The University of MMA once again proved why they have some of the best talent in amateur MMA.
University of MMA Fight Night 5 went down Sunday February 9th at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California and showcased some of MMA’s future stars.
One of the most prominent storylines from the night was the domination put on by Van Nuys, California’s House of Champions gym. All three House of Champions competitors on the card walked out of the cage victorious.
In the night’s main event House of Champion’s Derion Chapman (5-0) netted the University of MMA Lightweight Championship with a unanimous decision over Systems Traning Center’s AJ Lavarias. Chapman controlled nearly all of the bout utilizing the gameplan his coaches put together for him. According to Chapman, the gameplan was to, “Keep it sharp, keep my distance, and Circle.”
The first round of the fight was close but Chapman knew that the bout was swinging in his favor. “At the end of the first round I felt it going my way,” said an enthusiastic Chapman. This turned out to be true as Chapman took over the bout in the second and third rounds.
After the fight, Chapman stated that the win wouldn’t have been possible without his teammates. “It’s great having these guys on the team. I’d also like to thank all of our coaches and everyone that supports me.”
Chapman also had a very special source of motivation heading into his title fight. “My fiance is the one that drives me to never quit,” said Chapman. “Without her and my kids I wouldn’t be doing MMA today.”
The card opened with a welterweight bout between Chapman’s teammate Cruz Martinez (Debut) and Desert Karate’s Michael Woods (0-2). Woods came out throwing hard punches but was taken down quickly by Cruz. Cruz advanced to full mount where he finished the fight by armbar.
For Cruz this was more than a win in his debut, it was the validation that his hard work in and out of the gym had paid off. Almost a year ago, Cruz tipped the scales at 255 lbs but has since dropped down to 170 lbs. “I just refocused on my training,” said Cruz. “I stopped going out to parties and stuff like that. I don’t even go to the movies anymore. The last movie I saw was Iron Man 3.”
Cruz was not only cornered by his usual House of Champions coaching staff, but also a bit of UFC royalty. About a year ago, Cruz met Ultimate Fighter Season 13 winner Tony Ferguson through a mutual friend and became ‘El Cucuy’s’ protege. “Tony is a great guy,” said Cruz. “At first I was really starstruck to meet him, but we clicked immediately. He’s no longer that huge celebrity to me and now I see him as my mentor.”
Ferguson’s teachings have far exceeded the gym. According to Cruz the most important thing Ferguson has taught him was to stay humble and not change. “He told me just be yourself. Don’t let the fame or any of that change you. Nobody wants to see a prick on top. Just be you.”
Also on the card was Cruz and Chapman’s teammate Hugo Aranda who pushed his amateur MMA record to 2-0 with a unanimous decision win over Systems Training Center’s Danny Vasquez. According to Aranda, he knew exactly what his opponent was going to do. “I knew he was going to blitz me, I just had to implement my gameplan,” said Aranda post-fight.
Even though Aranda picked up his second win in as many months, he still isn’t letting the success get to his head. When asked if there was anything he’d like to tell his next opponent he shook his head and said, “Nope. I don’t do that kind of stuff. I just compete.”
If House of Champions can keep up the quality training and comraderey they have now, the gym could become a hotbed for MMA talent.
In addition to House of Champions, Erik Paulson’s Combat Submission Wrestling gym also also turned in a solid performance on Sunday night with both of their competitors picking up wins.
In the night’s second bout, CSW’s Javier Garcia picked up a split-decision nod over Robot Fight and Fitness’ Mike Martinez. Garcia controlled the pace of the first round with crisp striking and solid defense. A little over halfway through the round, Garcia planted Martinez with a huge punch and nearly finished the fight.
The second and third rounds were much more competitive with Martinez getting stronger as the bout went on. Both men showed the heart of a champion but Garcia ultimately won the fight by split decision.
Later in the card, CSW’s Shohei Yamamoto put on an absolute show. Yamamoto opened the bout with a huge spinning wheel kick that nearly connected with his opponent Jacob Wasano. Just moments later, Yamamoto ended the bout with a monsterous punch against the cage. The win pushed Yamamoto to 3-0 overall and established himself as a true prospect at the amateur level.
In the night’s co-main event Elite Training Center’s Roman Todorovich captured the University of MMA Welterweight championship with a decision win over incumbent champion Jarett Conner. After an even first round, Todorovich took over the later two rounds against a tiring Conner.
According to Todorovich, this was all part of the plan. “I knew I had to get my conditioning in” Todorovich noted after the fight. “The gameplan was to be technical, conditioned, and aggressive. We knew what we had to do and we did it.
Todorovich also stated that his Father was a huge source of motivation on Sunday night. “I’d like to thank my Dad. He’s been to everything thing. My first fight, my first wrestling match, everything.” Todorovich’s thanks didn’t stop there. “My girlfriend wrote me a letter everyday. Not anything corny, but things about the fight and how I was going to be successful. It’s great to have that kind of support from someone so special.”
Last but not least Todorovich said that his camp is crucial in his success. “Elite Training Center is the best gym I could be at. They allow me to hone my skills and become a better fighter everyday.”
Also on the card was one of the most notable names in amateur MMA: Marina Shafir.
Shafir, a former coach on the Ultimate Fighter, made quick work of her opponent Nicole Upshaw. After a brief exchange on the feet, Shafir took the fight to the ground where she submitted Upshaw with an armbar. After the fight Shafir confirmed with SciFighting that she will be competing as a professional fighter in her next bout.
Even with the loss of Shafir to the professional ranks, the University of MMA proved that there is no lack of talent on their roster. Be on the look out for their next event which is tentatively scheduled for the end of March.
Full results from University of MMA Fight Night are below:
Cruz Martinez def. Michael Woods via Submission (Armbar) Rd 1.
Javy Garcia def. Mike Martinez via split-decision.
Jordan Taylor def. Nick Miller via unanimous decision.
Ronnie Mugica def. Logan Semper via TKO (Punches) Rd 1.
Demar George def. Han Lee via TKO (punches) Rd 1.
Hugo Aranda def. Daniel Vasquez via unanimous decision.
Michael Jackson def. Marcos Lopez via unanimous decision.
Shohei Yamamoto def. Jacob Wasano via KO (Punch) Rd 1.
Marina Shafir def. Nicole Upshaw via Submission (Armbar) Rd 1.
Ozzy Diaz def. Samuelray Barrera via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) Rd 2.
U OF MMA WELTERWEIGHT TITLE: Roman Todorovich def. Jarett Conner unanimous decision.
U OF MMA LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE: Derion Chapman def. AJ Lavarias via unanimous decision.
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