By James Gilliland
Lemoore, CA – The Tachi Palace hotel and casino hosted its third MMA card under the new Tachi Palace Fights (TPF) promotion. The event also saw the crowning of two champions in the Bantamweight and Featherweight division.
The card featured a who’s who of Central Valley fighters including Cole Escovedo, Phil “the pain” Collins, Anthony Ruiz, Zolia Frausto, and Isaac De Jesus.
The main event had Fresno’s own, Cole “The Apache Kid” Escovedo (14-4) take on World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) veteran, Jeff Bedard (12-2) for the TPF Bantamweight championship.
Bedard would take Escovedo to the mat but Cole would work and eventually apply a triangle choke he submitting Bedard at 2:31 in the first round.
This is Escovedo’s first championship since his return to MMA after battling a severe case of MRSA that nearly crippled him.
Coarsegold’s Anthony Ruiz fought UFC veteran, Hector Ramirez. After an even first round, Ruiz threw punches in bunches avoiding takedowns, and still moving forward as he hunted down Ramirez for two rounds. Ruiz gets the split decision victory.
In the first title fight of the night, Buhawe product, Isaac De Jesus took on Nam Phan (15-6) for the Featherweight belt.
Halfway through the first round, De Jesus lands a Superman punch with his left that put Phan on his back. Isaac follows up with strikes and the referee stops the fight at 2:33.
De Jesus gets his first championship becomes the first title holder in TPF history.
Michael McDonald (8-1) had a dominating performance over WEC vet, Manny Tapia (10-3-1). McDonald showed why fighters don’t strike with him as he knocked out Tapia at 4:31 in the first round.
Dominique Robinson (4-3) went to war with Ultimate Fighter alum, Gabe Rudiger (14-3-1).
Robinson looked great showing great takedown defense catching Rudiger’s leg every time he threw a kick.
Late in the second round, Rudiger lands a spinning back fist knocking Robinson down; Rudiger followed him to the ground sinking in a rear-naked choke at 4:49
Gabby Solorio (3-2) wins a unanimous decision over Lemoore’s Sergio Quinonez (5-5).
American Kickboxing Academy fighter, Phil “the pain” Collins (7-5) pulled an armbar submission out of his bag of tricks to finish Mike Arellano (5-2) at 3:10 in the first round.
Phil Perez (7-5) went toe-to-toe with Anthony Figueroa (4-4) but a cut on Perez’s head from an accidental headbutt. It would end in a draw at 1:30 in the first round.
In the only women’s bout on the card Fresno’s Zolia Frausto (4-0) took on boxer turned MMA fighter, Jessica Rakoczy (0-1).
Zolia would show off her grappling ability as she submitted Rakoczy by armbar in the second round at 1:17.
David Bollea (1-0) remains undefeated as he finishes Hanford’s Tim Denham (0-1) with an armbar at 1:48 in the first round.
Colton Toombs, son of famed WWE wrestler, Roddy Piper and Team Quest fighter lost his debut to Fresno Kickboxing Academy product, Art “Mighty Mouse” Berreca (0-1).
Fresno’s Mike Guidry (1-0) wins over Tulare’s Rafael Del Real (6-14) at :18 in the first round.
In the first fight of the evening, Nadar Maghribi (Debut) defeated Mariposa’s Joshua Miranda (1-0).