Another installment of Front Street Fights went in the books last Saturday night, and Combat Fitness/SBG Idaho was again well represented by our athletes in the cage!
First up for CF/SBG Idaho was former Boise State wrestling standout, Steven Hernandez, making his MMA debut against a tough Paul Crawford. After a few early striking exchanges, Hernandez closed the gap quickly, putting Crawford against the cage, where he hoisted him in the air, carried him to the other side, and slammed him down hard near his corner. Settling quickly in half guard, Hernandez landed strong punches before Crawford scrambled to his knees, and into a Hernandez front headlock. From there, Steven immediately transitioned to a standing guillotine choke, coaxing the tapout! Fantastic debut for Hernandez!
During the evening’s main card, Veta Arteaga made a successful debut in the pro ranks, edging the hard hitting Ashley Deen via split decision. The bout was evenly matched, and each round was very closely contested. Deen seized control in the early going, using her reach and straight, powerful punches to back Arteaga up against the cage, where she let loose with strong flurries. Arteaga kept her composure, however, keeping tight defense and returning fire. Round two saw Arteaga begin to utilize kicks to the legs to set up her punching combinations. She also began to threaten with takedowns from caught kicks and well timed shots. Though she wasn’t able to secure the takedowns, she was able to turn the attempts into strong clinches, where she scored well with knees, elbows, and short punches. She also utilized better defensive head movement and footwork to counter Deen’s aggressive forward pressure. Round three was more of the same from Arteaga, as Deen’s offensive output began to dwindle. Arteaga continued to mix up her more varied striking attack with takedown attempts and strong clinchwork, even landing a powerful double leg midway through the round. In the end, it turned out to be enough, as she carried the scorecards, 29-28 (x2), 28-29. For her efforts, Veta was awarded the Fighter of the Night bonus! Awesome job Veta!!!
On to the evening’s main event, Matthew Jones and Josh Tyler locked horns in a five round barnburner for the promotion’s inaugural featherweight title. The fight started with a bang as Tyler caught Jones flush with a strong left hook, sending him to the canvas. Jones immediately utilized a strong defensive guard, regaining his wits while attempting to set up his submission attempts. Tyler chipped away with intermittent ground and pound while Jones threatened with several triangle chokes, before eventually using the cage to stand and reverse position on Tyler, threatening with a top side guillotine as the round ended. Round two saw Tyler gain an early takedown as Jones moved in to attack. From there the round played out much like the one before, with Tyler landing occasional ground and pound while Jones threatened from his back with submissions. Again, near the end of the round, Jones used the cage to stand before reversing position and threatening with another choke. Round three saw Jones unleash with several standing knee strikes and a spinning backfist that clearly hurt Tyler. In the flurry, Jones attempted a hasty back take that allowed Tyler an opportunity to grab the legs and take Jones down again. This round however, he was able to sweep fairly quickly, and the remainder of the round was spent on the ground, trading sweeps, ground and pound, and submission attempts. Round four saw Jones really begin to open up standing, with several straight front kicks to Tyler’s face and a spinning back kick right to Tyler’s browline, that opened up a deep gash. In his attempt to finish, Jones again got a little careless and allowed Tyler to catch an ankle and drag him back to the ground. As in round three though, Jones was able to sweep back to top, where more fast paced grappling exchanges occurred. The addition of the blood from Tyler’s cut, making control on the ground even more difficult. Heading into the fifth, most in attendance felt it was two rounds apiece, with Tyler’s early knockdown and top control over the first two rounds, countered by Jones’ damage on the feet and very active submission game over the next two. The round saw Tyler land an early takedown, but fail to consolidate much damage before Jones swept to top and secured the back, landing hard ground and pound before Tyler has able to regain his guard and slow the assault. The remaining minute saw Jones maintain top control while landing damaging ground strikes. In the end, however the judges rendered a puzzling unanimous decision verdict in favor of Tyler, 49-46 (x2) and 48-47. Regardless of the baffling decision, it was still a fantastic fight, and we are incredibly proud of Matt and his efforts out there!
Note: due to Tyler’s inability to make the 145 pound limit during Friday night’s weigh in, he was not awarded the featherweight title. Only Jones was eligible to win the belt, as he made his contracted weight.
As always a huge thanks to all the coaches and training partners that give so much of themselves to our athletes, to the Front Street Fights crew, that continue to provide an amazing platform for these martial artists to showcase their skills on, and finally to the athletes themselves for continuing to represent our Tribe with dignity, class, and skill!!!