It’s officially fight-week! After a number of add and drops from the original card, STFC 45 finally looks to be set in stone and lowkey, this might be one of my favorite STFC cards ever. So let’s start breaking this beast of a card down.
Robert Agurrie vs John Herrera
When STFC 45 was first announced, the card was to feature Robert Aguirre taking on Joel Scott. A few weeks went by and the seasoned Paco Castillo was announced as the fighter who would be replacing Scott who dropped due to injury. That fight fell through and now Victoria’s John Herrera will now be stepping in on short notice to take on Aguirre for his professional debut in the main event of the night. 24-year-old Herrera is a well-known prospect in the Austin area and has been fighting since 2015. Herrera went undefeated in six bouts with four finishes for the local Austin amateur promotion, ICON. During his amateur stint, Herrera went through some of Austin’s toughest fighters such as Sean Clements, David Ramirez(who he defeated to win the ICON lightweight title), and Joshua Rogers. Last year, Herrera(ICON lightweight champ) fought Sean Clements(BOH lightweight champ) for what I coined as “The Lightweight King of Austin” because both fighters were lightweight champs of their respective promotion at the time-Herrera won that bout by TKO. Herrera will be making his return after a year and a half hiatus from the cage which is warranted considering he fought six times within a year and a half with two of those fights being title defenses.
Herrera’s professional debut won’t be an easy one. Robert Aguirre has made a name for himself ever since he debuted in STFC going undefeated in four bouts and has finished his last two fights against Isaac Matamoros and Adonis Acevedo. This fight will be uncharted territory for Aguirre as it will be contested at a catchweight of 150lbs, 15lbs more than what he has fought at as a professional. If Aguirre is successful at this weight it’s feasible that he could challenge for the Michael Rodriguez’s STFC lightweight title unless STFC has other plans for Rodriguez.
Eli Rodriguez vs Eduardo Bustillos
In the co-main event of the evening, Eli Rodriguez will be putting up his undefeated streak against Eduardo Bustillos in a 160lb catchweight affair. Since returning to the cage, Rodriguez has been racking up win after win with his most recent victory coming at STFC 43 against top prospect Gunner Cornado. This fight was the first time that Rodriguez let the judges decide the outcome. Bustillos is looking to bounce back after being defeated by Rodriguez’ brother, Micheal Rodriguez, last May for the
lightweight bantamweight title. I wouldn’t expect Eli to challenge his brother for the title because it’s not sensible to have brothers fight over it. With that said, if Eli is victorious, he should be next in line for a title shot. STFC announced at the start of the year that they plan to bring back the 170lb title so that could be a possibility for him.
As for Bustillos, I feel this is a fight that Bustillos needs to win in order re-establish himself as a title contender and not a gatekeeper. . With eight fights in STFC, Bustillos has become one of the well-known faces of STFC and has gained a nice fanbase. If you ever been in attendance for one of his fights, you know his fan section is one of the biggest and most vocal which makes for a great atmosphere. Bustillos has shown he has the skills to fight for titles but has been unable to seal the deal in his quest for gold. A win over Rodriguez would be huge for Bustillos’ career and could earn himself another shot at the featherweight or lightweight title.
Chris Cuadra vs Robert Rodriguez
It’s not too often that I get hyped for a match featuring two professional debuting fighters but this fight is an exception. The matchup of Robert Rodriguez looking to avenge his controversial loss to Chris Cuadra in their professional debut is just a great storyline to me.
Last year these two faced each other in an amateur clash that saw the judges unanimously award the fight to Cuadra even with Rodriguez scoring two knockdowns. Cuadra managed to recomposed himself and sunk in a guillotine that nearly finished Rodriguez but recently revealed in the faceoff that he let up on the grip. Both fighters have had a great run after fighting each other. Cuadra went on to defeat Juan Villafana for the Fury promotion but later was defeated by Eddie Torres in a bantamweight title fight for the Texas Clash promotion. After losing to Cuadra in his amateur debut, Rodriguez went on to finish his next two opponents. He learned not to go to the judges.
I’m curious to see where this goes if Rodriguez wins and if he wins by decision. A rubber match is a logical booking decision but would either of them want to fight each other again is the question. That’s a decision that is going to be up to the fighters and the STFC brass.
Rest of the Card
The marquee matchups are worth the price of admission alone but the undercard of STFC 45 is also bringing the heat. There will be a fight pitting Stephen Perez against the returning Isaac Matamoros in a classic striker versus grappler matchup. The fellas sat down with Raul Ramos to discuss this fight and it can be viewed here. Guilherme Da Costa is also scheduled to return to the cage for the first time after suffering a leg injury in 2016 against Gilbert Jimenez. Da Costa will be taking on Jorddy Villegas in a lightweight tilt. This card is so good I’m legit upset I won’t be able to attend. If you attend the fight and stream it or upload it, please tag me. 🙂
Robert Aguirre (4-0) vs John Herrera(0-0)
Eli Rodriguez (4-0) vs Eduardo Bustillos (5-3)
Chris Cuadra(0-0) vs Robert Rodriguez(0-0)
Stephen Perez(4-2) vs Isaac Matamoros(1-1)
Jose Montiel(0-0) vs Joe Herrera(0-0)
Guilherme Da Costa(3-2) vs Jorddy Villegas(1-1)
Enrique Molina(1-0) vs Charles Jones(0-0)
Santos Rodriguez(0-1) vs Ryan Childs(0-2)
Lee Cordova(3-6) vs Ramiro Zermeno(3-5)
Weight in will be Thursday, March 1 @1:30 @ Ponchos
601 W Expressway 83
McAllen, TX 78501
Note: Article was updated to correct a mistake. Michael Rodriguez is the bantamweight champion, not the lightweight champ.