Eli Rodriguez vs Edmilson Freitas
On Friday night a new era will be ushered in at STFC 46 as the vacant lightweight title will be up for grabs. After holding on to the title for three years Luke Flores has relinquished the title(for reasons I’m not privy to). If you remember when STFC 46 was first announced, Flores was going to put up his title against Eli Rodriguez in a blockbuster main event but a few weeks later it was announced that “El Gallero” Ricky Palacios would be stepping in to take on Eli Rodriguez. A week passed and that pesky “Card Subject to Change” came into play again when Palacios received an opportunity to earn himself a UFC contract and had to remove himself from the title fight. STFC announced that a new challenger in Edmilson Freitas will be stepping in place of Palacios.
Freitas has fought only once for STFC in his career with a defeat over Danny Salinas. We only got a small glimpse of what Freitas can do in an STFC cage because the fight only went one round due to Salinas suffering a leg injury in the first round. Freitas has a record of 7-2 with the majority of his bouts taking place in his homeland of Brazil and in the welterweight division. In those fights, Freitas sported an impressive record of 5-2 with one of those losses coming in a welterweight title fight. Freitas venture into the lightweight division is uncharted territory but that could be a small advantage come fight night if he is able to rehydrate properly the night before to balloon himself to his walking around weight. On the flip side of things, this weight cut could be an issue. We have seen this happen time after time when a fighter enters a lower weight division and has to bow out due to a bad weight cut. I don’t expect this to be the case but it’s always something to be cognitive of. Freitas is on a win streak heading in this championship battle with his last bout coming in March against the seasoned Cedric Marks. Although Freitas is a well-accomplished grappler, the majority of his wins have come by way of strikes.
Eli Rodriguez has been strapped in for this title fight from the get-go and looks to be bringing the madness come fight night. Since his return to the cage in 2016, Rodriguez has been putting in work against his opponents and will be looking to ride that wave of momentum in for this title fight. Rodriguez has an unblemished record with a four-fight win streak in STFC since his return. He made it look fun against Peyton Burns in what is probably the most thrilling STFC fight I’ve attended. He made short work of Jorge Cortez by utilizing his top-tier grappling to submit him in less than a minute and also took out former title contender, Eduardo Bustillos, in his last outing. There should be no doubt that this man has earned his title shot. If anything, he took the longest road to get to this title match while Freitas, understandably so, was granted this fight based on circumstances. With a victory over Freitas, Eli and his brother Michael would be the first siblings in STFC history to hold titles in the promotion concurrently.
This is a fight I’m having a hard time calling. We’ve only seen a small sample of what Freitas can do but his impressive record and decorated BJJ background make him a dangerous opponent for anybody. Rodriguez has shown us that he belongs in this title fight with his impressive two-year run. Both fighters are top tier when it comes to grappling but I don’t think this fight spends too much time on the ground.
Victor Martinez vs Manny Muro
In the co-main event of the evening, one of STFC’s most beloved fighters, Victor Martinez will be taking on Manny Muro out of Oklahoma in a lightweight clash. Martinez is coming off a huge win against Raymond Banda and is sporting a two-fight win streak. This will be the 11th appearance for Martinez under the STFC banner and if you have seen any of his fights before, you know he never disappoints.
Muro is unknown for the most part but sports an attractive record of 9-4 and has been fighting professionally for three years. He will be trying to rebound from a recent title loss in February. Speaking of titles, this fight could potentially be a number one contender fight for the 155lb title that will follow this fight. If Martinez wins this fight he will have the potential to fight for the lightweight title for the second time in his career. The first time was against Luke Flores back in 2015. Judging from the STFC insider sitdown with Victor Martinez he looks to be in the best shape of his life. Check out the video below!
The undercard is serving up some of the best MMA action that the state of Texas has to offer. On the main card is Peter Caballero fighting the debuting David Mendoza. Mendoza is taking no shortcuts with this fight. Caballero is a six-fight veteran and has already faced some competition in Joshua Rogers Hill and Robert Casper for the Austin based promotion, Strike League. In middleweight action, Frank Salinas will be welcoming Jackson MMA prospect, Maguette Seck to STFC. Returning to action and seeking his first victory as a professional is Chris Cuadra going against Fernando Ramiez. Both of these fighters are currently winless so I would expect a good battle between these two. Cuadra sat down with STFC insider to talk a little about the past and his future in STFC.
In other action is Fabiano Rodriguez taking on Joshua Rogers Hill from Austin. I’ve followed Hill ever since I moved to Austin and he has been one of the top prospects in the area. Hill has only tasted defeat twice in his fighting career but both of those were in the amateur ranks. Currently, he is rocking an undefeated record of three wins and zero losses. I would expect him to grind out a victory and improve to 4-0. The first professional fight of the night will place Mark Beltran against Guillermo Gonzalez. Both of these fighters are returning from a long hiatus from the cage so I’m not too sure what to expect out of these two. Gonzalez is undefeated and will be looking to keep that up against Beltran who has an even record of 1-1 with his last fight coming in 2012 against Fabian Saldivar. STFC will be opening up the show with two amateur fights featuring Ramiro Zermeno taking on the debuting Sabas Garcia in welterweight action. Charles Jones will also be welcoming Adolfo Buenrostro to MMA in a lightweight competition.
Catch all this action tomorrow night at the Mcallen Convention Center! There hasn’t been any word that this fight will be streamed online(sucks to be me) so be sure to get those tickets from either the fighters or the box office.
- Elias Rodriguez vs. Edmilson Freitas155 lbs
- Victor Martinez vs. Manny Muro155 lbs
- Peter Caballero vs. David Mendoza145 lbs
- Robert Salinas vs. Maguette Seck185 lbs
- C. Cuadra vs. Fernando Ramirez145 lbs
- Fabiano Rodrigues vs. Josh Hill 145 lbs
- Mark Beltran vs. G. Gonzalez170 lbs
- Ramiro Zermeno vs. Sabas Garcia170 lbs
- Charles Jones vs. Adolfo Buenrostro155 lbs