Sunday, June 25, 2017

SteelFist MMA results, Foley's boxing results

Just a quick recap of the SteelFist MMA card Friday in SLC and the amateur boxing card at Foley's gym in Ogden Saturday night. (Above, Foley's amateur Joe Gibson sits between rounds with trainer Dave Foley).

At SteelFist, One Hit MMA's LJ Schulz captured the SteelFist 135-pound belt with a first round stoppage over The Garage MMA's Anthony Miller via rear naked choke tap out. After the fight, Schulz, who will be missed in the cage, announced his retirement.

In the co-main, a battle between two good prospects ended with The Garage's Miles Welk scoring an armbar stoppage in round one over Victory MMA's Steve Chan. Another amateur had One Hit MMA's Kaden Weston catching Foley's/The Pack's Ben Guymon with a hard shot early and ending the bout.

Also Zac Cavender stopped Cole Shafer in round 3 and Lehi Dominguez stopped Preston Black in round 2.

There were 12 bouts. For all results, go to Fighting Out of Utah MMA News 's Facebook page.


At Foley's there were only 7 amateur bouts as some local amateurs were competing in Las Vegas. But it was a great night of fights, and Brad Davidson did his excellent job announcing.  (Above shows Foley's Carson Matthews (in red) boxing Lehi Pena of Louie's gym). Here are the results:

65 pounds: Elias Rivad (Sergeant) decisioned Adriano Gamino (Fractured)
168: Alexander Ponce (Factum) decisioned Kenny Cruz (Foley's)
107: Lehi Pena (Louie's) decisioned Carson Matthews (Foley's)
102: Yahier Estrada (City Center) decisioned Emilio Lopez (Sergeant)
85: Roberto Sanchez (Sergeant) decisioned Joe Gibson (Foley's)
85: Saul Gamino (Fractured) decisioned Vinnie Apodaca (Foley's)
100: Tanner Gurule (Fullmer's) decisioned Adrian Lopez (Louie's)

Finally, here are some locals' results from amateur boxing in Las Vegas:

Kayden Robinette from Fracture lost a close decision; Adrianno Benn from All Heart lost; Mekhi Benn from All Heart won. Jesse Brown from All Heart is scheduled to fight Sunday afternoon. Also, Colin from Orem lost and Aaron Olmeda lost a very close fight.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Schulz, Miller headline SteelFist card on Friday

The big MMA news this week is SteelFist promotions 50th card Friday night at River Bend Sports and Event Center (1085 Winding Rive Cove) in Salt Lake City. The scheduled fights are here. Doors open at 5; bouts start at 6 p.m. It's an all-ages event.

As noted above, the main event is a title bout between One Hit MMA's LJ Shulz and The Garage's Anthony Miller. It's five rounds for these 135 pounders. Although we unfortunately did not get an interview with Miller, here is a link to a chat we had with Schulz.

We interviewed both fighters in the co-main event. It's between two young pros at about 135 pounds, Steve Chan, of Victory MMA, making his pro debut, and Miles Welk, 1-0, of The Garage. It's three rounds.

We also interviewed both fighters of an amateur contest that intrigues us, Kaden Weston, of One Hit MMA, 2-0, versus Ben Guymon, 3-3, of Foley's Gym and The Pack.

We'll publish results by early Saturday morning. Good luck to all the competitors.
Some well-known fighters locally competed at a King of the Cage promotion last weekend in Fort Hall, Idaho. Rowdy Akers, of One Hit MMA, was stopped by Vince Morales via arm triangle in round one. Veteran Kerry Lattimer, in his final bout was stopped in round 2 by Scotty Thometz via an armbar, and Andrew Cruz lost a split decision to Vinnie Fricilone. (Thanks to Jordan Chandler for the results).


Saturday night in Ogden at Foley's gym there is an amateur boxing card. Tickets are $12 for 12 and over and $6 for 6 to 11 ages.

The gym is at 375 31st Street in Ogden and the bouts start at 7 p.m. We'll be there and provide results.

Finally, featherweight pro boxer Daniel Franco, badly injured earlier this month after being by KO'd by West Jordan's Jose Haro, who earned the USBA Featherweight championship, is making some progress on his road to recovery, according to his dad, Al Franco, who has provided updates on a Go Fund Me page for Daniel, who is in our prayers. Please help if you can.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Akers, Lattimer part of King of the Cage MMA card

We're a day late for this short Utah Fight Game blog post. The big news this week is a King of the Cage MMA card in Fort Hall, Idaho, on Saturday. A few local fighters are participating, including One Hit MMA's Rowdy Akers, who recently lost in a good scrap against AJ Garcia at SteelFist. Akers (seen above talking with a young fan) is 4-3 as a pro. He takes on Vince Morales (4-1).

The main event matches Scott Thometz against veteran Kerry Lattimer, who recently fought at SteelFist. It will be the veteran Lattimer's final pro bout. Anther fighter of local note participating is Andrew Cruz. We'll try to get results as soon as we can.


We have been following professional featherweight boxer Daniel Franco's battle after suffering bleeding on the brain following his loss to local pro Jose Haro, who earned the USBA featherweight championship. Here is the Go Fund Me page to assist Daniel. Please donate and offer your prayers and thoughts. Reports from his father Al have been more positive the past few days and we're glad to hear that. Here's the latest report from Al Franco:

Another good night for my beautiful son Daniel. His brain shifted to its normal position which is at the center of his head and all vital signs are strong and holding.

Doctor's lowered the dosages of all medications he's on to allow him to come out of his coma a little more. 

They removed one tube from his head and he reacted by clinching his fist. This was his first sign of movement so it is very exciting to see. Everything looks promising thanks to God, the doctors & nurses at Mercy Medical Hospital and of course all of you. 

Thank you for the tremendous support financially and spiritually.

Please continue to share, pray and remember his name, keep these positive vibes going. Our deepest gratitude from all of us. Thank you.

... Finally, Foley's gym in Ogden plans an amateur boxing card Saturday, June 24. Details to follow next week.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Jose Haro wins United States featherweight boxing title

ANOTHER UPDATE: Daniel Franco is in an Iowa hospital, in a medically induced coma to relieve bleeding on the brain. His condition is critical. Our prayers are with him. A Go Fund Me account is right here to help the young man and his family. Please donate.

(UPDATE WITH ESPN CLIP OF KO) It was a great night for West Jordan, Utah, featherweight boxer Jose Haro (seen above at left in a previous bout). He became a world title contender with a impressive eighth round KO over Daniel Franco, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The bout was in Sloan, Iowa, for the USBA Featherweight Title, and televised nationally by the CBS Sports Network.

Franco was considered the favorite by the commentators, but those of us in Utah knew better. The shorter Haro dominated about every round with faster hands and ring generalship. Franco tried his best and was game until the end. Besides his usual strong body attack, Haro consistently landed hard counter right hands to Franco's head. He concluded the bout with two knockdowns in the final round, both punctuated with right hands.

With the win, Haro becomes a potential world title challenger. You can read's short recap of the bout here. If we get a longer story and video, we'll post a link. UPDATE: Here is a link from ESPN to the knockout:

Rolls wins in Canada

Several years ago, Canadian middleweight Steve Rolls fought in Ogden. He was undefeated then and still is today. I'm a fan of Rolls and was intrigued that he fought on Showtime on Friday night. In a tough, very competitive bout, Rolls increased his record to 16-0 with a win over Demond Nicholson.

SLC fights: Chairez and Brown draw, Aguirre stops Carroll

Here are results from the pro/am boxing card last night at The Complex in Salt Lake City. I want to thank Dave Foley, Julian Stevens and Jason DeCarlo for keeping me informed, as I had to work last night. Also thanks to Charles Presnell for some background information.

In the main event, for the state middleweight championship, Christian Aguirre remained undefeated with a KO in the second round over Factum gym's Tim Carroll. Congrats to Aguirre and we wish future success for Carroll, who is one of the great guys in Utah boxing.

In the co-main, undefeated SLC boxer Ignacio Chairez was held to a draw by undefeated Las Vegas boxer Anthony Brown over four rounds. This was a competitive, well-matched bout, I heard. Brown, incidentally, fought in a Golden Gloves tournament in SLC in 2013. It'd be nice to see both rematched over six rounds soon.

In a third pro bout, Clay Collard defeated Jamey Swanson.

In amateur bouts:

Ozmanny Sanchez (Lights Out) defeated Vinnie Apodaca (Foleys)

Lalo Zamora (Fullmers) defeated Luis Cornejo (Foleys)

Rene Mendoza (Louie's) defeated Matt Searl (Fullmers)

Jordan Jones (Louie's) defeated Jesse Stoneman (Orem)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Interviews with LJ Schulz and Tim Carroll, Jose Haro fights Saturday on TV

The big news this weekend is that West Jordan featherweight boxer Jose Haro fights on CBS Sports Network on Saturday night (Xfinity 269) against Daniel Franco for the United States Boxing Association title. This is arguably the biggest fight for a Utah pro since heavyweight Billy Zumbrun lost, via a disputed decision, a televised bout against former heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe a decade back or so. Good luck trying to find a TV listing at CBS Sports website but has it starting a 10 pm EST, which would be 8 pm locally.

We'll get back to boxing, including a preview of Friday's boxing card at The Complex in SLC and an interview with one of the boxers. However, as part of our preview of the June 23 SteelFist MMA card in SLC, we were fortunate enough to chat with One Hit MMA's LJ Schulz (seen training above at left) who is fighting The Garage's Anthony Miller in the main event. The 150 pounders are competing in a 5-round SteelFist title challenge. Miller defeated Jeremiah Guzman to win the belt recently.

So, here's the interview:

1) Tell me a little about yourself. What got you interested in MMA, who are some MMA athletes you admire?

SchulzI'm 28, married and a proud father of 2 kids. I got into MMA right about the time the first ultimate fighter came on. I was just a fan for a while. I didn't even start training until about 2 years after my first fight. When I did decide to train, I was lucky to be able to train with Shane Brennar at his basement gym. He created a lot of my grappling foundation to this day but he left to California after a year. I had to find a gym and knew Jordan Smith was the top guy in Utah at the time and he trained near me.

2) Where are you training for the bout. Who are your coaches? What other fighters are training, or sparring with you?

SchulzThat's how I found One Hit and the head trainer Aldo Oreggia. I've been training there for 6 years now and we prove every fight card we're the top gym in Utah. I train with the best and because there is too many to name, I'll stick with the upcoming talent that are fighting with me on June 23. Cory Rose, Gavin Weston, and Kaden Weston, will set One Hit up with a 3-0 before I get our fourth and my shiny new belt. 

3) What are your strengths, what are your opponent’s strengths and what’s your strategy to come out on top? 

SchulzMy strength is the ability to go anywhere. I've improved my boxing a lot during that pro boxing try I had. However, I've always been known as a ground guy. I recently earned my purple belt in BJJ but keep in mind I've done No-Gi grappling a lot longer. He'll most likely try taking me down which is fine, I'll be the one picking if we go there.

4) Where do you hope to be in your career a year from now?
SchulzNot quite sure where I'll be. I'd love to get another shot at LFA but I'm more than happy to defend this belt a couple times then take the 145lb SteelFist belt. My training partner and friend Jon Neal will relinquish it because he'll be in the UFC by then.

We wish Schulz, as well as Miller, the best of luck on the 23rd. We may have some more interviews as the date of fight night approaches. Also, read these previous interviews of June 23 competitors here and here.


More boxing: As mentioned, there is a pro/am boxing card Friday night at The Complex, which starts at 8 p.m. The main event matches Tim Carroll, (above) who teaches boxing at Factum gym, with Christian Aguirre. The bout is for the state middleweight title. 

We chatted with Carroll recently about the fight:

Utah Fight GameTim, what do you know about Christian Aguirre and how are you training for him? Who coaches you and helps you with your training? What is a typical day of training like? You've had some fights with tough opponents and I thought a couple should have went your way. What have you learned from tough bouts? What's it like being the coach at Factum? You started late as a pro. Where would you like to be a year from now?

CarrollMy days are pretty busy. I work 10 hours a day as electrician then I go to Factum and train people for a couple of hours. After that I try to fit in some time to train with (former pro) Gary Gomez, then go home to my beautiful wife and seven-month-old baby.

I turned pro at 34, I'm 37 now me and Christian (and I) used to be sparring partners. We both trained with Gary Gomez. I've worked the corner against him in three out of his four fights. He is a good boxer. (At this point Carroll expressed concerns with some comments Aguirre has allegedly made prior to the fight.)  ... but all of his trash talking just gets me more excited. I have forgotten more about boxing than he knows as a coach. I put more pressure on myself to win but I just want to show all the people I train just to leave it all in the ring.

That's all I expect people to do that I train; is to leave it all out there so that's what I try to do every time. 

Good luck Tim, and to all the competitors, including undefeated Ignacio Chairez, who are fighting on the card. Unfortunately, undefeated boxer Larry Gomez's fight was cancelled.

We will report boxing results through the weekend.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Amateur boxing results, MMA pros Chandler and Castillo fights

Above is a photo of fighters, trainers and supporters at last night's New Beginnings amateur boxing card at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington. The card was sponsored by All Heart and Lights Out boxing gyms.

Below is the results of the card. I was going to type them in then realized, light bulb, that I could post the photo. The winners are circled. The last bout, the main event, won by Santana DeCarlo of All Heart, was voted Fight of the Night.

NOW, SOME MMA news ...

At the Fierce Fighting Championship card in Price last night, 155 pounder MMA pro Jordan Chandler of Ogden, who trains at One Hit MMA in Layton, won his final pro bout, stopping previously undefeated Cy Nelson late in round one.

Here's a recap from Jeffrey "Dutch" Dutcher, posted on his Fighting Out of Utah MMA Facebook page: "Nelson was winning the round till Chandler landed a mean right that dropped Nelson, then followed him to the ground to finish it."

In the main bout, 170 pounder Mike Jones stopped Ben Robinson in round one. All the result are at Dutcher's Facebook page.

And Saturday night in Council Bluffs, Iowa, veteran MMA pro David Castillo, who runs The Garage MMA gym in Layton, lost a three round decision to Dakota Cochrane. The bout is scheduled to be televised delayed on UFC Fight Pass. Here's Castillo's assessment last night via social media: "Lost a decision. Good fight. No quit. Hats off to Dakota. He earned it. No regrets."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Chan, Welk talk before SteelFist MMA clash, plus more

UPDATE ON DAVID CASTILLO MMA BOUT SATURDAY: David Castillo, who runs The Garage MMA gym, fights Saturday in Council Bluffs, Iowa, meeting another veteran, Dakota Cochrane. Card is here; good luck David. ... Today we are chatting with the two MMA professionals meeting in the co-main even on June 23 in SLC at the SteelFist card. Both were successful local amateurs. Miles Welk, of The Garage MMA, is 1-0 and Steve Chan, of Victory MMA, is making his pro debut. This is a tough match for novice pros but even a loss is better than five wins over outmatched competitors. The whole card is here.

So, here we go with the interview:

1) Tell me a little about yourself. What got you interested in MMA, who are some MMA athletes you admire?

CHAN (Seen below) When I was younger my dad would teach me karate and Kung Fu, We would watch a lot of martial arts movies like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, So I've always been interested in combat. When I got a little older I started watching shows like Dragon Ball Z and Power Rangers and started reading X-men comics, So I got really into the whole superhero/combat/ fighting atmosphere. Later I found an interest in boxing and then discovered MMA one night flipping through the channels. It was Ben Henderson fighting and I was immediately hooked. I started watching the local late-night MMA shows and was very impressed with the sport: the grappling, striking, everything. I continued boxing and later decided to try Muay Thai and my obsession just grew from there. I admire Anderson Silva because of his unorthodox style, it is really exciting to watch. I also admire Zach Zane, his heart, passion and aggressiveness for the sport taught me that you don't have to walk around like a tough guy to earn respect outside of the cage. Chan Sung Jung, Jose Aldo, Demetrious Johnson are also fighters that I enjoy watching. 

WELK (Seen below with trainer David Castillo): I'm 27. I wrestled for a while and after school I missed wrestling and that type of workout and competing. I admire my coach David Castillo and my stand-in big brother Lucus Montoya, Chris Weidman, George St. Pierre Matt Hughes and Jeremy Horn are fighters I admire.

2) Where are you training for the bout. Who are your coaches? What other fighters are training, or sparring with you?

WELKI'm full time at The Garage in Layton, Utah. My coaches are David Castillo, Jason Tafoya, Anthony Lobato. I have a solid group of teammates who I would be nothing without. (They include) Bryce Edminister, Anthony Miller, Bobby King, Nathan Owens, Brandon Rease.

CHANI am training at Victory MMA, where we have amazing coaches that make sure we are prepared for war. My coaches are: Jake Paul, Kam Tuller, James Foster, Matt Raines and Kyle Herrera Some of my teammates I am working with are: Brenda Enriquez, Clay Abrams, Jayden and Jordan Marshall, Kelleck Diamond, Drew, Erick, Dan, Joshua Tauteoli, Ethan Shepherd, Pedro and a handful of other guys and girls.

3) What are your strengths, what are your opponent’s strengths and what’s your strategy to come out on top?

CHANI believe I am a well-rounded fighter and I am looking to come away with the win wherever the fight goes. My opponent likes to wrestle, and I like to do all of it, wrestling included. 

WELK: My opponent is a tough guy with a deep gas tank I know he's training hard. He has good hands and decent ground awareness from the video I've watched. I'm just working hard to get better everywhere so I'm comfortable no matter where the fight goes.

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

WELK: In a year I would like to be 4-0 maybe 5-0 with a local title.

CHANA year from now I will be an even better fighter, with much sharper tools and farther in my journey to become the best mixed martial artist I can be.

We wish the best to both Welk and Chan, two great competitors with strong futures in the sport.


On Saturday, there is amateur boxing at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington. The card is sponsored by All Heart and Lights Out gym. We hope to have results and perhaps photos to share on the blog.

Also on Saturday is Fierce Fighting Championship MMA card in Price. Of particular interest is the Jordan Chandler versus Cy Nelson fight. It's likely the last fight for Ogden's Chandler as he moves with his wife to Arizona to continue his education.

June 9 there is a pro/am boxing card at The Complex in SLC. Undefeated local pros Ignacio Chairez and Larry Gomez are in separate bouts and Utahns Tim Carroll and Christian Aguirre fight for the state middleweight title. Chairez, by the way, was noted as one of the top 12 prospects in boxing by Inside Boxing.

Next week we'll have interviews with Carroll and One Hit MMA's LJ Schulz as he prepares for his main-bout fight at SteelFist on June 23.

Finally, remember that Utahn Jose Haro is fighting for a national featherweight title on June 10 in Sloan, Iowa, against Daniel Franco, and the fight will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

Read our interviews with amateurs Ben Guymon and Kaden Weston, who are fighting on the SteelFist card,

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.