Chris Gutierrez Rear-Naked Choke Submits Ray Rodriguez in LFA 52 Main Event

By Brian Knapp Oct 19, 2018
Chris Gutierrez squeezed the fight right out of Ray Rodriguez.

The Bellator MMA and World Series of Fighting alum dazzled in his Legacy Fighting Alliance debut, as he submitted Rodriguez with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their LFA 52 headliner on Friday at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton, Texas. Rodriguez (13-5) raised the white flag 4:47 into Round 1, the defeat snapping his run of eight straight victories.

Gutierrez (12-3-1) executed a takedown, maintained his composure despite being reversed and freed himself from an attempted kimura. The Factory X standout assumed top position, applied his ground-and-pound and made a slick transition to Rodriguez’s back. Gutierrez then snaked his arms in place, closed off potential avenues for escape and elicited the tapout.

In the co-main event, Jimmy Flick dispatched C.J. Hamilton with a second-round arm-triangle choke. Flick (11-4) sealed the deal 4:09 into Round 2, having secured back-to-back victories for the first time since 2012. The bout was contested at a 130-pound catchweight.

Hamilton (13-7) kept the Oklahoman off-balance with punching bursts and lateral movement before staggering him with a partially blocked head kick. Flick withstood the impact, returned to full strength and sprang his trap. He struck for a takedown in the second round, achieved full mount twice and locked in the arm-triangle choke.

Flick, 28, has delivered nine of his 11 professional wins by submission.

Meanwhile, Xtreme Couture prospect Punahele Soriano submitted Jhonoven Pati with a rear-naked choke in their featured middleweight clash. Pati (3-3) conceded defeat 3:36 into Round 1.

Soriano (5-0) buckled his counterpart with a counter left hand, executed a beautiful throw and withstood a frenetic exchange before shifting gears. The unbeaten Hawaiian floored Pati with a straight left, attacked with ground-and-pound and advanced to the back. Soriano then flattened out “The Samoan Savage” and cinched the rear-naked choke, drawing out the tap after a brief but futile struggle.

The 25-year-old Soriano has finished all five of his opponents inside one round.

Elsewhere, Team Takedown’s Vernon Lewis put away Jeremy Hardy with a volley of knees and punches in the third round of their heavyweight showcase. Hardy (6-5) succumbed to blows 51 seconds into Round 3, his modest two-fight winning streak a thing of the past.

Lewis (7-3) overcame some serious adversity. Hardy overwhelmed him with takedowns, ground-and-pound and positional control for much of the first round before piling up points with punch-kick combinations in the second. His efforts went unrewarded. Lewis blasted him with a liver kick in the third, pursued him as he retreated and cut loose with knees and punches along the fence until referee Jon Schorle had seen enough.

The 34-year-old Lewis has rattled off six wins in seven appearances.

In other action, Itzel Esquivel (4-2) was awarded a unanimous verdict over Crystal Vanessa Demopoulos across three rounds at 115 pounds, earning 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks from the cageside judges; Armando Villarreal (4-1) took a unanimous decision from Jose Johnson (4-3) in a three-round bantamweight battle, drawing 29-28 scores across the board; Hailey Cowan (1-1) cut down Sha Whittington (0-3) with knees and punches 69 seconds into the first round of their women’s flyweight confrontation; Desiree Yanez (2-1) knocked out Fatima Mallett (1-3) with punches 2:11 into the first round of their women’s strawweight affair; and David Miramontes (4-3) submitted Robert Casper (1-3) with a rear-naked choke 2:00 into the first round of their flyweight encounter.

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