With both hands still posted at the side of his face to defend a barrage of head kicks, Oakdale High graduate and former Mustang football player/OHS wrestler Rolando Velasco had no protection from a heavy straight right that landed flush on the center of his face and dropped him to the canvas.
Velasco recovered and gamely threw blows of his own, but quick hands from San Francisco native Chris Cariaso were too much to overcome in the main event of the Rumble in Richmond fight card at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium on Saturday.
Velasco was knocked down twice, and took heavy blows to the head late in the fight before the referee could call it quits 3 minutes, 17 seconds into the second round. The loss signaled an end to the International Sports Combat Federation world title fight, and Velasco’s 2009 season.
The busy U.C. Davis student won’t fight again until at least next summer.
“It was a good fight, but the guy had a lot quicker stand up,” Velasco (5-2-1) said. “He just caught me and capitalized from then on.”
Velasco was one of four Last Stand Fight Team competitors to make the trip for Oakdale MMA, though none of the fighters were able to snare victory in a card that included MMA, muy thai and boxing.
Velasco had to watch close friends Bryant Munoz and Justin Smitely suffer devastating losses and vicious forehead cuts just moments before his own fight.
Smitely even had to be rushed to the hospital after the bad cut and heavy blood loss forced paramedics to leave the ring and deliver him to the hospital with fights on hold.
“I won’t lie, it was tough seeing my teammates getting cut that way,” Velasco said. “Those guys are my brothers, my family, and it was hard seeing them like that. I saw Justin’s mother crying after what happened to her son, and stuff like that gets to you.
“At the same time you have to stay composed,” Velasco added. “You can’t help but feel something for your brother, but you have to put that aside and realize they had their own war and you are about to have yours.”
According to Velasco, Smitely was released from medical care and is recovering well.
Smitely had landed some good shots on Evan Esguerra and dominated most of the initial round, but a brutal head cut led to a bloody scramble for the rest of the fight. Esguerra collected the TKO a minute into the third round.
Oakdale High grad Quincy Schoemann treated Richmond fans to a thrilling four-round muy thai battle with Bryan Petro, who he dropped to the canvas with a powerful punch in the opening round of action. But despite the knockdown and a seemingly one-sided advantage in striking, Schoemann (4-1) suffered a 37-39, 39-37, 37-39 controversial split decision loss to Petro (8-0).
“The promoter is already talking about a re-match, so we’ll see,” Schoemann said. “I felt like I won at least two of the rounds but I couldn’t put him away so I have to deal with how the judges felt.”
Oakdale MMA will be back in action in December, when former Mustang wrestler/soccer player Martin Sandoval gets back to the canvas. Sandoval took a one-sided win at Mayhem at the Modesto Center Plaza in Modesto earlier this summer.