Another solid card has been assembled for Tachi Palace Fights 9 from Lemoore, California on May 6th, which will be streamed live on Sherdog.com for free starting at 8:30 PM EST.
The lineup features stellar talent in former UFC fighters Gerald Harris, Efrain Escudero, and Fabricio Camoes, and proves the promotion has the stateside lockdown on the flyweight division. Five of the world's top ranked 125-pound fighters are on the TPF roster, two of which will battle in separate fights on Friday's card.
Headlining the show is 9-2 Ian McCall, fresh off his shocking upset of Jussier "Formiga" Da Silva of Nova Uniao, who was widely considered the best flyweight in the game before McCall shattered his flawless record at TPF 8 in February. McCall, a.k.a. "Uncle Creepy", had a three-fight bantamweight stint in the WEC, where he finished Coty Wheeler with punches but suffered the only losses of his career against Charlie Valencia and #1 ranked 135er Dominick Cruz. The Team Oyama fighter has now dropped a weight class and rattled off two straight wins, vaulting into the elite 125-pound spotlight.
McCall is paired with undefeated Dustin Ortiz, who has finished all seven of his opponents by strikes or submission. Making his debut in the Gameness Fighting Championships and trampling six opponents in a row, Ortiz upgraded his status with an appearance on the January 7 Strikeforce "Challengers 13" card, where he stopped the well traveled Matt Horning by TKO.
Trademarking MMA's first and most distinguished afro since 1999, former Shooto featherweight (132 lb.) and bantamweight (123 lb.) champ Mamoru Yamaguchi makes his TPF debut versus 10-3 Kevin Dunsmoor. 25-5-3 Yamaguchi won the King of the Cage Junior Flyweight belt in January of 2010 on the promotion's "Toryumon" event in Okinawa, then defended the strap successfully against Greg Guzman on the August 5 "Sniper" card, which was Yamaguchi's first scrap on American soil.
Dunsmoor has replaced Greg Jackson product John Dodson, who dropped out earlier this week and was already filling in for #9 ranked flyweight and 1996 freestyle Olympic medalist Alexis Vila, who Yamaguchi was initially slated to face.
The rest of the exciting TPF 9 match-ups are previewed in the full entry.
In what should be the firecracker of the night, TUF 8 winner Efrain Escudero takes on Black House grappling machine Fabricio Camoes. Both lightweights were cut from the UFC despite turning in respectable performances against reputable contenders: after beating Phillipe Nover to win the show, Escudero beat Cole Miller and Dan Lauzon but was submitted by Evan Dunham and Charles Oliveira; Camoes would have defeated Caol Uno were it not for a point deduction for illegal up-kicks and was giving Kurt Pellegrino a handful before succumbing to a 2nd round choke.
Since their Octagon departure, Escudero has scored three in a row in smaller shows and will make his promotional debut, while Camoes crumpled Steve Lopez, another former UFC lightweight, with a vicious head-kick KO at TPF 8 in February.
In perhaps the most memorable falling of the Zuffa axe, 17-4 middleweight Gerald Harris was handed his walking papers after a disappointing defeat to UFC newcomer Maiquel Falcao, even though Harris chalked up three consecutive and demonstrative wins; two of which earned "Knockout of the Night" honors. Surprisingly enough, considering the widespread outrage from his release, Harris went on to drop a decision to James Head at Xtreme Fight Night 2 in February.
Harris draws seasoned veteran Anthony Ruiz, a heavy handed, 25-15 former heavyweight who has plummeted all the way down to 185. Ruiz holds wins over Hector Ramirez, Xavier Foupa-Pokam, Gan McGee, Brad Imes, and Jimmy Ambriz, and has brawled with a litany of tough competition throughout his career.
Rounding out the card are bouts between 9-3 Isaac DeJesus (who defeated Nam Phan but has dropped three of his last four) and 9-1 Russ Miura (on a six-fight streak with six career submission wins), 8-1 Wand Fight Team phenom Jorge Lopez and fan fave Waachiim Spiritwolf, and striker Chidi Njokuani, the younger brother of Anthony Njokuani, taking on Alan Jouban.
With no price tag, some of the best talent outside of the UFC's umbrella, clever match making, and a few of the best flyweights on earth, Tachi Palace Fights 9 is worth a watch on Friday night. The full card is listed below.
What: Tachi Palace Fights 9: "The Contenders"
Where: Tachi Palace Resort and Casino; Lemoore, CA
When: Friday, May 6, 2011, streaming live and free on Sherdog.com at 8:30 PM EST.
Mamoru Yamaguchi vs. Kevin Dunsmoore
Art Arciniega vs. Josh Herrick
Kenny Ento vs. James Chaney