Gonzalez Tames Meaders in Long Beach Main Event

By Caesar Garcia and Dave Mandel Aug 18, 2008
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Ismael Gonzalez (Pictures) earned one more mixed martial arts paycheck on his way to the police academy, as he defeated Eric Meaders (Pictures) in the Long Beach Fight Night main event Sunday at the Hall of Champions Gym.

Gonzalez (4-6-1), who stepped up on short notice, opened the fight with a Karate-style right kick that barely missed its mark, but he set the tone and held Meaders at bay with an assortment of kicks -- high, low and spinning.

“It’s what I do,” Gonzalez said. “I’m Tae Kwon Do.”

Meaders (2-9-1) came out with a more aggressive attack in the second, but Gonzalez answered with some ferocity of his own and backed up his opponent with a combination. As Meaders retreated, he slipped and landed on his back. Gonzalez capitalized, dishing out some ground-and-pound before referee Mike Beltran returned the two fighters to their feet.

In the third round, Meaders, troubled by his opponent’s kicks, took the fight to the ground. Again, Gonzalez landed in his guard, but this time, Meaders unleashed some effective elbow strikes to the head, one of which opened a cut. After some jostling on the ground, Meaders secured top position and began dropping shots on Gonzalez, including two hard illegal knees to his head.

Meaders received a warning from the referee, but worse for him, the fight was restarted in a standing position. From there, Gonzalez landed another hard kick to his chin before the final bell sounded. All three judges scored it 29-27 in Gonzalez’s favor.

Meanwhile, Jesse Juarez (Pictures) also stepped up on short notice and scored a first-round stoppage against John Walsh after some fairly even exchanges.

Based out of Antonio McKee (Pictures)’s Body Shop, Juarez (6-4) landed a stiff right hand to Walsh’s chin when he attempted to stand following a takedown. The right hand marked the unofficial end to Walsh’s night, but Juarez peppered him with a few more shots before the referee stepped in and halted the assault at 2:14 of round one.

In other action, Karen Darabedyan (Pictures) used crisp boxing skills to outpoint Gazze Academy’s Anthony McDavitt (Pictures), as he earned a unanimous 30-27 decision from all three judges. Darabedyan improved to 3-1 with the win.

Raja Shippen (Pictures)’s margin of victory was much narrower.

Shippen (2-2-1), a Joker’s Wild Fighting Academy product, fought off two deep first-round armbars from Balmore Prudencio and battled back to earn a split decision. All three judges scored it 29-28, two of them in Shippen’s favor.

In other action, Kris Kyle delivered a straight right that floored Gracie Barra-trained Darby Faulkner and, seconds later, landed a left hook that dropped Faulkner a second time. Kyle pounced on his wounded foe, dropping two more bombs on Faulkner’s head before Beltran moved in to stop the fight. The bout lasted just 20 seconds.

A back-and-forth battle between King of the Cage veteran Paul Karsky (Pictures) and Brandon Michels was far more competitive.

Karsky (5-11-1) earned a unanimous decision, as he won for only the sixth time in 18 bouts and snapped a two-fight losing streak. Scores were 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Finally, Salem Shubash needed only 54 seconds to deliver a devastating knee that gave him a TKO victory over Tommy Lee (Pictures).
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