Buddy Roberts outpointed Tony Lopez at Jackson's MMA Series 5. | Photo: Daniel S. Archuleta
ISLETA PUEBLO, N.M. -- After securing a victory in the biggest test of his career to date, Buddy Roberts celebrated the accomplishment by vomiting backstage in the dressing room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque.
Roberts, who trains at Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts, weathered illness and former King of the Cage multi-divisional champion Tony Lopez to take a unanimous decision at Jackson's MMA Series 5 on Saturday night.
Judges Jenna Vasquez, Andres Anaya and Tom King all scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Roberts.
The light heavyweight showdown drew a smattering of boos from those in attendance for the first two rounds, as Roberts struggled for takedowns against the 6-foot-5 Lopez.
Roberts, a former Division III college football standout, was able to secure two takedowns and landed the most significant strikes of the opening two rounds, but referee Craig Zellner had to repeatedly break the combatants up when action stalled against the cage.
Lopez mounted his best offense in the final stanza, peppering Roberts with punches as the former Nevada MMA product again tried to drive him to the canvas.
Lopez eventually hurt Roberts with the strikes and continued the assault from inside his opponent’s guard, where he opened up a cut on Roberts’ head with a barrage of elbows.
Roberts was able to survive the round, however, and that was enough for him to get the nod from the judges.
Immediately after the bout’s conclusion, a visibly exhausted Roberts made no mention of illness:
“I should’ve kept it standing a little more, [but] I saw a takedown shot,” he said. “[I need to] get back to the gym and improve, work on my cardio and improve.”
Lopez and Roberts exchanged words in the cage after the decision was announced, and then Lopez took the microphone from announcer Joe Martinez and addressed the crowd and Roberts.
“People out there, I want to let you guys know, it was a little bit of a boring fight,” Lopez said. “If that’s how you want to win and that’s how you want to move up the ranks, it ain’t gonna happen. You’ve got to punch, kick and make the blood come out.”
It was only later that Greg Jackson revealed that Roberts had been sick in the days leading up to the fight.
“He didn’t have the gas -- he threw up about four or five times after the fight,” Jackson said.
“He showed a lot of heart fighting through that. I haven’t seen somebody throw up like that in a minute.”
The renowned trainer didn’t have a problem with Lopez’s postfight statement.
“It’s all for the show. He was upset because he was sure he was gonna win, and he lost two rounds to one,” Jackson said.
In the night’s co-main event, Jackson’s MMA product Henry Martinez made up for nearly a year of inactivity by tapping out Wand Fight Team veteran Dave Mazany at 1:17 of the opening round via rear-naked choke of their lightweight tussle.
The former Bellator Fighting Championships competitor took Mazany’s back early in the contest and began hunting for the choke. The Las Vegas resident initially resisted, but a persistent Martinez created a window of opportunity for the submission by landing some well-placed strikes from Mazany’s back.
“I’ve been waiting since September just to fight. I’ve had a lot of different ways to think of taking people out,” Martinez said.
The former collegiate wrestler doesn’t plan on waiting long for his next fight however, as he said his manager has another opponent lined up for him in two weeks.
“I was just kind of focused on this one; I didn’t really pay attention to it,” Martinez said.
Brad Peterson once took UFC light heavyweight Ryan Bader to a decision, but Willie Parks didn’t need nearly as long in their middleweight showdown. The Jackson’s representative finished Peterson with a flurry of punches at 2:13 of the first round.
Despite the quick finish, the decorated wrestler felt there was room for improvement.
“I’m always aggressive and I messed up my style. I should’ve came out and did that the first five seconds, but next time I will,” he said.
Earlier, Travis Marx quickly disposed of Ray Robinson in their bantamweight bout, choking out his opponent in just 56 seconds.
Clint Roberts began the pro card with a similarly quick finish at welterweight, stopping short-notice opponent Joe Kelso with a rear-naked choke in 57 seconds. It was the sixth consecutive defeat inside the cage for Kelso.
Fighters that won on the amateur portion of the event’s card included: Miguel Delgado, Emily Kagen, Johann Perez and Landon Vannata.