Though two champions stepped into the Tachi
Palace Fights cage to do battle Thursday night, only one title
was at stake in the
TPF 31 main event. Adrian Diaz
put his featherweight belt on the line against
Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Cody Gibson
and had to regroup after a rough opening round. Gibson took him
down and controlled the pace with plenty of strikes from on top,
but when Diaz landed a partially-blocked head kick in the second,
the tides were changed.
Gibson, who is the current TPF bantamweight champion, stormed back
in the third, but when the fight went to the ground, Gibson made a
critical error by ducking his head in a dangerous position. Diaz
quickly latched on a guillotine, locked in a tight body triangle
and forced the tap at the 1:46 mark of the third. After the fight,
Gibson announced his retirement while the younger Diaz politely
demanded a shot in the UFC.
Wallace went to war with fellow welterweight J.C. Llamas in
the TPF 31 co-feature and prevailed, but a rematch might be in
store. The two fought tooth and nail from the start, but a nasty
laceration around Llamas’ right eye ended the fight prematurely.
With blood covering his face like a mask late in the opening frame,
Llamas threatened with a leg lock. However, both men inexplicably
stopped fighting with several seconds remaining before the bell
ended the round. From there, the cageside physician deemed Llamas’
cut too severe and advised referee Mark Lawley
to stop the fight before the second began.
Heavyweight prospect Chris Lewis
dominated the larger Van Palacio
as soon as their duel began and eventually stopped him in the
second. “The Law” picked Palacio apart from the outside with
punches and kicks and continued to pound on his foe in the
following frame. When Palacio was tagged by a pair of rights, he
attempted a guillotine, but missed. Lewis slid out from the choke,
scrambled on the ground and wound up on top. From there, Lewis
hammered away with punches until referee Jason McCoy
halted the mugging. The end came at 4:38 of the frame.
In a matchup of undefeated featherweight prospects, it was Team
Alpha Male’s Tyler
Diamond who reigned supreme. Diamond took Nathan
Stolen down at will and when he did, Stolen was trapped.
Diamond pounded away at him with punches from on top and while he
couldn’t put “Superman” away, he dominated him for every minute of
every round. When the final bell had sounded, it was clear that
Diamond had won; the only question was by how many points. Two
judges favored him 30-25 while the third official saw it 30-26 for
Diamond, who won the unanimous decision.
Light heavyweight prospect Angel
DeAnda was too much for Mike
Morales to handle as he levelled him in the opening round. The
two opted to keep the fight standing, but it was DeAnda that struck
the hardest first. A powerful overhand right landed on the head for
“The Dream,” who followed that up with a low kick and flurry of
punches as Morales…