Griggs Wins, Rodriguez Shines at Spring Fist

By Caesar Garcia and Dave Mandel Apr 14, 2008
IRVINE, Calif., April 13 -- A bout between aggressive light heavyweights Josh Griggs (Pictures) and Andrew Flores headlined Spring Fist on Sunday at the Irvine Marriott.

While the fight was fast-paced, it was less than spectacular. Griggs negated Flores' aggressive style with ground control and striking to earn a unanimous decision, 30-26 on all judges' cards. The extra point came off Flores' score for holding the ropes to avoid the takedown.

The smallest participant on the card, 107-pound Wendy Rodriguez, was probably the fighter that fans will remember the most. The two-time boxing world champion with an 18-3 pro boxing record has trained jiu-jitsu for the last five years. She finally made her MMA debut with a surprising yet convincing win over Heater Basquil in 38 seconds via rear-naked choke. Not bad for a pro boxer.

"I was expecting to get taken down," said Rodriguez, "but I'm not easy to hold down."

Rodriguez plans on continuing her boxing career as well as fighting in MMA.

"I wasn't getting any fights in boxing," she said. "That's why I started fighting MMA, but I plan on boxing as well."

Welterweight RJ Clifford out-grappled Jarrod Kwity to win a unanimous decision. Clifford, who threw caution to the wind, took the jiu-jitsu brown belt down almost immediately and began looking to do some damage from Kwity's guard.

Kwity kept him tight to avoid any real punishment, but Clifford's wrestling cancelled out any offense from Kwity. Clifford received some damage in the third as he remained persistent with the takedowns, but he had already controlled most of the fight.

"The first round I was on top [and] he never threatened," said Clifford of his opponent's jiu-jitsu. "From there I just controlled the grappling."

The fight of the night went to Travis McRoberts (Pictures) and Andy Jewett. McRoberts earned the unanimous nod, but had the first round been a few seconds longer, Jewett would have walked away with a knockout victory.

Both fighters came out swinging right at the bell with McRoberts landing the harder shots. Jewett managed to close the distance but got slammed for his efforts.

After a standup by the ref, the fisticuffs ensued. Although McRoberts looked to be doing most of the damage again, Jewett landed a right at the bell that sent McRoberts crashing to the canvas.

Luckily for McRoberts, he had the whole break to recover, which he did. From there McRoberts punished his opponent with a good mix of standup striking and ground-and-pound to seal the victory.

Tyler Weathers (Pictures) finished Louie Moreno (Pictures) with a rear-naked choke at 2:23 of the third round. Weathers fought off a deep guillotine to start the fight, then controlled Moreno for the rest of the match.

Patrick Doty defeated Andrew Lang by TKO at 2:29 of the first round.
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