by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com (Photo courtesy of April Pishna)

DENVER, COLORADO – Kick Down 30: Veterans’ Day played to a full house over the weekend and the fiery headliners made it a night to remember.

There was a lot of trash talking prior to the main event, both fighters promising to shut the other down. In the end it was the conductor Noah “The Red” Thomas that derailed Vincent Vigil following through on his pre-fight promise, “Vigil has been a runaway train, I’m going to derail him and put him on his ass.”

From the beginning, Vigil stormed the ring, looking to crush Thomas, repeatedly trying to slam his way out of Thomas’ submission attempts. But it was Thomas that transitioned from triangle choke to arm bar attempt to a reverse triangle and then, following a scramble, finished the fight with a rear naked choke that had Vigil tapping and Thomas wearing the championship belt.

I’d like to write more about Luke Holdorf, he was very impressive… again. But he didn’t give me much to work with submitting his opponent Sergio Lopez by rear naked choke in just 40 seconds, upping his professional record to 4-1. Holdorf is a solid up and comer whose ground game is nothing short of spectacular. When his stand-up game comes to fruition, Holdorf could be a fighter to watch for on the national scene.

I had Colby Snyder, a veteran of Chuck Norris’ World Combat League, losing his bout to Adam Bobay after the first round. The second round started off in the same vain with Bobay getting Snyder to the mat right away, but it was the experienced kickboxer, Snyder, that pulled a triangle choke out of his hat to put the fight away.

One of the more memorable bouts of the night was a modified-rules Muay Thai about between Tandi Ogden, an import from Utah, and Lacey Whitlatch. Although Whitlatch appeared to be overmatched, she never backed down from the strength Ogden and her powerful knees. Just when it seemed Whitlatch should be done, she would force Ogden to work harder, eventually giving up a unanimous decision to Ogden.

Joey Welch controlled both rounds of his fight with Eric Allegria, consistently kneeing his opponent as part of a ground and pound attack. This all with Joey’s grandfather passing away just two days prior to the fight as well as a good friend of his suffering from a stabbing attack. “I had to do this fight,” Welch commented when asked why he didn’t back out considering the circumstances, “My grandpa had front row seats for this one.”

Kicking off the evening was an intense battle between previously undefeated Jack Johnson and Manuel Gallardo. After a brief exchange, Johnson had a guillotine choke locked on tight, but Gallardo still had an arm in to slow the hold. Once he escaped, the fight was nearly all Gallardo’s, a rarity for opponents of Johnson. He finished the first with a strong ground and pound game. In the second, Gallardo executed a beautiful Judo throw, scrambled on the ground for a bit, and finished the fight with an arm bar.

MMA (Amateur)
Manuel Gallardo def Jack Johnson by Arm Bar at 1:14, Round 2
Kamalu Keawe def Adrian Martinez by Head Scissors Choke at 1:48, Round 2
Ryan Scollard def Joey Banks by Rear Naked Choke at 1:48, Round 1
Ken Pytluk def Steve Fetty by Guillotine Choke at 0:53, Round 1
Greg Schipporeit def Ralston Baker by Triangle Choke at 2:38, Round 2
Tommy Thompson def Sean Ramsey by Arm Bar at 1:09, Round 1

MMA (Professional)
Joey Welch def Eric Allegria by Unanimous Decision, 2 Rounds
Colby Snyder def Adam Bobay by Triangle Choke at 1:30, Round 2
Luke Holdorf def Sergio Lopez by Rear Naked Choke at 0:40, Round 1
Noah Thomas def Vincent Vigil by Rear Naked Choke at 2:17, Round 1

Char McGregor def Kimberly Payne by Split Decision, 3 Rounds
Tandi Ogden def Lacey Whitlatch by Unanimous Decision, 3 Rounds
Roberto Rodriguez def Jason Vidonic by KO at 1:19, Round 1