Thursday, May 25, 2017

MMA amateurs Kaden Weston and Ben Guymon matched at SteelFist

Today we start previewing some bouts at the SteelFist MMA card on June 23 in Salt Lake City. Two amateur prospects, Ben Guymon, of Foley's gym and The Pack MMA, (seen at top/behind working out with Pack teammate Eric Munoz) will meet Kaden Weston of One Hit MMA (seen at right sparring at the gym). Here are interviews with both, and we'll have other interviews with members of the card through June.

1) What got you interested in MMA? Who are some of the fighters you admire?

Guymon: I saw a couple UFC DVDs as a teenager, and thought it looked like fun. GSP is my favorite fighter, but I also like watching Connor McGregor, Jose Aldo, Fedor, and others.

WestonWhat first got me into MMA was my cousin Gavin. I was always a fan, but never really considered doing it myself. He started training a few years back before he left on his mission. I decided to try a few classes with him, and I really liked it. I never really got into it until after he returned home though. We decided to check out One Hit MMA and we loved it, so we've been there ever since. There are many MMA athletes whom I admire. I have always been a big Belfort fan. I've always loved his style and heart he brings into fighting. Some of the athletes who have inspired me the most are those whom I train with, though. 

2) Where are you training? Who are your coaches? With whom are you training?

Weston: I am training at One Hit MMA with my coaches Aldo Oreggia, Bruno Antunes, and Jordan and Crystal Smith. Me, my cousin Gavin, LJ Shultz, and Cory Rose all fight June 23. Jordan Chandler fights June 3 and Rowdy Akers fights on June 17 so we have all been pushing each other and training daily together. There are many other teammates who aren't fighting those days so they are sparring with us and helping us prepare.

Guymon: (At Foley's and The Pack) Pat Reeves, Justin Roberts and Billy Zumbrun are my coaches. My training partners are Geovanni Gavilanez, Eric Munoz, AJ Garcia and Dom Gero.

3) What are your strengths? What are your opponents strengths and how do you plan to neutralize that?

GuymonI'm getting much more comfortable inside the cage. My cardio and fitness are some of my best strengths. I work very hard on being the best I can be, and do not quit.

WestonI have always felt that I am strongest on the ground, but over the past couple of months and with the help of my stand up coaches I feel my stand-up has improved greatly. I am comfortable taking the fight anywhere. I haven't seen all of my opponents fights, but he fought one of my teammates in his last bout and during the fight I noticed he was a really durable guy. He took some early shots but was able to come back for the win. My strategy is to come out strong and keep him under pressure for the whole fight.

4) Where do you hope to be a year from now with your career? 

WestonA year from now I hope to be able to fight for the belt and go pro eventually!

Guymon: In a year I plan to be on a several fight win streak, and preparing for my pro debut.

We wish the best for both of these competitors and thank them for taking the time to speak with Utah Fight Game blog. Next we'll chat with young pros Steve Chan and Miles Welk, who are fighting each other on the card.

JUST A COUPLE MORE THINGS ... In MMA, local pro Jordan Chandler is moving to Mesa, Arizona to start his doctorate in physical therapy. He's been a credit to the sport for years and we wish him well. His final MMA bout will be June 3 in Price against Cy Nelson at Fierce Fighting Championship. ... On The Ultimate Fight show last night, Ramsey Nijem, who has a history with the Utah MMA scene, returned after two years off with a win over Julian Lane. ... In amateur boxing, some locals will be competing in Junior Olympics nationals. We'll be looking to see how they do.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Results from Fractured Gym's Fists of Fury

Quickly, here are some results from last night's amateur boxing card in Tremonton, Fists of Fury, sponsored by Fractured Gym: (If any more results, and any corrections needed, let me know)

Main: Jon Bryant (Lights Out) decisioned Austyn Bronco (Fort Hall) 155

Jordan Jones (Louies) decisioned Todd Pacheco (Foleys) 155

Jonathan Montelongo (Reyes) decisioned Jesus Saldana (All Heart) 125

Jonny Chavez (Fractured) defeated Cole Kunzler (Foleys) 115

Ike Makinnon  (KC Boxing) decisioned Dylan Bahena (Lights Out) 65

Saul Gamino (Fractured) decisioned Vinnie Apodaca (Foleys) 85

Christian Zavala (Unbreakable) defeated Hector San Juan (Reyes) 135

Diego Liedecker (Unbreakable) defeated James Cox (Lights Out) 65

Aaron Garcia (Unbreakable) defeated David Satter (Three Brothers) 80

Emilio Lopez (Sergeant Boxing) defeated Orland Carassco (KC Boxing) 105

Llad Holman (Unbreakable) decisioned Adrian Gamino (Fractured) 80

Natawnie Hernandez (Alpha Boxing) defeated Cynthia Rivas (Louies) 105

Marco Murillo (Reyes) defeated Kaleb Cutler (Three Brothers) 115

Giovanni Gonzales (Lights Out) defeated Valentene Sanchez (Unbreakable) 65

Francisco Colohua (SSLC PAL) defeated Kambon Iverson (Three Brothers) 125

Jorge Sanchez (Unbreakable) defeated Santana DeCarlo (All Heart) 135. This bout was voted Fight of the Night.

Elias Rivas (Sergeant Boxing) defeated Noah Liedecker (Unbreakable) 65

Isaac Lopez (Alpha Boxing) defeated Adriano Benn (All Heart) 125

Austin Garcia (Unbreakable) defeated Damin Weiblehous (KC Boxing) 55

Jose Menchaca (Sergeant Boxing) defeated Jesus Delgado (SSLC PAL) 85

Sergio Sanchez (Unbreakable) defeated Ozmanny Sanchez (Lights Out) 75

Refugio Arrellano (Colorado) defeated Jesse Brown (All Heart) 132

Thursday, May 18, 2017

An interview with amateur boxer Gabriel Chairez, more news

(UPDATE NOTING AMATEUR CARD ON SATURDAY)I chatted recently with Gabriel Chairez, (above at right) the Utah and Rocky Mountain Golden Gloves 132-pound champion. Gabriel has had success at the national Golden Gloves as well, and this year scored a win prior to being eliminated. I asked him what it's like competing at the top amateur level and what the future holds for him.

Utah Fight Game: Tell us a bit about the difference of fighting at nationals?
Chairez: It's a great feeling because when you beat a fighter at nationals you know your beating the top fighters in the nation. It gets you pumped to fight the next day. It's a whole other environment, and different mindset when you’re fighting at nationals compared to states and regionals because you have to be prepared to fight for a whole week straight and every one of those fights are going to be wars with some of the toughest fighters in the nation.
Utah Fight Game: What does the future hold?
Chairez: I plan on making my pro debut at the end of the summer this year, there's no exact dates yet but it's looking like it will be toward the end of July or early August!
Utah Fight Game: What are you goals for the early portion of your pro career?
Chairez: For the first 18 months I want to work my way up the rankings by facing some tough competition and by that time I would hope I'm around 10-0. Once I'm in that range I'd like to be competing for some junior belts.
Thanks, Gabriel, and we wish you well. Gabriel's brother, Ignacio, is an undefeated professional. Both he and another undefeated Utah pro, Larry Gomez, fight on June 9 at The Complex in SLC. ... And Utah's highest-ranked pro fighter at this time, featherweight Jose Haro, goes for the NABF title on June 10 in Iowa, on a bout that will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network. ... An amateur boxing card will be in Farmington on June 3, sponsored by All Heart and Lights Out gyms. ... UPDATE, There is a local amateur boxing card Saturday at the Box Elder County Fairgrounds, 320 N. 1000 West, in Tremonton, sponsored by Fractured Gym. It's called Fist of Fury and starts at 5:30 p.m.

Beginning next week, we will start publishing interviews with some fighters competing on the SteelFist card June 23 in Salt Lake City. Steve Chan and Miles Welk, who are battling in the co-main, will be interviews, as will Kaden Weston and Ben Guymon, who are matched in an amateur prelim. I have also interviewed main-bouter LJ Schultz, who is fighting for a SteelFist title, and I hope to interview his opponent, Anthony Miller. Card is here.

Locals pros Jordan Chandler, Sean Powers, and Rowdy Akers have out-of-state bouts in June that we will be keeping an eye on. 

CASTILLO ON UFC FIGHT PASS: Also, today, professional MMA fighter David Castillo announced some big news: He will be fighting the main bout, against Dakota Cochrane, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, for the Victory Fighting Championship promotion. The bout will be aired on UFC Fight Pass.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Results from South Valley Slam, more boxing, MMA news

Some MMA results from Saturday night in Hurricane, at the South Valley Slam. These are courtesy of Jeffrey "Dutch" Dutcher from Fighting Out of MMA Net.

Pro bouts:

155: David Jordan defeated Dustin Jenkins, 5th round TKO. "Jordan was losing the whole fight until he landed the punches to finish it," Dutcher wrote.

145: James Russell Francis defeated Daniel Stratton via 1st round straight ankle lock.

145-pounder John Valentine, fighting a heavier weight against Michael Dillard, won via a first round TKO (strikes).

135: Jerold Shapiro defeated Florin Moraru via tap to strikes.

155: Brian Thomson defeated Mitch Shapiro via slit decision.

Amateur bouts:

145 pounds: Bryce Edminister (The Garage MMA) defeated Nick Estrada via armbar in round one.

170: Aldyn Ashcraft decisioned Anthony Turchetta.

105: women: Magaly Sanchez decisioned Michelle Daley.

135: Scott Nelson defeated Luis Camacho via split decision.

125: Justus Minardi defeated Daniel Arellano via split decision.


MMA News: Some fighters with local presence, including One Hit MMA's Rowdy Akers, will be fighting in a King of the Cage promoted event on June 17. Others participating include Kerry Lattimer, Gabe Pelayo and Andrew Crusz.

Boxing News: Undefeated Salt Lake City boxer Ignacio Chairez will also be on the June 9 boxing card at The Complex in SLC, joining another undefeated Utah, Larry Gomez.

We'll update some of this with our next blog post.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Jose Haro to fight for USBA boxing title

Big news for Utah boxing this week. Professional boxer Jose Haro, 13-1-1, of West Jordan (seen above at left), will fight for the United States Boxing Association 126-pound featherweight championship. Haro fights Daniel Franco, 15-1-3, of Riverside, Calif., in the 10-round bout.

The fight's on Saturday, June 10 in Sloan, Iowa, at WinnaVegas Casino and Resort, and it's paired with another title bout. It also is scheduled to be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network, which is channel 269 (Xfinity).

Haro, a current American Boxing Organization regional title holder, has long merited this opportunity and we're very happy for him. They'll be thousands of Utah fight fans with him in spirit on June 10.

Also, a day earlier, June 9, at The Complex in Salt Lake City, undefeated pro welterweight Larry Gomez, 6-0, and the Utah champion, will be in the ring. We wish Larry well as his career progresses.


South Valley Slam this weekend

Also, this Saturday night in Hurricane is the South Valley Slam MMA card. We have focused on advancing this card, interviewing Daniel Stratton and James Francis Russell Francis, who are meeting, as well as John Valentine (here and here) and Bryce Edminister, both of whom are competing in separate bouts.

On Saturday, we will gather results courtesy of Fighting Out of Utah MMA News and make sure we have a small blog post Sunday on the card. Good luck to all the fighters and here is the entire card.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Some local boxing, Utah MMA updates

Welcome to Part 3 of this week's Utah Fight Game blog. Lots of news. Above is Ogden MMA pro Jordan Chandler (on top) fighting Kerry Lattimer last month in SLC. . He is fighting June 3 in Price as part of the Fierce Fighting Championships. It's at the Carbon County Fairgrounds. He's fighting undefeated Cy Nelson in the co-main. Main bout matches Mike Jones and Ben Robinson.

Here's the card from Mixed Martial website. Fierce Fighting Championships also has a strong presence on Facebook.

Later in June, on the 23rd, SteelFist is having its 50th card at Riverbend in SLC. LJ Schulz and Anthony Miller headline and Steve Chan and Miles Welk are co-main. Ben Guymon fights Kaden Weston in a good amateur match up. SteelFist also has a strong Facebook presence with info on all the bouts. I'll be sending interview requests to the four headliners, and others,


MORE BOXING NEWS: Last week there was Junior Olympics amateur competition in SLC. From Lights Out gym in Clearfield, Dylan Bahena won, as did Ozmanny Sanchez. Deontay Nish and Manny Reyes lost decisions.

All Heart Boxing in Weber County had Adrianno Benn, in 15-16 125 pounds, competing, and Mehki Benn, 15-16, 101 pounds, competing. "Adrianno is going to Colorado on May 26 for regionals," said Jason DeCarlo of All Heart.

One more thing about All Heart. The gym, along with Lights Out in Clearfield, has scheduled an amateur boxing card on June 3 at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington. More info here.

Finally, undefeated pro boxer Larry Gomez will be fighting on June 9, at The Complex in SLC. We'll let you know more information as we get it.

Here is a list of upcoming events via the state athletic commission website.


This one features an interview with MMA amateur Bryce Edminister.

This one includes a Golden Gloves recap and interviews with amateur boxer Jon Bryant and MMA pro John Valentine.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Golden Gloves recap; Valentine wins Jiu Jitsu tourney

Here's a recap of Utah's experience at the national Golden Gloves. First, I asked Jon Bryant, of Lights Out gym (above at left), the Rocky Mountain 152-pound champ, to share his experiences, in his own words:

BryantMy national Golden Gloves experience was crazy! Our flight got canceled to Louisiana from Dallas. So we were stuck at the airport for six hours and we all decided to take a three SUVs and drive the seven hours all the way to Lafayette, Louisiana.

My first morning was eye-opening and kind of overwhelming. As I went to go get breakfast there were hundreds of fighters in one hallway. Never have I seen so many fighters in one place, especially good top fighters. We got served powdered eggs, grits, sausage, bacon, and rolls. 

Then on May 2 I had to weigh in. I was super tall and lanky compared to the rest of the 152 division. But there was two that were even taller than I. By this time I was getting nervous to fight. But I got a pass the weigh-in day. 

The most positive things about the national Golden Gloves experience would probably have to be getting to see top competition and seeing what I have to be at next year. I feel like I'm on their level I just have to get to the comfortable level in the ring because I know I can stop these guys, 

Another positive was getting to know everyone on the Rocky Mountain team. At first everyone kind of kept to themselves but by the second day everyone was talking and having fun acting like a team etc. I've learned a lot from this experience, I need to throw a lot more and just be me in the ring. Because if I'm comfortable and I'm myself, nobody at the national tournament can stop me. I also have to have more confidence in my ability to box because I have so many advantages over everyone that was there and I didn't use them. 

But hand-in-hand it was an amazing experience and I will make it next year and I'll get even farther into the tournament or perhaps come back as your 2018 Rocky Mountain Golden Glove Champion.

Thanks Jon, we appreciate hearing a personal and unique perspective of competing at that level.

I chatted with Julian Stevens, of Lights Out, who was there with Jon and Jose Torres, another local competitor, for an update on the week. From Stevens:

-- Diego Alvarez, of Ogden, last year's champ, lost a close decision to the New England rep; Gabriel Chairez defeated Michigan's rep then lost to Cincinnati's rep; Bryant lost to the New York rep; Halatoa Piutau lost to the Texas rep; Torres was defeated by the Chicago rep; and Emilio "Milo" Gutierrez lost to Buffalo rep. 

Thanks Julian.


As I mentioned yesterday, John Valentine, who is competing at Sand Hollow in the South Valley Slam on May 13, just competed in the Las Vegas International IBJJF Open Jiu Jitsu Championships. He took first in his division. I asked John (see above on top at podium) to share his experiences at the event. These are his words:

The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is a company that hosts several of the biggest Brazilian jiu-jitsu(BJJ) tournaments in the world, including the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Nogi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship and European Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship. The federation was created by Carlos Gracie, Jr. 

Its tournament, with one of the toughest fields, leads up to the world championships. It's called the Las Vegas Open International IBJJF Jiu Jitsu Championships. Competitors included the likes of Andre Galvao, Lucas Barbosa, Ary Farias, Paul Miyao, Vinny Magalhes, Carlos Farias, Drysdale champions Antonio Lopez, Arin Adjamian and Sylvio Behring, standout champion, and Coach Peter Iacavazzi. 

The event host not only opportunities to compete in your weight class but also the absolute division where there are no weight limits. For example, someone 125 pounds could fight someone in the ultra heavy weight at 260 pounds. The event makes for exciting spectacles for the fans. 

With the world championship looming in just a few months this tournament at used as a tuneup for many of the fighters as they look to pursue their dream of a world championship. The tournament hosted many local Utah fighters and those associated with the sport here locally. 

(As John told me, he decided to take the challenge, less than two weeks before fight time at South Valley Slam, and compete. He entered a division two weights higher than is usual weight, the middleweights, or 180-plus pounds. His competitors extended to Brazil.)

Why that weight? "Partially for the challenge to see if I could compete at that level and against opponents much larger like the one I'll face at South Valley Slam, who is younger and will hold a 7 inch reach advantage and likely be 20 to 30 pounds heavier," Valentine said.

(To his credit, John won his division, taking the gold medal, defeating all in his bracket and not having a point scored against him. It's an impressive accomplishment for a 46-year-old competitor. He's seen below with his hand raised.)

As for the future, after the MMA fight, "I'll switch gears in preparation for the world championships and then a submission-only super fight that will take place in Las Vegas for charity," John said, adding that Amy Campo from Edward Mori team also participated. He also thanked Team Drysdale, saying, "I attribute my success to training with one of the best teams in the country under world champion Robert Drysdale."

Congratulations Jon, and good luck in the world championships. We also wish John and his opponent, Michael Dillard, best of luck on May 13 in Sand Hollow.

On this multiple week of Utah Fight Blog, we'll have one more post Saturday, talking a bit more about local boxing and MMA cards in June. Don't forget to read Thursday's blog post.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

An interview with MMA amateur Bryce Edminister

Again, we have a lot of information for the Utah Fight Blog this week, so I plan to release information over a couple of days, or three. Today features an interview with MMA amateur Bryce Edminister, who fights Nick Estrada at Sand Hollow May 13 at the South Valley Slam. You can see Bryce (above on the left) in a recent bout. He trains at David Castillo's The Garage in Davis County.

We will also have (tomorrow) an interview with John Valentine, also fighting at Sand Hollow. He recently competed in an open Jiu Jitsu tournament in Las Vegas, taking home first place.

We also have info from the National Golden Gloves, and by tomorrow or Saturday hope to hat with Jon Bryant, and his trainer, Julian Sanchez, about the Louisiana experience. Utah's representatives have finished their bouts there.

Finally, we'll update info on the upcoming SteelFist card in June. We will have interviews with fighters as the date draws near. ONE MORE THING: Fierce Fighting Championships has announced a card in June. We'll certainly be covering that as if gets closer. One interesting bit is that Ogden pro Jordan Chandler, who recently won at SteelFist, is scheduled to fight on the card.

Here's the interview with Edminister (6-3-1) who meets Estrada (3-0)


UFG: What motivates you about the bout, to go through training?

EdministerHonestly there's a lot of reasons why this next fight is going to be pivotal one in my fight career. I've been in this game for just over 5 years. That's five years where I've learned different lessons, experienced different situations and have identified what separates the great from the mediocre. I'm at a point in my career where everything is starting to come together on a whole different level than it has before. Seeing everything in my game click and progress is really what is making the grind all worth it. This next fight is going to set the tone for these upcoming years. It's go time! 

UFG: What's your fight style? What is a key strength of your opponent and how will you neutralize that.

Edminister: I like to think I have my own unique style but at the end of the day, especially at this day and age of MMA, we are all just Mixed Martial Artists with our own strengths. I like to think of myself as a technical grappler, with solid footwork on my feet, and decent power in these hands...I guess I'll claim that as my style, ha ha. Nick Estrada has an undefeated record from his relentless pace and heavy hands that have overwhelmed his opponents in the past. I plan to use my angles and footwork to neutralize him on the feet and I have a lot of confidence in my Jiu Jitsu if we end up on the canvas. Nick is a tough individual and this will sure be a fun one for the fans! 

UFG: What's your training like daily? Who is coaching you? Who is working out and sparring with you?

EdministerWe have a very solid approach to the day to day training for this bout. I am happy to claim The Garage as my home here in Layton. My coaches Anthony Lobato, Jason Tafoya and David Castillo are the best in the business. Each bring a different angle and input that has shaped me into the Mixed Martial Artist I am today. With them and my team at The Garage behind me, I am more than confident in how we run our training, sparring, and preparation for this bout. 

UFG: How is MMA improve you and your life. What are some longer-term goals in the sport?

EdministerLook at the end of the day we are all fighting for something. Some of us in the literal sense and some of us in a metaphorical sense. MMA has taught me that there's always a path to the next level of anything. Sometimes all you have to do is find the path and be willing to step out of your comfort zone and see where new roads lead; a mindset that has impacted my life both inside and outside of the cage. When I win this fight I plan to keep this train rolling with another until my coaches pull the trigger on my professional career. It's coming soon, keep an eye open!

Good luck on May 13, Bryce.

Remember, there will another fight game blog on Friday and likely Saturday as well.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Interviews with MMA pros Daniel Stratton, James Russell Francis

This week we start previewing, in earnest, the South Valley Beach Slam that happens in Hurricane, Utah in about three weeks, We have interviewed John Valentine, who will fight on the MMA card, and today we interview Daniel Stratton and James Russell Francis, who will be meeting on the card. It's a rematch of a bout a while ago that Francis won. (Stratton is on the left and Francis the right on the photo above.

So, let's start with Stratton first:

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF: So my name is Daniel "The Spartan" Stratton..... I am from Vernal, Utah and recently turned 27 years old. I've been into martial arts pretty much my whole life... I was never really into team sports but I always loved wrestling and martial arts. I had my first fight when I was 17 and a junior in high school and I have been in love with it ever since.

I'm currently scheduled to face James "Scrappy" Francis in an MMA bout for the South Valley Slam promotion May 13th down in Sand Hollow, Utah. This will actually be a rematch between us... he beat me back in January of 2015. So I am very eager to take a shot at redemption. I've been on a rather long hiatus from fighting... when I step into the cage to fight James it will have been 18 months since my last fight. And boy let me tell you what a crazy 18 months that has been. Among many other things I recently spent some time in the hospital with a life-threatening lung infection... this happened back in January. So its pretty crazy to me that not too long ago I was on death's doorstep and now i'm saddling up to be a gladiator again.

One of my best friends and long time fight manager Joey Montanez spent some time with me in the hospital and has been keeping up with me since I got out and thought a fight would be the perfect thing to get my life up and back on track and going again so he gave me a call and asked if I wanted to start getting ready. He did some looking around and called me back and asked if I'd be interested in re matching James again... I don't think the first fight lived up to its full potential and so I jumped at the opportunity. (Photo below is of Stratton and Valentine (right) from 2012)

(ABOUT YOUR OPPONENT) James and I are friends and I know we both respect each other as men and athletes... I know we are both tough as nails and love putting on a good show. I'd bet my purse that its going to be fight of the night so it's not going to be one you want to miss. Skill-wise we match up really well.... we are both well rounded and our fights tend to turn into slugfests so I'm excited to throw down.
(ABOUT TRAINING) I'm living in Vernal, Utah and doing the bulk of my training with Travis Marx at his gym called The Train Station here in Vernal.... I've been working with him for a couple years now and he's been a great friend and coach. I also come to Salt Lake a lot and do some training with my manager Joey and a few other fighters. I even made it up to Layton to train at with Aldo and the killers up at One Hit a while back... I want to make that a regular thing. Life has just been hectic and my schedules been a mess, but I know I'll be coming into the fight sharp, prepared, and ready to win.
(ABOUT THE FUTURE) During my time off I did a lot of thinking on my fight career and where I want to take it... I even considered retirement. Martial arts have always been a huge part of my life and my identity. Looking back I realized that when I'm living the fighter's lifestyle and im dedicated to my training that my life is great and I excel at everything I do... I also realized that when I step away from fighting is when everything in my life goes downhill.... So I made the decision to jump back into the fight game. I'm still young and have too much talent to let it go to waste. So after I win this fight I'd like to keep going with it and become really active again. Start climbing the ranks! I'd just like to take this time to thank all the fight fans, promoters, coaches, and other fighters who have made the fight game in Utah what it is. I hope to see all of you at the fights come May 13th, I promise this is one you won't want to miss. Win loss or draw I promise to give you a show! Big thanks to my family, friends, teammates, and girl for all of your support of me living the dream!

Thanks Daniel, and good luck on May 13. Now, let's chat with James Russell Francis.

How the opportunity arose: My last fight was against Daniel in January 2015. Due to my job, my training had really been hindered to be at a competitive level. Last year my schedule got to a point that I could be consistent and get in shape. I finally feel in shape and was offered a fight by my manager Jen Howe over at Elite Performance. Initially I was not aware who the opponent was when I accepted, when I saw it was Stratton, I still accepted because in my mind, nothing had changed... I want to fight.  

My fighting style:  I've been in this game for a while now. Not saying I'm not improving, but when I first started I was a striker. At this point I am no longer just a pure striker. I am an MMA fighter who can strike and grapple and combine the two quite effortlessly. But... I still do prefer striking. To nutshell though, I'm a fight finisher... I don't like decisions. I go with every intent to live with or die on my sword about your opponent? Stratton is another cat who has been in the game for a while. For our first fight I would have sworn that his background was wrestling (especially growing up in Vernal), but I learned that he is a striker. He has fought in some big shows locally (Showdown for example), so he can handle the pressure of the fight game. He has my respect in that he is a dangerous fighter that if I ignore his skill, he can and will beat me. 

About training: I train over at Jeremy Horn's Elite Performance. We have an awesome group of guys that have always helped me. Jeremy Horn, Josh Tyler, Mitch Thompson (who is fighting on this same card), Tommy Le, etc. Unfortunately due to my work schedule I don't get to see them regularly. For this fight though outside of my usual help, I am getting help from my friend and Elite teammate Kenneth Scott (former U of U wide receiver), Eric Wahlin (former 205 Steelfist champion), Angel Ortiz (fighter/friend/coworker from California, Jordan Clements (former 155 Steelfist title challenger), Ryan Whipple (cardio nut who knows how to push my buttons to push myself) and last but definitely not least, my biggest cornerstone for training, my wife, Giselle Martinez. My teammates from the evening randomly come through in the mornings and help when their work schedule allows them to. I have a solid group of people to help prepare and no stone will be left unturned. (Photo below is of Francis (right) with MMA pro Jordan Clements)

What's next if I win: Like almost all MMA fighters (I only know one person whose goal is to end up not in the UFC but over in Japan), it is to fight in the UFC. That is the pinnacle of my goals. I have small goals to attain that will help me reach my final goal. After I win this fight I would like to fight the winner of Jon Neal vs Skyler Frazier (Neal) for the Steelfist 145lbs belt in June or July, or fight a contender fight if that is what will be required for that title fight. I also would like to fight internationally, I heard Nicaragua (where basically all my cousins, aunts, and uncles are at) has started to promote MMA events there. I'm from New York and have friends and my dad out there and would love to fight in Long Island. I would love to fight in both locations in front of my family and friends who have never had the opportunity to see me fight live. In the end, it will be a little over 28 months when we have our rematch. The result will be the same. It will be exciting, and I will come out victorious. He trains hard, and I anticipate he will train hard for this fight because he is dangerous. But I think it is overall what we have done in the last 28 months that will be the difference. I train to evolve, not just train hard for the sake of training. I evolved, I cannot say with guarantee he has.

Thanks James, and good luck to you too.

Here is more information about the card and promotion. It starts at 7 on May 13 and is at 3351 South Sand Hollow Road in Hurricane. For ticket info, 801-427-2020. Next week we'll have an interview with MMA amateur Bryce Edminister, who is on the card.

Some boxing news: Professional Jose Haro will not be fighting this month in Tijuana, but he says an Iowa bout is likely in the future. ... Several local Utahns, including Jon Bryant and Gabriel Chairez, are heading to Golden Gloves open nationals in early May. ... Utah Junior Olympics is this weekend in SLC. We'll try to get some results. ... All Heart Boxing is planning an amateur card on June 3 at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

SteelFist MMA card takes shape, amateur boxing, FitCon in SLC


Co-main is Steve Chan (Victory MMA) versus Miles Welk (Garage MMA). Other announced bouts include Ben Guymon (seen above) (Foleys/The Pack MMA) against Kaden Weston (One Hit MMA), Ahmed "AK" (Absolute MMA) versus Cory Rose (One Hit MMA) and Shayne Bonner (Heber Boys) versus Gavin Weston (One Hit MMA). The card, the promotion's 50th, is set for June 23 at Riverbend Sports Complex in SLC. We'll update as more bouts are announced.

This Friday night is the FitCon MMA card. It starts at 7 at the Salt Place in SLC. Here is the card: And we have results

Josh Tyler vs Daniel Ruiz, pros -- TYLER WINS ROUND 1 VIA REAR NAKED CHOKE
Nick Burgos vs Gabe Pelayo, pros -- BURGOS TAKES UNANIMOUS DECISION
Hunter Azure vs David Maggio, amateur -- AZURE WINS VIA TKO, ROUND 2
Justus Minardi vs Angelo Trujillo, amateur -- MINARDI WINS VIA RNC, ROUND 3
Jessica Kruger vs Xasha Lopez, amateur -- KRUGER WINS VIA DECISION
Scott Foster vs Eric Munoz, amateur -- FOSTER WINS VIA FIRST ROUND AMERICANA
Nino Genao vs Spencer Olson, amateur -- GENEO WINS, 1ST ROUND TKO
Jacob Lamb vs AJ Pallante -- APPARENTLY SCRATCHED
Eli Christiansen vs Mark Chavez, amateur -- CHAVEZ WINS VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Ping Moli vs Brent Peterson, amateur -- PETERSON SCORES UNANIMOUS DECISION WIN

Results are courtesy of Fighting Out of Utah MMA News. Thanks Dutch, Jeffrey Dutcher Jr.

One more thing: West Haven amateur MMA female Destiny "My Time" McCubbin has signed with Fight Path Consulting, a combat sports consulting firm based in Idaho.


Here are the results of the amateur boxing card (as much as we have) at Foleys gym in Ogden last Saturday. We have dozens of photos taken and hope to publish them soon but are working through some techie-type glitches to get them on the site. Here's results:

100 pounds -- Jesus Rodriguez (Train Station) decisioned Carson Mathews (Foleys)
92 pounds: Leo Sanchez (PAL) decision over Elijah Willett (Foleys)
127 pounds - Santana DeCarlo (All Heart) decisioned Jonathan Monte Longo-Reyez
90 pounds -- Jesus Rodrigues (Louie's) decisioned Vinnie Apodaca (Foleys)
85 pounds -- Collin Tuilevuka (Independent) defeated Aaron Garcia (Unbreakable)
90 pounds - Kayden Robbinette (Fractured) decisioned Jaiuard me Sanchez (Spartan Boxing 970)
135 pounds - Luis Cornejo (Foleys) decisoned Christian Zavala (Unbreakable)
130 pounds - Eduard Andrade (Louie's) decisioned Jesse Brown (All Heart)
122 pounds - Kathy Grant (Louie's) defeated Macy White (Foleys)
170 pounds - Andy Jensen (Foleys) decisioned Chris Nanney (Mane Event Boxing) 
125 pounds - Michelle Maya (Louie's) decisioned Monica Lazalde (Fullmer's) "They went to war ... and received fight of the night," said gym owner and trainer Dave Foley.

JUST A REMINDER ... Rocky Mountain regional Golden Gloves is this weekend at the Salt Palace. Good luck to all the local boxers hoping to move on to nationals. More information. Also, the next weekend is the amateur Junior Olympics regional tournament at the Sorenson Center.

UPDATE!!! The regional Golden Gloves have finished and we have Utah boxers advancing to the open National Golden Gloves. Jon Bryant, of Clearfield gym Lights Out, defeated Idaho's Austyn Broncho to move through in the 152-pound division. In the 132-pound division, Gabriel Chairez, brother of undefeated pro Ignacio Chairez, defeated Wyoming's Jalen Gibson to move to nationals. Other Utahns going to nationals include Halatoa Piutau and Milo Guitierrez. Here's a link to an excellent Deseret News recap. Also moving to nationals from Lights Out gym is heavyweight Jose Torres.

I chatted with Jon via Faceback Messenger last night who offered us some comments: 
It went pretty well! I used my jab very effectively! I waited a little bit too much which I need to pick it up at nationals! My jab was landing every time! I just need to let my hands go! I felt very comfortable and confident going against a nationally ranked fighter! What comes next is Louisiana for Nationals! My goal Is to win the whole tournament! I know I can do it if I fight my fight!
After that, is USA Qualifiers in October. I want yo put Utah On the map For boxing like Diego (Alvarez) did.
I Would Love To Have a shout out to my great-grandmother who raised me that passed away the day before my 13th birthday. Her name was Harriet P. Wilken.

UPDATE! We have photos from Foley's amateur card, courtesy of Katie Aurich, freelancing for us. I'll put about six up now, and dozens more through weekend. Unfortunately, no captions. Email if you have a caption for a photo. (Sunday, April 23, rest of photos, 40-plus more, also added)