Mixed Martial Arts: King of the Cage reigns Saturday night

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By Rob Lamb

Mixed martial arts fighting has rapidly been gaining popularity for many years, and while television gives interested viewers many opportunities to take in action, it doesn’t compare to seeing it live.
Those who have no problem shelling out $50 to their satellite providers to catch the monthly Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts should know it pales to the experience right there, in the arena.
Saturday night, Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino hosted the King of the Cage fights.
This was a great opportunity for MMA enthusiasts to see both local and regional fighters.
The atmosphere was absolutely electric. Colorful characters enter the ring being introduced with their self-hung monikers, such as Man o’ War, Wild Bill, Babyface to do battle.
Instantly you feel the sparks as the corner man barks some last minute strategy and the referee bellows, “Fighter are you ready?” The price of admission seems like a bargain compared to the pay-per-view version.
Saturday’s card included 13 exciting, fast-paced bouts lasting close to four hours.
The live experience put a whole new perspective on how intense this whole fighting experience must be. The beauty of MMA is the fighter has to be prepared to defend against a multitude disciplines.
For these regional fighters, they have very little to go on. For the most part there is no film to study on your opponent. This became clear to me as I overheard spectator/fighter saying he was going to have to fight the winner of the bout and was checking out their style.
The intimate venue of the Buffalo Thunder’s convention center allowed fans the fans access to the fighters. Often the fighters would come out in the audience and sit with their families.  
The spectators definitely had their favorites as the night went on.
On the undercard, the ladies’ fight was a definite crowd favorite. In that contest, Santa Fe’s Zuhey Quezada lost to Albuquerque’s Reba Klimt.
The match between Okhay Owingeh’s Jeremy Onyeque and Adam Apodaca was so tightly-contested that booth fighters earned a standing ovation from the crowd. The room erupted as the announcer raised local boy Onyeque’s hand as the victor.
In other bouts, Albuquerque’s Frank Baca, another crowd favorite, won a punishing decision over Oklahoma City’s Lewis McKenzie.
The evening ended with a title fight between Albuquerque’s Donald Sanchez and Oklahoma’s Scott Bear. Sanchez got Bear — who had dropped 28 pounds on two weeks notice to make weight for the title fight — to tap out.
Here are the results from Saturday’s fights:


Donald Sanchez def. Scott Bear
Frank Baca def. Lewis McKenzie
Nate Vorel def. Gene Perez
Frank Morris def. Nathaniel Baker
Melvin Costa def. Eric McElroy
Nick Piedmont def. Anthony Griego
Bill Albrecht def. Carlos Lopez
Joe Salazar def. Lorenzo Coca
Jeremy Onyeque def. Adam Apodaca
Reba Klimt def. Zuhey Quezada
Trey Solomon def. Fabian Vasquez
Jesse Jaramillo def. Greg Varella
Skyler Pendelton def. PJ Jaramillo