NorCal Fight Series 2: Results and Recap

By Dave Madden @DMaddenMMA

13244215_1092680877442241_3996411571106898456_oNorthern California continues to churn out quality mixed martial artists because of the region’s focus on developing their amateur fighters. Inside Rancho Cordova’s Metro City Soccer Complex, an arena designed to keep all the action confined and continuous, a collection of amateurs, from near and wide, met at center field to push a pace of their own when NorCal Fight Series (NCFS) returned for their second installment: NCFS 2. Unlike the rules typically contouring the play within the Metro City Soccer Complex, the athletes competing at NCFS 2 were encouraged to incorporate their hands, tackle without sliding, and a goal was met with a win, rather than the other way around.

On May 21, 2016, NCFS constructed their cage, illuminated its distinct yellow war zone, and locked ten pairs of green fighters between its wire borders. For some of the athletes appearing on NCFS 2’s stage, it marked their debut in MMA, and for others, such as those challenging to stake ownership of one of the four NCFS championship belts, they further loosened their training wheels in a sport programmed in levels.

Main Event: Raymond Lopez vs. Lucas Gubbins for the welterweight title

If Lopez entered the cage as a coffee bean, he would have been ground down to a fine powderNorcalFightSeries2 (11 of 13) by the conclusion of the third round.

Gubbins, who trains out of MMAGOLD, refused to give Lopez an inch of space to breathe, yet Lopez, NCFS’s reigning welterweight champion and product of Napa Valley MMA, strained to detach from the mat and fire his own offense. Round after round, Gubbins continued to treat Lopez as a device to smash grapes, leaving Lopez’s corner to repeat their whine for him to get back to his feet and implement their game plan.

After three rounds of: rinse and repeat, Gubbins added a new piece of MMA hardware to his resume.

Co-Main Event: Justin Ford vs. Geoffrey Stovall for the light heavyweight title

NorcalFightSeries2 (10 of 13)Though Ford’s engine was revved to the red line, Stovall possessed a bit more torque, allowing him to lurch off the line and lead from the get go.

On the feet, Stovall nullified Ford’s reach advantage with pinpoint accuracy, and his grappling shifted the gears of Ford into neutral. Flattening Ford to the mat like a punctured tire, Stovall sniffed out one of Ford’s lengthy limbs and cranked his arm into the shape of a crowbar.

Ford struggled to escape the submission, but the tap surfaced like a call to AAA for roadside assistance.

Feature Bout: Joseph Cardoso vs. Tomas Montoya for the middleweight title

The middleweight belt was up for grabs, and Cardoso climbed out of the lowest point in the valley toNorcalFightSeries2 (9 of 13) the steepest mountain top in the Sierra Nevada.

In the first half of the opening round, Montoya dictated the pace. He applied pressure and tenderized Cardoso’s midsection. At the ninetieth second, Cardoso ate a punch that created the illusion he was balancing on a soccer ball. Surprisingly, any sense of deflation at this point was absent. In fact, after wobbling to a knee, Cardoso heeded the words of his corner and carried out his own onslaught; combinations were called out, and Cardoso responded as if fully automated. Even with Cardoso finishing the round in control, a case Montoya won the round wouldn’t have stirred any controversy.

The second round opened with Cardoso, version 2.0, tucking his chin and hunting Montoya to lead the NCFS middleweight pack with a savagery engineered from his time with the Wolves of the Valley Fight Team in Turlock. A straight right hand down the middle dropped Montoya, and Cardoso didn’t waste a heartbeat to wrap his arm around Montoya’s neck.

Shortly after securing a guillotine choke, Montoya was forced to tap.

Co-Feature Bout: Jordan Pankey vs. Shawn Lee for the cruiserweight title

NorcalFightSeries2 (8 of 13)An initial glance of Pankey left him down a round to Lee as a human canvas, however he tattooed Lee with a diverse attack that left him unconscious on NCFS’s canvas.

Formerly a semi-professional football player for Yuba City’s Twin City Cougars, Pankey leans on his football experience while he continues to establish fluency in the world of MMA. Once Pankey detected an opening, he dipped into Lee’s torso for a smash-mouth slam, which would have warranted an infraction of ‘unnecessary roughness’ in the NFL. Lee inched his way off the ground, but this only buried him in a deeper hole. Feinting for another powerful takedown, Pankey capitalized on Lee’s acceptance of the bait by uncorking a right with the velocity of a quarterback rifling a fifty-yard strike.

The sound throughout the arena was that of a cantaloupe being dropped from the roof of a house when Pankey’s punch connected to the side of Lee’s face. The play was so well designed by Pankey, it appeared as if Lee even paused to revel in its glory before crashing to the mat.

Other Results Include:

 Lucas Gubbins defeated Raymond Lopez by way of unanimous decision.

Geoffrey Stovall defeated Justin Ford in round 1 (2:13) by way of armbar.

Joseph Cardoso defeated Tomas Montoya in round 2 (1:24) by way of guillotine choke.

Jordan Pankey defeated Shawn Lee in round 1 (1:28) by way of KO.

Richard Taifane defeated Elliott Escovedo in round 1 (:08) by way of KO.

NorcalFightSeries2 (7 of 13)







Valerie Wong defeated Ashley Medina by way of split decision.

NorcalFightSeries2 (6 of 13)









Kaleio Romero defeated Michael Bueno by way of unanimous decision.

NorcalFightSeries2 (5 of 13)







Ysidro Gutierrez defeated Kyle de Vroede in round 1 (1:56) by way of TKO.








Kacey Sanders and Ricardo Rhodes went to a draw.

NorcalFightSeries2 (3 of 13)







Jared Borchers defeated Shota Geperidze by way of unanimous decision.

NorcalFightSeries2 (1 of 13) (1)







If the six-ounce gloves and, in most cases, shin guards, required by C.A.M.O (California Mixed Martial Arts Organization), were better camouflaged, you may be hard pressed to comprehend the fighters at NCFS 2 were amateurs. Be sure to mark September 10, 2016 on your calendars because NCFS is scheduled to return for NCFS 3.


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