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Success for Legacy Fighting Alliance signals a return to N.M.

In all probability, Ed Soares said on Monday, the Legacy Fighting Alliance will be back.

Friday at Route 66 Casino Hotel, the LFA staged its first event in New Mexico. Soares, the two-year-old MMA promotional company’s CEO, said in a phone interview he was thoroughly pleased with the experience.

“I thought it went great,” he said. “The room (Route 66’s Legends Theater) was full, and we had a great night of fights.

“Everyone came to fight, to perform, Albuquerque came out and supported their fighters. … It was a very successful night.”

Soares had said before the card that, if things went well, the LFA likely would return.

“We do plan to come back,” he said. “As of right now, we’re just waiting for the casino to get all their numbers in. I believe they were very happy with everything, and we’ll play it by ear.

“But as of now, I could definitely see us coming back there. I could see Albuquerque being a place we come to two or three times a year.”

The card was not quite a sellout, but Soares said he was pleased with a turnout of about 2,000.

IN THE BOOKS: Froday’s main event ended with some controversy, when Clovis lightweight Harvey Park landed an illegal knee to a grounded opponent. No action was taken at the time, and Park (10-2) was declared the winner via strikes in the first round.

It appeared that Park’s knee only grazed the left side of opponent Jaleel Willis’ head, and Willis (9-2) said it was Park’s left hook, which dropped him prior to the knee, that did the damage.

Monday, Gavin Pantoja, chairman of the New Mexico Athletic Commission, said no further action is being considered and that Park’s victory is official.

CATCHING UP: Saturday night at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino in Pojoaque, as reported by, Albuquerque lightweight boxer Fidel Maldonado Jr. defeated Mexico’s Luís Gerardo Ávila by unanimous eight-round decision. The bout was the main event of a card promoted by Santa Fe’s Pat Holmes.

Maldonado is 25-4-1 with 19 knockouts. Avila is 8-15-3 with five KOs.

In the semi-main event, Española junior welterweight Antonio Martinez (10-5-4, six KOs), defeated Mexico’s Pablo Batres (9-17-1, two KOs) by unanimous six-round decision.

In other bouts:

  • Las Cruces super flyweight Amy Salinas (1-0) defeated Espanola’s Leanna Martinez (4-1, two KOs) by six-round unanimous decision.
  • Albuquerque light heavyweight Maurice Jackson (2-0, two KOs) defeated Gabriel Rodriguez (record and knockouts unknown) by second-round TKO.
  •  Santa Fe middleweight Loretto Olivas (3-0, one KO) defeated Albuquerque’s Andre Galarza (1-3, no KOs) by four-round uanimous decision.
  • Albuquerque junior middleweight Jordanne Garcia (2-0-1, no KOs) defeated El Paso’s Karina Mendoza (0-2-1) by four-round unanimous decision.

… In Amarillo, Texas, Albuquerque featherweight Aaron Angel Perez (6-0, four KOs) defeated Raymond Chacon (7-36-1, no KOs) of Los Angeles by four-round unanimous decision.

… In Brooklyn, N.Y, Albuquerque junior middleweight Daniel Garcia-Flores (0-3) lost via third-round TKO to Mark Duncan (3-0, three KOs) of Clarksburg, Md.

… In Sloan, Iowa, Albuquerque MMA strawweight Meaghan Penning (1-0) defeated Nebraskan Lindsay Wilson (0-1) by first-round TKO.

UPCOMING: Albuquerque featherweight boxer Jason Sanchez (13-0, six KOs) is scheduled to face Daniel Olea (13-6-2, five KOs) Saturday in an eight-round bout on a Top Rank, Inc., card in Frisco, Texas.

It will be Sanchez’s first bout as a Top Rank contract fighter. The promotional firm signed Sanchez after he defeated Top Rank fighter Jean Carlos Rivera (15-1, 10 KOs) in Panama on Oct. 31.

Saturday’s card will be telecast on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+, the network’s new subscription service, but it’s unclear whether Sanchez’s bout will be available.

… Albuquerque featherweight boxer Angelo Leo (15-0, eight KOs) returns to the ring on Feb. 9 in a scheduled eight-round bout in Carson, Calif., against Alberto Torres (11-1-3, four KOs) of Sacramento.

Leo now lives and trains in Las Vegas, Nev. He is under contract with Mayweather Promotions, but the Feb. 9 card is being promoted by TGB Promotions. It will be aired on Showtime, though it’s unlikely Leo’s fight will make the telecast.

… Albuquerque MMA lightweight Lando Vannata (9-3-2) is scheduled to face Brazilian Marcos Rosa Mariano (6-4) on UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia, on Feb. 9.

Vannata is 0-2-2 in his last four fights but has signed a new four-year contract with the UFC. The former Jackson-Wink fighter now trains at Donald Cerrone’s BMF Ranch and at Jackson’s MMA on Acoma Road SE.