Friday, January 18, 2008

Diego Saraiva the new PFC lightweight CHAMP!

Originally posted on by G. Savage (Photos by J. Sherwood) (

LEMOORE, Calif., Jan. 17 -- UFC veteran Diego Saraiva (Pictures) claimed the Palace Fighting Championship lightweight strap Thursday from local favorite Poppies Martinez (Pictures) with a rear-naked choke win in the first round.

Saraiva was warned for a kick in the opening exchange that caught Martinez low. After a brief respite, the PFC champion was ready to continue.

Perhaps Martinez would have been wise to take a longer break because Saraiva swept him off his feet with another low kick and promptly took his back. With both hooks in, "The Octopus" locked up the choke only to have Martinez break free. A dogged Saraiva would not relent, and soon had the submission locked back up for good, eliciting the tapout at 2:08.

"It's tough to come here and fight the local guy … but I trained really hard for the fight," Saraiva told "I did hard work, hard hours. I was ready and I knew I was going to win the fight."

Art Arcienega took home the PFC featherweight belt with a submission over champion Shawn Bias (Pictures). After dropping the opening round, Arcienega began to pour it on, claiming the next two before sinking a fight-ending triangle choke at 2:07 of the fourth round to wrest the title away from Bias.

Rolando Velasco (Pictures) was successful in his quest for the PFC bantamweight crown, but his victory over champion Shawn Klarcyk (Pictures) was not without controversy.

The fight was very close going into the fourth round. Both fighters wore visible signs of damage on their faces, but Velasco began to take control. Following a superman punch that stunned Klarcyk, Velasco pounded away at his downed opponent until referee Josh Rosenthal intervened at 1:46 of the period.

Klarcyk immediately jumped to his feet and voiced his displeasure with the stoppage. The crowd chimed in as well, but it was in vain as Velasco was awarded the bantamweight title.

It looked to be an early stoppage from a vantage point across the ring. However, Rosenthal assured that Klarcyk was indeed out when he went to the mat. If Klarcyk -- who was still defending when Rosenthal stepped in -- was out, he recovered in record time.

Anthony Ruiz (Pictures) barely made the lower limit of the heavyweight division, while "The Ultimate Fighter" veteran Brad Imes (Pictures) cut down to make the upper end in what seemed a mismatch to the naked eye. Ruiz defied all odds, however, and stymied nearly all of Imes' offense en route to a split-decision victory.

Neither fighter found asserted himself in the slow, plodding tilt, but Ruiz was more active in controlling the first two rounds. Imes landed his only big shot late in the third when he connected with a knee that carved a gash under Ruiz' right eye.

Ruiz, with his eye nearly swollen shut, held on until the final bell. Judges Abe Belardo (29-28) and Marcos Rosales (30-27) scored the bout for Ruiz, while Ralph McKight had it for Imes (29-28).

In a highly anticipated light heavyweight matchup, Glover Teixeira (Pictures) countered a leg kick by firing a stinging straight right that robbed Jorge Oliveira (Pictures) of his faculties and dropped him to the canvas. Teixeira, best known for knocking out Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (Pictures) and being Chuck Liddell (Pictures)'s sparring partner, landed a volley of punches before referee Rosenthal rescued Oliveira at the five-second mark.

K-1 veteran Scott Lighty, another Liddell protégé, made a successful MMA debut by overcoming a tentative start to finish Derek Thornton (Pictures) at 2:33 of the opening round.

Lighty absorbed a pair of hard kicks to the body before turning on his offense. He landed a head kick and punches before sprawling to avoid a takedown. The ground was where Lighty did the most damage, opening Thornton up over the left eye and forcing him to verbally submit.

Nate Loughran (Pictures) passed a tough test that was veteran Richard Montoya (Pictures). After a back-and-forth first round that saw Montoya then Loughran each have moments, Montoya seemed to be taking control of the bout. Loughran, who was bleeding from the corner of his right eye, quickly swung the fight back in his favor by throwing Montoya to the mat and sinking an armbar for the win at 38 seconds of the second round.

After a highly entertaining first round, Joseph Benavidez landed a big overhand right that crumpled Jason Georgianna (Pictures) to the mat. Taking advantage of the situation, Benavidez locked up a guillotine choke and pulled guard. Georgianna fought valiantly to escape the submission, but in the end he lost consciousness and forced referee Rosenthal to halt the affair 38 seconds into the second round.

In a light heavyweight tilt, Ricardo Barros (Pictures) took just 80 seconds to submit Eric Pribble (Pictures) via rear-naked choke. Barros notched the takedown and quickly moved to back-mount. From there it was academic as he sank the choke for the victory.

Alex Serdyukkov ended Mike Gates (Pictures)' night with strikes from the top position at 2:05 of the second stanza.

Casey Olson (Pictures) made quick work of Scott Brommage (Pictures), winning by TKO at 1:48 of the opening period. Olson got an early takedown and pounded away for the stoppage. Brommage argued the strikes were not doing damage and disputed referee Larry Landless (Pictures)' call.

Doug Hunt (Pictures) earned a win over Mickey Martinez by doctor's stoppage at 2:04 of the second period. The fight was a slugfest that saw both men in trouble, but a bloodied Martinez suffered a deep cut over his right eye that forced the stoppage.

Tony Alanis (Pictures) stopped Tom Owens (Pictures) with a barrage of punches at 2:58 of the first round.

Joaquin Sanchez stopped Austin Achorn (Pictures) by submission (knee injury) at 20 seconds of the first round.

Sergio Quinones defeated Fernando Arreola (Pictures) by split decision after three rounds.

Brandon Miller won in come-from-behind fashion over Ed Thomaselli by referee stoppage at 2:27 of the first round.

Each fight on the PFC card featured three-minute rounds.



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