Tucson MMA

Knockouts, Tap Outs, Controversial Decisons and an MMA Fighter Goes MIA.


For as long as the televised post-fight interview lasted following Combate 13’s main event of the evening at AVA, Casino Del Sol, the boo’s cascaded down onto La Jaula (what Combate Americas calls their cage).

Ring announcer Lupe Contreras. Photo: Jose Roman allsportstucson.com

Once legendary ring announcer Lupe Contreras revealed Ricky Palacios as the winner of the main event for Combate 13, the crowd’s expression of disappointment went on until Palacios disappeared into the backstage tunnel. It was a split decision that the packed house on hand was not satisfied with at all. Huge portions of the crowd were behind Mesa, Arizona native and three-time Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Roman Salazar. Palacios himself came to Tucson from Mission, Texas, riding a four-fight win streak and contrary to what the crowd in attendance may have thought, the judges apparently did not consider him a slouch. The scores were all 29/28, two judges going in Palacios’s favor.

Throughout the fight, boo’s and chants of dissatisfaction came from every part of the amphitheater, urging the two fighters to “go to work” and “get busy.” Salazar vs Palacios was billed for months as the Co-Main Event of the evening along with Kobi Ortiz vs Eddie Arizmendi (more on this fight in a minute). Palacios and Salazar seemed to spend the entire first round sizing each other up. A Salazar leg kick opened up a gash on Palacios shin and was really the only damage either fighter suffered. Other than that, the two simply danced around La Jaula and when they went to the ground, they simply would lay on each other without much happening at all throughout the entire 3 rounds. Salazar was always on top while they were on ground which may have given the crowd the sense he was in control and was the aggressor but when we spoke to Palacios, of course, he saw it differently.

Salazar (left) and Palacios (right) graphic: Combate Americas

Ricky Palacio’s post-fight comments to AllSportsTucson.com:

“I think I was the one putting the pressure. I couldn’t cut him down in the circle. You know, I’m trying to cut him off in a circle. He felt my power, so he kept on running. It wasn’t more like we were dancing around. I was just trying to get to him. I think I was in control of everything. Just in the last round, he took me down and laid on me. I think he was trying to win just by laying on me.”

Roman Salazar’s post-fight comments to AllSportsTucson.com:

“I honestly thought I was able to pick him apart in round one. I landed plenty of leg kicks and some hard body kicks and I was able to keep him at bay. He may have landed three or four jabs the whole round. We knew he’d expect me to come out and want to wrestle, my plan was just to throw legs out there and not wrestle him the first round. I would give the second round to him. He was able to land his jabs. We were trying to shoot those take downs and you saw that he was able to stop those take downs. He did a great job. I took him down four or five times in the third round. Took his back. I’m just curious what the judges were seeing. Maybe the fact that he was stalking me the entire time. But it shouldn’t matter…if that’s what did it, then you would have seen Mayweather lose every fight he ever fought because he’s always moving backward and scoring. That was the idea to what we were trying to do.”

MMA Fighter Goes MIA

The Co-Main Event of the evening was one that fans and fighters themselves in Tucson’s MMA scene had been waiting for years to see. Fans online had been expressing their anticipation for the fight since the card was announced and when one fighter essentially disappeared and is not heard from at all, seven days prior to the event, it was called off. To this day, Eddie Arizmendi has not been able to be tracked down by his promoters or his camp.

According to sources we spoke with sitting among us in the press section and who are close to the event organizers of the evening, Eddie Arizmendi withdrew from his scheduled co-main event fight with Kobe Ortiz only two days prior to Combate 13. According to these sources, Arizmendi has a history of pulling out of fights unexpectedly. When we asked World Fight Federation Founder and CEO Tommy Ortiz about Arizmendi, he said, “I’m not sure. We tried to locate him and I’ve been unable to find him. I hope he’s okay.”

Eddie Arizmendi wears a title belt as he poses with supporters in October of 2015.

We asked Combate Americas media relations personnel about the situation. The answer we got was, “Honestly, I don’t have the info why he was pulled off. He wasn’t available. I don’t have an answer for you.”

Kobe Ortiz did express his sincere frustration via Facebook, two days prior to the scheduled showdown with Arizmendi.

We reached out to both Kobe Ortiz and Eddie Arizmendi after Combate 13 for comments and have yet to receive a reply from either fighter as of the time this story was published. We will immediately update this write up if we receive a statement from either camp.

The Highlight of the Night

The highlight of the night we give to Levi Escobar as well as his father and trainer
Martin Escobar owner of DeBrazil Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Tucson. In what was perhaps the most entertaining fight of the night, Levi Escobar took on Cedric Katawamba. The crowd was completely into this one. Chants, cheers, screams and bleacher coaching did not let up for the entire three rounds. Escobar wins a UD.

The Undercards and Other Notes of the Evening

There was plenty of great action all over the AVA all evening.

From the crowd being very engaged, responding to every takedown, punch, kick, knee, elbow and low blow that was delivered.

To fighters throwing very visible and audible tantrums to express their displeasure with their place in the televised lineup.

To, very emphatic and passionate boos and heckling being directed at fighters and judges.

We even had a power outage for a short time that effected the big screens and concession stands.

Francisco Rodriguez (Tucson) vs Jeremiah Garger (Davis-Monthan AFB): Mostly spent on the ground and against the cage grappling. Rodriguez wins a unanimous decision (UD).

Alicia Zapatella (Brighton, MI) vs Stephanie Alba (Houston, Texas): These women weren’t afraid to trade blows and leave everything they brought to Tucson in the middle of La Jaula. Great boxing, ground and pound and technique against the cage. Zapatella wins a UD.

Chad Dietmeyer (Tucson) vs Benny Madrid (Phoenix): We were told these two did not like each other at all outside of the cage. Dietmeyer flew across half of the cage and jumped all over Madrid to start the fight. Apparently, everything he had went into that running jump. Dietmeyer taps out 4:23 into the first round. Madrid wins with a rear naked choke.

Randy Stienke (Mesa) vs Erik Sanchez (Sacramento): Sanchez win a split decion (SD).

Irwin Rivera (Palm Beach, FL) vs Kevin Natividad (Phoenix): Majority decision (MD) goes to Natividad.

Jose Palencia Jr (Tempe) vs Justin Rascon (Tucson) : Palencia (UD)

Victor Reyna (Dallas) vs Andy Perez (Tucson) : Reyna (KO)

Daniel Rodriguez (Los Angeles) vs Joel Champion (Tucson) : Rodriguez (KO)

Arturo Guzman (Tucson) vs Robert Casper (Copperas Grove, TX): Guzman (SD)

Jose Roman Jr. was born a Wildcat fan, lifetime fanhood was solidified when he was able to meet Tedy Bruschi, Sean Harris, Brandon Sanders, Chuck Levy and Ontiwaun Carter as a sixth grader. Having served 10 years in the armed forces and been deployed all over the world, he’s still managed to make it to every Arizona home football game, bowl game and at least one away game for the last 12 years. Now combining his love of writing with his love of all things sports, Jose is proud and honored to join AllSportsTucson.com as a writer.

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