Georgi Karakhanyan tapped out Isaac DeJesus at Tachi Palace Fights 11. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Two new champions were crowned at Tachi Palace Fights 11 "Redemption" on Friday night, as the promotion filled its vacant featherweight and bantamweight title slots at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif.
Georgi Karakhanyan (17-3) captured the 145-pound strap in the evening's main event, forcing Isaac DeJesus (10-4) to submit to a triangle choke at 4:02 of the opening frame. It was the third straight win for the four-time Bellator Fighting Championships veteran and his 12th career triumph via submission.
"It was really deep; I heard him gurgling -- he was making noises," Karakhanyan said of the finish. "The referee stopped the fight. I was happy. I'm just ready to defend the belt and whip someone's ass."
Despite clearly tapping his hand four times against the face of his opponent, DeJesus protested the stoppage at the bout's conclusion. The former TPF featherweight champion was able to escape from one precarious situation earlier in the round when Karakhanyan appeared to him trapped in an armbar. Much to the surprise of his opponent, DeJesus somehow managed to escape the predicament.
"When I went for went for the armbar ...he was screaming, (I thought) he was tapping, but then I kept going. On the ground is my game," Karakhanyan said.
DeJesus, who is now winless in his last four TPF appearances, dove back into Karkanyan's guard, where "Insane" was able to secure the decisive choke.
In the co-main event, former TPF flyweight champion Ulysses Gomez (9-2) defeated Cody Gibson (5-2) to earn 135-pound gold. The Cobra Kai representative forced Gibson to submit to a mounted guillotine choke in the third stanza.
"I don't know if I'm more happy or tired," Gomez said after the bout. "He's tough."
Fatigue turned out to be Gibson's undoing in defeat. Clearly the taller and stronger fighter, the Elite MMA representative bullied Gomez for most of the opening 10 minutes, utilizing effective dirty boxing and knees while forcing "Useless" against the cage. Gomez's early attempts to take the action to the ground were easily thwarted by Gibson, who continued to punish his opponent by fighting inside. Gibson began to fade toward the end of round two, and that allowed Gomez to execute his game plan in the decisive third round.
"My corner just told me to stick with my jab, back him up and take him down," Gomez said. "I was shooting from far away at the beginning, and that's why my
takedowns weren't successful."
A fatigued Gibson left his neck exposed on his final takedown attempt, and that's when Gomez was able to lock in the guillotine. From guard, he was able to roll his foe over to elicit the tap.
Earlier, Dustin Ortiz and Josh Rave did a good job of making people forget that their bout was a replacement for an originally scheduled 125-pound title tilt between Ian McCall and Will Campuzano. For nearly 15 minutes, the two flyweights waged an entertaining back-and-forth battle, with both men battling back from the brink of defeat at different points in the bout. In the end, it was Ortiz (8-1) who prevailed, using strikes to finish Rave (22-9) with just 22 seconds remaining in the fight.
It was one of the more bizarre endings in recent memory, however, as Rave appeared to be defending himself when referee Jason McCoy called the contest after noticing that the cageside physician was demonstratively lobbying for a stoppage.
Of the fights on the undercard, few were as highly anticipated as the MMA debut of 2011 NCAA national champion wrestler Jesse “Bubba” Jenkins. The American Top Team export didn’t disappoint, forcing fill-in opponent Josh Williams to tap to strikes at 2:04 of the opening frame.
Jenkins started fast, using a high-crotch to slam Williams to the canvas within 10 seconds, but the Californian quickly countered with a guillotine attempt before transitioning to back mount. Once Jenkins was able to escape, he went to work, taking Williams down, achieving full mount and working effective ground and pound to force the stoppage.
UFC and WEC veteran Francisco Rivera ended a two-fight losing streak in a big way, knocking out Brad McDonald with a brutal two-punch combination 40 seconds into the opening frame of their 138-pound catch-weight affair. McDonald, the younger brother of rising UFC prospect Michael McDonald, slipped on an attempted head kick early on, and Rivera was quick to capitalize. After rocking McDonald with a right and a left,
Rivera finished the bout with strikes on the ground.
Phil Collins (11-7) ended an 18-fight career on a high note, besting Lemoore, Calif., native Andrew Martinez (7-4-1) with a guillotine choke in round one of a welterweight match. Savant Young’s diligent pursuit of the guillotine choke paid off in his lightweight tussle against Robert Washington (11-5), as the former IFL veteran submitted his foe with the hold at 2:41 of the second period. It was Young’s (14-8) first bout since a 2008 loss to Mark Hominick at Affliction “Banned.”
In earlier action, Strikeforce veteran Anthony Figueroa (6-6-1) used superior boxing to take a unanimous decision against former Fresno State University wrestler Paul Ruiz (2-1), with all three judges scoring the flyweight bout 30-27.
At featherweight, Jesse Bowen (8-6) took a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) from Sergio Quinones (7-9), while Merced, Calif.’s Edgar Diaz (2-2) submitted Lemoore, Calif., resident Alex Perez (3-1) with a guillotine choke in 43 seconds at flyweight.
To kick things off, Javier Ayala (3-0) defeated Team Alpha Male representative Freddie Aquitania (3-1) via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) in a heavyweight contest.