TOP SHELF ENTERTAINMENT: RUBICON V
PHOTO CREDIT: AMANDA ARMSTRONG TRIHEX PHOTOGRAPHY
BY EVAN HERTZOG
Top Shelf Entertainment put on an absolutely stellar promotion on Saturday evening in Pueblo Colorado when they presented their latest MMA event in “Rubicon V”, at the “Massari Arena”, on the campus of CSU Pueblo. The 4,000-seat arena was nearly at capacity from start to finish during the 13-bout card, which included 6 professional fights in all and the anticipated return to the cage for the undefeated Adam Vigil (3-0), as he fought for the TSE welterweight title against Travis Aragon (1-4) in the main event of the evening.
The fights prior to the highly anticipated main event of the evening, set the bar extremely high with multiple first and second round finishes in all very competitive fights. There was only one fight on the evening in the pro portion of the card that wasn’t as competitive as the others, between Jordan Totoni (2-2) and Jake Mendez (1-3). The Totoni/Mendez bout saw the most impressive and dominant grappling performance on the evening out of Totoni as he grinded his way to a unanimous decision victory over Mendez with all three judges cage side scoring the fight 30-27. This win moved Totoni back to .500, with his record improving to (2-2) and should give him great confidence moving forward.
Phil Gonzalez (1-0) made a huge splash in his professional MMA debut by scoring the knockout of the night over Cody Hoffstatter (2-4) in the first round of the scheduled three round fight. Hoffstatter looked as though he may have his way with Gonzalez midway through the first round with his relentless grappling but Gonzalez defended enough to avoid the big takedown from Hoffstatter and once fully separated Gonzalez started to force exchanges with Hoffstatter and was able to soften him up with a barrage of kicks and punches. As Hoffstatter ate multiple glancing shots in this exchange, he moved forward dazed to try and clinch, which proved to be his biggest mistake of the fight. Hoffstatter buckled unconscious to the canvas after a perfect straight right hand from Gonzalez landed flush on his chin, sending the Massari into an uproar on Saturday night.
Little did we know the roar from the TSE crowd we heard in the Gonzalez/Hoffstatter fight would seem like a dog whistle in comparison to what we were about to experience in the fight of the night between Adam Martinez (1-1) and Kendale Young (1-2) which produced a round of the year candidate in the state of Colorado for 2017. Top Shelf Entertainment match makers really out did themselves with this match up, giving fight fans in Pueblo their money’s worth and more with a classic one round war.
Martinez was hurt and dropped on multiple occasions in the first three minutes of round one but he was able to land his own shots too after recovering instantly on all knockdowns. Showing absolute heart and will, Martinez kept getting up and kept pushing forward against the longer and faster Young. These advantages never seemed to faze Martinez and his game plan as the stalk continued until he landed a big right hand that dropped Young up against the cage. Young too showed great toughness and cardio as he recovered just as fast as Martinez had previously and was back to his feet in a heartbeat. Martinez smelled blood in the water though and continued to throw power punches until he saw his opportunity to take Young down with a huge double leg slam. Which he did. Very, very hard. At this point though it looked as though Young would survive and we would be treated to a second round in what had already became a back and forth war in just four and a half minutes. Martinez maneuvered his was around the guard of Young and landed a vicious right elbow on young just a split second before the bell sounded to end the first round. Young had trouble getting to his feet and then to his corner as he looked buzzed still from the chopping, right elbow of Martinez. Forty seconds into the minute-long break between the first and second round the fight was waived off. Young and his coaches decided it was against their fighters’ best interests to go back out for the second round and I must say I would have to agree with the decision because Young looked wide eyed and disoriented even minutes after the fight was stopped.
One of the best fights I’ve seen regionally in a long time and for that I say thank you to TSE.
With all of the madness of the evening, it seemed nearly impossible for the main event to come through with the same level of intensity and excitement as the previous three hours had given us. That is just a silly thought to have though when Adam Vigil is involved in said question. As the late great Eazy E once said, “y’all should’ve known by now”, meaning don’t ever question the entertainment value of Vigil.
There was no doubt left in my head after Vigil entered the cage and awaited his opponent, Travis Aragon to make his way inside of the cage doors too. Vigil never once took eyes off of Aragon who I give a ton of credit to for taking this fight on just two weeks’ notice after Willy Najera was forced to pull of the fight with Vigil. He was setting the tone as soon as they were in the cage together. Vigil, who is an absolute giant for the welterweight division seems to intimidate his opponents before the fight even starts just by his sheer size, as he was around 205lbs on fight night, just 24 hours after weighing in at an even 170lbs. It seems though that maybe just maybe the weight cut has been Vigil’s toughest opponent thus far in his young professional career. That proved to be true once more as he was able to send the “Massari Arena”, into absolute chaos as he dismantled Aragon with his first punch of the fight. A flush right uppercut sat Aragon down on the canvas and Vigil finished the job with about six or seven hammering shots to the shelled-up Aragon, bringing an end to his first professional MMA title fight at just 13 seconds of round 1.
This performance along with his 16 second head kick KO in his professional debut should put the entirety of the welterweight division in the region on notice as he pushes forward in his undefeated MMA career.
To see the entire card, you can watch the live streams from Saturday night at, “The Fight Magazine 303” Facebook page along with my post fight cage side interview with the new TSE welterweight champion himself Adam Vigil.
A big thanks to Top Shelf Entertainment for the quality treatment of press and staff alike and a bigger thank you to the fighters who provided us with an incredible night of fights and finishes down in Pueblo.
Until next time!