Thursday, December 7, 2017

Talking with MMA pro Eric Iman

This Saturday night is the latest SteelFist MMA pro/am card. Fight card number 54 is at the Rail Event Center in Salt Lake City (235 N. 500 West, SLC 84116. The main event matches Eric Iman, of Team Link Utah, (seen above) as well as a Ben Lomond High School graduate, against One Hit MMA fighter Ben Moa, former collegiate (Utah) and NFL football player. They are fighting for the promotion's professional heavyweight title. The entire card is here.

We've followed Iman's career through the second decade of the 21st century and are pleased to publish this pre-fight interview:

Utah Fight GameTell readers a little about yourself. What got you interested in MMA, who are some MMA athletes you admire? 

Iman: "I was always interested in martial arts; who growing up didn’t want to be a samurai or a super hero? I started training with Rich Layton in Brazilian jiu-jitsu back in 2006 or so I trained with him for almost a year. Then I started training Muay Thai with Chris Fisher and learned from him for 6 months or so then I moved to train with Mickee Janjira and Danny Sanchez in Clearfield, I also was going to the Muay Thai Institute once a week or so to train with Sakasem. I trained at the Mori academy for a bit then moved to California where I trained under Gonyao, Jongsonan, and Enn at Fairtex in San Francisco for several years. I fought amateur Muay Thai in the Bay Area. When I moved back from California I met Fabio Serao and we have been training together ever since. I help coach him and some students at Team Link Utah in Layton."

Utah Fight Game: Who are some MMA athletes you admire?

Iman: "I really look up to Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone. He is a no-nonsense hard-nosed fighter I respect a lot.  I have been really impressed with Anthony Joshua and the fight he had with (Wladimir) Klitschko, I admire a fighter that can weather some damage and show some grit and bite down on his mouth piece and fight on.  Robbie Lawler is always entertaining and tough."

Utah Fight Game: What are your strengths, what are your opponent’s strengths and what’s your strategy to come out on top? 

Iman: "My striking is definitely my strength, I have worked relentlessly on my takedown defense my whole career so I can keep the fight standing. I have knockout power in my hands and can finish a fight kicking with either leg. I think Ben has a lot of athleticism and I believe he will try to get me to the ground. I will use my defensive wrestling to keep the fight standing and I will always return with my shield or on it. I went the distance with (Maurice) Jackson and felt I won but I know if it's left to the judges it may be a crap shoot."

Utah Fight Game: Where do you hope to be in your career a year from now?

Iman: "As far as my fight career and where it will be in the next year? All I can say is 'You never know how far you can go, until you have gone too far.'  -- T.S. Eliot. I am 39 and I am in as good shape as I have ever been. I am definitely towards the end but I have a few left in the tank. A win here will definitely determine what’s next!

We wish the best of luck Saturday night for Iman, and Moa, as well as for all the fighters on the card. In the co-main, Josh Wixom and Cole Shafer fight for the SteelFist amateur middleweight belt. We are intrigued by pro bouts matching Trever Bradshaw with William Dunkle and Jared Toothaker versus Tyson Cowan. One of the amateur bouts matches a returning Carissa Merrill against debuting Brittany Guillemin.


In Mesquite, Nevada, Kaecy Raddon lost a close bout to Rocky Cantu for the TuffNUff amateur lightweight title. This was a closely contested bout that could have gone to both fighters. Raddon finished the fight very strongly. A couple of local amateurs from KOA gym fought on the card. Kelsey Skillman lost a decision and Hector Lopez scored a TKO win.

Brenda Enriquez, a former SteelFist amateur champ who fights pro MMA with Combate Americas is now 1-1 as a pro after losing a decision to Vanessa Rico Fernandez last weekend at Combate 19 in San Antonio, Texas.

And amateur Aubree Thompson, who also won a SteelFist title when she lived in the Top of Utah, stopped Irene White in round one last weekend in Portland, Ore.


The U.S. Boxing nationals amateur boxing championships and junior open is this week in Salt Lake City. Some local amateurs have competed, including Mateo Holt of Louie's gym, and James Cox and Dylan Bahena, of LightsOut gym..

Thursday, November 30, 2017

An interview with amateur MMA fighter Kaecy Raddon

Kaecy (Caveman) Raddon, of Westminster, Colo., seen above at left training with MMA fighter Alix Fisher at Ludwig Martial Arts, is one of the top amateurs in mixed martial arts with a record of 9-1. Kaecy, who has relocated to Colorado to train at Ludwig's gym in Broomfield, fought out of the Top of Utah at Layton's One Hit MMA gym for the past few years. He's also a top amateur in kick boxing, with WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) experience.

On Saturday night, Kaecy climbs into the cage in Mesquite, Nevada, to fight Rocky Cantu, of Las Vegas, for the Tuff N Uff 155-pound MMA belt. He recently scored a quick MMA win in October. I had the opportunity to chat with Kaecy. The following is his words:


RADDON: I fight in the Tuff n Uff card Dec 2nd in Mesquite Nevada versus an opponent named Rocky Cantu. He trains at Xtreme Couture out of Las Vegas. 

This fight is for the 155 championship belt. (The) fight actually came to be from a friend tagging me on a Facebook post from the promoter ... his name is Hayden Brown (and) he trains at One-Hit MMA in Layton ... 

Three short months ago I actually permanently relocated to Westminster, Colorado to train under Duane Ludwig and TJ Dillashaw at Ludwig Martial Arts. They are my main coaches and influences but everybody in the gym is my coach because we are all constantly teaching each other and taking care of each other ... this academy is different than your average gym; it is a martial arts gym, not a fight gym. 

We have the the most respect for everyone. I spar with people like Nicholi Navarro Josh Wick, Paul Lucero, Alix Fisher (and) Sam Couts! ...

My strengths range from across the board. I started in Kung Fu when I was 6, from there into taekwondo and junior wrestling, then high school wrestling. ... I was ranked top three in state. ... (Kaecy has an impressive list of wrestling accomplishments)  ... I have many jiu jitsu tournaments: 5-0 Impact BJJ tournament; 2016, two gold medals, 11-3 Northwestern Submission Challenge, Boise, Idaho, one gold one silver, 2016 (and) many more. ...

(I was the) North America. WAKO champ, (and) competed in Mexico. (I'm) 2-2 in amateur boxing, 2-2 (in) amateur kickboxing. (I'm) 9-1 MMA, 8 finishes by way of stoppage in the first round.

 I think he (Cantu) is a wrestler so I'm going ... to defend the take down and use my striking to take his soul and make him not want to fight anymore (hopefully). (When asked about where he wants to be in a year) I  hope to be in the UFC a year from now.

We wish Kaecy the best of luck this weekend, as well as a couple of other local amateurs, Kelsey Skillman and Hector Lopez, who are competing on the card. Both train at KOA Kingdom in Layton.


I want to mention that Race Sawyer, a boxer who trains out of Factum gym in Sandy, fought in Madison Square Garden Theatre in New York City last weekend. Race lost a decision to debuting Ismael Villarreal, an amateur star who is handled by Main Events boxing. Sawyer's record in boxing is 0-5 but that's deceiving. He's only been stopped once and his opponents have never lost a bout. In fact, Sawyer has fought two closely contested bouts with Utah prospect Christian Aguirre, losing majority decisions. You can watch Villarreal versus Sawyer here.

... Next week we'll have information on the Dec. 9 SteelFist card at The Complex in SLC>

Thursday, November 16, 2017

MMA fighter David Castillo retires, updates in boxing, MMA

Davis County MMA professional David Castillo announced his retirement recently via a social media post. Castillo, an 155-pounder, has had a very distinguished career. He won a couple of belts, most recently a Front Street Fights title, and fought for Showdown and RFA titles.

Here's a look at his accomplishments in the cage (here) and he has a personal page as well. Castillo is currently involved in the sport as a coach, training partner and student at KOA Kingdom in Layton.

ON TO BOXING, ... The Factum gym in Sandy had an amateur boxing card on Nov. 11. Above shows Jesus Rodriguez, of Louie's gym in SLC, at left, fighting Joe Gibson of Foley's gym in Ogden (87 pounders). Gibson received the decision. In other fights involving Top of Utah boxers, 66 pounds, James Cox, of Lights Out in Clearfield, lost a decision to Diego Leidecker, Unbreakable; Ogden's Elijah Willet lost a decision to Collin Tuilevuku, 85 pounds; Christian Pasillas, Lights Out, decisioned Alex Poncde, Factum, 160 pounds; and Shakeem Barnwell, Foley's, decisioned Tristan Solies, Louie's, heavyweights.

Also, professional boxer Jose Haro, USBA and ABO featherweight champ, announced on social media that he had been called to fight for the IBF world featherweight in a London bout, only to learn later the promoters changed their minds and went with a different opponent. Jose may very well  be the finest featherweight boxer in the world. We hope he gets the chance to prove it.

MORE MMA: Several Utah MMA pros fought last weekend. In Boise, Idaho, at a Front Street Fights card, Bryce Edminister was defeated in his pro debut. In Las Vegas, amateurs Destiny McCubbin and Aaron Thomson lost decisions in Tuff-N-Uff promotional title bouts. On the same card, John Valentine, who recently retired as a pro MMA fighter, fought a submission-only five-minute Ju Jitsu match. It went to a no decision. Valentine announced on social media he will be fighting in Anaheim, Calif., at the World No Ju Jitsu Championships Dec, 16-17. Finally, Utah's Court McGee, a UFC veteran for several years, lost a close decision to Sean Strickland on Nov. 11 at UFC Fight Night 120 in Norfolk, Va.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Gabriel Chairez wins his pro boxing debut

A quick post to let Utah fight fans know the results of a professional boxing matches at The Complex in Salt Lake City last Friday night.

Former amateur star Gabriel Chairez, who recently competed in the national Golden Gloves, won his pro debut with a first round knockout over Andre Kennedy.

In other pro bouts, Francisco Camarillo defeated Enrique Ojeda, Antonio Montoya defeated Jose Avalos, and Bladimir Estrada stopped Dylan Baffuto in round two.

In one of the amateur fights, heavyweight Shakeem Barwell stopped Lalo Riquelme in round one.

The planned main event, a middleweight Utah title fight between Michael Gomez and Christian Aguirre, was scrapped after Gomez injured his hand.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Boxing at The Complex tonight; Siler defeated by Palmer in MMA bout

There is professional boxing at The Complex in Salt Lake City tonight. Also planned are amateur bouts. Main event matches Michael Gomez and Christian Aguirre for the state middleweight titled. Also included is noted amateur Gabriel Chairez making his pro debut. For more information, go here. Fights start at 8 p.m.

Last night at a charity/auction event in Washington D.C. promoted by Professional Fighters League, Top of Utahn Steven Siler was in the co-main event, and fought former World Series of Fighting (now the PFL) featherweight champ Lance Palmer. It was a good, competitive match with Palmer's ability to get Siler on the ground providing him the edge. Although the judges scored every. round for Palmer, we thought he merited round three, where he fought impressively on his back on the ground for most of the round.

Some notes:

One Hit MMA amateur Kaecy Raddon, who now lives in Colorado, won an MMA bout last weekend in that state. Raddon will fight Dec. 2 for a Tuff N Uff amateur title.

Davis County amateur Bryce Edminister makes his pro debut a week from today on Boise, Idaho, on the Front Street Fights card.

Destiny McCubbin, of Weber County but training in Las Vegas, fights for an amateur Tuff N Uff titlre on Nov. 11 in Las Vegas.

The Factum gym is hosting an amateur boxing card on Nov. 11 in Sandy. 8383 S. 700 West.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sports training business starting; updates on MMA, boxing

Matt Oyler, and impressive athlete that I've known for a while, is starting a business that offers physical training for young athletes and also assists coaches. It's titled Undefeated by Choice and an Indiegogo account is helping provide funding. Below is a news release about the new business. We wish Matt, an amateur MMA fighter, success with the venture.


A new website is soon to be launched by a Weber County based company, Undefeated By Choice (UBC). This website is designed for use by young athletes and their coaches in both the city sponsored sports programs, and the junior high and high school levels. Using this UBC tool, young athletes can greatly improve their skills during the off-season, by following specifically designed drills for speed, agility, and endurance. product will contain general training techniques, future versions will incorporate training that will be sport specific, and specific to different levels and ages. Their coaches and athletic directors can use the site to track the participation and progress that their players are making.

This tool and concept is being developed by Matt Oyler, (seen above) a lifetime Weber County resident. As a player, coach, and certified athletic trainer, Matt has come to understand the lack of resources that most athletes have access to during their off season. He has seen that the need to develop a year round program of fitness and skill training is essential to those young athletes who desire to reach their full potential.

As an athletic trainer himself, Matt knows that most of these young people cannot afford to hire a personal trainer. While his website will have a very minimal cost, it will certainly be affordable for any income level of family. Matt has met with numerous players, coaches, and athletic directors throughout Utah as he has developed this concept and tool. Their enthusiasm and support for his plan has been hugely encouraging, and has given him many additional ideas for his development of the UBC site, “”. In addition to the training material, the site will provide Mattʼs unique, humorous, and wildly enthusiastic motivational advice.

An Indiegogo account will soon be opened to provide additional funding for ongoing development of a high quality website, and marketing efforts. (Here).


MMA update:

Mike Jones, Idaho MMA pro, fought in Atlantic City last weekend for the CFFC promoltion 170-pound pro title. Jones was stopped in round 2 by Sean Brady.

A trio of local fighters have matches within the next couple of weeks or so. Steven Siler fights the main event in Washington D.C. against Lance Palmer in a web-televised pro MMA bout promoted by Professional Fighters League, once The World Series of Fighting. A web telecast will be on several sites, including Facebook.

Top of Utah amateur MMA fighter Bryce Edminister, who fights out of The Garage MMA, will make his pro debut on Nov. 10 in Boise, Idaho, on a card promoted by Front Street Fights.

Weber County amateur MMA fighter Destiny McCubbin, who trains in Las Vegas, fights for the Tuff-N-Uff Straw-weight title on Nov. 11 in Las Vegas.

The December SteelFist card, which will be at the Rail Event Center on Dec. 9, is starting to take shape. The main event is worth the price of admission. It matches Ben Moa and Eric Iman for the promotion's heavyweight title.

Finally, in UFC action, Court McGee fights on  Nov. 11 when he meets Sean Strickland in Norfolk, Va., as part of UFC Fight Night 120.



Remember that Nov. 3 is boxing at The Complex. A pro bout between middleweights Michael Gomez and Christian Aguirre headlines. Also scheduled to fight are Gabriel Chairez (pro debut), Ignacio Chairez, Larry Gomez, and Bladimir Estrada.

Cache Valley Boxing, run in the garage of Ryan Gregory, was recently featured by USU Aggies news. Here's the news feature. Congrats Cache Valley Boxing.

There was an amateur card at The Legacy Events Center last weekend. It was promoted by All Heart gym. (Above, Shakeem Barnwell (at left) wins a decision over Filimone Fontongia, heavyweights).

The card:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jones has MMA fight in Atlantic City; Complex to host boxing card

Several nuggets of information in the Utah boxing and mixed martial arts world:


Saturday's SteelFist card results are available the Facebook page Fighting Out of Utah MMA news. In the main pro bouts, all ending in round one, Thiago Alvez defeated Kyle Herrera for 155 pound belt, Dustin Jenkins defeated Thomas Hughes, Carson Gregory defeated Francisco Alcantara, Daniel Grass defeated AJ Garcia, and Ben Moa defeated Ryan Wagner. In two amateur title bouts, Ranu Meah defeated Ryan Gunderson in round one, 265-plus; and Mike O'Laskey stopped Ethan Shepherd in round three, 155 pounds. Because O'Laskey missed weight, the title remains vacant.

-- Colorado's Mike Jones, an Utah native who now fights as a professional MMA fight out of Colorado, fights Sean Brady for the CFFC promotion welterweight title Saturday, Oct. 21 in Atlantic City, N.J. We wish Mike the best with this great opportunity.


There is a professional, boxing card on Friday November 3, 20107 at The Complex, promoted by FKP Productions. The main even matches local pros Michael Gomez and Christian Aguirre for the Utah state middleweight title. Also, local amateur star Gabriel Chairez makes his pro debut against Andre Kennedy. Another well-regarded amateur who is a young professional, Bladimir Estrada, is scheduled to fight Dylan Raffuto. Antonio Montoya fights Jose Avalos. Rumor has it that two of Utah's best pro prospects, Ignacio Chairez and Larry Gomez, are scheduled meet opponents that night. I have also heard that veteran Ogden pro Stanley Robinson is fighting on the card.

-- "The Second Coming," an amateur boxing card hosted by All Heart Boxing of Farr West, has a full schedule of amateur bouts this Saturday at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington. Fights start at 7 p.m. It's $12 for adults, $6 for kids. Brad Davidson will be announcing.