Last month, SBG Idaho professional MMA athletes, Stephanie Hernandez and Andrew Cruz, picked up the biggest wins of their young careers at LFA 75 in Salt Lake City, Utah! Hernandez (1-1 MMA, 1-0 LFA) picked up a split decision victory over Chrisoula Koukouvetakis (0-1 MMA, 0-1 LFA) to open the night’s action, while teammate Andrew Cruz (7-3, MMA, 0-1 LFA) closed the show with a dominant 2nd round submission over Jon Neal (11-2, 0-2 LFA) in the main event.
The bout between the two atomweights, Hernandez and Koukouvetakis, was a close, technical affair. The taller Koukouvetakis spent the majority of the fight on the outside, using her kicks and footwork to keep the shorter Hernandez away. The first round likely went to Koukouvetakis as Hernandez struggled to find her range and was forced to defend many strong kicks to the head and body. Round 2 saw Hernandez begin to cut the cage off more effectively, allowing her to land two huge right hands that briefly wobbled Koukouvetakis. Hernandez also began using the clinch and landing strikes to the body and legs to slow Koukouvetakis down. The final round was more of the same as Hernandez began to take over the fight with her consistent work rate and pressure. The judge’s final scores were 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28 for Hernandez who picked up her first professional win!
The main event was, as AXS TV analyst and UFC Hall-of-famer Pat Militech described, “one way traffic”. Current FSF featherweight champion Andrew Cruz ran roughshod over once beaten Jon Neal, dominating from bell to bell. The shorter Cruz immediately took center cage against the rangy southpaw, Neal. Wide strikes by Neal allowed Cruz to secure a quick body lock takedown. Neal managed to stand quickly and break the grip of Cruz, who cracked him with a hard right hand on the break. Another quick takedown for Cruz and the route was on. Neal spend the remainder of the round on his knees or pinned against the cage eating hard punches and defending choke attempts from Cruz. Neal managed to gain a quick reversal when Cruz got too high on an attempted back take, but was unable to corral his relentless opponent, and was immediately forced back on defense as Cruz scrambled out of danger. It was a testament to Neal’s toughness that he managed to see the round 1 bell. Round 2 saw Cruz pick up right where he left off. Another quick body lock takedown led to more close-range bludgeoning before Cruz finally managed to secure the fight ending rear-naked choke with 30 second remaining in the round! After the fight Cruz called for a shot at the vacant LFA featherweight title!
Congrats to both Stephanie and Andrew on their fantastic performances, and special thanks to all the training partners and coaches that helped prime them for battle! If you are looking to compete, or maybe you’re looking to get into the best shape of your life with a Tribe that supports you 110%, click the “Wanna Train” link at the top of our page to set up your Gym Tour and FREE introductory lesson with one of our world-class coaches this upcoming week! See you soon!!!