Win and look good doing it: Thus far in his young MMA career, that has been Albuquerquean Ray Borg’s calling card.
Borg, only 20 at the time, caught the UFC’s eye with a dominating performance in defeating crosstown rival Nick Urso on a Legacy FC card in April 2014. In each of his last two fights, submission victories over Shane Howell and Chris Kelades, his performance earned him a $50,000 “fight of the night” bonus from the UFC.
In April, two months after the Kelades fight, the UFC signed “The Tazmexican Devil” to a new, five-fight contract.
Saturday in Nashville, Tenn., Borg (8-1) will seek to continue the upward arc of his career in a fight against UFC newcomer Geane Herrera (8-0).
Herrera’s résumé looks a lot like Borg’s did when he entered UFC competition some 16 months ago. Borg enters Saturday’s fight as the UFC veteran, just as Dustin Ortiz did when he defeated the Albuquerque flyweight by split decision in Borg’s debut with the organization.
Despite the loss to Ortiz, Borg is ranked 14th by the UFC in the 125-pound division. A victory over a UFC rookie isn’t likely to move him appreciably higher – unless, of course, he looks really good doing it.
“It depends on how tough Herrera is,” Tom Vaughn, Borg’s coach at Albuquerque’s FIT-NHB, told the Journal via email. “If he shows real talent, then any kind of win keeps Ray’s stock high. If the kid is lackluster, which I don’t believe he is, Ray needs to blow him out of the water.”
Vaughn notes the similarity between Herrera’s situation and Borg’s in the Ortiz fight.
“Herrera brings the ferocity of a young undefeated fighter trying to make a name for himself,” Vaughn said. “He also has the element of surprise, because we couldn’t find much on him.”
The Borg-Herrera fight is scheduled to lead off the Fox Sports 1 telecast of the main card. If Borg wins and looks good, Vaughn said, a lot of people will see it.
“It’s an honor to be selected for a main card, and (it) says a lot about what the UFC thinks of Ray Borg,” Vaughn said.
BUSY NOVEMBER: Jackson-Wink MMA teammates Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez, it appears, will fight on back-to-back weekends in November – but in locations 17 time zones apart.
It was widely reported online Wednesday that Condit (30-8) will challenge UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (26-10) for the title in Melbourne, Australia, on Nov. 15 (Nov. 14 in Albuquerque).
The UFC has made no announcement, although sherdog.com reported that the matchup, the date and the location had been confirmed by “promotion officials.”
The UFC has announced that Sanchez (25-7) will face Ricardo Lamas (15-4) on Nov. 21 in Monterrey, Mexico. Sanchez, who has campaigned at 170 and 155 pounds, will make his 145-pound debut against Lamas.
FULL SPEED AHEAD: Albuquerque’s Chavez Promotions, deterred neither by Josh Torres’ loss to Cameron Kreal nor a mild stroke suffered by promoter Joe Chavez, has plans to stage more boxing cards before the year is out.
Chavez became ill while in Grants for Saturday’s Torres-Kreal card. He was hospitalized and diagnosed as having had a stroke, but was at home recovering two days later.
“I’m feeling better,” he said. “I’m going to just have to take care of myself a little better.”
Torres and his trainer, Daniel Perez, were feeling only disappointment. Neither disputed Torres’ loss to Kreal by majority decision, an outcome that dispossessed the Albuquerque fighter of his WBC USNBC junior welterweight title belt.
“Came up a lil short… but man was it a great night of fights,” Torres posted on his Facebook page. “I’m just glad we put on a good show for my people. Congrats to Cameron kreal on a strong earned victory.”
Perez said Torres (14-4-2, six knockouts) was hampered by blurred vision in one eye from the fourth round on. Also, he said, Torres had limited sparring leading up to the fight.
“We kind of had bad luck with this camp,” he said.
But, Perez added, Torres never found a way to get past Kreal’s snapping jab.
Perez had said before the fight that Kreal’s record (now 8-7-2, with one KO) was deceiving.
“Cameron Kreal came out and he was very well prepared for this fight,” Perez said. “… He had a great jab; he was just on it.”
Regarding Torres’ future, Martin Narro, Chavez’s event coordinator, said nothing has changed.
“Josh is still our guy, there’s no doubting that,” Narro said. “He fought hard, and we’re gonna get him some more fights and get him back on track.”