World Series of Fighting 4 Recap, Photo Gallery and Video
By PDG Staff
Ten-time world kickboxing champion Tyrone “King of the Ring” Spong (2-0) earned his second career mixed-martial-arts victory, out-striking an incredibly tough Angel “The Dream” DeAnda over the course of the three-round headliner of Saturday night’s “World Series of Fighting 4: Spong vs. DeAnda” event. The NBC Sports Network televised event drew a crowd of 5,000 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.
Spong was patient throughout the 15-minute contest, calmly walking forward and picking DeAnda apart with thunderous leg kicks and powerful punches. DeAnda was hobbled from the low kicks in the second frame, but he refused to quit and constantly looked for opportunities to launch his own attacks.
Spong turned up the heat in the final round, slashing at the legs and firing punches to the chin. DeAnda never backed down, returning fire until the very end, but it was Spong who was awarded the clear-cut unanimous-decision win.
“I went in with no expectations, and I wanted to feel him out and see what he was made of,” Spong said. “DeAnda is a strong guy. He surprised me with how much punishment he was able to take.”
In the night’s bantamweight co-feature, top-ranked fighter Marlon Moraes improved to 3-0 as a World Series of Fighting athlete, dominating a tough Brandon Hempleman throughout an entertaining 15-minute match-up.
Moraes’ aggressive striking and technical Muay Thai cut Hempleman’s forehead in the opening round, and his powerful leg kicks left his opponent hopping on one leg in the second. But even with the blood flowing and his movement limited, Hempleman continued to press forward, waving to the crowd as he tried to turn the tide.
Moraes, who suffered a broken finger and injured foot in the opening 10 minutes, slowed his attack in the final frame, but the spectacular performance through the first two rounds was enough to earn him a unanimous-decision win, 30-27 on all three judges’ cards.
“Man, that guy was tough,” Moraes said after the win. “He just kept coming forward.”
The incredible story of lightweight Nick Newell (10-0) earned another heartwarming chapter on Saturday night, as he scored a first-round submission win over Keon Caldwell (9-2).
Newell, who bas born with a condition known as congenital amputation and has just one fully-formed arm, slipped under an early Caldwell striking attempt and took him to the floor. Caldwell quickly returned to the feet, but Newell instantly deposited him on the canvas a second time. Once he was firm in top position, Newell quickly latched in a guillotine choke and rolled off to his side and squeezed, earning the tap at the 2:07 mark of the first.
“It was a great honor to fight in front of this crowd and all the troops that came out to support me,” Newell said. “Can’t wait to do it again.”
In a featured heavyweight attraction, heavyweight Dave Huckaba (21-5) earned an impressive second-round finish of kickboxing legend and World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo (2-2).
Sefo appeared to be getting the better of Huckaba as the action unfolded in the second round. Sharp leg kicks left Huckaba limping, and Sefo fired in several staggering punches, as well. With Huckaba fading, Sefo launched a massive high kick toward his opponent’s head, but it missed by mere inches. Huckaba alertly slipped the strike and unleashed a furious flurry of counter punches, scoring first with uppercuts and then a barrage of hooks to a covering Sefo that forced a halt to the bout with 28 seconds left in the second round.
“Right now, I am on top of the world,” Huckaba said after the win. “I can’t even describe what I am feeling. Nobody except my team thought I could win this fight. I mean, I was fighting a legend, right?
“This is such a dream come true. Can you believe this? I got my chance and made the most of it.”
The bout is expected to serve as the final appearance of Sefo’s Hall of Fame career.
Veteran lightweights Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante and Tyson Girffin combined to put on an exciting standup battle in the night’s first main-card contest.
The pair took turns trading heavy shots for the opening two rounds, with Cavalcante pressing forward and Griffin expertly countering as he circled on the outside. Both fighters were willing to engage, and the ensuing battles brought the crowd to its feet.
With the fight even heading into the final round, Cavalcante scored a key takedown and moved to his opponent’s back. With Griffin trapped underneath him, Cavalcante punched away with one hand while looking for the choke with the other. Referee Jason McCoy warned Griffin to advance his position and ultimately elected to call the fight 97 seconds into the final round in a decision that proved unpopular with the losing fighter, as well as most of the fans in attendance.
“It was a bad stoppage,” Griffin said. “He got me in a bad position, and as I was trying to work my way out the ref decided to stop the fight.”
Meanwhile, Cavalcante admitted he was disappointed with the way the bout ended but felt he was well on his way to the win.
“For me, a win is a win, and I love to win,” Cavalcante said. “But I hate to win this way. I don’t want the fans to boo. I want them to be happy. I want to win convincingly.
“I wasn’t surprised the ref stopped it. He gave three warnings, but Griffin never did anything to improve his position. I’m not saying he couldn’t continue, but he did nothing to improve his position.”
In the night’s final preliminary contest, Gerald Harris (22-5) earned a unanimous-decision win over Jorge Santiago (25-12) in a fight “Hurricane” thought he had won in the opening round.
While the two started with a moderate pace, things picked up dramatically in the closing seconds, as Harris lifted Santiago high in the air. The Brazilian defended by wrapping his arm over the cage, though Harris eventually slammed him to the floor, anyway. As the referee stepped in to deduct a point from Santiago for the foul, Harris thought the fight was over and began to celebrate the win. However, the contest carried on.
Harris outwrestled Santiago in the second round, leaving him with a with a healthy lead on the cards heading into the final frame. Santiago recognized the urgency in the situation and came out firing heavy leather, but Harris, who later said he broke his hand in the opening round, simply stalled out until the final bell, when he was awarded a unanimous decision based on his work in the first two frames.
After the win, Harris said his injured hand forced him to fight conservatively in the final five minutes.
“I knew I couldn’t punch with him,” Harris said. “I couldn’t squeeze at all.”
Still, “Hurricane” said he’s excited to get back to action as quickly as possible.
“Once this wrist heals, I’m excited to get back in the cage with whoever World Series of Fighting puts in front of me.”
Undefeated lightweight prospect Lewis Gonzales (9-0) showed incredible resiliency against gritty veteran Antonio McKee (28-6-2), earning a unanimous-decision win in a bout cut short by an accidental foul.
McKee dominated the early action, taking the fight to the floor and moving immediately into a rear-naked choke attempt that seemed destined to end the fight. But Gonzales battled through the hold and escaped to top position in the closing seconds of the round.
The second round was again a wrestling battle, but this time it was Gonzales who controlled the positioning en route to claiming the round, setting up an intriguing final frame.
McKee again looked for a takedown to open the third, but Gonzales defended the effort and again secured a dominant position. Unfortunately, he scored with an elbow to the back of McKee’s head, forcing referee Jason McCoy to step in and call a foul, which he deemed accidental and therefore did not deduct a point. McKee rolled on the floor in pain and could not continue the fight, and judges were directed to score the partial frame, which ended just 43 seconds into the five-minute period. All three judges leaned toward Gonzales, and he was awarded a unanimous decision win, 29-28 on all three cards.
In a bantamweight battle of two friends, Jared Papazian (16-10) outpointed John Robles (7-2) in a spirited three-round affair.
It was Robles who looked better in the early going, flooring Papazian with a massive right hand. But “The Jackhammer” crawled up off the deck and dominated the remainder of the action. Taunting Robles for the rest of the fight, Papazian used a vicious left hand and several thudding knees to the body to slow his opponent en route to claiming a unanimous-decision win.
Papazian, who replaced an injured Joe Murphy on just two weeks’ notice, improved to 2-1 in his past three appearances. Top prospect Robles saw a two-fight win streak snapped.
The event opened with a thrilling 150-pound catchweight contest, as 10-year veteran Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela (13-6-2) survived a first-round knockdown to rally for a second-round submission win over fellow Californian Isaac “High Risk” Gutierrez (5-4).
Valenzuela was in trouble in the early going, as a Gutierrez combination sent him to the deck. But “Joe Boxer” returned to his feet and cleared his head, hanging on to the end of the round. The momentum shifted in the second, when Valenzuela was able to bring his opponent to the mat, move to the back and sink in a rear-naked choke at the 2:41 mark.
Valenzuela improves to 5-1 in his past six fights. Gutierrez falls to 1-3 in his past four appearances.
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