Oakdale High graduate and former Mustang wrestler Rolando Velasco doesn’t take many fights these days as his mixed martial arts career conflicts with a busy schedule of classes at UC Davis.
But with the year drawing to a close, Velasco will get back in the cage one more time before 2010 — and he picked a great fight to close put the year.
Velasco will fight for an International Sports Combat Federation world bantamweight title against San Francisco native Chris Cariaso at the Rumble in Richmond on Oct. 24.
Velasco, along with Oakdale grad Quincy Schoemann, Modesto’s Justin Smitley and Riverbank’s Bryant Munoz, will make up a four-man team of Oakdale MMA products and Last Stand Fight Team fighters to take on the road trip.
Velasco’s ISCF world title fight will be the main event of the night at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium.
“I’m trying to end the year with a bang,” Velasco said. “I’m not going to fight again until next summer and I want this to be a good one.’
The 2005 Mustang graduate was a standout 119-pound grappler for the school’s wrestling team, and has taken knowledge of one sport and applied it to another in a career (5-1-1) that has seen two wins by decision, a pair of knockouts and a submission victory.
“It still feels like a wrestling match for me,” Velasco said. “That feeling of competition and the anticipation before a match is just like wrestling — and my wrestling background means that I am harder to take down than most fighters.”
Velasco is looking for a rebound from his controversial split decision loss to Walter Patterson at a California Kid Promotions fight on Aug. 22 of last year. He was slated to fight Cariaso in August, but complications on a Gladiator world title fight postponed the meeting to October’s ISCF card.
“I am very motivated after that last loss I had,” Velasco said. “It’s fired me up a lot and I have been training all summer for this fight.”
ISCF fight promoter and fight generator Dan Stell said Velasco’s exploits in the cage made for a perfect match-up between the Oakdale fighter and one of the bay area’s top young fighters, Cariaso.
Cariaso (8-1) submitted Alvin Cacdac via the rear naked choke in his last professional fight on May 30.
“What we wanted to do was get top potential fighters in the central valley and match them with some tough bay area fighters,” Stell said, “I know that (Oakdale MMA instructor Tom Theofanopoulos) has some tough fighters and Rolando is a quick, strong fighter with good hands, a good ground game and a good all around fight presence.”
Theofanopoulos will be on hand to corner Velasco, as well as former Mustang, Schoemann, who will fight for an amateur California welterweight title.
The 2008 Oakdale grad is 3-0 in his brief career and has the difficult task of stopping 7-1 Bryon Petro in a Rumble in Richmond amateur bout.
Petro was first at the Fairfield Fight Fest International Kickboxing Federation tournament on May 15, and is listed as the No. 5 welterweight contender on ifkkickboxing.com.
Schoemann is unaware of who he is slated to fight in Richmond, and knows nothing of Petro or his reputation.
“I am not really worried about who I am going to fight,” Schoemann said. “I’m just going to show up and fight.”
What: Rumble in Richmond
When: Doors open 5 p.m., first fight at 6 p.m.
Where: The Richmond Memorial Auditorium in Richmond
Tickets: (707) 673-6632
Rolando Velasco vs. Chris Cariaso
Andrew Valledarez vs. David Barrows
Bryant Munoz vs. Alvin Cacdac
Justin Smitley vs. Evan Esguerra
Dan Ash vs. Kenneth Giang
Amber Pope vs. Julie Jackel
Daniel Kim vs. Dion Pamintao
Quincy Schoemann vs. Bryon Petro
Rick Eriec vs. Jeremy Murphy
Keri Wilson vs. Brittney Christian