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Tucker Throttles Patterson Early

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Cerda Wins In Card at Tingley

Hunter Tucker thinks he’s close to becoming one of the big-time players in the mixed-martial arts game.

One of the hotter prospects training at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA showed Saturday night at Tingley Coliseum that he’s probably right with an impressive win over Las Crucean Nate Patterson.

“I think one, maybe two more fights at this level and I think I’ll be ready for something a lot bigger,” said Tucker, a 26-year-old former college football player from Kansas. “Right now, I’m trusting my training, and I know I still have a lot of work still to do before I’m truly ready to get where I want to get.”


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Tucker’s “co-main event” win was good news for the estimated 2,500 fight fans at the Jackson’s MMA Series IX event who were let down about 15 minutes later when the referee stopped the other co-main event because of a an eye injury to Albuquerque’s Frank Gomez.

Last-minute injury fill-in Aaron Cerda from Tye, Texas, caught Gomez with a right elbow early in their fight. While the injury didn’t seem to slow Gomez, the eye swelled and was bleeding enough over the next several minutes for the fight to be called.

Cerda won by TKO at the 4:26 mark of the first round.

“Frank is a great fighter, and I really wish it could have kept going, but they stopped it,” said Cerda, who had six days to prepare for the fight.

Tucker, meanwhile, improved to 3-0 as a pro with a rear-naked choke submission of Patterson 3:32 into the second round, further building his growing reputation.

“He’s a tough dude,” Tucker said of Patterson. “He’s not the most technical fighter, but he’s got power and he’s got heart for days.”

Tucker and Patterson, fighting at 145 pounds, spent the majority of the first round on their feet, feeling each other out. Of the strikes that did land, Tucker continually connected with kicks to Patterson’s right quadriceps, visibly affecting Patterson’s balance.

When the two went to the ground in round two, Tucker maneuvered his way into the fight-ending chokehold.

His and Patterson’s fight was originally the main event before local fighters Frank Gomez and Mikey Lovato signed on to fight for top billing. That fight was scrapped this past week, though, when Lovato tore meniscus in his knee.