Santa Monica, California. Oct. 6—The Total Fighting Alliance returned to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for its eighth installment, Battle at the Beach.
Santa Monica, California. Oct. 6—The Total Fighting Alliance returned to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium for its eighth installment, Battle at the Beach. Various belts were on the line, including the lightweight title held by fan favorite Tony Grier. The Civic Auditorium was filled with energy, and in a venue this size, the fights were in the face of all who attended. The pace of Battle at the Beach was fast and furious and while no champions were dethroned, the night was marked by stunning turnarounds and skillful displays of talent.
In the most dominating performance of the night TFA veteran, and current lightweight champion, Tony Grier put on a showcase of his striking abilities. From the opening bell it was clear that challenger Joey Alvarado was out matched against the lethal kicks of Grier. Grier wasted no time and began left and right kicks to the body and head with such power and intensity, that every connection drew a gasping crowd reaction. After just thirty seconds into round one, Grier landed a slapping kick to Alvarado’s liver sending him to the ground. After some inactivity the ref stood Alvarado up and restarted the fight, Grier instantly unleashed a torrent of kicks and just seconds later the fight was called for a TKO victory for Grier.
In the heavyweight division, title holder Julian Rush entered the ring at an imposing 236 pounds against the challenger, 214 pound Justin Shock. The onset of this fight made it clear that it was not going the distance as Justin Shock landed a huge right hand just seconds into the fight. Punch after Punch landed on the head of the champion, however Shock remained unable to fully capitalize on the shaky Julian Rush.
Round two began with Rush peppering Shock with jabs looking to find some distance. Using the jabs as faints, Rush was able to land a couple of strong kicks to the lead leg of Shock. It was apparent that those leg kicks paid dividends when Shock abandoned his clearly affective stand up game in favor of a single leg takedown, however Julian Rush used his weight very effectively and sprawled. With Shock holding intently on the leg, Rush began to unload punch after punch to the side and back of Shocks head and after repeated warnings to defend himself by referee Herb Dean, the fight was called in favor of the champion Julian Rush. Rush overcame adversity in this fight by weathering the storm of Shocks striking in the first round and by staying composed on his way to a win.
In other action, Armando Sanchez displayed why he is the fighter to beat at featherweight. In another title match, Sanchez displayed his dominating ground game by moving from the clinch, to the guard, to side control and into his notorious crucifix-like position. Sanchez and the challenger Jeff Martin battled for four rounds, however each round looked more like the last, with Sanchez moving to side control, trapping Martins right arm under his left leg and reigning blows onto Martins exposed face. Despite the effectiveness of Sanchez’s strategy, he was unable to finish the fight from this position. It wasn’t until 2:31 into round 4 that he secured an armbar for the win.
The welter weight division witnessed the return of JJ Ambrose who has made quick work of past opponents, and this fight was no difference. Fighting a tough looking Jason Cordero, Ambrose moved seamlessly from the clinch to the half-guard and into the back mount where he moved from punches to a rear naked choke for the win in the first round.
Brandon Grey put on a display in a quick route of Daniel Hernandez. The two fighters clinched against the cage where Hernandez earned a takedown and then quickly went for a heel hook. Grey defended and landed multiple shots to a tangled Hernandez. The ref stood the two fighters in the center of the ring where Grey proceeded to land stiff punches as well as knees. The ref called the TKO victory just 1:46 into the first round.
The lightweight division has the most depth in the TFA and 155lb fighters Eric Nelson and Robert Salina, as well as Aaron Miller and Phillip Brown made their bids to move up in title contention. Both these fights went all three rounds in a flurry of punches, wild kicks and fast changes in position. These fights were not as technical as the others, however what the lacked in raw talent they made up for in excitement, pace and all round heart. All four fighters gave everything they had and all came close to finishing the fight, but in the end Erick Nelson gained a split decision victory over Robert Salina, and Aaron Miller won unanimously over Phillip Brown.
Mixed Marital Arts is still young in the state of California and events like the TFA are nurturing fans, sponsors and critics alike by showcasing the type of raw talent that exists in Los Angeles and the Southern California area. The Battle of the Beach proved that the TFA continues to be on the forefront of the MMA scene, and is bringing in exciting and talented fighters to fill its cards. The future will certainly bring crowds to match the entertainment provided by the latest TFA event.
Aaron Miller def. Phillip Brown by Unanimous Decision, 3 rounds.
Eric Nelson def. Robert Salina by Split Decision, 3 rounds.
Julian Rush def. Justin Shock by TKO at 1:46, R2.
Armando Sanchez def. Jeff Martin by Armbar at 2:31, R4.
Brandon Gray def. Daniel Hernandez by TKO at 1:46, R1.
J.J. Ambrose def. Jason Cordero by Rear Naked Choke in R1.
Tony Grier def. Joey Alvarado by TKO in R1.