CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, June 18, 2012 – The “Tournament of Warriors” Finale is only little over two weeks away with Ultimate Warrior Fighting coming back to the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi on June 30, 2012.
The finale will mark the conclusion of two 8-man grand prix style tournaments that started earlier this summer.
Tournament organizer Oscar Enriquez was ambitious from the very beginning when putting together this series, the first of its kind attempted by a Texas promoter. He offered up $50,000 in cash as a bounty for fighters looking to enter the tournament. The prize money would then be split between the lightweight and welterweight winner.
“What really motivated me to get this thing going was actually the movie Warrior,” said Enriquez about the impetus behind the tournament.
“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.”
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. The first two rounds have produced some pretty exciting fights and highlight moments. Now the stage is set for two fighters to walk away with $25,000 checks come fight night.
Rey Trujillo vs. Flario Alvaro in the lightweight finals
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.
Lucas Pimenta vs. John Malbrough in the welterweight finals
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 wins the $25,000 on June 30th.
Undercard to feature some of South Texas’ Top 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 also 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 Andre Kavanaugh in his latest test as he methodically builds up his career.
Next up is an interesting battle of undefeated prospects in 4-0 Julian Lane and 3-0 Carlos Diego Ferreira. Wrestling since he was five years old, Lane will pose an interesting matchup and 2011 TXMMA black belt of the year Carlos Diego. There’s no denying the Brazilian’s ground dominance against well… most fighters (see his UWF 2 win over fellow BJJ BB Hector Munoz as example) but perhaps Lane can successfully use his own grappling chops to decide where this bout takes place and prove himself the victor. No matter what happens in this fight, one of these fighters will be headed for a brighter feature as a result of notching a win over the other.
In addition, American Revolution’s Chris Pecero is back at UWF and will be fighting for the first time at featherweight following a first round appearance in the Tournament of Warriors. He was last seen taking finalist Rey Trujillo all the way to the final bell in the opening round of the lightweight tournament. That fight was so exciting it was named ‘Fight of the Night’ but the UWF brass. He’ll be expected to put up a similar lights-out type of performance when he takes on Victor Hernandez in his new weight class on June 30th.
The rest of the card features a mixture of veteran fighters from South Texas and beyond (read: Hector Munoz, DJ Linderman, etc.) along some other up-and-comers to keep an eye out for – such as Jordan Gaza making her pro debut and San Antonio’s Ray “The Judge” Rodriguez making his pro debut fresh of his flying knee knockout at PCG earlier this year and young Omar Khosravi fighting out of Houston’s Silverback camp. All in all this is shaping up to be Ultimate Warrior Fighting’s best event yet as the focus returns to Texas’ finest.