As winter departs and spring starts, New Mexico’s combat-sports cup runneth over.
Here’s a list of upcoming events (hopefully though not necessarily complete), followed by additional info.
MARCH 25: Albuquerque/Jackson-Wink bantamweight Holly Holm (14-6) vs. Yana Santos (also 14-6) on a UFC Fight Night card in San Antonio, Texas (ESPN, 5 p.m.).
APRIL 8: Cleveland High School graduate Brian Mendoza (21-2, 15 KOs) vs. California’s Sebastian Fundora (20—0-1), 12 rounds for Fundora’s WBC Interim super welterweight title in Carson, California (Showtime, 8 p.m.).
Also: Albuquerque’s Abraham Perez (6-0, two KOs) vs. Tanzania’s Mchanja Yohana (14-4-1, 12 KOs) in the 10-round main event of a Legacy Promotions pro boxing card, for the WBC Youth flyweight title, at the Embassy Suites. First bell: 7 p.m. Tickets: 505-877-5725 or 505-382-5126.
Also: Albuquerque/Jackson-Wink strawweight Michelle Waterson-Gomez (18-10) vs. Brazil’s Luana Pinheiro (10-1) on UFC 287 in Miami (ESPN2/espn+, 4:30 p.m.).
APRIL 15: Albuquerque/Jackson’s Acoma MMA lightweight Lando Vannata (12-6-2) vs. Mexico’s Daniel Zellhuber (12-1) on a UFC Fight Night card in Kansas City, Missouri (ESPN/espn+, 3:30 p.m.)
APRIL 21: Moriarty/FIT-NHB strawweight Amber Brown (7-6) vs. TBA, on an LFA card in Prior Lake, Minnesota (UFC Fight Pass, 7 p.m.).
APRIL 22: Albuquerque/Jackson’s Acoma bantamweight Ray Borg (16-5) vs. Japan’s Kyoji Horiguchi (31-5) on Bellator 295 in Honolulu (Showtime, 5 p.m.).
APRIL 23: Albuquerque/FIT-NHB atomweight Amanda Lovato (3-7) vs. Canada’s Isabelle LaCroix (1-0) on PFC 16 in Toronto (Fight Network, streaming, 2 p.m.).
Whew. And the list would have been longer, had Chris Brown’s scheduled fight on Friday not fallen through.
Brown (10-4), an MMA welterweight who trains in Albuquerque at Jackson-Wink, was scheduled to face Brazil’s Quemuel Otoni on a PFL Challengers Series card in Orlando, Florida. On Thursday, tapology.com listed the fight as having been scrapped, posting, “both fighters not cleared to fight.”
As of this writing, neither fighter had reacted to the cancellation on social media.
Regarding Holm’s fight, Santos is the former Yana Kunitskaya, a former teammate at Jackson-Wink. She’s the wife of fellow MMA fighter Thiago Santos, best known for fighting and almost defeating Albuquerque’s Jon Jones in July 2019.
Should Mendoza upset Fundora in his bid for the WBC Interim super welter title – the New Mexican is a decided betting underdog – his path to the “real” title would remain clouded.
Jermell Charlo holds all four of the widely recognized world super welterweight belts. Charlo was scheduled to defend against Australia’s Tim Tzyu, but the champion broke his hand while training in December.
Now, Tzyu, who defeated Tony Harrison by ninth-round TKO on Sunday, is stumping for a title shot against Charlo this summer.
Perez’s WBC Youth title fight against Yohana is difficult to handicap, since the Tanzanian will be fighting in the U.S. for the first time. Yohana’s record does suggest he’s the hardest puncher the young Perez has yet faced.
Amber Brown’s fight against a yet-to-be-identified opponent comes after her scheduled fight on a Saturday, March 11 FightWorld card fell through because her opponent, Celine Haga, pulled out due to illness.
Borg’s scheduled fight would be his Bellator debut. He’s 3-0, having fought once for UAE Warriors and twice for Eagle FC, since being dropped by the UFC for repeated failures to make weight.
NUMBERS: Attendance figures from the Feb. 17 BKFC card at Tingley Coliseum, as provided by the New Mexico Athletic Commission: 6,792 paid, 7,790 including comps.
Attendance from the Feb. 7 Wrecking Crew boxing promotion at Revel Entertainment: 873, producing a paid gate of $42,910.