The last time DJ Fuentes took on Erik Perez was in a STFC cage almost 10 years ago for the 145lb title. Fuentes took that fight by submission late in the 3rd round. On April 20, 2018 they will be running back the fight but this time it will be on the national stage for Combate Americas on Univision in Perez’s hometown of Monterrey.
These two fighters who got their start in the Valley have gone through their own paths of success in their respective careers. Perez was the first fighter from STFC to make his debut for UFC in 2012 which helped open the doors for Valley fighters. Perez went on to have six fights in the octagon and with his only losses being Takeya Misugaki by split decision and Bryan Caraway by submission. Perez was in the position to be one of UFC biggest Mexican fighters but somewhere down the line the UFC just gave up on pushing him properly(probably because he didn’t have a “brown pride” tattoo on his chest). The great news for “Goyito” is that he has a new home and is being positioned as the face of Combate Americas.
While Fuentes hasn’t fought under the bright lights of UFC, he still has made quite the name for himself regionally. After his title fight with Perez in 2010 Fuentes went on to defend his STFC featherweight title against Randy Villareal and fought for the UWF promotion against Texas seasoned vet, Nick Gonzalez. Fuentes went on to lose his title to Javier Obregon in 2013 for STFC then returned a month later to fight for the Charlie Clark funded promotion. In his first fight under the “Orale” promotion, he delivered a highlight reel knockout to Gilbert Jimenez but the fight was ruled a “no contest” when Fuentes jumped the cage to celebrate with fans ringside. Footage of the knockout and the celebration can be found below.
The decision to overturn the result didn’t faze Fuentes much in his career as he went on to participate in the HEROFC bout that would grant the winner a contract and the 135lb title of the promotion. Fuentes went on to win the title and contract that night in a slippery affair that saw both men fight the conditions of the mat more than each other. If you ever seen “Here Comes the Boom” then you will understand what I’m saying. After his last title defense in 2015 for HEROFC, Fuentes took about two years off before coming back to fight late last year. Fuentes took on Joel Scott in his debut for Combate Americas and was victorious by unanimous decision. While Fuentes record might not be the most impressive, you can make an argument that he is one of the most decorated fighters in Valley history.
Leading up to this fight there has been a lot of back and forth between Fuentes and Perez on social media. Fuentes believed that he should be paid more in his bout with Perez which is fine by me. I’m all for fighters getting a payday especially when they deserve it. In this case, I felt that Fuentes did deserve it because his bout with Perez would be the main event fight and what he was asking for wasn’t all that outrageous. This went on for about a week or two till both sides, Fuentes’ Team and Combate Americas, agreed on an amount for the fight. You got to give it to Fuentes for believing in himself and knowing his worth, especially when dealing with a force in the world of MMA like Combate Americas. Fuentes has even said in an interview with Combate Americas that he’s given the rematch to Goyito, not the other way around. No shortage of moxie from Fuentes.
Tune in this Friday to Univision at 11pm to see this clash of former STFC fighters. It’s rare we get two fighters from our region showcasing their skills on the main event in a nationally broadcasted event so show your support for these fighters before heading out to enjoy your night.