The fights were competitive, the show was spectacular, and the fans were electrified.
On Friday, September the 11th, at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, AZ, Rage in the Cage 137 showcased their quality promotional talents.
The evening began with a beautiful tribute to those lost on this fateful day eight years ago. With an honorable gesture by RITC, Desert Diamond, and the AZ State Boxing Commission, the timekeeper issued a ten count.
As he slowly and repeatedly struck the bell, memories flooded back, and reminded everyone in attendance of the tragedies endured by our great nation. The entire room remained quiet in a moment of silence. The only way to describe it was powerful.
After the tribute and a fine rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, the action exploded.
What followed was a fight card spanning 15 bouts, both amateur and professional. With few exceptions, the fight card was stunning.
Worth noting was the presence of former UFC fighter George Roop and TUF Eight standout Junie Browning. Both were accessible to fans for photo and autograph opportunities.
Though all of the fights had something to offer, looking back, six bouts really stood out.
The first of which took place between Jason Polk (Stone Tiger Dojo) and Manny Morales (Tres Amigos). Polk is a Kung Fu fighter but stood no chance against Morales. Morales had great hands and a jiu jitsu game that really impressed. His jitz eventually took over and he sunk in a lighting quick rear naked choke to end the fight.
Probably the most stunning display of power, precision, and aggression came from Andres Acuna (Apex MMA) against Jose Diaz (The Chamber MMA). Acuna rushed Diaz and almost immediately rocked him with precise and powerful strikes. Nineteen seconds later Acuna walked away and Diaz lied underneath the official, unable to continue. Acuna shined very bright and showed great promise with his striking capabilities.
In one of the finest displays of jiu jitsu and grit Brian Ingram (freestyle) conquered fan favorite Xavier Reyes (Breakout Fight Crew). After repeated submission attempts and a fine display of ground domination, Ingram was able to lock in the triangle choke. This choke quieted an extremely rabid fan following for the "X-Man" Reyes.
A unanimous decision for Doug Moore (Gracie AZ ) was not won easily against Julian Samaniego (Hinzmen's Tigers Pit). In one of two absolute wars on this evening, these two fighters put on a great display of heart and gamesmanship. Both displayed immense talent throughout the fight yet only one could emerge the victor. Moore got his moneys worth from Julian but came out on top.
The scariest guy to fight all night was Lyle Steffens (Apex MMA). His utter decimation of Leroy Fornoff (Shane's School of MA) was brutal. This guy is built like a Clydesdale and fast as lighting. His powerful and dominating performance is one that will not soon be forgotten. With a first round TKO, not even the bell could save his opponent. Steffens is one to keep an eye on.
The true gem of the night was having the honor to take in a middleweight title war between reigning champ Eddie Arizmendi Jr. (Apex MMA) and David Hulett (Las Vegas NV). This battle was well worth the wait and showcased great potential for both fighters.
Eddie brought into the cage with him a brand of precise, calculated, methodical striking that is beyond description. Hulett, while ever the game opponent, was unable to get his mode going and quickly became Arizmendis' prey. Eddie stalked him for most of the fight. After a few scuffles on the ground, the fight always made its way back up.
Eddie emerged with a unanimous decision retaining his belt. It was a classic display of why this man carries the title he holds so dear. His style of attack proved too much for the very game Hulett, and the belt came home with him to the Apex gym.
All of these fights will be available for viewing on the RITC website. There is no reason not to check them out, especially since Roland Sarria offers them on the website for free. Do yourself a favor and check out these fights.
Overall, what took place during this fight card is not rare. These types of events are in every corner of the country, and even the world. It is important to remember as a fight fan that even though the major events come up once or twice a month, there is always MMA going on.
With the efforts of venues like the Desert Diamond, and promotions like RITC, these events are going to become the strong roots of a sport that already has great momentum. Get yourself out there and support these events and their sponsors.
Without them this sport can not progress and gain strength. Without you they can not provide this opportunity for fighters and fight fans alike.