“The University of MMA once again proved why they have some of the best talent in amateur MMA.
University of MMA Fight Night 5 went down Sunday February 9th at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California and showcased some of MMA’s future stars.
One of the most prominent storylines from the night was the domination put on by Van Nuys, California’s House of Champions gym. All three House of Champions competitors on the card walked out of the cage victorious.
In the night’s main event House of Champion’s Derion Chapman (5-0) netted the University of MMA Lightweight Championship with a unanimous decision over Systems Traning Center’s AJ Lavarias. Chapman controlled nearly all of the bout utilizing the gameplan his coaches put together for him. According to Chapman, the gameplan was to, “Keep it sharp, keep my distance, and Circle.”
The first round of the fight was close but Chapman knew that the bout was swinging in his favor. “At the end of the first round I felt it going my way,” said an enthusiastic Chapman. This turned out to be true as Chapman took over the bout in the second and third rounds.
After the fight, Chapman stated that the win wouldn’t have been possible without his teammates. “It’s great having these guys on the team. I’d also like to thank all of our coaches and everyone that supports me.”
Chapman also had a very special source of motivation heading into his title fight. “My fiance is the one that drives me to never quit,” said Chapman. “Without her and my kids I wouldn’t be doing MMA today.”
The card opened with a welterweight bout between Chapman’s teammate Cruz Martinez (Debut) and Desert Karate’s Michael Woods (0-2). Woods came out throwing hard punches but was taken down quickly by Cruz. Cruz advanced to full mount where he finished the fight by armbar.
For Cruz this was more than a win in his debut, it was the validation that his hard work in and out of the gym had paid off. Almost a year ago, Cruz tipped the scales at 255 lbs but has since dropped down to 170 lbs. ”I just refocused on my training,” said Cruz. “I stopped going out to parties and stuff like that. I don’t even go to the movies anymore. The last movie I saw was Iron Man 3.”
Cruz was not only cornered by his usual House of Champions coaching staff, but also a bit of UFC royalty. About a year ago, Cruz met Ultimate Fighter Season 13 winner Tony Ferguson through a mutual friend and became ‘El Cucuy’s’ protege. “Tony is a great guy,” said Cruz. “At first I was really starstruck to meet him, but we clicked immediately. He’s no longer that huge celebrity to me and now I see him as my mentor.”
Ferguson’s teachings have far exceeded the gym. According to Cruz the most important thing Ferguson has taught him was to stay humble and not change. “He told me just be yourself. Don’t let the fame or any of that change you. Nobody wants to see a prick on top. Just be you.”
Also on the card was Cruz and Chapman’s teammate Hugo Aranda who pushed his amateur MMA record to 2-0 with a unanimous decision win over Systems Training Center’s Danny Vasquez. According to Aranda, he knew exactly what his opponent was going to do. “I knew he was going to blitz me, I just had to implement my gameplan,” said Aranda post-fight.
Even though Aranda picked up his second win in as many months, he still isn’t letting the success get to his head. When asked if there was anything he’d like to tell his next opponent he shook his head and said, “Nope. I don’t do that kind of stuff. I just compete.”
If House of Champions can keep up the quality training and comraderey they have now, the gym could become a hotbed for MMA talent.” (from SCI Fighting.com)
Congrats again to HOC’s fantastically talented fighters!