Posted: Monday, May 2, 2022. 3:03 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: The sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) continues to grow in Belize and the latest Belizean MMA league event, Pro FC 5 which was held on April 30, showed that Belizean fighters can hold their own against their regional counterparts.
The all-amateur series event, held at the Orange Walk Multi-Purpose Complex, featured a total of 13 matches. Silvino Riverol President of Pro FC explained that the first four of those fights were all grappling matches to promote the discipline of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the other nine were fully MMA fights.
In the first grappling match Wayne Godfrey took on Jaylen Smith and Smith secured the victory with an armbar with only three seconds left on the clock. Thomas Godfrey took the second match against Daniel Cocom, with a read-naked choke in the second round. The third match was a junior grappling match between two brothers one 7 and one 8 years old, Kyle and Xander Novelo.
“Those kids went at it 100 percent. You would never know that they are brothers because of the way they tried to choke each other out,” Riverol said.
But after three minutes of takedowns, armbar, and collar choke attempts, the battle between brothers ended in a draw. The premier grappling match was fought between Ronald Hyde and Rodrigo Rafael from Cancun, Mexico, with Hyde winning in EBI ( EBI Eddie Bravo Invitational) overtime rules for the fastest escape time.
The first MMA fight was between Anuar Codd and Bryan Pacheco, both of whom were making their MMA debut. Codd, 17, won against Pacheco, 24, by TKO in the second round. Abner Reyes and Sergio Herrera also made their MMA debut in the second match. Herrera, 19, beat Reyes, 16, by submission; however the fight is under review because Herrera had a wardrobe malfunction with his cup that should have seen him disqualified, but the fight was allowed to continue. The result of the judges’ review is still pending.
Kevin Mendez and Jahmir Selgado were next, and Mendez, who dominated the fight from the outset, sealed the win with a rear-naked choke in the second round. While the fourth match was not a premier event, the judges and crowd agree that Omar Al Yakni vs Ricardo Rodriguez from Merida was a major highlight of the evening.
“This was the fight of the night. It was a slugfest. Both men left the arena with their faces swollen,” Riveroll said. “The crow was around 330 people but it sounded like there were a thousand in the bleachers.”
That fight ended with Rodriguez taking the victory by split decision. David Blanco vs Saul Almora was next, with Blanco winning by rear-naked choke in round 2. The fight between Jalen Perez and Luis Duran Ricardez also ended in the second round, with Perez claiming victory by TKO. Jared Ramos who went up against Mexican fighter Manuel Promesa, secured a commanding victory with a TKO in the first round.
Raheem Lamby would then go up against Josue Lopez Rosado from Mexico and went on to land a rea-naked choke in round one for the win. Meanwhile, the main event for the night, Wil Vazquez vs Kris Usher, ended in a draw as Vasquez landed an illegal strike to Usher’s groin which got a point deducted from his score, shifting what would have been a 29-28 result at decision time, to 28-28.
“Apart from Al Yakni, all the other Belizeans won their fights against the Mexicans. So that’s showing that at the amateur level of MMA, Belize is right there with the rest of the world,” Riverol said. “The last time the Mexicans dominated us, this time around we dominated.”
Riverol, who went on to thank the sponsors, fans, and his business partners Israel Vasquez Jr. and Ralph Hulse Jr. said that they are tentatively looking at the month of July to hold Pro FC 6, which will see the return of professional fights.
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