STFC 19: Relentless Preview and Thoughts

On March 2 South Texas Fighting Championship will be putting on STFC 19: Relentless at the McAllen Convention Center with a 8-fight card as previously reported by Eduardo in January. The show will feature the current STFC middleweight champion, Frank Trevino going against Jorge Cortez in a possible clash for the title. I’m not surprised no word has been given if it will be for the STFC title or not. With the record that Cortez possess it will be a hard sell for him to get a title match.

Updated: Well, it seems that STFC did announce that it will be a non-title fight but it was hidden in a Facebook comment. I see no reason to have your champion fight against someone if the champion is not going to be defending his current belt. It’s ridiculous way to promote one of your champs and a valley MMA star. If they don’t have the appropriate match up for Trevino it would be acceptable just to have him wait on the sidelines till a feasible contender is matched up with him. While Cortez’s record is spotty, he’s still a threat. Cortez ended a two win streak for his last opponent. I still believe Trevino will defeat Cortez via K.O and prove why he is the current undefeated and undisputed champion.

STFC 19 will headlined by two 155lbers, Hector Munoz(7-3) who is fighting out of Plano, TX vs Gilbert “Pitbull” Jimenez(5-4) who is fighting out of San Antonio, Texas. In my recent experiences with STFC, this is probably the most lackluster main event in awhile. I’m not too sure what kind of implications this fight will have since its the main event but I would expect the winner to face DJ Fuentes who is the current lightweight champion.

Opening up the STFC 19, according to Tapology, are two local fighters from the lower part of the valley. Fighting out of Brownsville, Texas, representing Corpus Christi Freestyle is Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt, Johnny Garcia. This will be Garcia’s second professional fight of his career with his first fight and victory occuring at STFC 17 between his former student, Miguel Tinajero, who he had issues with. That fight really doesn’t do justice to Garcia’s fighting ability since Tinajero was on a bike for most of the three rounds which was met with a heavy amount of boos. Garcia unjustifiably received some of those boos as well but he was on the attack and was looking to give the audience in attendance a good showing. Garcia’s strength will be on the ground since Jiu Jitsu is his foundation but I wouldn’t sleep on his hands because he did show some potential in his striking.

The man who will try to add a loss to Garcia’s record will be Luis Vega(5-2) fighting out of Brownsville, Texas. Vega will have momentum and experience on his side as he rides into the fight on a four fight win streak. Because of his experience, I see this contest going to the cards with Vega getting the unanimous decision.

In the second fight of the evening the bantamweights will take center stage as fromer Bellator fighter Jimmy Flick(3-0) will take on Randy Villareal(8-7) who will be trying to rebound from his January unanimous decision defeat. Flick will probably be favored to win this fight with a decision but if Villareal’s track list of victories is any indicator, Villareal could easily end the fight early with a submission. This fight is intersting because Flick will be moving up a weight class to take on Villareal.

The third act of STFC Relentless the light heavyweight will be let out of their cage and the cuffs will be taken off as Andrew Garza(4-1) will be mixing it up with the undefeated up and comer Rogelio Narvaez. Naravaez has a record of 1-0 as a professional and was 3-0 as amateur. If both of these fighters come in with a gas tank this fight could very well end up being fight of the night. If it wasn’t for a TKO defeat Garza suffered last August both men would be walking into the STFC cage undefeated. Each lightweight has a good history of finishing the fights so I wouldn’t expect this one to go to the cards. Garza will be giving up three inches in height and probably weight as well. If this one doesn’t stay standing I would expect a long fight for the the viewing crowd but let’s just hope they decided to stand and bang it out.

The next fight will be a couple of up and comers with Ysidro Vega taking on the debuting Eliasar Rodriguez(2-1) in the bantamweight division. Not much was found through my search for background information for these fighters but that only increases my intrigue for this fight.

The fifth fight of the night will be Frank Trevino taking on Jorge Cortez. Trevino will not be defending the title on this card as previously mentioned but even with the pressure of not defending I see Trevino coming in with the same focus and desire to win regardless of the situation. Trevino’s recent victory came against Andrew Garza with a TKO in the 3rd round of a heated encounter. Trevino has never in his professional career went the judges scorecards so if history is any indicator Trevino should stop Cortez by the second round with a nasty display of his violent striking. Don’t leave your seat to get a beer cause this will sure be a highlight finish in favor of Trevino.

The next fight will feature another set of bantamweights with Bobby “Digital” Huron(4-2) taking on Andrew Navarro(2-3). Navarro will be looking to rebound from his last STFC appearance where he lost to “El Mero Mero” Saul Elizondo in the first round by submission. Huron will be representing Jackson’s MMA and Navarro will be fighting out of Castro’s Fight Pit. Its really interesting to see all the prospects from Jackson’s MMA that have been making their way down here to the valley. Clint Robert’s is another name from Jackson’s MMA that was here last November for the UWF show. Mike Valle the former owner of the now defunct Thai Champ would be my guess for the influx of Jackson MMA talent which I fully endorse and enjoy. It’s nice to see prospects from an elite camp scratch and claw their way up the ranks of the MMA world in the RGV.

The last under card fight before the main events will be Raymond Moreno taking on Ali “Iraqi Samurai” IIeiwli. Both of the combatants don’t have pretty records but from the looks of their fights they are either at the receiving end of a finish or are finishing. No disrespect to the fighters but this would be the fight were I would go fill up on the brown gold before the intermission. I hate getting stuck in the long lines and having to stutter step around the crowd of metallic dragon t shirts and cleavage that occupies that area. Ok, the cleavage is nice. I’ll admit that much.

After you settle back into your seat from retrieving your favorite beverage the remaining fights will hopefully keep you in your seat. The semi-main event should be quite the treat with the welterweights taking the cage. Cedric Marks has been fighting since MMA was the thing to do and even had a cup of coffee in Bellator in 2010. He made his debut in 1998 and has fought a huge amount of fights. At the age of 37 Marks is still going strong and is just out to prove he can at this point in his career. This wouldn’t be the first time Marks has entered the STFC cage as he last fought in 2011 against the current STFC welterweight champion Danny Salinas at STFC 15. Marks will have to prove he can still go against a young lion that is on a five fight win streak. He has no defeats in his professional career and looks to continue his streak against the long-time veteran.Aaron Lanfranco will be fighting out of Austin, Texas. Lanfranco earned himself a win over Ousmane Diagne last year at a Strikeforce challengers showing. Both fighters have reached a stage higher than some deserving valley fighters so the pressure of being in a co-main event shouldn’t deter them. The fight has the potential to be a show stealer and only hope that I am right in that predication.

I’m usually looking forward to local MMA events but the past few events I’ve been to have put a bad taste in my mouth. It’s no fault of the fighters cause they bring it, well except for that one fight between Miguel Tinajero from Mcallen BJJ against his mentor Johnny Garcia that had the audience booing both guys which was no fault of Garcia. I’m in no way picking on the competitors of the fight cause it takes some major balls to step in the cage and accept the challenge of getting punched in the face but the hype and excitement for this fight was so much better than what played out at STFC 16. I hope with the new promotion, UWF, in the valley mma scene that STFC can produce a quality show that fans can be happy to pay the $5 increase in ticket prices. I personally think its a bad move to increase the prices for this show. The last show STFC put on drew absolutely shit. There were sections and sections empty throughout the Mcallen Convention Center. And that’s with the promotion of UFC stars, Donald Cerrone and Lenoard Garcia being advertised for the show. They didn’t show up to the event but did show up at Ponchos restaurant.Yeah.

With the last event drawing very poorly I find it counter productive to increase the prices. If you want to attract fans I say start the tickets at $15 and even $10 – just to attract more fans. You got to invest in your product a bit more and the horrible TV advertisements just ain’t doing it anymore. As a fan of combat sports I’m going to have a hard time convincing myself to attend this show even when its two minutes away from the house. The month of March is packed with local MMA and boxing events. One boxing event will even be part of ESPN Friday fight night so I’m going to have to choose wisely what promotion will get my hard earned money cause I definitively will not be going to all the shows. UWF is also slated to take over the Pharr convention center again in March but in looking at the Texas Athletic Commission schedule, it seems the Convention center will now be used for boxing. I’m still not sure what went on there since UWF did announce on their Facebook page that a event will be taking place on March 17. Hopefully we can get update on that to understand what is going on.

With that said, I love the fact that we have two MMA promotions and active combat sports in the valley but it upsets me that the little things are still not getting cleaned up. I’ve been to every STFC show since ’08 with the exception of the SPI and out of town cards and have seen the attendance shrink in noticeable amounts every show. That’s a horrible sign that something isn’t working. The fighter interviews that are being conducted on live local TV is a fantastic idea to introduce and familiaraze the audience with the fighters. I hope this is not the case but I see the Mcallen Convention center being a ghost town yet again when the fights start on March 2. Most MMA fans will probably choose a free UFC on FOX show that is taking place on the same day. I know I’m still in limbo where I will going on Friday night but one thing is for sure- I will be drinking and watching fights.

Note: All information was gathered through the use of Sherdog, Tapology and The Underground so if some information is not precise please contact me so I can correct the work. Thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed my preview.


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