The Invincible Fists of Fury
The Ontario Convention Center was set ablaze with non-stop MMA action!
Now that professional Mixed-Martial Arts (MMA) fighting has become officially sanctioned here in sunny California, its many fans can now finally come out to enjoy the myriad of action-packed live events, which seem to be popping up all over the Golden State nearly every month!
Many of the inexperienced first time promoters here are racing to put together some big shows of their own, each of them anxiously vying for a chance to make a name (and a buck) in the fast-growing MMA events community. Several of the initial shows that may have been too hastily thrown together just after the formal announcement earlier this year by the Official California State Sanctioning Committee have run into certain troubles. Some were even forced to cancel or postpone their intended dates due to various oversights in planning or regulations that were overlooked by amateur promoters whom may have simply been unaware of particular requirements such as having proper city medical staffing on site in case of emergencies.
A very high-profile event recently had to be completely cancelled because of such an oversight by the promoter in Orange County, Ca. that had to turn away thousands of paying spectators! Rumor has it that those event organizers lost a large investment, which may prevent them from another try at a make-up date!
Fortunately this was not the case at the successful Invincible-Fists of Fury MMA Championships recently held at the spacious Ontario Convention Center.
Fans came to this event from as far away as Palm Springs and Hollywood to witness some incredible extreme martial arts competitions between some noteworthy sponsored professional and semi-pro fighters on a warm summer evening this past June. Wherever they drove in from, they didn't seem to be disappointed by the results of the big show that night!
Right before the start of the first match the fans all went wild to the familiar sound of International fight announcer Bruce Buffer's voice as it rang out his patented "It's time ..." over the loudspeakers. The first match then got quickly under way inside the Octagon. The two combatants, Dominic Verdugo and Mark Moldenhauer started in stand-up by mixing it up with short exchanges of both Thai-boxing and kickboxing. Verdugo ended up winning in the third round by locking his opponent in a very tight standing guillotine choke out up against the cage.
The next bout featured experienced King of the Cage fighter, Shad Smith against his hard-hitting opponent, Aric Nelson who initially stood toe to toe with Smith. The two exchanged some good blows with Nelson mainly dictating the action. Finally in the third round, when Nelson got in the top-guard position he got careless and Smith locked him in a Triangle choke for the win.
From across the Pond in England came rough-hewn fighter, Peter Irving who won a unanimous decision over Reggie Cardiel in another third round win.
The next match up featured a quick 32-second win by guillotine choke as fighter, Jaime Fletcher against, Randal Limond who seemed completely stunned to have lost in the first seconds of the opening round. Able fighter, Robert Sanchez won his match with a unanimous decision up against, Jason Childress after eating several hard leg kicks and taking this fight to the ground and missing his attempts at applying a couple of solid Rear-naked chokes within the first two rounds.
Lion's Den fighter, Dan Molina met an undefeated, Don Rocco after only three days preparation after a last minute cancellation of the previously matched-up fighters. Rocco came out punching but was quickly taken to the ground by his opponent. Rocco reversed positions and went for side-control but was thwarted by Molina. Rocco again attempted to gain control in the second round but was unable to successfully penetrate Molina's defenses. In the third round, Rocco finally achieved superior ground positioning and followed with some good punching flurries during the middle of the round. Near the end of their fight, Molina reversed the action and began punching from on top of his opponent, but it was too late in the judge's eyes and Rocco won the final split decision. This match proved to be a very impressive and memorable bout!
The headliner or "Main Event" featured Gilvanildo Santana, training out of Irvine California's No Limits Gym, facing his undefeated and favored opponent the popular, Maverick "The Soul Collector" Harvey. The extremely chiseled Harvey came out with a fury at the bell, but Santana, winner of the 2005 ADCC BJJ Tournament defended with several good low leg kicks, keeping Maverick off of him. Santana chose his opportune moment to shoot in at Harvey and soon took the fight to the ground and brought the action into side-control against the cage fence. After quickly moving into superior Top-mount, Santana went for a Kimura. As the muscled Harvey tried to fight him off attempting to regain his feet, Santana switched position and applied a solid arm-bar. Harvey stubbornly refused to submit to his opponent's inescapable lock until he finally felt his arm painfully pop, as the referee jumped in to stop the bout, with Santana getting the TKO for the win! The crowd immediately roared with its complete approval and wild excitement! I imagine the name Santana will continue to amaze future MMA crowd's and go on to headline more shows after this name-making win! Both Maverick and Santana displayed their talents with great honor and dignity that night.
The promoter's had also wisely arranged for a variety of martial arts demonstrations to be performed in between the matches, which really entertained the nearly sold-out crowd in attendance. One such demo was done by an acrobatic Tae Kwon Do team leader, whom accurately kicked an apple off the end of an authentic Katana sword held by a pretty girl resting atop of one of the other team members' shoulders at over seven feet in the air!
This event was a huge success thanks mainly to the fine efforts of its primary promoter: Eddy Millis, an experienced MMA fighter himself, and his capable staff!
INVINCIBLE MMA: "INLAND EMPIRE vs. ORANGE COUNTY"
Successful MMA promoter and former professional fighter; Eddy Millis of the notorious Shark Tank training center (Founded in 1995) in Rancho Cucamonga, California ~ USA, ably put together another good show!
Aptly titled; "Invincible: Inland Empire vs. Orange County", a high profile Mixed-Martial Arts competition in Ontario, California. This event featured matched ranked competitors from those two highly populated and notorious neighboring areas of sunny Southern California.
The spacious Ontario Convention Center, a favorite location for Millis' events, was filled with highly enthusiastic MMA fans from all over the Southland who began cheering non-stop once the lights dimmed and a loudspeaker announced the first of the evenings several bouts.
Unfortunately, the first through the third matchups inside the "Invincible Octagon" were more or less routine evidence of the heavy commercialism of today's 'Jujitsu-101', a diluted and formulated version of Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ) now being seen taught not only here in the USA, but, all around the world in many Dojos and gyms.
Even though the kick-boxing and ground-fighting techniques displayed during these early bouts were performed by some inexperienced semi-novice fighters, obviously working their way up the MMA ladder, the audience still witnessed many good punches, some decent kicks to the head, some hard body-strikes & body-slams, a few nice turnovers, plus, some naturally honed skills, often executed with some pure luck.
The fourth fight, featuring Ishmael Gonzales (Body Shop in Lakewood, California), began much like the earlier matches with a textbook example of kick-boxing with some predictable entries into failed grappling attempts. These two opponents eventually found each other struggling to locate a secure submission, while pressing one another repeatedly up against the cage fencing. After the first round, the fighters looked more relaxed and the action began to pick up its pace. With a well-played move, Ishmael finally connected with a solid punch, which dropped his opponent to the mat. The judges clearly declared the well-conditioned Ishmael the winner by KO in round two.
Between rounds, the two alluring ring card girls drew loud cheers from a mostly testosterone driven crowd as they alternated their eighteen second walks around the perimeter of the cage, in rather scantily-clad outfits. One of the more colorfully tattooed ring girls appeared to be close to exposing her well-proportioned breasts as she lifted one of the large "Round" cards high over her pretty little head!
During a short intermission, I conducted an informal interview with legendary referee/ringside judge and former pro kick-boxer; Cecil Peeples, who proceeded to generously provide me with a detailed history of his long and eventful career in the industry, as I held up a small digital recorder. I informed him that I planned to use the material in an upcoming article on professional referees in the future. Cecil is a real professional nice guy.
The evenings "Main Event" featured Jessie Juarez, another of Antonio McKee's fighters, from Body shop. As the bell sounded the start of the first round, both fighters looked a bit cautious while they attempted to test each others punching and kicking range. Thankfully, this last matchup was a bit more exciting one to watch compared to the earlier fights. This fight quickly went to the ground, but, they both seemed able to work smarter at identifying a submission set-up, although they still found it difficult to efficiently lock onto one early on. Still, these two combatants were among the only listed in tonight's "Fight-Card" to be able to make some solid contact with a more professional display of comprehensive techniques.
At the end of the first round, after a few transitions and "Time-Holds" in the Guard, it was still a fairly even match. Because of a delayed lull in the action on the ground, the ref smartly brought them both back on their feet to restart the fight when the bell sounded, ending the first round. The start of the second round brought the fighters together standing toe to toe, again attempting to strike at each other with little effect. Soon, they were both pummeling for superior positions in a clinch against the cage fence. By now, the anxious audience had become restless and screamed for more action from the fighters! However, it was in the third round when Juarez suddenly took the mounted position and proceeded to land a short series of "Ground & Pound" abuse upon his opponent, until the referee stopped the fight and declared him the victor by clear win by TKO.
(Promoter) Eddy Millis wisely arranged for select martial arts supply companies to set up their satellite store booths throughout the venue in order to provide the audience members with reasonable shopping opportunities, which also helped to fill additional floor space. A dozen or so martial arts fight gear vendors happily hawked their wares with success to those in attendance who were interested in purchasing quality equipment and MMA clothing. Some of the sponsoring clothing company's associates were invited into the cage between the bouts to toss out their screen-printed T-shirts to an inviting audience.
Infinitely Invincible ...
Millis, along with his invincible staff, has been producing some very well-constructed Mixed-Martial Arts fighting events within the vast Inland Empire (Riverside / San Bernardino, California) and his shows have gained a solid reputation with the area's MMA fans.
At another more recent Invincible event, this AMAM reporter asked the ringside judge and legendary martial artist Gene LeBell what he thought of promoter's efforts...and, with a gravelly voice he replied, "This kid (Millis) knows what he's doing."
Once again, on that particular occasion, the Ontario Convention Center was alight with rabid MMA fans, an entertaining fight-card, a courteous staff, and obviously detailed planning...another touchdown for his Team!
With his on-going success and proven track-record throughout the past few years, Eddy Millis has been busy continually scheduling even more big MMA events to come and has no plans of stopping now...his promotions have become truly invincible!
Millis is also the owner of a popular training gym called "The Shark Tank", which is also located there in the Inland Empire. For complete info his gym and upcoming shows you can follow him via his Facebook page at InvincibleMMA