‘Razor’ Rob seeking another highlight reel finish

Jun 8, 2010
(PRESS RELEASE) -- The last few times “Razor” Rob McCullough saw action at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif. he was walking away from the cage as one of the world’s top lightweights.

The Huntington Beach mixed martial artist’s brutal destruction of Randy Hauer at World Extreme Cagefighting 20 was his final bout at the Palace, but it was the world-class kickboxer’s vicious knockout of Olaf Alfonso that the fans still remember.

“It’s going to be a lot like the last time that I was out at the Palace,” said McCullough, who has won two of his last five fights in the WEC to some of the top up-and-coming fighters.

“We will get in the cage and trade. Have a fast-paced, exciting fight and I’m going to walk out with my hands high and he will be on a stretcher.”

McCullough (17-6) will make his Tachi Palace Fights debut in a 160-pound, catch-weight fight against Fresno, Calif.’s Isaac DeJesus, who grew up idolizing McCullough.

“That’s the guy I looked up to when I was coming up. A lot of guys have their heroes and their idols and Rob was that guy for me,” said DeJesus, who is the current Tachi Palace Fights World Featherweight champ.

“That’s why when I heard Tachi had signed Rob; I called Jeremy (Luchau) right away and asked for the fight. I mainly wanted to fight him out of respect and I thought it would be an honor. I didn’t care about having to come up in weight… this is just something that I wanted to do.”

DeJesus (9-1) would have to come up 15 pounds to meet McCullough, who had originally signed on to fight Thomas Denny. But when Denny pulled out due to personal reasons, DeJesus got the call.

“I probably would have never called Isaac to fight Razor had he not called me initially and asked to fight him. It’s not like having your 145-pound champ go up and fight a former lightweight champ in one of the world’s top promotions is the greatest idea,” said Tachi Palace Entertainment Coordinator Jeremy Luchau.

“But honestly, I could tell how much Isaac really wanted that fight so I gave him the opportunity and he jumped on it right away. I think it could possibly be one of the biggest fights that we’ve had at Tachi in a long, long time and that’s saying something.”

McCullough and DeJesus will main event a loaded 9-bout card that also features UFC veteran Brad Blackburn of Seattle, Wash. against Las Vegas, Nev. welterweight John Alessio. Alessio (28-13) is riding a 4-fight win streak and on the verge of breaking into the UFC. Meanwhile, Blackburn (15-11-1) has dropped two straight in the UFC after a 3-0 start on the world’s biggest stage.

“This is one of the most stacked fight cards that I’ve ever been a part of,” Tachi Palace Fights matchmaker Richard Goodman said. “From top to bottom we have exciting fights that feature former UFC and WEC stars and some of the best locals around.”

Tickets can be purchased at www.tachipalace.com or charge by phone at 1-800-225-2277. Tickets may also be purchased at the Tachi Palace Gift Shop and start at a low price of just $30 for general admission seating.

Most eyes will be centered on the main event and to see McCullough makes his return to action and which fighter shows up. He’s trying to bounce back after a split decision loss in November 2009 to Karen Darabedyan (9-2).

“I’ve been training my butt off. I started this camp 10 weeks out and I’ve been working on sharpening all my skills,” McCullough said. “It’s good to be back fighting at the Palace, I have some great memories fighting for the WEC there and I just love it there.

“I know this kid is scrappy and likes to stand in there and trade. He is coming off a knockout of Nam Phan and Nam’s a tough guy,” McCullough added.

The spotlight won’t solely be on McCullough, though.

“I’m going to have my people there from both Stockton and Fresno to watch me get in there and fight this guy,” DeJesus said. “It’s an honor just to be in there with a fighter like Rob. I’m really not that uncomfortable with the weight, because I started as a 55’er. For me to get in there and fight at my best really won’t be an issue.”

DeJesus is also coming off a minor injury that forced him to pull out a May bout against Fresno, Calif.’s Casey Olson. But DeJesus says the injury has completely healed.

“I’m doing everything the same. I’m working hard on my cardio and technique. The only thing I’m doing a little different is a little heavier lifting and sparring and rolling with a little heavier guys to help me adjust to Rob’s size. Rob will have the experience edge over me, but I’m young and hungry.”

The 9-bout card is also packed with three title fights, as welterweight champ David Mitchell (10-0) of Santa Rosa, Calif. defends his belt against Lemoore, Calif.’s Poppies Martinez (18-6) and bantamweight title holder Cole Escovedo (16-4) of Fresno, Calif. defends against Oakdale, Calif.’s Michael McDonald (9-1). Also, Rancho Cucamonga Calif.’s Gabe Ruediger (16-5) and Albuquerque, N.M.’s Lenny Lovato (8-0) battle for the Tachi Palace Fights vacant lightweight strap.

Also, grappling master Bill Cooper of Santa Barbara, Calif. makes his MMA debut against UFC veteran David Kaplan (2-3) of Las Vegas, Nev. in a lightweight tilt; Olympic Silver Medalist Stephen Abas (1-0) of Fresno, Calif. makes his return to the Palace in a bantamweight bout with Lemoore, Calif.’s Joey DeLaCruz (0-1); Las Vegas, Nev. lightweight David Bollea (2-0), who is the nephew of wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan, takes on Visalia, Calif.’s Cody Gibson (3-0); and Coalinga, Calif. bantamweight Francisco Loredo (4-5) fights Soledad, Calif.’s Drew Bittner (3-0).
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