Joe Soto posted his second win of 2012 on Thursday by choking Chad George unconscious in the bantamweight headliner of Tachi Palace Fights 13.
Soto declared his intentions early on at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif., hitting a single-leg and taking George to the floor, where he would briefly take his man’s back before the first frame expired. Round two brought more of the same for the former Bellator Fighting Championships featherweight king, as Soto dragged George to the mat once again before putting his foe to sleep with a rear-naked choke. Referee Jason McCoy officially waved off the contest at 2:01 of round one.
“I felt a little stronger when I was on top, but his technical game was really tough. He’s no slouch on the ground, but I knew that if I kept pushing, I might be able to take his back,” Soto said. “I’m still legit, and I’m still a threat. I can beat anybody in the world on any given day. I’ve had some bumps in road, but I’m going to keep fighting. I’m not going anywhere.”
In the co-main event, Ian Loveland could do no wrong en route to capturing the vacant Tachi Palace Fights bantamweight title by knocking out Alexander Crispim with a beautiful switch-knee in the first round. “The Barn Owl” easily defended all of Crispim’s takedowns in the early going and floored him with a sharp uppercut. Though Crispim managed to recover, his toughness would ultimately work against him, as the UFC veteran knocked him to the mat once again with another hard uppercut before catching Crispim with the fight-ending knee to the face that cued referee Marcos Rosales to call the bout at 4:23. Following the contest, it was revealed that Loveland may return in September to defend his title against former Strikeforce and WEC talent Casey Olson.
“I just dug in and was patient, and it paid off for me,” Loveland said. “I noticed he comes in with his head down quite a bit. I didn’t want to break my hands on top of his head, so I fired [the uppercuts].”
Local product Tony Llamas evened the score with fellow Californian Poppies Martinez by securing a shocking first-round submission in just 60 seconds. After charging ahead quickly and finding himself in a Martinez guillotine choke, Llamas managed to escape and force a scramble on the floor, where he grabbed a guillotine of his own. Though “The Tachi Kid” tried his best to escape, Llamas dug in deep and forced his man to tap, avenging his 2008 defeat and spoiling Martinez’s return to the Tachi cage.
Following a year away from competition, Art Arciniega took home a unanimous decision over Sergio Cortez, earning scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27. “King Arthur” dominated the first two rounds of the contest with takedowns, ground-and-pound and submission attempts but appeared to tire in third frame. Nevertheless, Cortez was unable to capitalize on Arciniega’s fatigue, and the 30-year-old earned his fourth consecutive victory as a result.
Former TPF flyweight champion Darrell Montague looked razor sharp, finishing Taylor McCorriston in 2:46 via technical knockout. After sustaining an accidental low blow courtesy of a wayward leg kick, “The Mongoose” found his range standing and popped McCorriston with a pair of powerful left hands, the second of which sent him crashing to the canvas.
Montague quickly pounced with ground-and-pound, forcing McCoy to call the contest.
Chidi Njokuani wasted no time in dispatching John Reedy, taking out the “Wild Child” in just 55 seconds. After a brief feeling-out process, the kickboxing specialist launched a devastating inside low kick that buckled Reedy’s right knee and put him down. After a brief and ultimately unnecessary follow-up by Njokuani, the bout was mercifully stopped by McCoy.
Cung Le protégé Andrew Valladerez earned a come-from-behind submission over Martin Sandoval in the show’s second contest via third-round guillotine choke. Sandoval opened up first, bombarding Valladerez with a flurry before hitting a single-leg takedown and taking Valladerez’s back in each of the first two rounds. However, he was unable to secure a fight-ending rear-naked choke. After consistently but unsuccessfully hunting for the guillotine during Sandoval’s aforementioned takedowns, Valladerez finally found his squeeze in round three, grabbing his foe’s neck and pulling guard to force the submission at 1:52 of the final stanza.
Finally, Paul Ruiz snatched a quick victory from Ruben Trujillo in their bantamweight bout. Though Trujillo nearly floored his foe with a leg kick in the opening seconds, he made the critical mistake of diving for a takedown. Ruiz quickly reversed the position and took Trujillo’s back, sinking his hooks and dropping steady ground-and-pound until Rosales stopped the bout at 1:13.