This past weekend, Finish The Fight's Test Of Courage finally came around and all the guys delivered, impressive finish after impressive finish. We got to witness that weird shoulder crank submission that Darrill Schoonover teaches make a guy tap, the FTF record for the fastest KO/TKO broken, and then before the night ended, we watched that same record get broken again.
For the Main Event of the evening, we got a bout for the FTF Welterweight belt between Desmond Hill and Fabian Salas. The bout started with Salas throwing out 2 leg kicks but before the feeling out process could begin Hill landed a big right hand that was the beginning of the end. Hill followed it with a barrage of strikes and once Salas fell to the mat, Hill just had to land one big, clean strike to end it. With wins over Fabian Salas and Martin Sano and the FTF record for fastest KO/TKO, Hill is the fighter to beat at Welterweight in our local amateur scene.
For the Co-Main Event, top prospects Derek 'Da Kid' Cranford and Adam 'Flex' McGurk clashed for the FTF Featherweight belt but instead of the close fight we were expecting between two of the more exciting fighters we have, it was just another classic Cranford performance. Cranford came out aggressive and it paid off. 'Da Kid' packs power, and coupled with the speed and accuracy he came out with on Sunday, he looked unstoppable, breaking the FTF record for fastest KO/TKO before Hill came out and rebroke it. McGurk is a proven badass with good stand up and possibly even better ground game and Cranford's win over McGurk is just a testament to how good 'Da Kid' really is. The win shows it's going to take a really good wrestler to beat Cranford because trading punches and kicks with him just doesn't seem to work.
Another belt up for grabs this Sunday was the FTF Lightweight Belt, as Brian Castillo took on Mitch Brown. Castillo had a lot of hype coming in to the fight and Brown, who's forte is the ground but doesn't mind trading leather, seemed a solid test to it, but the hype proved to be warranted. Castillo was the stronger guy in the clinch and though Brown defended the takedown well, he ate a punch when they broke from the clinch and ate another one coming in that dropped him. Castillo quickly followed him to the ground and ended it with a vicious ground and pound assault from mount. Castillo looked good in the clinch, standing and on the ground, and will be a handful for anyone at Lightweight.
Also on the card, Frankie Rivera avenged his hard fought loss against Vince Barreda with a quick rear naked choke in the 2nd round. Phillip Schoonover beat Justin Nixon in a split decision and showed his wrestling is much more effective against a guy his size. Fred Rodriguez came out strong against Galen Bradley, using his power for a huge, impressive slam but seemed to have slowed down by the end of the 1st round and Bradley cake out in the 2nd and used his reach and speed advantage to finish Rodriguez. Jerry Sano came out in a flurry and though Lucas Elison looked great in training, with creative takedowns and good transitions on the ground, Sano just looked stronger and faster in the cage and used that to get himself a quick, impressive win. Gary Messec took on Address Cervantes and pulled off an impressive shoulder crank that left Cervantes still in pain several minutes after the fight stopped. Emilio Alvara took on Frank Tarango in a one sided fight that saw Alvara in top position most of the fight. Tarango had no answer for Alvara's wrestling. Alvara didn't come in with big, flashy takedowns but once on top, he proved nearly impossible to push off or roll over. In the first fight of the night, it was obvious Gabriel Zubia wanted to bring the fight to Aaron Contreras but Zubia's eagerness led him to not be able to get anything done. Zubia would come in determined to stand and bang and kept getting taken down and the few times he was on top, he got over aggressive and lost position.
The night of fights left us looking forward to the next one. The Ed Tech guys looked really sharp and there's a 135 pound fighter out there by the name of Fernie Garcia out of 'Concrete Jungle' with a really interesting style, a lot of circling, counter-striking and solid takedowns, who I'd like to see against a guy like Jerry Sano or Derek Cranford. All in all, the fighters keep impressing and the events keep getting more and more interesting.