Albuquerque fighter faces late replacement Cerda
Frank Gomez wants to prove his recent struggles in the octagon are behind him, so that he can again be a big part of the national conversation in the mixed-martial arts world.
A loser of his last two pro fights, and four of his last six, the Albuquerque native was looking toward today’s Jackson’s MMA Series IX main event in Tingley Coliseum as a potential steppingstone to bigger things. But a late injury to fellow Albuquerque MMA star Mike Lovato, who tore the meniscus in his knee while training, has Gomez (10-5 in his pro career) seemingly fighting blind against last-minute addition Aaron Cerda, a 3-3 fighter from Tye, Texas.
“I trained for a certain type of fighter in Mikey Lovato – a shorter, really strong wrestler,” Gomez said at the weigh-in Friday at Hotel Albuquerque. “Aaron is a taller, lankier striker, so I’m definitely going to have to change my game plan up and be ready for anything out there.”
WHAT: Jackson’s MMA Series IX
WHEN, WHERE: 7 p.m., Tingley Coliseum
FIGHT CARD: Co-Main Event Fight 1 – Hunter Tucker (2-0) vs. Nate Patterson (2-1); Co-Main Fight 2 – Frank Gomez (10-5) vs. Aaron Cerda (3-3); Three other pro fights and seven amateur bouts (pro fights all scheduled for three 5-minute rounds; amateur fights are three 3-minute rounds).
TICKETS: $20-$125, can be purchased at gate or at JacksonsMMASeries.com
The Gomez/Cerda showdown will be one of two “co-main event” bouts on a fight card that features five professional and seven amateur fights, the first of which starts at 7 p.m. at Tingley.
Gomez acknowledged he had some hesitation about taking the fight with such short notice, but also realized his name atop the fight card in his hometown carries some responsibility.
“Everybody was counting on me fighting and wanted to watch me fight, so I kind of felt obligated (to take the fight),” Gomez said. “I’m just glad they found somebody to take the fight.”
Cerda weighed in Friday afternoon at 142.4 pounds, 1.4 pounds over the 141-pound limit for the fight. But, according to Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA general manager Ricky Kottenstette, Cerda was able to drop the final pound and make the 141 weight in time for there to be no changes to the card. Gomez, who trains at Jackson-Winkeljohn, weighed in at 139.8 pounds.
The other co-main event fight will pit Hunter Tucker (2-0), who also trains at Jackson-Winkeljohn, against Las Crucean Nate Patterson (144.8). Kottenstette said this fight is one normally well worth top billing on its own.
“I’ve got a unique skill set that I try to use to my advantage, and I think everyone should expect a good, exciting fight,” said Tucker, a former college football player at Hardin-Simmons and the University of North Texas.
Patterson is 2-1 in his professional career. Dating to his amateur career, he is 3-0 against Jackson-Winkeljohn fighters.
“I like to fight,” Patterson said. “I don’t like to lay around on my back. I don’t like to stand around and not punch. I like to get in there and bang. … I like to be an exciting fighter.”
Patterson said he knows Tucker has a similar style: “It’s going to be a fight, and we’re going to put on a war, I guarantee that.”