A little help from ‘Aladdin’: Andrew Yates dominating MMA

Jesse Rivera, right from Montrose lands a kick to Eric Wild from South Dakota. Rivera won the 180lb. match with a decision.



When “Magic Carpet Ride” from “Aladdin” blared inside Brownson Arena, it drew numerous laughs from the crowd. It didn’t fit in the world of mixed martial arts.

But Andrew Yates, one of the top unsigned MMA fighters in the country, has used the Disney music as walk-out music for about 10 fights. The Central High School graduate continued his undefeated run with a victory over Albuquerque fighter Anthony Session during Cage Wars XIV at Colorado Mesa University on Saturday night.

“You know, I’ve always been a little bit different and wanted to do something a little wild and crazy,” Yates said. “No one’s ever done ‘Aladdin’ before. I’m a little crazy when I fight.”

Yates got Session to submit 4:07 into the second round after spending the majority of the fight on top of him. Yates won the 135-pound match by shifting positions on top of Session until he broke his defenses.

“Coming in, I knew he was good with his muay thai, so I knew I’d have to take a couple kicks,” Yates said. “I took the kicks, smiled and let him know I was going to take him down.”

Yates, who was selected one of the top three unsigned fighters on Spike TV, extended his professional record to 8-0. A product of Ultimate Fighting Championship superstar Wanderlei Silva’s gym in Las Vegas, Yates has yet to be signed, despite the buzz surrounding him.

“If anyone out there knows how to get signed, hit me up, because I’m trying,” Yates said. “I was signed to Belitor, to fight in a 135 (pound) tournament. But the dude turned down the fight, so I don’t know what’s up with that. I’m ready for anybody at any time.”

In the main event, former CMU wrestler Brandon Crespin fell to South Dakota fighter Travis Coyle. Crespin tapped out one minute into the first round.

Glenwood Springs fighter Chantry West lost his title belt in the 170-pound division. He was looking to follow up on a 29-second knockout in Cage Wars XIII, but he lost his championship nearly as quickly. Grand Junction fighter Ismael Gaona whipped two kicks to West’s upper body and secured a submission victory with a choke hold.

Assistant CMU men’s track coach Jason Brenton topped Yates’ Las Vegas teammate Demetrius Turner. Turner lifted and brutally slammed Brenton to the octagon floor, but Brenton was able to secure a choke hold on his third attempt.

Wyoming fighter Billy Martin won the most contentious fight of the night, when he grazed Montrose fighter Sergio Lopez in the eye. There was a question about whether the strike was open-handed, and the crowd booed, but Martin seized the opportunity and scored the TKO.

Rapid City, S.D., fighter Eric Wild squeaked out a victory during the closest fight of the night against Montrose’s Jesse Rivera. Wild landed multiple, audible shots to Rivera’s head during the third round while Rivera held on to force the judge’s decision.

Josh Cantu had the only technical knockout on the lower half of the card, winning the heavyweight contest against Wyoming fighter Jason York. Cantu landed a clean blow to York’s leg and sent him tumbling as he rained down punches.

Two ground-heavy fights highlighted the first two fights on the lower half of the card. Tyson Herrera of Montrose topped Las Vegas fighter Paul Preuss in the 135-pound fight via unanimous decision, and another Montrose fighter, Kristain Nieto, won his 165-pound fight.


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