Juarez Captures Invincible’s Welterweight Crown

By Caesar Garcia and Dave Mandel Mar 9, 2008
ONTARIO, Calif., March 8 -- Jesse Juarez (Pictures) pounded out Eric Meaders at 51 seconds of the fourth round to become the Invincible MMA welterweight champion Saturday at the Ontario Convention Center.

It was a classic wrestler-versus-grappler matchup, as Juarez used his striking to set up takedowns that Meaders easily gave up by pulling guard. Eventually Juarez's ground control paid off, and he pounded Meaders into submission.

In the first round, Juarez, who once trained with his opponent, used mostly striking. He was undoubtedly cautious about Meaders' ground game, but he bucked that game plan from the second round on and went back to where he is most comfortable -- his strong wrestling -- to set up the flurry that finished the fight.

The referee stoppage originally seemed too quick. Yet it turned out that Meaders had submitted verbally as soon as Juarez passed his guard and began to rain down punches.

Ismael Gonzalez knocked out Ben Gonzalez at 1:21 of the second round in their welterweight matchup.

After controlling his opponent in the first round with solid wrestling, Ismael came out looking to stand and trade. It paid off when he landed a straight right to the stomach that left Ben Gonzalez stunned and caused him to drop his hands. Ismael took advantage, landing a left hook flush to his adversary's chin that dropped him flat on his back. Ismael landed one more shot to his downed opponent before the referee stopped the fight.

Team Oyama's Martin Bautista (Pictures) stopped Aaron Miller at 1:53 of round two. The crowd clearly disagreed with the referee's decision to halt the fight, as Miller looked to have been winning up to that point.

To his credit, Bautista remained calm under fire while he scrambled out from under a full mount and ended up in Miller's guard. Bautista then used a smooth ground game to transition to side control and on to a full mount of his own, which caused Miller to give up his back. Instead of going for the choke, Bautista decided to rain down shots on Miller's head, and referee Doc Hamilton quickly jumped in to stop the assault.

Joshric Fenwick (Pictures) remained undefeated in his third pro bout by defeating San Pedro native Musa Toliver by unanimous decision.

Toliver did a fine job of defending against the aggressive Fenwick's takedown attempts. He also snuck in knees from the clinch, but Fenwick's constant pressure undoubtedly swayed the judges in his favor. Scores were 29-28 twice and 30-27.

Ruben Duran locked up a triangle choke and submitted Bobby Sanchez (Pictures) at 1:15 of the first round.

Hometown favorite Dominic Verdugo beat Eric Jones with a rear-naked choke at 2:25 of the first round. Verdugo used extra aggressive ground and pound that caused Jones to give up his back for the choke.

In his pro debut, Philip Golff used a triangle choke to technically submit Rikki Bloom with only 1:25 gone in the first round. Despite being in the choke for a significant amount of time, Bloom refused to tap and did not look to be in any major trouble while attempting to work his way out. However, referee Mike Beltran stepped in and stopped the fight regardless, drawing the ire from Bloom's corner and Bloom himself.
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