Weekend Rundown: Lopez, Cullum Retain KOTC Titles

By Brian Knapp Feb 15, 2010
Two-division King of the Cage champion Tony Lopez retained his heavyweight crown with a first-round submission victory against Tyler East at KOTC “Vengeance” on Friday at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino in Mescalero, N.M. The end came with just six seconds remaining in round one.

Based in Huntington Beach, Calif., Lopez found himself on the defensive for much of the first round. However, the cagy veteran trapped East inside his guard, locked in the triangle choke and coaxed the tapout for his 16th consecutive win. Lopez, who also holds the KOTC light heavyweight title, owns a pair of victories over recent UFC signee Joey Beltran.

Following the Lopez lead, KOTC flyweight champion Abel Cullum defended his title with an opening-round submission against the previously unbeaten Joe Coca.

Cullum, a quarter-finalist in the 2009 Dream featherweight grand prix, took out Coca with a kimura 2:09 into round one. On a two-fight winning streak, the 22-year-old Tucumcari, N.M., native has now delivered 10 of his 17 career wins by submission. Coca, 20, trains out of Fit NHB in Albuquerque, N.M.

Meanwhile, Donald Sanchez upped his current winning streak to four when he stopped EliteXC veteran Victor Valenzuela on strikes 4:05 into the fourth round and captured the interim KOTC bantamweight belt. Another Fit NHB product, Sanchez avenged his February 2009 defeat to Valenzuela, a man perhaps best known for his rivalry with Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett.

In the non-title main event, the American Kickboxing Academy’s Mike Kyle forced a doctor’s stoppage against Travis Wiuff in between rounds two and three.

Kyle, 29, has rattled off five wins in six tries, losing only to the world-ranked Fabricio Werdum in that span. Wiuff, a decorated collegiate wrestler turned mixed martial arts journeyman, saw his string of four straight wins snapped.

Finally, once-beaten Santa Fe Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu standout Quinn Mulhern sprang the surprise of the show, as he stopped UFC veteran Rich Clementi in a second-round technical knockout. Mulhern has won nine of his 10 professional bouts, falling only to recent UFC signee Michael Guymon. Pruned from the UFC roster following consecutive defeats to the undefeated Gray Maynard and American Top Team’s Gleison Tibau, Clementi failed in his bid to extend a two-fight winning streak.

Nelson, Omer Shine at BAMMA 2

Gunnar Nelson, arguably the top prospect in Europe at any weight, submitted Sam Elsdon with a rear-naked choke 2:30 into the first round under the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts banner on Saturday at the Roadhouse in London. Nelson co-headlined BAMMA 2 and earned his fifth first-round finish in his past six appearances.

The 21-year-old Icelandic prodigy took the fight to the ground, mounted Elsdon and seized back control when his overmatched opponent rolled to avoid his punches. From there, Nelson deftly slipped in the rear-naked choke for the tapout. A fourth-place finisher in the absolute division at the 2009 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships -- where he defeated, among others, heavyweight Jeff Monson -- Nelson earned his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie in less than four years.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old German export Alan Omer dismissed Paul Reed, as he submitted the Cage Rage veteran with a triangle choke 2:10 into round four to win the BAMMA featherweight championship. Omer has won five consecutive fights, all of them finishes.

‘Gritz’ Takes Third Straight

Chris Gruetzemacher outpointed Eric Regan in a unanimous decision in a featured welterweight matchup at Rage in the Cage 139 on Saturday at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, Ariz.

Gruetzemacher, a training partner of World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion Benson Henderson at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Ariz., won all three rounds from Regan. The 23-year-old has posted three consecutive victories since his 25-second submission loss to Joe Cronin in February 2009.

Other winners at RITC 139 included WEC veteran Alex Garcia, who defeated Cronin by unanimous decision for the promotion’s welterweight championship, and Arizona Combat Sports product Jeremy Larsen, who stopped Tim Holden on strikes in less than a minute.
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