Mixed martial arts fans packed Chardonnay Hall for Bay Area Combat’s fourth event at Napa Valley Expo on Saturday night, as three Napa fighters went undefeated and Michael Bueno retained his belt in the featured fight.
Napa’s Austin Brown, fighting at 145 pounds for the Napa Valley MMA, got the night off to a good start when he won his inaugural fight by technical knockout over Castro Valley’s Brent Candler with just two seconds remaining in the third round.
The fight was fairly even through the first two rounds, with neither fighter landing any punches of consequence. But near the end of the final round, Brown landed several damaging blows and the referee had no choice but to stop the fight.
“It felt great to get the win,” Brown said. “All the hard work I put in at the gym finally paid off. We train every day and I get hit in the face and punched in the body, so I knew what to expect.”
Brown admitted he got off to a slow start in the bout against Candler.
“He was giving me a good licking in the beginning, but I got it going in the later rounds,” Brown said. “I’m going to continue to work and train and looking forward to getting back in there. Hopefully this is a career for me.”
Napa’s Sean Foster, fighting at 195 pounds for the Combat Fitness Rapacon, flattened opponent Adam DeNu with a big right hand 30 seconds into the bout and cruised to an impressive victory. Foster, landing bombs from both the right and left hands, went on to knock DeNu two more times before the referee stopped the fight and declared Foster the winner by TKO.
“This was only my second amateur fight, so I was a little bit nervous,” Foster admitted. “But once I got in the ring, I was having the time of my life. This seemed like the perfect match to just slug it out.”
In the 145-pound California State title fight, Napa’s Eugenio Garcia pulled off an upset by defeating defending champion Diego Bigelow of Sacramento. After they traded shots in the first round, Garcia sent Bigelow to the mat with a big left hand halfway through the second round and was awarded the victory by TKO.
“It felt amazing to win the title,” said Garcia, who fights for Napa Fights Sport. “I fight from the heart.”
In the featured bout of the night, defending champion Bueno – of San Lorenzo’s Team Santos – won a unanimous decision over Modesto’s Philip Hattersley for the California state title in the lightweight class.
Although Hattersley knocked Bueno down in the second round with a kick from flat on his back, Bueno recovered and dominated the final round by unanimous decision.
Bueno was upbeat after the tough bout.
“I really enjoy it in Napa, I’m 3-0 here,” he said after running his record to 6-2. “The crowd was really good tonight and I’m glad I came out on top for them. I wanted to knock him out, but he was a tough dude.”
In other bouts Saturday night, Castro Valley’s Salvador Cuevas pounded out a unanimous decision over San Francisco’s Jihad Muhammad in the lightweight division.
San Francisco’s Matthew Chapman completely overwhelmed Thomas Melford of Santa Cruz and was awarded a TKO just 32 seconds into the lightweight-division fight.
In another lightweight fight where neither fighter was able to land a telling blow, Pinole’s Christopher Ryan Fernandez won a unanimous decision over San Jose’s Nouei Toma.
Oseyiomon Olyenbonian was able to get opponent Alexander Griffin of Sacramento in a devastating rear naked choke hold 45 seconds into the first round and Griffin had no choice but to tap out, giving Olyenbonian the victory by TKO.
Marquis Blevins of Hanford defeated Vallejo’s Hack Culling by TKO. Blevins was pounding a helpless Culling when the referee stopped the bout at 1:31 of the second round.
Fairfield’s Terrance Saeteurn – a former Armijo High wrestling standout – dominated San Francisco’s Andrew Johnson and won a unanimous decision in the 125-pound weight class.
The event’s promoter, Steve Barnett of Bay Area Combat, said he does only three events a year because it takes him that long to create the matchups.
“I try to match them up so that any of the fights on the card could be the fight of the night,” he said.
Bay Area Combat next returns to the Napa Valley Expo in October.