Combate Americas on Friday debuted in Hidalgo, Texas, and delivered an exciting night of fights.
The main event of Combate 40 saw featherweights Cooper Gibson and Ricky Palacios battle at a 150-pound catchweight. Gibson managed to take “El Gallero” to the ground early in the first round and quickly moved to side control. He locked in an arm-triangle and forced Palacios to tap at 4:02.
Enrique Gonzalez made a successful promotional debut in the co-main event. Despite some early scares against Alejandro Martinez (4-4), “Baby Bull” managed to use his superior cardio to win the later rounds on two of the judges’ scorecards. Gonzalez won a split decision -- 30-27, 27-30, 29-28 -- to improve his record to 7-3.
The lone female fight on the card featured strawweights Paulina Vargas and Desiree Yanez. Yanez managed to tarnish the formerly undefeated record of Vargas by using her grappling in the second and third rounds. The Mexican tapped after breaking her ankle and taking several shots to the head.
A featured bantamweight bout saw D.J. Fuentes and C.J. Hamilton go at it. Hamilton (14-7) proved he had a striking advantage in the first round, as he was the much busier fighter. The second stanza looked like more of the same until Fuentes (13-12) rocked Hamilton and landed a huge uppercut right before the bell. Both fighters came out swinging to start the third, and it was “The Autobot” who landed the more damaging blows. After three hard-fought rounds, Hamilton walked away with the split decision: 28-29, 30-27 and 30-27.
Juan Gonzalez and Elias Rodriguez had identical 6-1 records going into their catchweight bout, but Gonzalez solidified himself as the fighter to watch. Rodriguez had the advantage early in the first round, as he immediately took down Gonzalez and took his back. However, Gonzalez managed to get back to his feet and began landing heavy punches. He kept the momentum in the next round, where he continued to outland Rodriguez. The end came at 3:01 of the second frame after a flurry of elbows on the ground from Gonzalez.
Jose Flores made short work of Eduardo Bustillos. Flores (8-1) latched on a standing guillotine choke and immediately prompted the tap from Bustillos (5-5), who dislocated his elbow earlier in the exchange. The lightweight bout came to an end after just 40 seconds of fighting.
Middleweight prospect Elias Urbina improved his record to 4-1 by defeating Carlos Martinez. Urbina wasted no time, as he landed a spinning reverse kick that knocked down Martinez (4-5). He knocked down his opponent later with a vicious knee to the head. After a series of punches from mount, Martinez gave up his back and Urbina won via rear-naked choke in the second minute of the first round.
Two 24-year-old featherweight fighters clashed, as Roy Sarabia looked to pick up his first professional win over Isaac Matamoros. He did just that as he took down his opponent early in the first round, moved into mount and constantly applied elbows and punches. Matamoros (1-3) gave up his back to get out of the position. However, that wound up being the end for him, as Sarabia (1-1) sunk a rear-naked choke at 2:20 of Round 1.
The event kicked off with a bout between two training partners in Edmilson Freitas and David Salazar. Freitas wound up improving his record to 8-3 with a quick rear-naked choke submission after just 44 seconds. Meanwhile, Salazar fell to 3-11.