On their ten-year anniversary—December 3, 2016, Cage Combat Fighting Championship delivered Contender Series, a night of amateur mixed martial arts while packaged in a professional gift wrap. The fifteen fights throughout the evening, with a welterweight title as the icing on the cake, served its Northern California guests a full course meal of MMA showdowns at the Solano Fairgrounds in Vallejo.
Main Event: Lucas Gubbins vs. Raymond Lopez for the Cage Combat FC Welterweight Title
The rematch between Lucas Gubbins and Raymond Lopez at Cage Combat FC continued where they left off earlier this year.
When these 170-pound juggernauts collided at NorCal Fight Series (NCFS) 2 on May 21st, rounds 1, 2, and 3 consisted of Gubbins’ enduring grind, providing zero pockets for Lopez to implement his boxing game. At the end of NCFS 2’s regulation, Gubbins was awarded the unanimous decision and slipped into the NCFS Welterweight Title. During their time apart, Lopez and Gubbins sharpened the dull spots on their skillsets at their respective camps: Lopez out of Napa Valley MMA and Gubbins from MMAGOLD in El Dorado Hills.
Although Cage Combat FC: Contender Series closed comparably to NCFS 2: Gubbins garnered the unanimous decision and shiny, new strap, rounds 4, 5, and 6 differed dramatically. Rather than Gubbins flattening Lopez under pressure, he opted to stand and bang; moreover, when Lopez was dragged to the canvas, the combination to unlock Gubbins’ vice-like grip was easier to crack.
As gritty up-and-comers in the upper half of ‘The Golden State,’ it’s likely a trilogy could occur at the professional ranks.
Co-Main Event: Arlene Culbreth vs. Maritza Sanchez
Nearly every second of the co-main event’s opening frame was utilized to its fullest by this pair of ferocious featherweights.
The moment Culbreth released from her corner, she blitzed Sanchez like a linebacker. Following a vicious sack with no penalty flags thrown, only cheers, Culbreth left little room for Sanchez to breathe, raining down a thunderstorm of punishment.
Once Sanchez found an inch of space to escape to her feet, the air separating them was quickly consumed by Culbreth’s relentlessness. At 155 lbs., where Culbreth last competed, all the scrambles left her with more blood on her face than yolk. Culbreth, ten pounds leaner and every bit as mean at Cage Combat FC, nullified any size advantage, maintained the dominant position, and sought Sanchez’s arm to take home as a parting prize. Luckily, Sanchez tapped, with only one tick on the timekeeper’s clock to spare, before her limb became a mangled mess.
NorCal MMA’s Performances of the Night
Of course, all the mixed martial artists who wrapped their hands, entered Cage Combat FC’s proving ground, and bit down on their mouthpiece deserve praise, but several performances unhinged the audience from their senses. NorCal MMA’s awards for Submission of the Night, Knockout of the Night, and Fight of the Night include:
Submission of the Night: Shane Keefe
Knockout of the Night: Caleb Leichliter
Fight of the Night: Diego Lopez vs. Alan Benson
Cage Combat FC Results Include:
Lucas Gubbins defeated Raymond Lopez by way of unanimous decision.
Arlene Culbreth defeated Maritza Sanchez in round 1 (1:59) by way of armbar.
Hyder Amil defeated Adrian Contreras by way of unanimous decision.
Dyllan Snavely defeated Dwight Maters by way of unanimous decision.
Noe Flores defeated Ezequiel Pachecho in round 2 (1:03) by way of rear-naked choke.
Samuel Romero defeated Reggie Evans in round 2 (1:57) by way of TKO.
Eric Helm defeated Jonathan Sellers by way of split-decision.
Jaime Mora Munoz defeated Marques Jones by way of split-decision.
Diego Lopez defeated Alan Benson by way of unanimous decision.
Caleb Leichliter defeated Joseph Carrasco in round 2 (1:28) by way of TKO.
Mike Sedano defeated Cesar Hernandez-Arauz by way of split-decision.
Shane Keefe defeated Ronald Davis in round 2 (:31) by way of rear-naked choke.
Nicholas Rapacon defeated Erik Aguilar by way of doctor’s stoppage/unanimous decision.
Peter Ishiguro defeated David Solorzano by way of unanimous decision.
Harris Bowman defeated Brandon Estrada by way of unanimous decision.
Whether Cage Combat FC: Contender Series was crammed with amateurs or pros, the lights would shine with the same wattage, as they have for the past ten years. For those who cruise Northern California’s circumference as connoisseurs of the sport, it should be fun to see where these ammys are a decade from now and discover the new blood that continues cycling through the Cage Combat FC system.