Combate Americas returned with an action-packed card from Lima, Peru. The Copa Combate show provided mixed martial arts fans with yet another night of great scraps, and a new lightweight title contender after an eight-man tournament concluded.
The finals of the Copa Combate tournament wound up pitting Erick Gonzalez against Humberto Bandenay. The fight went all three rounds, with some nice back-and-forth from both men in what was a very competitive fight. However, the judges determined Bandenay did just a bit more to win, granting him the unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28, 30-27). With the victory, he took home the Copa Combate prize of $100,000.
Prior to that were two three-round semi-finals bouts: Bandenay vs. Jose Luis Verdugo and Milko Tucto vs. Gonzalez. In the second round of the first bout, Bandenay was able to drop Verdugo with a beautiful combination, hurting him badly, and forcing the referee to step in after some vicious ground-and-pound. Bandenay was declared the winner via TKO at 1:14 of the second round, and advanced to the finals.
The second semi-final matchup went all three rounds in a bout that Gonzalez largely dominated with his grappling ability. He was awarded the unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) win over Tucto.
The quarterfinals kicked off with a bout between Verdugo and Lucas Corbage Schloenbach. Verdugo was able to overcome a long takedown attempt from Schloenbach to open the first round. However, once separated, Verdugo went to work on the feet, rocking Schloenbach bad, forcing him to go for a takedown attempt. But Verdugo finished Schloenbach off on the ground for the first-round TKO win at 4:55.
Next up was a one-round bout between Gonzalez and Yoel Jimenez. Gonzalez was able to withstand an initial barrage from Jimenez to take him down and score some nice ground-and-pound for the majority of the round. He was declared the winner via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-9).
Another one-round fight took place next at lightweight between Bandenay and Hugo Prada. Bandenay kept the pressure for the entirety of the fight, landing the better shots and taking the decision after five minutes (10-9, 10-9, 10-9).
The last quarterfinal was a one-round bout between Ignacio Bahamondes and Tucto. Bahamondes actually had Tucto locked up in a triangle choke on the ground, however, once Tucto escaped, he unloaded ground-and-pound. Unfortunately, Bahamondes suffered an injury during the scramble and the referee called it. Tucto was declared the winner via TKO at 3:25.
The action kicked off on the prelims with a catchweight fight at 139 pounds between Renzo Mendez and Kevin Borjas. Early in Round 1, Borjas caught a body kick from Mendez and dropped him with a big right hand. After swarming on for ground-and-pound, Mendez returned to his feet, and both men proceeded to land big shots to end the round. However, the round ended very early, as the referee accidentally ended it two minutes early. Opening up the second round, Mendez rocked Borjas badly with a head kick, dropping him after some subsequent shots. After getting in some good ground-and-pound against the cage, Mendez found a rear-naked choke, locked it in, and forced Borjas to tap out. Mendez was declared the winner in the second round via submission by way of a rear-naked choke at 4:14.