The dust has settled on another successful professional MMA card in Houston as two new champions were crowned this past Friday night at Legacy Fighting Championships. Ray Blodget of Elite MMA and Mike Bronzoulis of Paradigm Training Center each earned title holder status in hard-fought victories. The rest of the card delivered several other exciting performances out of rising stars from our Houston MMA Community.
Let’s discuss these results in detail and take a glimpse at the future as we ponder where these fighters go from here.
First, the title fights…
Welterweight Title Bout Summary – Mike Bronzoulis vs. Jonathan Harris
After an entertaining weigh-in (see: salad tossing) and a pre-fight week filled with hype, bad blood, and promises of a spectacular finish from both sides, the Legacy interim 170 title was settled in the cage as Mike Bronzoulis of Paradigm Training Center defeated Jonathan Harris of Submission Boxing Academy via first round TKO. Harris fought gamely but never had a chance to settle into a rhythm and land the big shots he is famous for due to the relentless pace set by Bronzoulis. Seemingly a step ahead on the ground, the new champion exhibited good top control and a steady diet of ground-and-pound, forcing the stoppage via ground and pound at 3:21 of the first round.
Potential Next Step – Now the Legacy FC 170 champion, Mike Bronzoulis is angling for a shot to fight on the national scene. At 9-2-1 with a record showing an impressive performance against Kamal Shalorus of the UFC (formerly WEC) along with a win at Shark Fights, The Greek may just get his way. If that doesn’t happen quickly, perhaps the Houston fans can see a unification matchup with former titleholder Levi Forrest. If not, there is certainly no shortage of viable contenders at welterweight with Craig Gardner and Ricardo Talavera at the top of my list. For Jonathan Harris, “The Hulk” should look to rebound quickly after this loss to a seasoned opponent. He looked to be in the best shape of his young career and there will be a long road in from of him in MMA. Perhaps a fight against another heavy-hitter (Brian Melancon at 170 anyone?) would be in order to test The Hulk in his next bout.
Lightweight Title Bout Summary – Ray Blodget vs. Rey Trujillo
In a true testimony to courage, and valor, both fighters showed an intangible beyond skill and technique in this bout. I am sure I echo the sentiments of nearly every fan in attendance in saying that neither fighter should hang their heads in this one after twenty-five minutes of non-stop action. Having his nose broken in the first thirty seconds of the bout, Ray Blodget fought through barely being able to breathe, controlling where the majority of the fight took place with a relentless assault of takedowns and GNP via positional dominance en route to the lightweight title. To his opponent’s credit, Rey Trujillo showed true grit in going for the knockout with almost felonious shots and defending well on the ground despite having been mounted and having his back taken numerous times. Truly an incredible performance worthy of fight of the night honors by both fighters.
Potential Next Step – This is undoubtedly the biggest win of Ray Blodget’s career, and he looked impressive in every facet of the fight in accomplishing victory despite the broken nose. With this win, he should certainly break in to the area’s P4P Top-10 rankings. Aside from rumors that Daniel Pineda (Legacy 145 champ) wants to move up to challenge for the 155 title and an outside challenges like Junior Assuncao, who mentioned liking the look of the Legacy belt, Ray Blodget’s next fight may very well be out of state as he looks to break into the UFC. As far as Rey Trujillo, I think he too will look to rebound quickly, as he did in KO’ing Jose Santibanez after his last loss to Daniel Pineda. I’m going to go on a limb and say there is a strong possibility we see Rey Trujillo on a Houston fight card before the year is over.
As for the rest of the card…
A battle of hyped stand-up fighters between Angel Huerta and Akira Smith exceeded monumental expectations and resulted in a spectacular TKO victory in favor of Paradigm’s Huerta. From my perspective ringside, I’m willing to bet his game plan was to counter every one of Smith’s famed kicks with devastating punches, and he did so in vicious bunches. The “Afro-Samurai” Smith simply had no answer as Huerta came forward with everything in his arsenal once he smelled blood, downing Smith with a head kick en route to a referee stoppage due to punches on the ground.
Potential Next Step – I see Angel Huerta as having as much potential as anyone in his weight class. Look for Huerta to continue to climb the bantamweight ladder in Houston, perhaps at a Legacy card in January. A good fight for him would be someone like Lewis Mackenzie, who is also known for his stand-up. However, if he wants to go the fast-track route, he could challenge another 4oz fighter in Steve Garcia. Now THAT would be a fight area fans would clamor over themselves to see.
Additional impressive performances were turned in by several area fighters. Tim Snyder showed true 1-punch KO power with a perfectly-timed blistering left-hook KO of scrappy veteran Arron Barringer. Bushi Ban’s Alex Black, one of the most exciting amateurs coming up the ranks, made his professional debut in impressive style via referee stoppage over tough wrestler Greg Bellomy. Black showed a very active offensive guard in the first round and followed it up with crisp striking combinations in the second to force the ref stoppage. Other winners included fellow debuting professional John Malbrough and Terrance Ferguson. Look for more in the near future from all these fighters.
Quick Results for Legacy Fighting Championships – November 5, 2010 – Houston, TX
155 Title – Ray Blodget (Elite MMA) defeated Rey Trujillo (Bushi Ban) via unanimous decision.
170 interim title – Mike Bronzoulis (Paradigm) via TKO over Jonathon Harris (Submission Boxing Academy).
Angel Huerta (Paradigm) over Akira Smith (4oz Fight Club) via 1st round knockout.
Tim Snyder (Paradigm) over Arron Barringer (Gracie Barra Woodlands) via 1st round KO.
Alex Black (Bushi Ban) over Greg Bellomy (Gracie Barra Texas) via 2nd round TKO.
Terrance Ferguson (Westside MMA) over Drew Raticheck (ACS) via unanimous decision.
John Malbrough (Kingwood MMA) over Marc Garcia (Ironhorse MMA) via unanimous decision.
Author’s Note – I recently created a Facebook Group for everyone involved in the Houston Fight Community. (MMA, BJJ, Submission Grappling) My intent in creating this group is to enable us to have a community shared space where we discuss our great sports and share news in real-time. (e.g. the “Group Chat” function where you can talk to all members who are online) All in all, it’s pretty neat, free, and absolutely devoid of outside interests. If you’re involved in any way, I suggest you join the discussion and feel free to invite your training partners. – Mike Calimbas