Jose Alday took one step closer to potentially landing a crack at regaining his Combate Americas bantamweight title.
Alday (12-3-1) was too much for tough Argentinean Juan Pablo Gonzalez to handle in the main event of Combate 39 at Casino Del Sol Aca Amphitheatre in Tucson, Arizona, on Friday night. "El Pochito" landed plenty of stinging punches in the contest, but Gonzalez (7-3-2) didn't buckle. Rather, "El Molo" wobbled the former champ with a barrage of punches late in the first and hung tough with the Mexican until the end.
However, Alday was the busier man and overall, he landed the more telling blows down the stretch. Two of the three cageside judges favored Alday via tallies of 30-27 while the third had it slightly closer at 29-28, allowing him to win by way of a unanimous decision.
In the DAZN-streamed co-main event, Torrid lightweight contender Rafa Garcia scored the biggest win of his career thus far as he vanquished Estevan Payan in the first round. "Gifted" tagged the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA veteran with several clean, stinging punches during the first few minutes of their duel and when he took Payan's back late in the frame, it was a done deal. Garcia (8-0) worked his way to a textbook rear-naked choke and eventually forced "El Terrible" to tap. Payan (17-13) tried to punch his way to freedom, but his attempts were futile and eventually bowed out with 10 seconds remaining in the first.
Javier Torres stood toe-to-toe with Joel Champion early in their 190-pound catchweight battle, and he got the better of his foe. He also got the better of Champion (5-2) in the second when the fight was taken to the canvas. Champion found himself caught in a deep "Chunty Boy" triangle choke and had nowhere to go. After a brief attempt to escape, Champion was unable to and tapped out at 2L42 of the second. The submission win allowed Torres to improve to 11-5.
Mexico's Yasmine Jauregui dominated McKenna Mitchell for two full rounds before having the strawweight bout mercifully halted. Jauregui (2-0) pelted the American with dozens of clean punches to the head and unleashed similar damage when the fight was on the ground. Mitchell (0-2) never gave up and protested when referee Al Guinee decided to end the mugging in between rounds two and three, which gave Jauregui a TKO win.
In a matchup of bantamweights that was a back-and-forth affair for 15 minutes, it was California's David Duran who prevailed over Andy Perez. "Farmer of Destruction" landed the slightly harder, more effective strikes on the feet, mixing punches and knees in with his kicks. The two swung wildly for spurts throughout their matchup, but Duran (8-5) inflicted more damage. One judge favored Perez (9-8) 29-28, but that score was offset by the other judges, who turned in the same tally for Duran.
Eduardo Alvarado Osuna scored a minor upset by eking out a split decision win over rising bantamweight prospect Jose Calvo. "El Pube" was taken down multiple times in the contest, but he was able to bust Calvo (7-2) on the feet for three rounds, which proved to be the difference. The fight was as close as they come, but two of the cageside judges favored Osuna (7-4) via scores of 29-28. Those tallies offset the third judge, who had the same margin for "Puppy."
Flyweight Justin Rascon looked solid against Jesus Rivas as he scored multiple takedowns, landed powerful knees and punches on the feet and delivered splendid ground-and-pound. Rascon (3-2) did tremendous amounts of damage to "The Bear's" ribcage and before the third round began, Rivas (1-3) bowed out when his corner threw in the proverbial towel. The TKO came via corner stoppage due to injuries to Rivas' body.
Young featherweight Ivan Tena made quick work of Las Vegas-based Dominic Tim as he started off the event with a first-round stoppage. Tena rocked and dropped Tim (0-1) with a right to the head and a follow-up left knee, and from there it was curtains for Tim. Tena pounced on him and patiently worked a steady diet of ground-and-pound, eventually forcing referee Chris Flores to pull him off. The end came officially at 3:02 of the first, giving "The Titan" a TKO in his pro debut in front of his hometown supporters.