Klarcyk, Bias capture PFC crowns
LEMOORE, Ca. — There was no quit in Shawn Klarcyk.
Not when he received nearly a two-inch cut over his right eye in training and not when Sacramento’s David Espinosa exploded out of the gate and put the Porterville mixed martial artist on his heels.
“I felt like I got a late start,” said Klarcyk, who became the Palace Fighting Championship World bantamweight champion Thursday night at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, defeating Espinosa (3-1) by split decision. Scorecards read 48-47 Espinosa, 48-47 Klarcyk and 49-46 Klarcyk.
“I started to pick it up in the late rounds,” Klarcyk said. “I came in with this cut and I wasn’t really sure what might happen. We super glued it shut, but Dave opened it right away.”
The pace to the Klarcyk/Espinosa bout was never close to being matched, but the intensity was, as Oroville’s Shawn Bias (11-4) won the PFC World featherweight crown with a submission victory over Minnesota’s Aaron Maldonado (4-1) at 2:45 in the fourth round by rear-naked choke.
The two title fights highlighted a 17-bout card that played out in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,600 at the Palace’s Bing Hall.
In a featured bout, Hanford’s Chris Botelho improved to 5-1 and earned a shot at the welterweight title by defeating Bakersfield’s Josh McCartney (1-2) by unanimous decision.
Also, the highly anticipated pro debuts of Las Vegas’ Dewey Cooper (1-0) and Sacramento’s Mark Munoz (1-0) lived up to expectations.
But in the end, PFC 3’s “Step Up” will be remembered and go down in Central Valley MMA history for the war waged by Espinosa and Klarcyk.
Espinosa dominated the first round with a big slam and a heavy onslaught of ground-and-pound. Klarcyk’s cut opened early in the round and the fight quickly took the shape of all-out war.
In the second round, the pace quickened and Klarcyk started to find his groove and both fighters exchanged submission attempts. It looked as though Klarcyk took the worst of the round, though, as he began to swell vigorously under the left eye.
The damage to Klarcyk’s face only seemed to strengthen his resolve, as he easily took command in rounds three, four and five.
“I think it was my wrestling,” Klarcyk said. “There was a lot of talk about how is wrestling was going to be so much better than mine. How he was a Division 1 wrestler and I just wrestled in high school. Not too many people know that I was injured my senior year and I met my beautiful wife and had a family.”
Bias and Maldonado also put on a solid performance. Bias easily took control of the fight, dominating with his wrestling and savage ground-and-pound. His overall skills were just too much for a game Maldonado.
“Hey, you have to give it to him he was a strong guy and fought off a lot of chokes,” Bias said of Maldonado. “I think his skill level just wasn’t as good as mine. He has a good record, but I’ve been fighting for a long time. I know my hands were a lot stronger than his.”
As were his submissions, as Bias finally was able to finish off Maldonado with a rear-naked choke in the fourth.
“He took a lot of punishment throughout the fight,” Bias said. “I really can’t say a bad thing about him. He was a tough guy. I’m just happy to have the belt.”
Cooper (1-0) proved to be too much standing for former pro boxer Adam Smith (1-1) of Venice Beach.
The fight went just about as expected, with Cooper, who is a former boxer and kickboxer, fighting a cautious fight early and utilizing his leg kicks. After the first round, Smith’s legs were battered and bruised.
“It was an exhilarating experience. I think I went in and was worried about the takedown a little bit and maybe I wasn’t as productive as I’d like,” Cooper said. “But I said from the start that the win was what was most important.”
Cooper was taken down and mounted in the second round, but after several sweep attempts was able to get Smith over to his back where Cooper let his hands go briefly before backing out and finished the round standing.
“All I was thinking was to really stay calm,” Cooper said. “I thought about everything I was taught and I tried three of four times to roll him before I finally was able to do it.”
Cooper almost seemed more excited about his defense on the ground and stopping the takedown then his brutal leg kicks and heavy left hand that dropped Smith in the third round.
“I just paused. In boxing and kickboxing when you knock some one down, they’re down. You don’t follow up with punches,” Cooper said. “That’s something you have to love about MMA. I just couldn’t finish the fight right there.”
But there was little doubt in the outcome. “I just listened to my corner. I used the leg kicks to keep my distance, but later in the fight my team wanted me to let my hands go,” Cooper said.
Heavyweight Munoz won by technical knockout over Taft’s Austin Achorn (0-1) at 1:25 in the first round.
Achorn was a huge underdog, taking the fight on two days notice against the highly touted Munoz, who is a former NCAA Division I Wrestling Champion at Oklahoma State.
“I kind of stuck to my guns and did what I know,” Munoz said. “I know he couldn’t stand with me, so I took him down and unleashed my ground and pound like none other.”
Following a brief clinch, Munoz took Achorn down and unleashed a flurry of mean right elbows. He stopped briefly to unload a right hand and then worked the body and the fight was stopped.
Botelho avenged a no-contest decision that was handed down at PFC 1 in January with McCartney.
In January, McCartney caught Botelho with several low blows that ultimately ended the fight when Botelho could not continue.
There were no infractions this time. Instead the fans were treated to one of the better fights of the night.
Botelho obviously had improved leaps and bounds since his previous fights. He was able to fend off the talented wrestler in McCartney and score with his striking at times.
Botelho trailed on the scorecards after the first round, because McCartney controlled the last half of the round with Botelho stuck in a standing guillotine.
But Botelho came on in the second and third rounds, taking McCartney down and controlling both rounds with a hefty douse of ground-and-pound.
“I dominated. I proved my point and I showed I’m ready for a title shot,” Botelho said. “I really can’t thank my wrestling coach Rudy Lopez enough. I wanted to show everyone that I’m not just a stand-up fighter. I can wrestle, too and I have good jiu-jitsu.”
In other bouts:
— Fresno’s Casey Olson (5-1) won a lightweight unanimous decision over Stockton’s Brandon Jinnies (2-6).
“He was a tough guy,” Olson said of Jinnies. “He took some really good shots and kept coming.”
In each round, Olson took Jinnies down and unleashed steady ground-and-pound opening a cut under Jinnies’ eye.
“It felt great to be back in there,” Olson said. “I think I might have been a little too excited, though. I got a little tired out there. I’m okay, though, and I hope to be back in October.”
— In featherweight action, Palmdale’s Seth Dikun (2-1) upset Las Vegas’ Angelo Antuna (4-1) with a rear-naked choke at 2:20 in the second round.
“His wrestling really wasn’t that good,” Dikun said. “I think he’s talking himself up when he said he was an All-American, because I didn’t see it at all.”
In an action-packed first round, Dikun was able to hold off several submission attempts, one he admits might have broken a bone in his foot.
“I didn’t tap, though, I wasn’t going to tap out like that,” Dikun said.
Dikun spent most of the second round on top with Antuna fighting for submissions, but it was Dikun who mounted and then took Antuna’s back and sunk a choke.
“I think my team was the difference. My training was the difference,” Dikun said. “I feel like he gassed out in the first round.”
— Calousa heavyweight Ruben Villareal (12-13-3) beat Tulare’s Rafael Del Real (4-6) by submission at 2:18 in the first round.
— Lemoore middleweight Kenny Ento (7-2) defeated Sacramento’s Joel Crawford (0-4) by arm-bar submission at 1:31 in the first round.
— In welterweight action, Lemoore’s Mickey Martinez (3-0-1) won by unanimous decision over Bakersfield’s Robert Breslin (3-7).
— Sacramento’s Jeremy Freitag (5-5) defeated Philadelphia’s Lamont Lister (3-3) by unanimous decision in a light heavyweight bout
– Brazilian welterweight Cleverson Dezonet (2-1) won by submission over Dinuba’s Rolando Jaime (0-1) at 2:17 in the first round.
— Visalia’s Mike Cook (4-1) knocked out Madera’s Rolando Torres with in a heavyweight bout at 12 seconds in round one.
— Coalinga’s Mario Rivera (4-4) won a unanimous decision over Bakersfield’s Joe Chaidez (2-1) in welterweight action.
— Clovis lightweight Ralph Lopez (3-0) defeated Sacramento’s Marcus Blood (1-2) by referee stoppage due to strikes at 1:43 in the third round.
— Merced’s Rolando Velasquz (3-0) won his bantamweight bout over Bend, Oregon’s Jason Georgianna (3-1) by unanimous decision.
— Anaheim featherweight Scott Brommage (1-2) defeated Lemoore’s Elvis Franco (0-1) by ankle-lock submission at 2:04 in the first round.