbin will fight at FitCon in April in SLC for a Utah belt. Pro Jarome Hatch is also on that card. Amateur Brandon Rease will be fighting for a Fierce Fighting Championship belt soon. Pro Bryce Edminister of KOA gym plans to fight again soon. Kaecy Raddon, who has relocated to Colorado the past year or so, fights Dean Cotton for the Sparta Combat League amateur featherweight belt in Denver on Feb. 10. 

And remember The SteelFist MMA card this month is on the 24th at the Union Event Center in SLC. Cody Bunderson versus Fabio Serrao is a strong main pro bout but there are a lot of bouts, including a pro bout between Trever Bradshaw and Benjamin Daniel Grass. Here is the promotion's Facebook page.