Global Legion Fighting Championship In St. Pete

By on September 30, 2020

Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront

26SEP2020

Photo-Jordan Raiff

Coming back to the Tampa area after their last event back on August 15th, Global Legion FC came back with a stacked card, in a bigger venue, and with more fans in attendance. With Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship stars Lorenzo “The Juggernaut” Hunt and Gustavo “The Cuban Assassin” Trujillo also watching the action from the crowd, these fights guaranteed to bring a huge entertainment value.

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            Kicking off the evening Maximo Nunez took on Mark Frisk in kickboxing. After making their way to the cage, these two opened their fight with a quick fist bump. Frisk then took a hit below the belt that took him a minute to shake off. Almost as if sweet, sweet vengeance was in play, Frisk was able to land a swift kick towards the back of Nunez’s neck, forcing Nunez to take a more defensive mindset that quickly changed the tempo back in his favor. As the round closed, Nunez was clearly in control and looked to bring that same vigor for the rest of the fight.

            After a furious start to the second round, Nunez’s corner requested a time out. Apparently in such a hurry to get back to the fight he had forgotten his mouthguard. This quick stop to the action gave Nunez a chance to regroup from the action and regain control. Tiring as they went on, Frisk was forced to employ a more precise attack game, and Nunez was prepared for it.

            The third and final round showcased two warriors who had gone to the brink of their energy. As standing clinches and ref breakups filled the round, Nunez was able to spark some reserve energy and threw Frisk into a corner. Closing in on him quickly, Nunez looked to end the fight for once and for all. However, Nunez wasn’t able to hold on to this dominance as Frisk battled back. Trading blows until the end of the fight, this one ended up in the judge’s hands. Winner: Nunez by Split Decision

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            The second fight of the night featured Tyler Smith versus Bryan “The Beast” Cromer in the second and final kickboxing contest. Unlike the first fight, these two started off in the more traditional dance and figuring out one another. However, Smith was quick to change this tempo up with some strikes to the upper head, sending Smith up against the ropes and cage. As much as he tried to recover, Smith sent him crashing to the canvas. Cromer appeared a bit disoriented and lacked energy for the rest of the round.

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            Coming out with well timed kicks, Smith was able to send Cromer down to the canvas numerous times by making him lose his balance or from sheer force. Each time he would get back up he showed less and less energy in his attacks and kept crashing to the ground to escape Smith’s assault. After squatting down to avoid a kick (and tripping up Smith in the process)Cromer was able to find his feet for a moment. Smith connected with a stiff punch right on the button and Cromer was unable to continue. Winner: Smith by 2nd Round TKO

Photo-Jordan Raiff
Photo-Jordan Raiff

            For the only boxing match of the evening, Iron Alvarez went toe to toe with Marcelo Williams. In the opening round, both boxers had their own targeted areas; Alvarez targeting the face and Williams attacking the mid-chest and ribs. Williams seemed to counter Alvarez’s shots with shoulder rolls and by utilizing a strong counter punch attack. This opening round was nothing less than a slobber knocker as both fighters traded consistent blows.

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            Williams came out of his corner at the start of the second round like a man possessed. Despite Alvarez landing frequent shots to his opponent’s face, Williams took them as if they were powder puffs. Towards the end of the round this began to wear on the young fighter, as his legs began to wabble, with the bell ultimately saving him from what seemed to be a certain KO.

            The same vigor was not present in the third round. As both fighters emerged from their corners exhausted, Williams switched his focus to Alvarez’s kidneys, ultimately backing him into a corner. Quickly the ref broke them apart, and as the round wore on, they both seemed to regain their energy; almost as if the energy from the hits was psyching them up. Ultimately this exhaustion allowed Williams to escape from two opportunities for Alvarez to end the fight.

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            The fourth and fifth rounds were largely dominated by Alvarez with Williams showing frequent signs of life, but those ultimately led to more tie-ups for the ref to separate them. As the exhaustion became more apparent, Williams kept the gap closed, and leaned on Alvarez to get a break from the onslaught. Even when pushed against the ropes, Williams kept leaning in to force a break.

            In the sixth and final round you could clearly see the abuse on Williams face. Alvarez had been dotting his right eye all fight, and as it began to swell, you had to wonder if he was going to escape the fight on his feet or not. Despite this, William never gave up and was able to survive the round with some sporadic combinations. Going to the cards, it was no surprise that Iron Alvarez took the decision. Winner: Alvarez by UD

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            After a small break to take down the ropes, it was time to begin the MMA bouts. Opening this section of the card, Justin Vazquez took on Ty Kalista. With confident entrances by both fighters, Kalista was quick to take Vazquez off his feet and force the fight to the ground. Within the first minute they were both pressed against the cage, and Kalista was cleanly leading the fight. After some magnificent repositioning and guard control, Kalista was able to turn the tables. Despite keeping him on the defensive, Kalista found himself suddenly crashed to the mat after Vazquez lifted him squarely off his feet and slammed him down and landing with all his weight on Kalista’s abdomen. Now firmly on the ground, Kalista was unable to escape before the bell sounded.

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            Trading calf and lower thigh shots to open the second round, Vazquez sent Kalista to the ground again, and he chose to remain there; even making a small smirking face at him as he waited for him to attack. As Vazquez proceeded to kick his thighs like he was chopping down a tree, Kalista finally decided ha had taken enough and got to his feet. With a quickness he rushed Vazquez and was promptly put right back on the canvas.

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Attacking with the same chopping style, you could see the swelling beginning to form in Kalista’s legs. Surprisingly Vazquez went down to the ground and began throwing rather rapid chest strikes, using his mount to his advantage. Working his way to his feet, Kalista tried taking him back down to the ground, but Vazquez was able to avoid this, and they ended the round trading face punches.

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            The third and final round showed the true importance of flexibility and dexterity in a fighter. As Kalista took the fight to the ground, Vazquez found his leg wrapped up tightly, and at times it looked as if his quadricep muscle could rip clean apart or his femur snap. Despite this Vazquez kept his tremendous endurance going and was able to work these angles to deliver devastating hammer fists and elbows.

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Once again back in control, Vazquez decided to take Kalista back to the ground and make him pay for this stretching. With slower but harder kicks to the upper leg, anytime Kalista tried to stand up his face was continuously being hit in the face. The last 10 seconds these warriors traded blows, as if these final moments were going to decide everything. Everyone in attendance knew Vazquez had this won, and he took the W by unanimous decision. Winner: Vazquez by UD

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            In an interesting twist, next up was Jose Luis Vazquez and Damian Attie. Attacking one another like their lives were on the line, Attie quickly wrestled Vazquez to the ground. Delivering down devastating strikes, this looked to be over quickly. However, Vazquez was able to adjust his position and both fighters got to their feet with Vazquez attempting a rear naked choke. Attie struggled to break this lock for any length of time, and it appeared that Attie was quickly being worn down. Switching from submissions to head strikes, Vazquez was clearly dominating this round until the final seconds when Attie was able to deliver some good old ground and pound from the mount.

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            In the second round Vazquez nearly scored a takedown on Attie to kick things off. With some high-flying kicks to keep a solid degree of separation, he forced Attie against the side of the cage, and ultimately sent him to the mat, and again sunk in the rear naked choke; this time with his legs hooked in. Attie was able to wither out and deliver some damage in return. Now on their feet, Attie used his height to his advantage to slip Vazquez’s fists, and stay outside his reach while dotting him with well-aimed shots.

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            The third round was all Attie. As Vazquez closed in for a choke, Attie delivered a shocking throat punch, and both fighters crashed to the ground. Once down there Attie assumed a very dominant mount position, and rolling themselves to their sides, Attie delivered some devastating knee shots to Vazquez’s back. With Vazquez looking to end the onslaught, he loosened his grip and began trying to escape. Instead Attie grabbed him up and rolled him around aggressively. Maintaining the dominant position, Attie delivered limited but powerful headshots, and at the 10 second mark went all out. From the face to the lower abdominal area, Vazquez’s body became a punching bag. This dominant round ultimately secured Attie’s victory from the judges. Winner: Attie by UD

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            The only women’s match featured seasoned veteran Claudia Zamora and making her professional debut Hannah Summers. Zamora took the lead throwing loose kicks and sounding off with a loud ‘hight’ with nearly every strike she dished out during the fight. As the opening round continued, Summers began to settle into the groove; timing and aiming her strikes more accurately. However, Zamora’s experience allowed her to slip many of these strikes so they either would miss, or glance off her.

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            The second round Zamora used this same experience to use less defense to absorb these strikes and instead send out her own stiff shots. This tactic was working well as both women moved brilliantly around the cage, with neither taking significant damage out the gate. Zamora delivered a brilliant head kick that normally would make the round of highlight reels for a UFC fight. Summers started going for takedowns, and finally scored one, but it was short lived. Zamora wrangled herself free quickly, putting them both back on their feet where they traded lower leg kicks for the remainder of the round.

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            The third and final round is where experience always trumps skill, and this was no exception. While Summers appeared gassed, Zamora kept the pressure on. Repositioning herself looking for an opening, Zamora found one she liked and lifted Summers up and slammed her to the canvas with incredible force. Maintaining control for some time, Zamora wore Summers down significantly until she finally escaped. As Summers looked to deliver a devastating leg kick, Zamora caught it and pinned her to the cage; landing numerous head strikes on her. With her outstanding defensive knowledge, Zamora guided the fight to the clack of the last 10 seconds. At that sound they both went all out. As the final bell sounded, they exchanged a deep and respectful hug. When the judge’s decision was finally rendered, Summers appeared shocked as Zamora was announced the unanimous winner. Winner: Zamora by UD

Photo-Jordan Raiff
Photo-Jordan Raiff
Photo-Jordan Raiff

            With an elongated entrance for his music, Johnny Baldridge took the cage to face Vinney Pantaleon. Escorted by his son carrying his title belt from another promotion, it was a sweet moment before a brutal contest. From the opening bell, Baldridge nailed an upper leg kick that weakened the leg of Pantaleon. As he tried to shake it off, Pantaleon attempted a takedown that was easily avoided.

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As they fought their way to the ground, Pantaleon was able to keep Baldridge against the cage, with lots of pressure. Finally, enough was enough, and Pantaleon scooped him up, and rammed him into the other side of the cage, dropping him firmly on the floor where they battled for control until the end of the round.

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            As Baldridge attacked with a devastating neck kick to open the second round, Pantaleon fell to the ground. Delivering devastating elbows and fists to the top of his head, Baldridge even looked to the ref at one point to indicate that he believed his opponent had given up. With a large knot on his forehead, Pantaleon was scrambling to block the punishment. Finally, the ref had seen enough and stopped the fight as his head burst forth with a waterfall of blood. While not a full ‘crimson mask,’ it was flowing like a tap.

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As medical attendees took the ring, Pantaleon’s coaches made a case against the ref that he let the fight go after he had given up. After numerous towels and work, the stream was stopped. Resulting in both sharing a hug before Baldridge was officially announced the winner. Winner: Baldridge by 2nd Round TKO

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Photo-Jordan Raiff

            After the between fights sanitization that occurred every fight, Marcus Lloreda and Floyd Jones made their way to the cage. Chock full of energy, these two started a ground war with Lloreda nearly putting Jones down numerous times, but each time standing back up. Eventually Jones was forced against the cage, and Lloreda used every motion to his advantage. Jones returned the favor, and attempted more of his own takedowns, and ended the round trading calf kicks and head shots. As the bell rand Jones was visibly exhausted from blocking these takedowns.

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            Initially starting off clinching, Lloreda finally succeeded in getting Jones to the ground. Staying in a small variety of on top positions, Lloreda was able to work Jones’ ribs with devastating shots. Keeping him pinned as long as he could. As Jones kept trying to escape, Lloreda would not let him wrangle free. He was intending to punish this man for even stepping in the cage with him. Somehow Jones finally found his feet and immediately took this opportunity to pin Lloreda against the cage but was unable to work him to the ground.

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            The third and final round was mainly on their feet trading head and body kicks, almost reminiscent of the movie “Bloodsport”. While they threw numerous shots to their ankles and calves, there was a nice mixture of head shots thrown in there too. Jones finally taking Lloreda back to the mat again, but not for but a few seconds. Lloreda instead forced Jones into a corner and took him down hard where he remained for the rest of the contest. As the bell rang Lloreda got up and offered him a hand up before embracing him for a great fight. The aggression of Lloreda won the judges over and he won by unanimous decision. Winner: Lloreda by UD

Photo-Jordan Raiff
Photo-Jordan Raiff
Photo-Jordan Raiff
Photo-Jordan Raiff

            In one of the more anticipated fights of the night, Lazar Stojadinovic took on Carlos Guerra. Out of the gate Stojadinovic looked for a devastating kick that missed its mark. This gave Guerra a great opportunity, but he was a hair too late as Stojadinovic took him to the ground. As Guerra flipped the script he connected with a furious series of punches and elbows that ultimately took Stojadinovic to his knee. Closing the gap as he recovered, Guerra delivered a devastating and illegal knee to the head that officials missed.

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Yet somehow Stojadinovic was able to find his feet again. Throwing stiff shots with all of his limbs, it seemed like the tables were turning. Somehow Guerra was able to take him down into a corner in a chess match like battle for positioning. As Stojadinovic finally wiggled free he was able to take Guerra down and put him into a submission that he held until the end of the round.

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            The wear and tear on Guerra from the submission maneuvering was very evident at the start of the second round. As Stojadinovic found an opening as the round began, he lifted Guerra and slammed him down with incredible force. As they struggled for control Stojadinovic was able to rotate himself around and take Guerra from behind. Sinking in a very deep rear naked choke, he tried to stretch Guerra out to increase the force, but it ultimately wasn’t needed.

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Locking in his hooks Guerra finally tapped just before he passed out. Racing to the top of the cage, Stojadinovic proclaimed “Nobody can stop me!!!” into the television cameras. Coming back down he embraced Guerra and helped his corner cool him down with some water down the back before the official ruling was announced. Winner: Stojadinovic by Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Photo-Jordan Raiff
Photo-Jordan Raiff
Photo-Jordan Raiff

            In the semi-main fight Ryder Newman took on Brandon Lopez. Following the traditional sizing up as the round began, Newman attempted to catch Lopez’s leg as he kicked at him, and successfully got him down. With Newman throwing himself on top he successfully shoved Lopez up against the cage where he delivered punches and elbows to the head and midsection. Somehow Lopez was able to shrimp out and get to his feet.

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Taking advantage of his feet again, Lopez attempted to escape to catch his breath. Newman just chased after him and got into a stalemate in the corner, resulting in the ref ultimately separating them. Going back to circling from the start of the round, as they exchanged punches, they became tighter and delivered with more force. This got the crowd to their loudest point of the evening.

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            As Newman left his corner for the start of the second round, he attacked Lopez’s head with increased vigor, attempting to take him down. He finally got him down by throwing himself back onto Lopez with all his weight. This sent them both into the corner, with Newman using every ounce of weight and power he had to try and keep him down. Lopez responded by letting loose with fists and elbows to Newman’s midsection, yet he would not let go of the loose choke he had set in. Finally, Lopez got free and to his feet. Yet the Newman dragged him down again, and now Newman was just laying like a rock on Lopez to tire him out and hold his grip. As the round ended the people were clamoring for the ref to make them stand up and fight.

            Lopez started off the third round with aggressive kicks and forced Newman against the cage. Somehow Newman flipped them around and now had Lopez against the cage. Despite being pinned against the cage, Lopez successfully threw elbows and head punches at Newman. These were futile and Newman wouldn’t move away from the cage. Now concentrating his shots into Newman’s face, blood began to spill. Newman backed up a bit and seemed to lose his footing ever so slightly. Resuming the standing cage pressure, the ref finally split them up to the cheers from the crowd. This separation triggered something. Both attacked more viciously than they had gone all fight. As the 10 second marker sounded Newman tried pressing Lopez again, but Lopez retaliated with a series of stiff shots to the eye of Newman. As the bell sounded both fighters thought they had taken it. Despite the obvious striking numbers from Lopez Newman won by unanimous decision, eliciting boos and people agreeing Newman was just stalling for the clock against a much better opponent. Winner: Newman by UD

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            In the main event Pablo Caballero took on Andrew Richardson for the Global Legion FC Flyweight Title. Pablo had simply destroyed his last opponent at the last Global Legion FC contest, and the expectation from many is that he would do that against this young newcomer. As they took the cage with minor fanfare, the main event promised to be the most exciting fight of the night.

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Photo-Jordan Raiff

            Starting out cautiously, Caballero was loose and having fun. Even dancing a bit as he figured out his opponent. Taking Richardson down, he tried keeping him down with standing leg kicks, but Richardson was able to trip him up with an ankle lock with his feet that led to him cornering Caballero. Richardson assumed a full mount and rained down strikes to Caballero’s head that he simply brushed off.

Photo-Jordan Raiff
Photo-Jordan Raiff

As Caballero pushed off the cage with his feet, he was stopped and warned for “grabbing the cage”. Now he had been told a few times to quit using his fingers and toes on the cage, it now necessitated a stoppage to officially warn him he could lose a point if he kept it up. As people disagreed this stoppage, the fight resumed.

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Shortly thereafter the fight was again stopped with Caballero being deducted a point for his grabbing. As the match now resumed in the middle of the cage Caballero was able to clearly dominate Richardson for the remainder of the round.

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The second round Caballero attacked with severe aggression. He took Richardson to the ground and it was raining Argentinian fists and elbows as Richardson could only attempt to dodge or brush off the shots. Keeping him on the ground for nearly two solid minutes, the elbows took over as the shot of choice for Caballero. Despite this Richardson attempted to get out the entire time and finally got up. With a long cut on the right side of his head leaking, Richardson kept going after Caballero. Caballero kept looking for the take downs. As Richardson got Caballero down, he kept taking shots as the round ended.

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As the third round began, they traded blows back and forth in the center of the cage. Suddenly moving up against the cage the fight was stopped again. The ref was taking another point from Caballero for grabbing the cage; to numerous vocal objections across the arena. Warning him that if he did it again the fight would be over, Caballero continued on the attack on Richardson, driving the fight back to the canvas. Wrestling for position into the corner, Caballero was now locked down by Richardson, but mounting a reasonable offence for position. As Caballero pushed on the fence with his foot to adjust for position, the ref waved off the fight.

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With the chorus of objections raining in, it was obvious that the ref had made a poor judgement call. With Caballero and his corner objecting, the ref grabbed their hands the announcer asked for respect for both fighters and Global Legion FC promoter Kosmas Livanos put the belt around Richardson’s waist. Taking the mic, Kosmas voices his own disagreement with the ref’s decision and promised that these two could face one another again in the near future.

Photo-Jordan Raiff
Photo-Jordan Raiff

After the fight I took an opportunity to discuss the final fight with numerous people. While everyone agreed that Richardson was a tough kid for taking the beating his face was showcasing, he certainly should not have won by DQ. Rather the fight should have continued as there was never any real indication that Caballero had intentionally grabbed the cage. Rather he was pushing off on it for leverage; which is allowed in MMA in Florida. Suffice to say the rematch promises to be nothing short of legendary.

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