by Corey Snow for MMAWeekly.com
SAN FRANCISCO – Saturday night’s “Gladiator Challenge: Season’s Beatings” was the third installment of the regionally popular Gladiator Challenge series, again held in San Francisco’s historic Kezar Stadium in the Haight-Ashbury district.
Many of the San Francisco Bay area’s best local and national fighters were in attendance to either fight, or cheer their fight-mates on in the Gladiator cage. In attendance were representatives from several of the area’s top schools: American Kickboxing Academy, Team Shamrock, Cesar Gracie and Team Ralph Gracie. The bay area fighters seem to be getting better all of the time, and Saturday night’s Season’s Beatings event displayed the marked improvement of local stars Pat Minihan, Raul Castillo and Kurt Osiander.
135 LBS. – JOEY BARANG VS. BRYAN MAFFEI
San Francisco’s Joey Barang looked wired entering the cage, but after a few tentative exchanges, he loosened up and was able to take down Bryan Maffei and put him against the cage. Barang attempted a steadfast ground-and-pound, but Maffei was able to successfully defend himself in the first round.
At the beginning of the second round, Barang caught and slammed Maffei down into side-mount, which he quickly turned into the mount, followed by a stiff arm-bar to which Maffei submits.
–Joey Barang wins by Submission (Armbar) at 1:11 of the 2nd round.
185 LBS. – MIKE FAZZINO VS. LUIS SANCHEZ
FSA Fight Team’s Mike Fazzino of Daly City took a nice knee from Gladiator Challenge veteran Luiz Sanchez of Redwood City, before taking him down and dominating him the rest of the round one. Sanchez, who seemed more of a brawler, was not able to defend Fazzino’s wrestling or his ground-and-pound, and subsequently found himself underneath the dropping knees of Fazzino, who landed three or four unanswered knees to the body before the referee stepped in to save Sanchez from a trip to the hospital for broken ribs.
-Mike Fazzino wins by TKO (knees to the body) at 2:30 of the 1st round.
205 LBS. – BRYAN LUJAN VS. BRETT BLASING
Local San Francisco police officer Bryan Lujan, fighting out of Pacifica, fought a quick battle with Brett Blasing, which ended with a tap-out to strikes halfway through the first round. It was unclear what actually happened, but Lujan appeared to have won the TKO despite a knee injury he incurred at some point during the fight.
– Bryan Lujan wins by Submission from strikes at 2:40 of the 1st round.
145 LBS. – JEREMY TAVARES VS. BEN MINKIN
San Mateo’s Jeremy Tavares from the Shamrock Fight Club survived the first two rear naked choke attempts by Ralph Gracie black belt Ben Minkin, before succumbing to Minkin’s third attempt at 2:48 of the first round. Third time was a charm for a victory by the debuting fighter, who clearly had the local Ralph Gracie Jiu-Jitsu crowd behind him.
– Ben Minkin wins by Submission (rear naked choke) at 2:48 of the first round.
HW – JOHN DEVINE VS. ERIC MAGANA
Team Shamrock’s Eric Magana took on local favorite John Devine in a short-lived heavyweight match-up. After scrambling a bit, Devine was able to take his back and sink in the rear naked for a quick tap-out at 1:30 of the first round.
John Devine wins by Submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:30 of the 1st round.
HW – LUKE HARTWIG VS. DAMON KEEVE
It is believed that San Francisco police officer Damon Keeve was not able to fight due to complications with the California State Athletic Commission medical clearance process, although that remained unclear. Both fighters got into the ring to apologize for the cancellation of the fight, but they assured the audience they would do their best to fight on the next Gladiator Challenge card on March 15.
185 LBS. – NIK THEOTIKOS VS. JOSH NEAL
Nik Theotikos nullified Josh Neal’s early assault by taking him down, taking his back, flattening him out, and finally finishing the fight with a barrage of punches to the head. Neal was out cold, and had to be helped out the cage. In impressive fashion, Theotikos moves up the weight class ladder by adding another notch to his belt.
-Nik Theotikos wins by TKO at 1:09 of the 1st round.
185 LBS. – KURT OSIANDER VS. CYRILLO PADHILHA
Ralph Gracie San Francisco lead instructor and BJJ black belt Kurt Osiander had a little trouble in the first two minutes of the fight, having been taken down twice and controlled by Cyrillo Padhilha of Team FSA. Staying calm, Osiander nullified Padhilha’s ground and pound by controlling the wrists, and in a kick-off scramble, Osiander scored the double-leg and worked for mount. After raining down unanswered fists for 30 seconds, the referee had to step in to protect Padhilha from taking more damage at four minutes into the fight. Fan favorite Osiander improves to 3-0 and earns his first TKO victory.
-Kurt Osiander wins by TKO at 4:02 of the 1st round.
185 LBS. – RAUL CASTILLO VS. ERIC LAWSON
In the electrifying co-main event, Concord’s popular Eric Lawson of Team Tsutui took on the vicious Raul Castillo of Half Moon Bay’s Team Pierini. At the bell, Lawson came out and landed an awesome knee followed by a hook that wobbled Castillo, but the composed Castillo drudged through and survived. After several takedown attempts, Castillo finally got mount and went for an arm bar. Following several reversals of fortune in the first round, the second proved to be more one-sided for Castillo. He took a dominant position and dropped fists until the ref stepped in for the TKO stoppage halfway through the second round. It was another dominating performance by the now 4-0 fighter, Raul Castillo.
– Raul Castillo wins by TKO at 2:23 of the 2nd round.
170 LBS. – PAT MINIHAN VS. MARLON SIMS
American Kickboxing Academy’s Pat Minihan didn’t fear the former Ultimate Fighter Marlon Sims in the main event of the night. Training out of San Mateo, Minihan weathered Sims’ early storm just enough to score some points and win the round, in what was at first a relatively even first round. However, at the end of the first, Minihan was able to land several mean shots that secured the round for him.
In the second, it was all Minihan as he stuffed several shot attempts until he actually took Sims down, took his back, and started softening him up with blows from behind. After sinking in the hooks, Minihan was able to choke Sims out cold, and true to his word, Sims didn’t tap. Instead, Sims decided to take a short nap on the cage floor before being woken up by the cage-side doctors.
–Pat Minihan wins by Technical Submission (rear naked choke) at 3:22 of the 2nd round.