Tachi Palace Fights “Stars and Strikes” Results
By DAMIAN MARQUEZ
LEMOORE, Calif. - Michael "Mayday" McDonald stole the show for a second time at a Tachi Palace Fights card.
McDonald avenged the only loss of his career with a dominating victory over Cole Escovedo to capture the Tachi Palace Fights bantamweight championship.
McDonald, who beat Escovedo to the punch all night, connected with a big overhand right to stun the defending champion, and finished him off with a combination 1 minute, 12 seconds into the second round of the scheduled 5-round championship bout.
McDonald suffered his only loss to Escovedo on May 8, 2009 but has now won three straight fights to run his professional record to 10-1 at just 19-years-old.
McDonald defeated Carlos Garces at TPF 1 via knockout on Oct. 8, 2009, he dismantled former WEC No. 1 contender Manny Tapia at TPF 3 on Feb. 4, and he beat Escovedo at TPF 5 "Stars and Strikes" on Friday night.
McDonald, who has been a rising MMA star since he began his MMA career, raised some eyebrows with his pin-point striking accuracy in his win over Tapia, and he followed up his performance with another striking exhibition against Escovedo.
Escovedo, who had won five straight fights since returning from a life-threatning staph infection, dropped to 16-5 for his career.
There were three title fights on the fight card.
David Mitchell vs. Poppies Martinez, for TPF welterweight title
David Mitchell didn't have the same explosive finish as Michael McDonald, but it was just as dominant if not even more dominant.
Mitchell wasted very little time to pull guard and from there, he locked in a triangle choke, forcing Poppies Martinez to tap out 1 minute, 32 seconds into the first round to retain his Tachi Palace Fights welterweight championship.
With the victory, Mitchell improved to 11-0 for his career and to 4-0 under the TPF banner.
Martinez fell to 18-7 for his career.
Gabe Ruediger vs. Lenny Lovato, for the vacant TPF lightweight title
Gabe "Godzilla" Ruediger captured the vacant Tachi Palace Fights lightweight championship with a first-round technical knockout against previously undefeated fighter Lenny Lovato.
Ruediger finished the fight 3 minutes, 25 seconds into the first round with some vicious ground and pound to improve to 17-5 in his career.
Lovato, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M., dropped to 8-1.
"Razor" Rob McCullough vs. Isaac De Jesus, lightweights
Rob McCullough made a triumphant return to the Tachi Palace with a first-round technical knockout victory against Fresno's Isaac De Jesus in the main event at a 160-pound catchweight.
McCullough and De Jesus stood toe-to-toe for the majority of the first round, but as soon as De Jesus hit the ground, McCullough pounced for some vicious ground and pound, leaving De Jesus a bloody mess.
The fight was stopped 4 minutes, 31 seconds into the first round.
McCullough improved to 18-6 for his career, and De Jesus tasted defeat for just the second time as he fell to 9-2.
John Alessio vs. War Machine, welterweights
In a showdown of two former UFC fighters, John Alessio moved one step closer to returning to the world's top MMA promotion with his submission victory over War Machine.
Alessio locked in a rear-naked choke in the third round. War Machine didn't tap out, but the referee stepped in to stop the fight 2:24 into the round.
Alessio improved to 29-13 in his career, and War Machine, who is going to start serving a year-long jail sentence in the near future, dropped to 11-4.
Dominique Robinson vs. David Kaplan, lightweights
"The Fallen Angel" Dominique Robinson rebounded from a loss in his previous fight to defeat Las Vegas' David Kaplan with a third round technical knockout.
The referee called the fight 57 seconds into the the third round after Robinson stunned Kaplan and finished him off with strikes.
Robinson improved to 5-4, and Kaplan, an Ultimate Fighter veteran, fell to 2-4 after suffering his fourth straight loss.
Stephen Abas vs. Joey DeLaCruz, bantamweights
Olympic silver medalist Stephen Abas turned in a dominating performance to improve to 2-0 in young mixed martial arts career.
Abas defeated Lemoore's Joey DeLaCruz via unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the bout 30-27.
Abas was a bit shaky in his MMA debut earlier this year at the Tachi Palace, but showed definite signs of improvement in just his second pro fight.
David Bollea vs. Cody Gibson, lightweights
David Bollea, the nephew of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, overcame a shaky first round to defeat Cody Gibson with a second-round submission and improve to 3-0 in his career.
Bollea and Gibson fought a tightly contested first round, with Gibson having the slight edge, but Bollea locked in an armlock, forcing Gibson to tap out 31 seconds into the second round.
Bollea improved to 3-0 in his career, and Gibson, who fights out of Visalia, dropped to 3-1.
Francisco Loredo vs. Drew Bittner, bantamweights
In the opening bout of the night, it was Drew Bittner winning a unanimous decision against Francisco Loredo to stay undefeated.
Bittner controlled most of the fight, which took place mostly on the ground, earning the 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 decision.
Bittner improved to 4-0 in his career, and Loredo dropped to 4-6.