Justin Patterson passed the most significant test of his fledgling career.
The 29-year-old Marine kept his unblemished record clean with a unanimous decision over Ozzie Alvarez in the Combate Americas “Road to the Championship” headliner on Thursday at The D Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. Scores were 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28, all in favor of Patterson (6-0).
Alvarez (6-2), who entered the cage on a five-fight winning streak, struggled to establish a rhythm. Patterson wobbled the Kings MMA export with a sweeping right hand in the first round and found another gear in the second. There, he struck for a takedown, unleashed some elbow-laden ground-and-pound and opened a cut on Alvarez’s forehead. To his credit, Alvarez did not go away. Though he found himself in a precarious position again in the third round, with Patterson attached to his back fishing for a choke, the 30-year-old swept into top position and rallied late. However, Alvarez’s efforts fell short, as the finish he needed did not materialize.
In the co-main event, Resurrection Fighting Alliance veteran John Castaneda recorded his fourth win in five appearances, as he took a unanimous verdict from Justin Governale in a three-round catchweight clash at 140 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Castaneda (8-2): 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
The 23-year-old Castaneda kept his counterpart quiet with steady pressure and surgical strikes. He mixed his punches and kicks beautifully, attacking the legs, body and head. Governale (5-3) never seemed comfortable. Castaneda put the finishing touches on the victory with a strong third round, where he dropped Governale to a knee with a right uppercut, bullied him to the mat, set up shop in half guard and brought his ground-and-pound into play.
Meanwhile, repeated takedowns and an active submission game carried 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu’s Kyra Batara to a unanimous decision over Invicta Fighting Championships alum Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc in a women’s strawweight battle. Batara (3-3) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks from all three judges.
Batara executed takedowns and advanced to her opponent’s back in all three rounds. Rivera-Calanoc (8-9) threatened with an armbar inside the first five minutes, but her situation deteriorated from there. Frustration mounted. The 4-foot-11 Batara grounded the 30-year-old with increasing ease, navigated her guard -- she utilized a cartwheel pass at one point -- and did as she pleased.
Rivera-Calanoc has lost five of her last six fights.
Elsewhere, Ricardo Palacios knocked out Benji Gomez with a first-round head kick in their brief but eventful bantamweight showcase. Gomez (4-5) met his violent end 60 seconds into round one.
Palacios (4-1) bided his time and searched for an opening. The 28-year-old Texan moved forward and caught the backpedaling Gomez with some foot-to-face contact. “The Brawler” collapsed to the canvas stiff and unconscious. Palacios dropped one final right hand for good measure before raising his hands in triumph.