Jose "Froggy" Estrada lit up the Shrine Auditorium

Combate Estrellas 1: Froggy Estrada Steals the Show with an Insane Brawl, Alday Steals a Decision From Castaneda

Los Angeles, California – Talk about stealing the show. It may not have been the main event of Combate Estrellas 1, but the crowd at the Shrine Auditorium was absolutely nuclear for the first bout on the Univision-broadcast main card as local hero Jose “Froggy” Estrada (5-1) threw hands with fellow slugger Rudy Morales (5-7) in one of the craziest fights you will ever see. Anyone familiar with these fighters knew that a brawl was in order, but it was hard to expect what transpired when they collided in the center of La Jaula. Estrada blasted away with the better early punches before briefly tossing his man to the mat 90 seconds in. That earned a Holloway-style “let’s stand and trade” gesture from Morales. Maybe he was better off fighting in the clinch, as Estrada immediately blasted Morales with a punch that had him spitting funky dance moves. With his foe hurt, Froggy stalked forward but ate a crushing flying knee that somehow seemed to have no effect! Morales rushed in to finish but ate a counter of his own that absolutely did hurt. Estrada sought to end things with punches but took a front kick straight to the face! That was enough to encourage Froggy to take the fight to the mat, where he fired wild punches while Morales fired back from the bottom. As if the round wasn’t insane enough, Estrada stood up at the 10 second clacker only to fly in with a ridiculous superman punch to the seated Morales! Utter insanity inside a cage for 5 minutes.

The crowd was still abuzz as round two kicked off with a Froggy Estrada takedown. After a moment of control, Morales scrambled only to be hurt by a nasty kick to the body. Morales kept firing away with spinning elbows as he stumbled away, but Estrada wouldn’t be deterred and he finished off this Regional Brawl of the Year 2018 shoo-in with a fittingly vicious knee to the head. This fight was sheer madness, plain and simple. What a memorable win for ever-reliable violence dealer Froggy Estrada, and what an absolutely berzerk way for Combate Americas to start their run on Univision!

Combate Estrellas Fight 2 – Womens Flyweight:
Amanda Serrano (0-0-1)   Unanimous Draw   Corina Herrera (3-4-1)

Estrada versus Morales was a helluva tough act to follow, but boxing champ Amanda Serrano and one-fight Bellator vet Corina Herrera were more than up for the challenge. Herrera did her best to make the fight grimy early on, pushing Serrano into the clinch and working for brute-force takedowns. But Serrano kept getting back to the center of the cage, where she fired away with pistonlike straight punches and solid low kicks. A series of hellacious body shots looked close to finishing off Herrera late in round 1, but she persisted to the bell. The tenor of the action intensified in round 2 as Herrera couldn’t keep the fight at grappling range and ate a boatload of fierce punches as a result. Herrera gamely fired back with whatever wild spinning offense she could concoct, and she had a moment of hope courtesy of a tight guillotine choke midway through the frame. Serrano’s defense was just good enough, though, and she ended the round beating the tar out of Herrera while referee Mike Beltran peered on intently.

All of that face punching seemed to take it out of Serrano, who found herself tackled to the mat at the outset of the final round and never got back to her feet. The boxing star proved a fish out of water on the bottom as Herrera easily passed to mount. Beltran seemed very close to stopping the fight as Herrera bashed away from high mount, but Serrano rolled to her stomach just in time and fought off Herrera’s RNC efforts. With 30 seconds left, Herrera returned to mount and smacked her opponent with strikes as the clock ticked down, but Serrano narrowly beat the bell. What a welcome to MMA for Amanda Serrano, who nearly faceplanted to the canvas when she tried to rise at the end of the contest. This was another great fight, and all three judges gave matching 28-28 scorecards – Corinne Herrera managed to pull out the draw with that spectacular round 3! Much credit to Serrano as well, who looked much better inside the cage than most recent womens’ boxing converts and may yet prove to be a player in the flyweight division.

Combate Estrellas 1 Main Event – Bantamweight:
Jose Alday (11-3-1)    SD3    John Castaneda (16-4)

This editorial placement is rendered with no offense to main eventers John Casteneda and Jose Alday, who are among the most credentialed competitors under Combate Americas contract. But their main event clash was merely excellent, unlike the simply incredible bouts that preceded them! In his bouts to date, Dana White Contenders Series winner Casteneda has impressed at nearly ever aspect of MMA except face defense. “Sexi Mexi” did much better in that regard against the skilled striker Alday, particularly in the first two rounds when he managed distance tactically instead of recklessly engaging in the pocket. Casteneda made headway with solid punches as the fight progressed, but he did his best work in the grappling department where he showed off smooth takedowns and transitions. Alday did a nice job scrambling up from multiple takedowns in rounds 2 and 3, and he showed appropriate desperation as he picked up the pace and sought a finish in the third. It looked like Alday didn’t do quite enough on the feet to overcome Casteneda’s grappling edge, as the Minnesota native landed the best shots of the last minute and ended the fight in top position. But the judges saw things differently as they awarded Jose Alday the split decision victory.

 

Combate Estrellas 1 Prelim 3 – Featherweight:
Rafael Garcia (7-0)   MD3    Chase Gibson (6-3)

In his third Combate appearance, Mexican featherweight Rafael Garcia stayed on Chase Gibson like glue during a grappling-centric first round. In round 2 Gibson whipped off some fast kicks and heavy punches to keep Garcia at bay, and he managed to knock the Mexican off balance with a punch early in the round. With his man down, Gibson sprung onto his back and evened things up on the scorecard – though he didn’t do much damage or come close to sinking in the RNC. Things looked good for Garcia when he achieved top position for the first 90 seconds of round 3. Referee Frank Trigg briefly made his job more difficult with a standup, but Garcia shot again and put Gibson on his back two more times as the fight wore down to the last bell. It wasn’t the most violence-packed spectacle, but Rafael Garcia did enough to stay undefeated against his most credentialed opponent yet via 29-28, 29-28, 28-28 majority decision.

 

Combate Estrellas 1 Prelim 2 – Lightweight:
Gabriel Green (8-2)    Sub3-RNC    Javier Garcia (3-1)

Round 1 of this lightweight clash saw Javier Garcia take “Gifted” Gabriel Green to the mat whenever he wanted to. On top, Garcia landed decent strikes while Green spent his energy scrambling and fishing for leglocks. When Green finally got to his feet, Garcia capped round one with a solid knee to the mush. The momentum shifted briefly in round 2 as the musclebound Green landed a pair of big right hands, exploded to the back, and tried for an RNC. But Garcia used superior grappling fundamentals to reclaim top position for the rest of round 2 as Green went back to the well with heel hook and guillotine tries. By round 3 Garcia was a spent force, and Green took advantage by working to the back again and blasting him with more power shots. That set up the rear naked choke for Green, who picked up his fifth straight finish in his first career foray into round 3.

 

Combate Estrellas 1 Prelim 1 – Featherweight:
Joey Ruquet (6-1)    Sub1-RNC    Keith Carson (6-5)

The card opener saw Vegas native Joey Ruquet and California denizen Keith Carson swing haymakers until Ruquet opted to take it to the mat late in round 1. Carson showed no evidence of takedown defense, nor any means to prevent Ruquet from advancing to mount and taking his back, nor any idea how to defend the RNC. Easy money for 25 year old Joey Ruquet, who has won four straight in the Combate Jaula since falling short to Gustavo Lopez in his promotional debut back in 2015.

 

Combate Estrellas 1 Untelevised Postlim Fights:

125:  Michael Reyes (4-4)  UD3  Heinrich Wassmer (6-3)

155:  Erick Gonzalez (8-2)  KO1  Danny Ramirez (6-4) to get revenge for a dodgy decision loss at Combate 11.

 

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