The captain of Combate Americas, Campbell McLaren, just hosted a one-night eight-man tournament, in which Levy Saul Marroquin scored a unanimous decision over John Castaneda to walk away with a cool $100,000 grand prize. Marroquin had to get past Marcelo Rojo, Carlos Rivera, and Castaneda in order to be crowned the Copa Combate tournament winner, and he now has a date with recently signed free agent Erik Perez. In the co-main event, the strawweights were on display as Melissa Martinez picked up a sensational standing TKO over Gloria Bravo in the final minute of the 1st round. In an ultra exciting atomweight tilt, Lisbeth Lopez Silva TKO’d Sheila Padilla in the 2nd round of their back and forth battle.
The quarter final matches were one 5-minute round, with the semis and the finals being three 3-minute rounds. Check out what transpired tonight at the Grand Oasis resort in Cancun, Mexico.
Copa Combate finals:
Levy Saul Marroquin def. John Castaneda by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)
Castaneda began the opening round pressuring his opponent backwards and landing leg kicks. Marroquin returned fire with a spinning back kick to the mid section of his opponent, which caused Castaneda to close the distance up against the cage. Marroquin finished up the round with a tight flurry and a takedown for good measure.
Marroquin came blitzing forward to start the second stanza, but Castaneda was able to move out of harms way and into open space. Castaneda pressed forward looking for a takedown against the cage, but a Marroquin Guillotine attempt forced Castaneda to bail. Castaneda ducked under a wild punch and landed a flush hook, but Marroquin wore it rather well. Marroquin hopped on the back of his opponent in the closing moments of the round, but Castaneda was able to reverse into top position as the buzzer sounded.
The bantamweight athletes hugged it out in a huge sign of respect to kick off the final round. Castaneda continued to move forward in search of a takedown, and landed a slick southpaw cross followed by a thudding leg kick that echoed throughout the arena. Marroquin found himself with his back on the fence without any answers, as Castaneda continued to rack up control time. Marroquin would jump a Guillotine in the closing moments, bailing on the sub in exchange for full mount, but Castaneda scrambled out just as the round expired. It was Levy Saul Marroquin who went on to earn the judges unanimous decision, winning the Copa Combate bantamweight tournament and the $100,000 grand prize.
Check out Marroquin en route to $100k:
Copa Combate strawweight co-main event:
Melissa Martinez def. Gloria Bravo by TKO (Head Kick and Punches) at 4:18 of round 1
The pace was a bit slow to start, until Martinez landed a Sparta kick that sent Bravo flying across the cage. Martinez landed a sound leg kick that instantly left a huge welt on the side of Bravo’s leg. Bravo found a bit of success pinning Martinez against the cage, but once in open space, ate quite a few clean strikes. Martinez smelled blood in the water, and unleashed a mean flurry followed up by a flush head kick that wobbled her foe. The fists of fury came a flying as Martinez went in for the kill, throwing punches in bunches and scoring a standing TKO. Fun!!!
Oh no she didn’t:
Copa Combate semi finals:
John Castaneda def. Marc Gomez by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Castaneda went right at Gomez, following up his punches with leg kicks. Gomez landed a clean cross, but Castaneda ate it like a champ, and continued to press the action. Castaneda scored the first takedown that he went for, but allowed Gomez to return to his feet. Gomez went for an unexpected takedown in the final 10 seconds of the round, but Castaneda was having none of it.
Gomez came out looking to work his head kick on his southpaw opponent, which encouraged Castaneda to close the distance. Once in open space, Castaneda returned to the leg kick, and then controlled Gomez against the cage for the remaining moments of the round.
The final frame saw Gomez come out with a sense of urgency, aggressively pressuring, but that just made it easier for Castaneda to close the distance. Gomez defended the takedown well, and briefly staggered Castaneda with well timed knee. Castaneda finally scored a takedown, but it was right at the bell, before he could do anything with it. When it was all said and done, it was Castaneda who received the unanimous nod to move on to the finals.
Levy Saul Marroquin def. Marcelo Rojo by Submission (Guill) at 1:56 of round 3
Rojo came out pressuring forward, but was wobbled by a Marroquin flurry in the opening moments. Rojo recovered rather quickly, but Marroquin hopped on his back, muscling an RNC attempt. Marroquin viciously attacked an armbar, but was unable to finish before the 3-minute round expired.
The second frame saw Rojo close the distance, and launch knees to the body and leg from the clinch. Marroquin would reverse the position to hold Rojo against the fence, but the referee quickly separated the athletes when the action stalled. Neither man was able to put a stamp on the 2nd round before time expired.
The third round started with a respectful touch of the gloves, followed by Rojo landing a clean 1-2. Rojo shot in on his foe, and Marroquin stopped the initial takedown, but Rojo’s second effort took the fight to the ground. Seemingly out of nowhere, Marroquin locked up an airtight Guillotine from the bottom, forcing Rojo to tap. With the 3rd round submission, Marroquin advanced to the finals.
Check out Marroquin’s sweet Guillotine choke from the bottom:
Copa Combate quarter
Marcelo Rojo def. Mikey Erosa by Submission (Armbar) at 2:20 of round 1
Erosa shot in right away as Rojo threw a kick, but found himself trapped in a Guillotine attempt. Rojo transitioned to a Triangle choke, but Erosa was wise, remained calm, and worked his way out of danger. Erosa tried to work his top position, but Rojo swiftly secured an armor from the bottom, and Erosa had no choice but to tap out. With the sub, Rojo advanced to the next round.
Levy Saul Marroquin def. Carlos Rivera by unanimous decision (10-9 x2, 10-8)
Rivera came out throwing some flashy jumping techniques, before Marroquin realized a takedown, and looked to work from half guard. The referee quickly stood the fighters up, but Marroquin quickly earned another takedown, and returned to the half guard of his opponent, but this time with ample strikes. Rivera struggled to get up from off of his back, which swayed the judges to award the one-round fight to Marroquin.
John Castaneda def. Kevin Moreyra by Submission (RNC) 4:55 of round 1
Castaneda came out pressing forward, and briefly put Moreyra on his back. Moreyra found his way back to his feet, but Castaneda showed off his collegiate wrestling chops by scoring another takedown. After a quick referee standup, Castaneda ate some solid leg kicks, but dropped his foe with a straight right hand, and took top position. Castaneda transitioned to the back, and sunk a Rear-Naked Choke that prompted a tap in the closing seconds of the round/fight.
Marc Gomez def. Alejandro Abomohor by Unanimous Decision (10-9 x 2, 10-8)
Gomez found a home for his right hand early and often as he floored Abomohor twice in the opening minute. Abomohor would regain his wits, scramble back to his feet, just to endure some more punishment. With about 2 minutes left in the round/fight, Abomohor snagged a takedown, but the referee quickly stood them up due to inactivity. Once back on the feet, Abomohor continued to work his takedowns, but it was too little too late, as Gomez went on to pick up the unanimous decision to advance to the semi finals.
Women’s atomweight featured bout:
Lisbeth Lopez Silva def. Sheila Padilla by TKO at 1:24 of round 2
These atom weights met in the center of the cage, and Silva put Padilla on her back off of catching a kick. Silva instantly started landing flush ground strikes, before Padilla scrambled and took the back. Padilla lost the dominant position after going for an armor, which allowed Silva to land some ground strikes before returning to her feet. The second stanza began with a much slower pace than the mad dash that was the opening round. Silva found top position from a caught kick, again, but this time held the position and dealt out a solid amount of ground punishment. The referee gave Padilla every opportunity to defend herself, but the onslaught of Silva proved to be too much, and the bout was called off.
Copa Combate alternate bout:
Felipe Vargas def. Victor Madrigal by Split Decision (10-9 x2, 9-10)
There was no feeling out process between these bantamweights, as they went toe to toe right off the bat, swinging with bad intentions. Each fighter had their moments, but it was Madrigal who scored the takedown, with a bit of top control before the round expired. When the dust settled, it was Felipe Vargas who walked away with the split decision, and advanced to the semi finals.
Copa Combate was remarkable to say the least:
Check out this post event interview with UFC co-founder and COmbate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren: