Proving a point: MMA fighters show skills at Two Rivers

Grand Junction’s Angelo Archuleta has his arm raised in victory Friday night as he’s congratulated by his opponent Kyle Giljy, of Moab, Utah, during Cage Wars V at Two Rivers Convention Center.

When it comes to mixed martial arts, no two fighters get into the cage for the same reason.

During Friday night’s Cage Wars V at the Two Rivers Convention Center, all 18 MMA fighters had something different that motivated them to climb into the cage.

For a fighter like Grand Junction’s Angelo Archuleta, it was seeing if he could take years of boxing training and translate it into an MMA career.

After sending Kyle Giljy to the ground with a straight jab in the third round, it was obvious the transition was going smoothly in Archuleta’s first MMA bout.

After the knockdown, Archuleta stood over Giljy and allowed him to get back to his feet. When the figthing resumed, Archuleta picked up where he left off, controlling the third round on the ground.

“You have to have that killer instinct to when you knock someone down to jump on them,” Archuleta said, who won by unanimous decision. “It’s not knocking someone down then getting back to your corner.”

“He was super nervous, but once he got in there, it all went out the window,” Archuleta’s cornerman Jason Brenton said. “A lot of guys in their first fight will forget about technique, but he stayed with it, and I was really proud.”

A majority of Archuleta’s fight was spent on the ground with the 155-pounder delivering knees and elbows to Giljy,  from Moab, Utah. Archuleta’s game plan was to keep with his boxing background, and use his fists to control the match.

“I came into it wanting to fight stand-up, but I ended up doing great on the ground,” Archuleta said. “These guys at 8th Street Gym are great at teaching what to do on the ground.”

Someone like Andrew Yates took to the cage to prove an earlier win wasn’t a fluke

In the fifth fight of the night, the 155-pound former Central High School wrestler took on Orlando Rodriguez in a rematch from early December.

The fight played out like a rematch with each fighter knowing his opponents’ strengths. That worked against Yates, as the two fighters spent most of the fight pinned against the cage working for position. During the tie-ups, Rodriguez scored points with shots to the midsection.

Rodriguez won the fight by unanimous decision.

“He knew exactly what I was trying to come with,” Yates said. “He beat me once, and I’ve beaten him once, maybe we’ll see each other again.”

For a fighter like Logan Hancock, fighting Friday night was all about entertaining an enthusiastic hometown crowd. A Grand Junction native, Hancock’s bout with Eugene Coulston was a co-main event.

Hancock dominated the fight, landing hard punches to the head. After the first round, a bloodied Coulston had enough, and Hancock won by TKO.

“It’s a good feeling having all your family here when you’re going to war,” Hancock said. “I like it, but you don’t want to disappoint anyone.”

Hancock said he only has a few more fights before he’ll have to take a year off for surgery to his right eye.

“I want to get one more in before my year layoff,” Hancock said. “But you never know, you can get phone calls at anytime with someone wanting to fight, and I’m always game to fight.”

Other amateur fights included Kirk Piatt of Olathe defeating Tanner Ellenberger, Joe Leber scoring a knock out of Pecas McClellan and Grand Junction’s Zach Harvey submitting Billy Martin.

In the professional fights, Sergio Lopez submitted James Ford and Dustin Collins defeated Brenton Swanson.

In the other main event, Grand Junction’s John Ethridge seriously injured his right shoulder early in the first round and was unable to continue against Nick Rossborough.


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