PLACERVILLE , Calif. – The dumb question of the night was posed: How long are the championship bouts scheduled for?
That didn’t matter because the two titles on the line were decided very early into the matches at Saturday’s Gladiator Challenge “Champions” fight card at the Red Hawk Casino.
In the main event of the 20-bout card, Josh Thornburg defeated Larry Wasson to capture the Gladiator Challenge lightweight championship.
Thornburg finished the fight in the second round. He landed a big overhand right to stun Wasson and quickly locked in a guillotine choke, forcing Wasson to tap out 57 seconds into the second round.
The first round was very tightly contested and could have gone either way. Wasson scored a late takedown, which may have stolen the first round for him, but at the end of the day it didn’t matter because Thornburg finished the fight.
The co-main event for the Gladiator Challenge super heavyweight championship ended even quicker.
Rick Vardell needed just 2 minutes, 12 seconds of round one to defeat Gary LaFranci.
Vardell wasted very little time in pushing LaFranci into the corner where he took him down. After the takedown he pummeled LaFranci, forcing the referee to step in and put a stop to the action.
For the record, the two championship bouts were scheduled for three, 5-minute rounds.
Brad McDonald vs. Alex Gonzales, bantamweights
Brad McDonald thought he had the armbar locked in the first time, but Alex Gonzales powerbombed his way out of it.
McDonald didn’t let it go the second time until Gonzales tapped out.
McDonald, who just recently turned 17-years-old, improved to 3-1 in his young MMA career with a submission victory :40 into the second round.
The first round was action packed as the two young fighters didn’t shy away from any exchanges. The two kept up the same pace in the second round until McDonald locked in the submission for the win.
Josh Appelt vs. Marcus Osbourn, heavyweights
Josh Appelt energized the crowd with his submission victory over Marcus Osbourn.
Appelt knocked Osbourn into the corner with a flurry of explosive punches and he quickly transitioned into a double-leg takedown.
From there, it didn’t take very long to lock in a rear-naked choke and force Osbourn to tap out 1:39 into the first round.
Appelt is being advertised for a Gladiator Challenge heavyweight title bout against Angel De Anda on July 17 back at the Red Hawk Casino.
Victor Moreno vs. Manny Rocha, welterweights
Victor Moreno and Manny Rocha fought a tightly-contested first round. The edge actually probably went to Rocha.
But after that it was all Moreno . Moreno dominated the second round, landing five big knees in a row at one point in the corner, and he peppered Rocha for most of the round.
The third round proved to be more of the same. Moreno used his hand speed to continue to punish Rocha. Eventually, Rocha hit the floor and Moreno capitalized with some effective ground and pound, forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight 1:54 into the third round.
Marcus Gaines vs. David Marshall, welterweights
David Marshall wanted to close the gap against Marcus Gaines and he did it effectively.
Marshall didn’t let Gaines use his reach to his advantage as he recorded a unanimous decision victory.
Gaines and Marshall left the cage a bloody mess as Marshall suffered what appeared to be a broken nose and Gaines suffered a cut on the top of his head.
Marshall fought through all the blood and secured enough takedowns and controlled the fight to earn the unanimous decision win.
Josh Neal vs. Marty Halley, middleweights
An intense Josh Neal made the most of his opportunity by defeating Tulare ’s Marty Halley.
Neal took the fight on short notice, and the gamble paid off as he locked in a rear-naked choke 1:21 into the first round, forcing Halley to tap out.
Halley was originally scheduled to fight Chris Botelho, but Botelho announced his retirement from MMA earlier in the week.
Justin Smitley vs. Andre Fili, featherweights
In a back-and-forth fight, Andre Fili overcame an armbar that appeared to be locked in to defeat Justin Smitley.
In the second round, Smitley looked like he was in position to win with a submission, but Fili fought out of it. Fili got back up and dazed Smitley and jumped on him for the finish, forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight 1:41 into the second round.
Frank Pizurelli vs. Robert Ballard, welterweights
Robert Ballard wasted little time in taking down Frank Pizurelli and pinning him against the cage.
From there, Ballard used effective ground and pound, forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight 1:51 into the first round.
Kenny Renta vs. Oscar Martinez, welterweights
Oscar Martinez cost himself a point with an illegal punch to the back of the head, but he rallied to pull off a unanimous decision victory over Kenny Renta.
Renta, who took the fight on short notice, was unable to pull the trigger on any of his kicks or punches and Martinez took advantage by recording a few takedowns and inflicting some damage on the ground.
Larry Mays vs. Blaine Brown, light heavyweights
Blaine Brown started on the right note with a big takedown at the opening bell, but Larry Mays finished it his way.
Mays locked in a guillotine choke, forcing Brown to tap out 2:28 into the first round.
Michael Johnson vs. Andy Campoy, heavyweights
Andy Campoy turned around from a slow start in the second round to finish strong as he defeated Michael Johnson via TKO 2:46 into the second round.
Johnson kept Campoy in check with some effective kicks, including one to the stomach that left a nice welt, but Campoy rallied.
Once the fight went to the ground, Campoy inflicted damage with his ground and pound, forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight.
Rafael Urena vs. Ryan Kelly, welterweights
Rafael Urena, of Visalia , improved to 2-0 in his career with a quick victory over Ryan Kelly.
The fight immediately went to the ground where Urena imposed his will.
Urena landed some vicious ground and pound, forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight 2:01 into the first round.
Mike Quantance vs. Jose Quinonez, welterweights
In an exciting back-and-forth fight, Mike Quaintance pulled out a unanimous decision victory over Jose Quinonez.
Quaintance suffered a cut in the back of his head early in the first round because of some illegal elbows that weren’t called, but it didn’t affect the outcome of the fight.
Blaine Wilson vs. Kevin Richardson, light heavyweights
Blaine Wilson needed just 1:36 into the first round to finish off Kevin Richardson.
Wilson connected early and often as he was too much for Richardson , causing Richardson to bleed a puddle onto the mat.
Wilson finished the fight with a big right hook that buckled Richardson , forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight.
Eric Kagen vs. Stephen Dubie, featherweights
Beware the monster left hook. Eric “Kagel Muscle” Kagen put his left hook on display in his victory over Stephen Dubie.
In the first round, Kagen landed three successive left hooks to begin the fight, and in the second round, another huge left hook set up his rear-naked choke submission.
Dubie tapped out 1:11 into the second round.
Kagen showed off his arsenal of weapons as he also landed several explosive muy-thai knees in the first round.
Kagen showed off his entire arsenal in the victory, and Dubie showed his toughness by surviving as long as he did, but in the end Kagen was too much to overcome.
Jonothan Macololooy vs. Robert Escalante, bantamweights
After an extremely exciting first round, Robert Escalante won because of an injury stoppage after Jonothan Macololooy broke his left leg.
The leg was broken on a shin kick, giving Escalante the victory.
After the fight, Macololooy showed he was still in good spirits, even with the bad break, by apologizing to his fans who came out to watch him, and he promised he’d be back.
Joshua Drake vs. Joel Crawford, middleweights
Visibly exhausted, Joel Crawford found a way to pull out a submission victory over Joshua Drake. Crawford locked in a rear-naked choke 1:00 into the third round to pull out the victory. The two fighters entered the second round already out of gas, but Crawford dug deep enough to pull off the victory.
Chris Wood vs. Charles Price, heavyweights
Chris Wood and Charles Price hugged it out for the first round of the scheduled three-round bout.Wood leaned on Price just enough as Price could not answer the bell for the beginning of round two.Wood earned the victory via TKO at the end of round one.
Chuck Booz vs. Johny Flores, featherweights
In the first bout of the evening, Chuck Booz wasted very little time in disposing of Johny Flores. Booz went for an early rear-naked choke, but ended up with Flores ’ back and worked his ground and pound until referee Herb Dean stepped in 1:08 into the first round to stop the fight.