It’s not tough for Oakdale Mixed Martial Arts Academy fighters to get excited these days.
The Last Stand Fight Team has claimed victories in nearly all of their amateur and professional fights over the past few years and bantamweight Michael McDonald has exploded onto the pinnacle of the sport with four straight UFC victories.
McDonald represents the type of success his teammate, Lamar Reed, has pictured for himself in MMA.
“Mike definitely motivates me and I am pretty sure he motivates the rest of the guys,” Reed said on Sunday. “He is a good example of that when you put your mind to something and commit to it, you can accomplish a lot.”
Reed fights Damon Taylor on Saturday for the first contest in a promising pro career during an Art of War Productions Pro/Am card at the Chicken Ranch Casino. The former college wrestler is a 2011 California State Amateur MMA champion with six-straight victories since he joined Oakdale MMA in June of 2011.
Reed is a Modesto resident and Southern California native who was a two-time NAIA All American wrestler for California Baptist University. He stepped into Oakdale MMA when invited by former teammate Jordan Keckler, who trained Oakdale fighters and recently took a job as wrestling coach at Grace Davis High, where both Keckler and McDonald went to school.
Reed took an amateur fight just two weeks into his training and landed five straight wins to set up a CAMO State MMA Championship title fight with fellow unbeaten Mike Flach of Chino Hills. Reed won by decision to steal the amateur title, creating plenty of buzz to follow his career as he trains with the deep collection of pros at Oakdale MMA.
“The cool thing about our gym is that everybody is so good at standup that they have been polishing me to catch up quickly,” Reed said. “It’s a crazy first week of sparring when you go up against Michael McDonald, Justin Smitley and ‘Bad Brad’ McDonald.
“That’s the very definition of being thrown to the wolves.”
Art of War is co-founded by Oakdale MMA instructor owner Tom Theofanopoulos and fight promoter Roy Arriola. The two have joined forces with the chairman of the Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians, Lloyd Mathieson, to host the show in Jamestown.
The AOW card will also feature the pro debut of Manteca fighter Raul Estrada and Oakdale MMA pro, Eloy Garza (1-0). Oakdale High grad and former Mustang wrestler Buddy Wallace makes his return to Jamestown after winning an amateur contest in impressive fashion at the first AOW card.
The event features fighters on the cusp of long careers and includes youth pankration/kickboxing earlier in day. Amateur contests kick off the night event at 6 p.m. with pro fights to follow.
“The guys you see at these fights are just starting out, so they have a lot to prove,” Theofanopoulos said. “They are the best kinds of shows in my opinion because they don’t fight conservatively and they just let it all out. Nobody is fighting with something to lose.”
Reed promises to be entertaining in his first fight, with plans to bring the same warrior bravura that his teammates have featured in their pro careers.
“All I want to do is my thing, it’s very simple,” Reed said. “I want to go in there and bring my energy and just flow. I just want to have a dominating performance, then shake hands and go on to the next one.”