Long-awaited championship fight to settle the top of the bantamweight division on July 19th
Legacy Fighting Championship 21 is coming to Houston and the national airwaves via AXS TV on July 19th and it’s going to be a monumental day for the bantamweight division. Long in the making, the main event will feature popular southeast-Houston based Angel Huerta and DFW blue chip prospect Matt Hobar facing off for the promotion’s long-vacant 135 lbs. title.
While the bantamweight roster stacks up as arguably one of the deepest talent pools for Legacy, the promotion hasn’t crowned a champion since its infancy, literally the first Legacy Fighting Championship event in Houston back in November 2009 – when the promotion’s first standard bearer Chad Robichaux won the first belt in company history versus journeyman Lewis McKenzie. After his win “Robo” defended the belt a grand total of zero times before deciding to “retire” back in late 2011, vacating the belt in the process.
And so as the story goes, fighters have jockeyed for position in a bid for title contention ever since. And it’s been shoulder-to-shoulder with elbows flying as the crème has looked to rise to the top.
In-Depth: “The Chosen One” Angel Huerta vs. Matt “Crowbar” Hobar
Serving as the main event of LFC 21, this pairing on Matt Hobar and Angel Huerta pits off two of the top-ranked bantamweight contenders for Legacy and is certainly a matchup worthy of championship status. To sum it up in one succinct sentence, both these fighters have been reaching towards this point for a very long time and now they get to see who gets to climb even higher by virtue of their July 19th collision in the main event of one of Legacy’s strongest cards to date.
Debuting in MMA in August 2010 and subsequently appearing in Legacy FC for the first time later that year, Angel Huerta (6-1) has long been established as one of the promotion’s most popular homegrown fighters. Running his own karate school in Southeast Houston, Huerta fights typically come with a large cheering section and even more excitement by virtue of his vaunted striking skills. He’s been involved in martial arts since childhood and has tested himself in other venues such as Chuck Norris’ now-defunct World Combat League (WCL) before making the cross-over into MMA. Now in his third competitive year with the sport, Huerta has worked everywhere from Draculino’s GB Texas gym (specialty: BJJ) to Paradigm TC (specialty: wrestling) in order to hone other facets of his name in preparation for a moment like this championship fight and a well-rounded opponent such as he’ll face in Matt Hobar.
Speaking of Matt Hobar (7-1), he’s come down a similar path as his opponent but is a completely different fighter. The Dallas-based fighter also debuted in 2010, taking one fight as an amateur before turning pro in March 2011. Since then he’s only defeated once, by freak injury (TKO) versus Steven Peterson at LFC 13 – a loss he has since avenged. A former high school All-American wrestler who has wrestled all his life, Hobar certainly has his own specialty as well when it comes to MMA but, like Huerta, he has also worked hard in the other facets of his own game in order to become a championship-caliber MMA fighter. Likewise his camp Octagon MMA is home to many top fighters from the bantamweight to welterweight divisions (in other words: guys near his size) so he’s consistently pushing himself in practice in preparation for high level competition.
How this fight breaks down: An elementary view from the outside-looking-in
Looking at this fight from afar, one thing this writer can say is that – like many other fights – whoever wins this one will be the fighter who can impose his will early and often. Though both well-rounded, these two fighters offer up such a contrast in styles when it comes to what they are strong at that the resulting display in the cage should be very intriguing to watch.
For Huerta, he might want to keep his opponent at a distance and pick him apart from the outside by the dizzying array of striking combinations he has at his disposal while relying on the speed he possesses to confound his opponent and avoid the takedowns. Meanwhile, Hobar might look to eschew the striking game in favor of putting his opponent to the mat early and often and controlling him from there, where he may not necessarily be as comfortable. If either fighter is able to establish that pattern and continue it on for the duration of the five-round fight, it could be a very long (or short) night for the other.
Then there’s the matter of how to counter each other’s strengths as well. Has Angel worked enough takedown defense in his training to make it increasingly difficult for Matt to get the takedown? And has Matt honed his striking to the point where he stand with Angel and hold his own or maybe even win that part of the fight? Who wins in the clinch? Who’s got better cardio?
So many variables in play here but the fight answers them all. Tune in to AXS TV or show up LIVE to the Houston Arena Theater on July 19th to find out the answers to those questions and see who ends up on top with the belt in tow at Legacy Fighting Championship 19.