Fighters for the Oakdale Mixed Martial Arts Academy landed devastating 1-2-3 punches during a string of professional bouts at Art of War Productions’ Tactical Violence Fight Card at the Chicken Ranch Casino on Saturday.
Ryan Tobar landed an 11-second knockout with a booming head kick in his pro debut, Buddy Wallace dominated highly-regarded Jeremy Ybarra in a first round submission win and Justin Smitley delivered an electrifying unanimous decision victory in the main event to claim a featherweight belt.
He also reminded onlookers that no one else fights like Justin Smitley.
Brash, bold and daring at a perilous degree, the 28-year mixed martial arts veteran and resident daredevil of Oakdale MMA attracts unimaginable thrills when he steps into the cage. He only does it three times a year, but it’s worth the wait.
Smitley (9-7-1) stunned the crowd with an unbelievable kick in the second round. Trapped on the ground under Justin Farmer (3-3) of Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male (the Urijah Faber camp), Smitley gained separation, rose slightly to his hip, then launched a spinning heel kick from the ground. The kick struck Farmer with full force on the face and sent him reeling away.
Smitley would make a costly mistake by rushing to finish his staggered opponent, but recovered from bad position at the close of the second round with a dominant third and clear advantage on the scorecard. He baffled Farmer with thunderous leg-kicks throughout the contest, showcased superior striking and roused the crowd with a barrage of taunts and feints that Farmer found himself repeating — to the chagrin of his coaches.
“Even though we were in each other’s face and seemed to be taunting, there was A lot of fun and camaraderie going on, “Farmer said afterwards. “I wish I would not have lost, but that was one fun fight, and Justin was tough.”
Farmer landed some powerful punches to Smitley’s temple, and brought Oakdale’s MMA veteran to the peak of his three-round energy. The battle left Smitley bruised and hobbled afterwards, but he allowed fight fans to take home an image of the affair by posing for over 20 photos after the contest.
He explained his entertaining fight style while trainers tended to his swellings.
“I only fight three times a year, and wins like this makes it all worth it,” Smitley said. “I live to have fun and if I take the fight too serious I get tired.
“I am a much better fighter when I am having fun.”
Wallace escaped the damage Smitley sustained by taking down Ybarra after a quick exchange and dominating the rest of the short fight. He battered Ybarra with a flurry of ground-and-pound, then wrenched Ybarra’s head back in a rear-naked choke after the Sacramento fighter rolled to his stomach to avoid the strikes.
“I don’t think he wanted to give up,” Wallace said. “He was in a pretty bad spot, so he turned over to try and improve his position, but ended up in an even worse one.”
Wallace is 7-1 as a professional and 2-0 since a one-sided decision loss to AOW middleweight champion Mike Persons of Lodi’s Cesar Gracie camp. Wallace took that fight well above his normal weight at 185 pounds, but is unbeaten in the 170-pound welterweight division where he now owns the AOW title belt.
“I wanted it real bad, wanted to get that belt,” Wallace said. “I also wanted to take the next step towards boosting my career and moving onto some bigger promotions.
“This is the weight I belong in. I feel comfortable here.”
Tobar had the fastest finish of the night, despite entering the cage with the pressure that accompanies his first pro fight. He sauntered toward Steven Cartwright, launched a kick that clipped the top of his opponents head, then rushed to end the fight as the referee pulled him away.
It was so fast, most cage photographers couldn’t capture a single frame of the action. He left the cage without a scratch on him.
“That was an adrenalin rush,” Tobar said afterwards. “I had dreamed I would knock him out with that kick after I was having success with it against pros in training.
“I had a lot of pressure on myself to win my first fight and it’s a relief to have done it.”
Pros rounded out a 5-1 showing from Oakdale MMA fighters.
Mike John looked tenacious at the 155-pound lightweight division, and captured the AOW belt at that weight after he overpowered Roque Reyes of Manteca’s Team Cortez with an early takedown and rear-naked choke. John, who struggled at higher weights in amateur fights, delivered perhaps the strongest performance of his career.
“I am fighting closer to my weight now and training is going great,” John said. “I have never felt better.”
Sal Bacerra delivered the first of five straight Oakdale wins after a sharp jab connected hard with the nose of Team Cortez fighter Brandon Hafer. The collision, seemingly occurring right as the two met at center-cage, forced Hafer to scatter towards the cage fencing in cover-up mode. Bacerra would rally to finish the fight in just 22 seconds as his opponent curled into a defensive posture on the ground.
La Vang was Oakdale’s lone fighter to leave the cage without victory, but he was given stubborn opposition in Edgar Loza. A much taller fighter, Loza had a clear advantage when keeping Vang within the outskirts of his range. Loza also proved impossible to take down when his long legs would slip into favorable positions as Vang pulled both to the ground.
Without an opportunity for ground-and-pound and having absorbed the brunt of Loza’s strikes, Vang was awarded a unanimous decision defeat, despite a valiant effort to land big punches.
The night gave way to 21 exciting fights for another sell-out crowd at the Chicken Ranch Casino’s Bingo Hall. Though Vang started local action with a difficult defeat, Oakdale professionals provided the three-punch knockout.
AUG. 3 AOW MMA FIGHT RESULTS
Justin Smitley defeats Justin Farmer (unanimous decision), claims vacant featherweight title.
Buddy Wallace defeats Jeremy Ybarra (rear-naked choke submission), claims vacant welterweight title.
Mike Persons defeats Marcus Gaines (split decision), retains middleweight title.
Ray Cervera defeats Johnny Marez (rear-naked choke submission), claims vacant lightweight title.
Ryan Tobar defeats Steven Cartwright (11-second TKO)
Luis Jauregui defeats Kyle Burks (split decision), retains lightweight title
Mike John defeats Roque Reyes (rear-naked choke submission), claims vacant featherweight title
Thomas Thongseng defeats Dan Oseguera (unanimous decision), claims vacant bantamweight title
J.J. Cortez defeats Jay Jay Santana (arm triangle submission)
Alan Ybarra defeats Anthony Torres (unanimous decision)
Sal Bacerra defeats Brandon Hafer (22-second TKO)
Cesar Gomez defeats Ernie Lopez (unanimous decision)
Edgar Loza defeats La Vang (unanimous decision)
Eric Gomez defeats Mario Geronimo (2:27 TKO)
Luke Nunes defeats Joel Trujillo (unanimous decision)
D.J. Balatayo defeats Humberto Taveraz (rear-naked choke submission)
Jesse Cordero defeats Johnny Miranda (split decision)
Tanner Arebalo defeats Dillon Baker (failed to answer round two bell)
Justin Ford defeats Steven Abshire (1:02 TKO)