STFC Texas Featherweight Championship: Fabian Anthony Saldivar (5-1) defeated Javier Obregon (7-9) via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:13 of the fourth round.
Strawweight Bout: Maylene Bellino (1-0) defeated Yadira Anzaldua (2-4) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Featherweight Bout: Josh Montalvo (3-2) defeated Amador Ramirez (4-3) via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:30 of the second round.
Lightweight Bout: Orlando Rodriguez (2-0) defeated Yail Elijio (2-3) via submission (triangle choke) at 0:37 of the first round.
Welterweight Bout: Melvin Jordan (4-2) defeated Rashid Abdullah (4-10) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Lightweight Bout: Travonne Hobbs (3-2) defeated Salvador “El Torito” Gonzalez Jr. (1-2) via KO (counter punch) at 0:45 of the second round.
Welterweight Bout: David Lopez (1-0) defeated Cristobal Hernandez (0-1) via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
The Gotch Special Awards
Fight of the Night: Fabian Anthony Saldivar defeating Javier Obregon.
Runner Up Fight of the Night: Josh Montalvo defeating Amador Ramirez.
KO of the Night: Travonne Hobbs KO of Salvador “El Torito” Gonzalez Jr.
Submission of the Night: Orlando Rodriguez triangle choke on Yail Elijio.
The drama was high at STFC 31 for the main event showdown between STFC Texas Featherweight Champion Javier Obregon, from the Dallas-area, and Fabian Anthony Saldivar, out of Santa Rosa. For Saldivar, after a competitive first round, it became clear in the second round that it was going to take more than just pure skill to win this fight. He appeared to be rocked baldy by Obregon, and had to dig deep down to find a way to survive while being dazed on the ground. In other words, his heart was going to be tested. A nearby observer raised his voice, “I thought he was out!” Saldivar managed to not only survive that onslaught, but end up on top of Obregon as that round closed. Saldivar would go on, sustaining that momentum and finishing Obregon in the fourth stanza with a rear naked choke, to a huge ovation by the fans at the McAllen Convention Center.
“Feels good to bring back the belt to the RGV, where it belongs,” Saldivar said, to Rock N Roll James in his post-fight interview.
When questioned by James about that thrilling second round, Saldivar smiled, laughed a little bit and said, “He landed more than a few good punches.”
With his fifth exciting finish in a row, I am very much looking forward to seeing who Saldivar will face next, in his first ever title defense. It’s a fun time to be a fan of mixed martial arts in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Play By Play
7. The STFC Texas Featherweight Championship was on the line, as Javier Obregon defended his crown against Fabian Anthony Saldivar. The opening round begins, and Saldivar tries some of his kicks, including a teep. Obregon answers with a pair of legkicks, and a spinning kick. Saldivar comes back with a headkick, and Obregon decides to clinch. He pushes Saldivar against the cage, where they stay for a brief moment. Saldivar gets out of that predicament, and lands a spinning back kick on Obregon. The champion gets Saldivar down, almost gets the mount but Saldivar scrambles out. Nice bodykick from Saldivar but he slips. Saldivar while on his back gets kicked by Obregon. Saldivar gets back up and takes Obregon down, getting on top briefly. Nice right punch from Saldivar, but with the fight back up on its feet, Obregon nails a legkick. Saldivar returns the strike. Obregon tries a combo, and at least one punch lands flush on Saldivar. The challenger tries some kicks that don’t land, but Obregon lands a good punch. Obregon tries a spinning kick of his own, but Saldivar ducks, then lands a bodykick. The round expires as Obregon grabs on to Saldivar, and attempts to take his back.
The second stanza was a wild one, and one of the most memorable rounds in recent STFC history. Saldivar lands a jab and punch early on. Obregon gets a bodykick, while Saldivar tries a headkick. Obregon tries one of his own, and then bull rushes Saldivar into the cage. Obregon is now trying to take his back. While they break free, Obregon hits a wild strike and Saldivar is down on the canvas. It looks like he’s in big trouble, and Obregon starts overwhelming him with punches that looked very dangerous. It seemed like Saldivar was moments away from losing his first championship contest. Amazingly, Saldivar tripped Obregon, and recovered enough to wind up in a scramble. Obregon got the mount briefly, and attempted a guillotine choke. Saldivar defended well and reversed to get on top, in half guard. Obregon put him back in his guard, but Saldivar lands a good elbow or two. Saldivar advances back to half guard, and lands some good punches. He mounts momentarily before going back to half guard. Saldivar’s offense output starts to increase as he lands shots to the body, punches to the head, and nice elbows en route to securing another mount. This time, Saldivar goes for the kill, and tries an armbar as the round comes to a close.
The third act starts with Saldivar throwing some kicks towards Obregon’s knee-area. Obregon lands a low blow on Saldivar, so we get a brief break. Obregon with a left hook, but Saldivar gets a legkick, and follows up with a knee strike. Saldivar throws a headkick, and a legkick by Obregon. Saldivar starts throwing more of those kicks towards Obregon’s knee-area, then lands a snappy headkick. The champion comes back with a bodykick and tries to take the challenger down. Obregon transitions, trying to take Saldivar’s back against the cage. Saldivar attempts a guillotine choke, drops down, but Obregon escapes and is now on top. They scramble and Obregon hits a nice body shot in mid-transition. Obregon tries a choke but Saldivar presses forward and gets on top of him, managing to get in side control. Obregon pushes his feet off the cage to reverse, briefly getting a banana split position. Then he gets on top of Saldivar. The challenger then hits his own reversal, getting back on top, in half-guard position. Some wild grappling positions in this fight! Saldivar’s corner screams for him to go for a toe hold, so Saldivar turns around like a cool Pancrase fighter in the mid-1990’s, going after Obregon’s leg. Obregon slips out, but Saldivar is able to retain his dominant position. Saldivar slips to side control, works some punches, and it looked like he might have thought of an arm triangle before abandoning that idea. Saldivar slides his knee across Obregon’s body to get the mount, and thinks about going for the armbar again. He decides to take Obregon’s back, then gets the mount again where he lands a good punch. He starts landing some punishing ground and pound, gets Obregon’s back again, and attempts to go for the rear naked choke as the five minutes come to an end.
The fourth and final frame is short and sweet for fans of Saldivar. A nice pair of kicks to the leg and body by Saldivar forces Obregon to shoot in. Saldivar has him in a front headlock position, then gets on top of him like an amateur wrestling riding position. The Santa Rosa native starts punching him, working on taking his back. Gets both hooks in, and slips his left forearm underneath Obregon’s chin. Saldivar’s left hand clutches at his right bicep, locking in the rear naked choke, and forcing Obregon to tap out at 1:13 of the fourth round.
6. In the women’s strawweight division, Midland’s Yadira “Yaya” Anzaldua faced Corpus Christi’s Maylene Bellino in tonight’s co-feature. The first round starts off with both women swinging away, violently. Anzaldua pushes Bellino into the cage, then gets reversed and pushed into the cage herself. A lowblow on Anzaldua stops the action. They restart, and both hit nice knees. Bellino clinches, and trips her against the cage. Bellino in half guard, lands some good punches. She tries to take Anzaldua’s back, and then gets both hooks in. Bellino gets a face crank, but Anzaldua escapes and gets back up. Bellino drags her down, and hits some knees to the body on the ground. Anzaldua gets up, tries a guillotine as the round ends.
In the second round, Anzaldua lands a good punch. Bellino answers back, and both start swinging away again. Anzaldua gets in a good legkick. Bellino lands some good punches and a knee to the body. Bellino now pressing Anzaldua against the cage, and drags her down. Anzaldua trying to defend as Bellino tries to get both hooks in. Bellino gets them in, flattens her out, landing some good strikes from that position. She looks to be going for another face crank or rear naked choke. Anzaldua gets up, but gets slammed hard, and punched while on the ground. She gets up again, but gets slammed again as the timekeepers signal is heard.
In the final round, Bellino lands a knee, but Anzaldua comes back with some good punches and a knee of her own. Bellino takes her down, and starts working from side control. Lands some good ground and pound, including knees to the body, and elbows. Anzaldua gets up, but Bellino is up against her, landing knees to her thighs. Bellino hits one last powerful takedown as the fight finishes up. All three judges award the fight to Bellino.
5. In the STFC featherweight division, Weslaco’s Amador Ramirez returned to the STFC cage to take on San Benito’s Josh Montalvo. In the first round, Ramirez throws a headkick that is blocked. They both land good punches. Then they both missed strikes. Ramirez decides to press him against the cage, landing some good strikes in the process. While Ramirez is bent over, trying to go for a takedown, Montalvo turns that into a crucifix. Montalvo lands some good strikes from that position, then decides to take Ramirez’s back. Montalvo transitions to an armbar, but Ramirez gets on top. Ramirez spends some time in half-guard and full guard, before they both get back up. Montalvo goes for a kimura, and they both go down, before bouncing back up again to their feet. Ramirez clinches up with Montalvo again against the cage, then they get in a scramble. Montalvo tries to take Ramirez’s back, but Ramirez is now on top. Ramirez tries to pass the guard, and land some strikes, but Montalvo defends very well from the bottom. Montalvo tries a kimura, and uses it to sweep Ramirez, getting the mount. Montalvo then takes Ramirez’s back as the round ends.
Both start the second round with strikes. Ramirez gets in a good bodykick and punches. Montalvo’s right cheek appears to be a bit swollen from one of those punches. Montalvo front kicks him, to push him away. Ramirez goes on an aggressive striking blitz after he lands a good shot. He is coming from different angles, then they clinch against the cage. A low blow causes a break in action. After the restart, Montalvo lands a solid bodykick. Ramirez lands a few strikes, before Montalvo comes back with a legkick. Ramirez hits a bodykick, then Montalvo takes him down. Montalvo gets Ramirez’s back, but Ramirez stands up. Ramirez tries a judo throw, but it doesn’t work and he ends up back down on the mat. Montalvo takes his back, and Ramirez tries punching behind, towards Montalvo. The San Benito native flattens Ramirez down on the blue canvas, and sinks in the rear naked choke for the submission win at 2:30 of the second round.
4. McAllen’s Orlando “Orly” Rodriguez took on Laredo’s Yail Elijio in lightweight competition. Rodriguez goes for a right, but then Elijio shoots in and forces a nice takedown near the fence. Rodriguez shoots up with his legs, trying to get a triangle. He tries to get his right ankle behind his left knee to secure the hold. Elijio is punching a bit, but Rodriguez finally gets it locked and Elijio taps out at 37 seconds into the first round. Rodriguez gives a shout out to his mom, including plugging her salon — Rosy’s Hair Salon.
3. In a battle of Dallas vs Dallas, Melvin Jordan and Rashid Abdullah made their STFC debut. In the first, Melvin opened with a pair of kicks. Abdullah stumbled down but got back up. Abdullah takes Jordan down but Jordan pops up. Abdullah is now behind him, then tries a takedown, pressing him against the cage. While there, Abdullah lands a low blow causing a break in action. Right restarts, Abdullah gets a legkick. Jordan with a headkick and bodykick follows. Abdullah attempts a takedown but Jordan lands a good knee. Both clinch up, against the cage. Abdullah tries to get him to the ground but Jordan gets up quickly. They separate and Jordan hits a headkick and legkick. Abdullah tries to force a punch at the end as the round finishes.
Round two, Jordan hits a legkick. After an exchange, Abdullah goes to clinch and try for a takedown. But Jordan defends well and lands some good elbows and a knee. After a separation, Jordan gets a legkick and bodykick. Abdullah rushes in for a takedown, again against the cage. Jordan pushes him back, across the cage, to the other side. Round ends with Abdullah trying to reverse and hit a takedown.
In round three, Jordan hits a legkick, bodykick, and knee to start off. Abdullah shoots in, pushing Jordan against the cage. Jordan hits some good elbows. Then the referee separates them. Back in the middle, Abdullah hits a nice jab, and Jordan gets a few legkicks. Jordan throws a combination that hurts Abdullah. Jordan chases after him, and then Abdullah clinches up with him, as the fight time expires. Jordan wins via unanimous decision.
2. Salvador “El Torito” Gonzalez of Edinburg took on late replacement Travonne Hobbs, of the Texas State Capitol of Austin, TX. The lightweight bout opens with Gonzalez landing a legkick, but Hobbs answers back with a quick kick to the body. Gonzalez tries to go for a takedown but both end up tied up against the cage. Hobbs gets both underhooks. Gonzalez lands a nice elbow, and reverses the position to put Hobbs against the cage. Hobbs lands some good strikes, while Gonzalez pushes forward to try to get a takedown. Hobbs briefly considered a guillotine which lead to Gonzalez getting on top of Hobbs on the ground. Gonzalaez attempts some ground and pound as the round ends.
Round two begins, nice right by Hobbs to start the frame. Gonzalez tries a few kicks, but misses. Hobbs lands an accidental low blow. After the restart, Gonzalez lands a nice bodykick. While Gonzalez tries to go for a legkick, Hobbs counters him by landing a huge right hand for the KO win at the 0:45 mark of the second round. Hobbs thanks his opponent, and gives his appreciation for the Rio Grande Valley afterwards.
1. The opening bout of the evening featured debuting welterweights — David Lopez of Midland and Cristobal Hernandez of Mission. Lopez rushes in to press Hernandez against the cage. Hernandez lands a nice knee but misses an elbow. After they separate, they get in a wild exchange, where both men land shots. Lopez gets a takedown but Hernandez lands some good shots on the ground, including one to the body. After they get up, Lopez lands some hard shots. Hernandez responds with some punches to the body. Lopez hits a knee and some more punches on Hernandez, as he’s being pressed against the cage. Round ends with another exchange.
Hernandez comes in with a teep and bodykick to start the second round. Another big exchange ends with Lopez getting the harder, more powerful blows. Hernandez does land a good punch at the end of that crossfire of strikes. Lopez attempts a guillotine choke but winds up on the bottom, with Hernandez on top. But they both get back up, and start swinging away, with Lopez landing the better shots again. They clinch up against the cage, and Hernandez gets some good shots, with his back against the cage. Lopez comes back with a body shot. After they break up from the clinch, Lopez lands a good right. Hernandez hits a legkick and knee to the body. Both miss shots, but then Lopez lands a quick two punch combination. After a series of punches by Lopez, Hernandez winds up on the ground, with Lopez on top reigning punches down on him as round two ends
Round three begins, and Hernandez comes in with a bodykick, but Lopez hits several powerful punches. Hernandez responds with a sharp elbow. Lopez goes for the takedown, and they start clinching against the cage. With Lopez pushing Hernandez against the cage, both get in another ferocious exchange. Hernandez tries to get a guillotine against the cage but Lopez escapes, and lands some solid punches. Hernandez tries to knee from the clinch but Lopez lands some more. Hernandez hits a nice knee to the body, and a few more strikes. Hernandez tried a guillotine, then a trip, but it didn’t work. The story of the fight was the wild exchanges they got into, and that’s how this fight comes to an end. Crowd approves of the action as the fight concludes. Lopez gets awarded the unanimous decision victory.