HOUSTON – Houston’s deep pool of Mixed Martial Arts talent was on display at the Arena Theater Friday night, even though the main event was stopped in the first round without a producing a winner. Undefeated heavyweight striker Justin Ledet inadvertently poked Brice Ritani-Coe in the eye which resulted in a referee stoppage and no decision
The matches leading up to the main event, however, were an exciting array of strikers and grapplers, with decisions coming with via rear naked choke, arm bar, TKO, and decision.
An early bout between two undefeated bantamweight amateurs, Leomana Martinez and Cody “The Texas Zombie” Owens, was the most closely contested of the evening. Martinez rushed across the octagon at first bell and threw a series of flashy kicks and strikes that were well-timed and executed, but Owens covered and responded with a long series of left hands and combinations that took a toll on Martinez.
Later rounds repeated the pattern. Martinez, wide-eyed and full of style, landed a series of punches and kicks, but the Texas Zombie kept moving forward, accurately placing a combination of strikes that put Martinez on defense.
In the fourth round, Owens pinned Martinez to the mat and rained down scores of hammer fists, but Martinez would not submit and was saved by the bell.
After five full rounds and a valiant defense by Martinez, Owens won by decision and retained his belt
Middleweight pros Brandon Farran and “Hurricane Ike” Isaac Villanueva also went the distance. Both are heavily muscled power strikers, and much of the fight was a grappling chess match played out against the cage. Villanueva pinned Farran several times, but Farran kept his composure and was able to escape.
In the end, Villanueva controlled enough of the fight to win by decision.
Houston native Jason “The Slim Reaper” Langellier turned in an impressive performance with his TKO win over Oklahoma’s Jeremiah Jones. Langellier delivered a kick to the body which Jones trapped, but then paid dearly for his efforts. As Jones tried to take Langellier down, Langellier hopped on one leg and landed a combination of strikes to the head until Jones let go
Moments later, Langellier delivered a perfectly placed left hook that dropped Jones to the mat. The referee stopped the fight and Langellier won via TKO.
“Super” Sage Northcutt, the UFC welterweight and fight world heart throb, was in attendance with friends and family.
Brice Ritani-Coe (4-3) vs Justin Ledet (6-0) – The main event was a disappointing stoppage that allowed only a few moments for Ledet to showcase his striking. Ledet has a disconcerting smile which he flashes at his opponent before the bell. His trademark is long, powerful strikes from up high. Unfortunately, one of those strikes placed a thumb to the right eye of Coe, which swelled shut immediately. Fight stopped due to eye poke, no decision
Brandon Farran (12-11) vs Isaac Villanueva (11-7) – This was a great fight with much of it happening against the cage or on the mat. Both fighters are strong and skilled, but Villanueva had the slight advantage. Villanueva by decision.
Bilal Williams (5-2) vs Artenas Young (10-10) – This was a back-and-forth fight, with Young landing a series of brutal strikes to the face of Williams. But in the second round, Young gassed out in an odd manner that looked like a fake until Williams pounced and Young submitted him. Williams by rear named choke.
Edgar Juarez (4-3) vs Alex Black (9-4) –Black is a long, lean fighter with a great stance and methodical style. Juarez landed some good combinations but when the fight went to the ground, Black’s long limbs proved to be the real advantage. Black got the arm bar but Juarez would not tap until his arm was millimeters from snapping. Finally, Juarez tapped out. Black by arm-bar.
David Waters (3-0) vs Roberto Sanchez (4-0) – Both fighters entered undefeated, but Sanchez took Waters down to the mat and got him in a tight leg triangle. Water held off the choke for a long time, but couldn’t break free. Sanchez by rear naked choke.
Jason Langellier (3-0) vs Jeremiah Jones (3-3) - Jones grabbed Langellier’s leg and paid dearly for it. Langellier used his long arms and superior striking to pummel Jones in to submission. Langellier by TKO.
Humberto Deleon (6-6) vs David Acosta (2-1) – “Super” Dave Acosta proved to be too much for Deleon. After some big trades and flourishes by Deleon, Acosta dragged him down, got the leg triangle and executed a perfect choke. Acosta by rear naked choke.
Ryan Josey (0-0) vs CJ Hancock (1-0) – Hancock took a very solid hit in the beginning but responded quickly by taking Josey down and keeping him there. Josey survived the first round, but not the second. Hancock took Josey’s back, rolled on top and submitted him with a powerful rear naked choke. Hancock by rear naked choke.
Leomana Martinez (5-0) vs Cody Owens (5-0) – This was a title fight and the best contest of the evening. Martinez fought bravely and with heart, but he was matched with a striker of brutal power and an iron chin. Owens by decision.
Chris Soliz (3-1) vs Shawn Sollis (3-0) – This was a closely contested title fight, with Shawn Solis defending. The referee made a series of mistakes, including ending the round when Solis was about to get the choke. He placed the fighters back in the same position, with Solis on the back of Soliz, and Solis pulled out the rear naked choke in the final seconds of round five. Solis by rear naked choke.
Eduardo Anaya (2-0) vs Jose Solis (3-3) – Lightening fast Anaya was dominate through three rounds. Solis was competitive and was beginning to find effective ways to counter Anaya, but it was too late. Anaya by decision.