The finale will be the culmination of two 8-man grand prix style tournaments that started earlier this summer at the same location.
Tournament organizer Oscar Enriquez was ambitious from the very beginning when putting together this event series, the first of its kind attempted by a Texas promoter. First of all, he ponied up $50,000 in cash as a bounty for fighters looking to enter the tournament. The prize money would be split between the lightweight and welterweight winner.
His methodology for picking the entrants was a departure from the norm of looking for only blue chip prospects with ideal records to take part in the event – though some did manage to squeeze their way in.
“What really motivated me to get this thing going was actually the movie Warrior,” said Enriquez about how this tournament idea got started. “I wanted to take fighters who have been in this sport a long time and have poured their heart and soul into it but haven’t made it to the top for one reason or another and give them a chance to get some recognition and make a large sum of money.”
And so the Tournament of Warriors (TOW) was born.
The event drew in 16 fighters from across the nation – all who traveled to South Texas for those very prizes Oscar listed – notoriety and a chance at a nice payday. That impetus has led to two fan-friendly events so far with the tournament playing host to some pretty exciting fights. From exciting knockouts and timely submissions to vicious cuts that have forced doctor stoppages, the TOW has thus far delivered it all. And now it’s set for one last showcase before 2 fighters walk away with all the richest and all the respect. Winner takes all.
Lightweight Finals pit two exciting fighters with a history of violence
Perhaps the biggest surprise when it comes to the tournament is how its ended up in the end. Despite the fact that the tournament originally featured fighters from as far west as California and as far north as Minnesota (and all directions in between), the culminating finals will actually feature a quartet of fighters with connections to Houston, TX.
In the lightweight finals, always-exciting Rey Trujillo (Bushi Ban) is set to take on “Legendary” Flavio Alvaro of Gold Team. Increasingly becoming known as a go-for-broke knockout artist, Rey Trujillo has been fighting out of the Southeast Houston / Pasadena area for the entirety of his career and has made a name for himself by virtue of his penchant for being involved in exciting fights. Previous to the tournament his highlight reel including some vicious knockouts – including a win over Munil Adriano at Legacy on HDNet and another against Jose Santibanez at the Strikeforce: Houston undercard just a year earlier. He would continue that trend of producing fan-friendly fights in the UWF tournament with his exciting opening round scrap against Chris Pecero and his absolutely brutal knockout of Gilbert Jimenez at the semi-finals in Laredo. He’ll be taking on his biggest challenge yet when he faces the brawny Brazilian on June 30th.
Speaking of Flavio Alvaro, he is actually a resident of San Paolo, Brazil but is fighting out of Houston where he has trained for this tournament under the tutelage of Jorge ‘Macaco’ Patino. Known by many as the likely favorite at lightweight leading up to the TOW, “The Legendary” actually had an easier road that his opponent to make it to the finals. Originally slated to fight Chris Quitiquit in round one, Flavio was bumped down to alternate status after a mix-up concerning paperwork required by the state. Lucky for him, a series of other mishaps and missed weight put him back in the mix and he would then face Quitiquit in the semi-final round for a chance at the finals. That was a truly competitive bout Alvaro had with his Stockton, CA based opponent. Both guys showed up to fight in Laredo but a lengthy slugfest was not to be as Flavio cut his opponent wide open late in the first round of their bout with a grazing knee to the dome that forced the ringside doctor to call a halt to the action and award Alvaro the TKO victory.
Expect Alvaro and Trujillo to put on a show when they step into the cage to decide the lightweight tournament winner on June 30th.
Welterweight Finale pits overwhelming favorite versus perennial underdog
Meanwhile at welterweight, two other fighters with Houston links will also step in to decide the grand prix winner in the form of young prospect Lucas Pimenta and longtime Houston fan favorite John Malborugh. Perhaps the most notable “blue chip” prospect in the entire tournament, Gold Team’s Lucas Pimenta has had just about zero problems at all earning his birth in the finals. Taking on UFC veteran Shamar Bailey in the opening round, he would put the entire tournament on notice by stifling any attack his well-traveled opponent threw his way before finishing things with a blistering knee to force the stoppage. He would continue on with that same momentum in the semi-final round with his second round submission stoppage of another highly-experiened opponent in Mitchell Whitessel.
On the other side of the bracket, Houston’s John “The Maniac” Malbrough has taken an unusual road to the finals. Heck, some might even consider it a free pass, though through no fault of his own. John initially advanced with a first-round submission win over fellow Houstonian Larry Hopkins in the opening round. He would then face Coloradoan wrestler Justin Guthrie in the second round and actually lose the unanimous decision. Lucky for him, Guthrie was not able to make the welterweight limit prior to the bout – enabling Malbrough to move forward by default. He won’t find things so easy with his final bout against the hulking Brazilian prospect Pimenta but “The Maniac” can never be entirely counted out either. After all, the biggest payday of your career is wonderful motivation to fight your heart out and produce a miracle.
We’ll see who takes home the $25,000 prize on June 30th.
Undercard to feature some of Texas’ top up-and-coming prospects
One of the most exciting things about this event, the fifth for the UWF, is the fact that the promotion has finally refocused on showcasing Texas’ top up-and-comers with this card.
Previously, the event has relied on name value and experience as the impetus for its tournament matchmaking. This time, with only the two final fights included as part of the “Tournament of Warriors,” Enriquez and his son Oscar Enriquez Jr. were able to call up some of South Texas’ most promising young fighters to showcase their wares at the UWF 4 event.
For starters, there’s top up-and-coming flyweight Jimmy Flick (FCFA / Paragon). Training the last couple of years in Corpus Christi, the Oklahoman returns to South Texas to face off against San Antonio’s Adan De La Garza (Rodrigo Pinheiro BJJ). Jimmy “The Brick” will definitely have the experience edge heading into this bout but there’s no discounting De La Garza based on his pro debut performance at UWF 1.
Also making an appearance at UWF 4 will be “Silverback” Roger Narvaez. A BJJ brown belt out of FCFA / Paragon, Big Rog looks every bit the part of future star in the light heavyweight division here in Texas. He’ll be taking on Austin’s Larry Hopkins in his latest test as he methodically builds up his career.
The rest of the card features a mixture of veteran fighters (read: Hector Munoz, Carlos Diego Ferreira, etc.) and some other up-and-comers to keep an eye out for – such as San Antonio’s Ray “The Judge” Rodriguez making his pro debut fresh of his flying knee knockout at PCG earlier this year and more. All in all this is shaping up to be Ultimate Warrior Fighting’s best event yet as the focus returns to Texas’ finest. Here’s the card as it stands today.
UWF 4 – Current Fight Card for June 30, 2012
155 lbs.: Rey Trujillo vs. Flavio Alvaro (Tournament Final)
115 lbs.: Jordan Nicole Gaza vs. Paige Vanzant
155 lbs.: John Malbrough vs. Lucas Pimenta (Tournament Final)
190 lbs.: Roger Narvaez vs. Larry Hopkins
170 lbs.: Hector Munoz vs. Antwan Williams
160 lbs.: Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Travonne Hobbs
145 lbs.: Chris Pecero vs. Victor Hernandez
135 lbs.: Jimmy Flick vs. Adan De La Garza
170 lbs.: Kirk Hubble vs. David Armas
145 lbs.: Ray Rodriguez vs. Daniel Lucas
We’ll be on hand to cover the whole thing here on TXMMA on June 30th.
Until then, enjoy the photo slideshows below of the opening and semi-final round at the UWF Tournament of Warriors.