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Oakdale MMA Notches A Perfect 4-0 In Placerville
7-21 OAK MMA1
Oakdale High graduate and Oakdale MMA fighter Martin Sandoval gets his arm lifted by famed referee Herb Dean after a triangle choke victory in the first round at the Red Hawk Casino on Saturday. - photo by IKE DODSON/THE LEADER
By the end of an action packed fight card at the Red Hawk Casino in Placerville, Oakdale Mixed Martial Arts Club’s “Last Stand” entrance song had a particularly ominous gloom of doom for opposing fighters on Saturday, July 17.All four Last Stand Fight Team fighters including two Oakdale High graduates — won their bouts in impressive fashion during a 15-match Gladiator Challenge outdoor card.In the night’s main event, Oakdale MMA heavyweight Angel DeAnda (of Modesto) closed the evening with a dominant total knockout of previously unbeaten Josh Appelt to successfully defend his Gladiator Challenge belt in the division.Oakdale High grad Bill Theofanopoulos, the son of Oakdale MMA instructor Tom Theofanopoulos, won a Native American lightweight title after tapping Daniel Romero with an arm bar two minutes and 52 seconds into his fight.Martin Sandoval, a former Mustang soccer player and wrestler, had opened the card with an impressive barrage of submissions that ultimately ended in a triangle-choke tap-out of Alex Gonzales.Seventeen-year-old Brad McDonald of Modesto completed the Oakdale dominance in the first round with his 2:45 triangle tap-out of Giovanni Encarnacion. “It feels like all of our efforts have been rewarded,” Tom Theofanopoulos said. “This was one of the best six-week keeps (pre-fight training) we have ever put together.”It showed.Sandoval’s first round victory over Gonzales included several strong submission attempts that had his opponent scrambling to escape danger despite top position above the Oakdale fighter after an early trip to the ground. The triangle-choke late in the first round secured a 6-2 advancement to Sandoval’s career after a canceled fight earlier this summer.“It felt good to finally get back in there and take care of business,” Sandoval said. “We have the mentality to finish fights wherever they go and I was able to use my submissions in this one.”As darkness closed in several fights later, McDonald showcased veteran composure well beyond his youth to strike and control Encarnacion before another tight triangle could surrender another tap out.It was the same move that kajukenpo black belt Bill Theofanopoulos attempted on numerous occasions against Romero in the Native American lightweight title fight. Romero had landed some sharp strikes inside Theofanopoulos’ guard, but couldn’t shake off a viscous arm bar with only eight seconds remaining in the opening round.“I remember taking his shots on the ground and feeling like this guy had nothing,” Theofanopoulos (4-2) said. “It was definitely one of my biggest fights and I felt real confident that I would win it.”DeAnda’s fight against undefeated Appelt in the feature event proved a perfect finale for the card. He landed devastating strikes to rock his bigger opponent and cleverly avoided all of Appelt’s takedown attempts in a busy first round.DeAnda took Appelt’s back several times and landed heavy blows until referee Herb Dean could wave off the strikes and call the fight.DeAnda (8-1) is on pace to see another title defense in the Gladiator Challenge heavyweight division against Dave Huckaba, who knocked out his opponent just seconds into the first round on Saturday.Huckaba made several references to his quest for the heavyweight title after his brutal victory, and was even heard predicting a knock out of DeAnda after witnessing the Oakdale fighter’s successful title defense.