Vail returns Friday Night Fights with Legacy Fighting Alliance 65
Legacy Fighting Alliance brings mixed martial arts bouts back to Dobson Ice Arena in Vail
Legacy Fighting Alliance 65
What: LFA 65, mixed martial arts fights.
When: Friday. Undercard starts at 5 p.m. Main events follow. The main events will be televised on AXS TV.
Where: Dobson Ice Arena, Vail.
- Main Event | Flyweight Bout (125 lb): Brandon Royval, 8-4 (LFA vet) vs. Joby Sanchez, 12-4 (LFA-UFC vet)
- Co-Main Event | Featherweight Bout (145 lb): Jose “Chepe” Mariscal, 9-3 (LFA vet, IMMAF Gold Medalist) vs. Joanderson "Tubarão" Brito 10-2-1 (LFA vet)
- Featherweight Bout (145 lb): Youssef Zalal, 6-1 (LFA vet) vs. Matt Jones, 7-3 (FSF vet)
- Women’s Strawweight Bout (115 lb): Pauline Macias, 2-0 (LFA vet, Judo black belt) vs. Sarah Shell, 1-1 (PFC vet)
VAIL — In other lives, Legacy Fighting Alliance fighters are police officers, firefighters, moms, managers and all sorts of other things.
When they step into the cage, they’re hurricanes of havoc wreaked on their opponents.
LFA fights return to Vail on Friday, bringing mixed martial arts bouts back to Dobson Ice Arena.
Along with the main card, the preliminary card boasts Vail Valley local Max Rojas in his LFA debut and valley native Carmen “Sage” Sawtelle, a Battle Mountain High School grad. Sawtelle, 3-0, won her MMA debut last May in Vail.
Ironically, Sawtelle was born in Vail and left town to pursue her mixed martial arts career. She landed back in Vail for her amateur debut last May.
Hayward Charles helps run Hybrid Nation in Avon. Charles was a winner in last year’s LFA Vail co-main event.
Matt Powers fights out of the local Inyodo Martial Arts and is making his LFA debut Friday.
Pauline Macias (2-0) vs. Sarah Shell (1-1)
Women’s Strawweight Bout (115 pounds)
Pauline “Pita” Macias is a childhood friend of former UFC women’s bantamweight champion and Olympic judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey.
She and MMA legend, judo Olympic medalist and UFC women’s bantamweight champion Rousey have been best buddies since they were 9 years old.
Macias enjoyed a successful 20-year judo career, the last eight training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
Rousey jumped from judo to the MMA and was having the most fun ever when Rousey convinced Macias to retire from judo and try MMA.
“I really do thank Ronda every day. I never thought I could love anything more than judo,” Macias said. “I get to wake up every day and do something I love.”
Macias is 2-0 as a pro and was 3-0 as an amateur. So far, so good.
“I haven’t lost yet and don’t plan on it,” she said.
She fights at 115 pounds, a strawweight, and she generally has to shed a few pounds to make weight.
“I’ve been cutting weight most of my life in judo. It comes naturally,” Macias said.
Nutritionist Justin Nault has her on a program called Clovis Nutrition.
“He has made my weight cuts so easy. I get to eat a lot, drink lots of water. I feel so strong. I know what it’s like to go through bad weight cuts,” Macias said. “We work well together.”
Her judo roots run deep, so it tends to be her go-to fight plan.
“I pick people up and slam them onto the floor,” Macias said.
She’s getting better at striking. Her last fight she broke her opponent’s jaw.
Macias trains with Team Elevation in Denver.
“I’ve been at the highest levels around the world. I knew if I got the right coaching it would all come together and that’s what happened since I moved to Team Elevation,” she said.
Macias’ opponent, Sarah Shell, lives and trains in Arizona. Shell is making a comeback to MMA after finishing college and having a baby.
MMA is a family affair in the Shell household. She’s married to fellow LFA fighter Ryan Shell, a police officer in Phoenix.
Brandon Royval (8-4) vs. Joby Sanchez (12-4)
Flyweight (125 pounds)
Brandon Royval fought in Vail last year, that crazy bout where he broke his opponent’s arm.
Originally he and his brother wanted to be boxers, and they’d box all day. Then things changed.
“The top wrestler in my school wanted to beat me up, so I had to learn jiu-jitsu,” Royval said. “Most of these fights end up on the floor. If you’re not good on the ground, it won’t go well.”
He started entering jiu-jitsu tournaments when he was 16 and made his MMA debut right after his 18th birthday. He won.
“Right after I won I was supposed to leave for college. I decided I’d stick with this,” Royval said.
Royval works with a juvenile treatment center, “the greatest job ever,” he says.
“I get to hang out with kids. If they get in fights I get to jump in and tackle the winner,” he said.
Royval will fight Joby Sanchez, who has five UFC bouts under his belt. Sanchez won his LFA debut in January. When he’s not fighting he’s a fireman in the Los Lunas Fire Department in Los Lunas, New Mexico.
Mexico vs. Brazil, Co-Main Event
Jose “Chepe” Mariscal (9-3) vs. Joanderson “Tubarão” Brito (10-2-1)
Featherweight bout (145 pounds)
A co-main event in Friday’s mixed martial arts card is being billed as “Mexico vs. Brazil.”
Mariscal trains in Denver, but his family is from Guadalajara, Mexico. Brito is from Santa Helena, Maranhao, Brazil. Friday’s bout in Vail will be his first fight outside of South America.
Mariscal has won everything except the lotto.
He is an International MMA Federation world champion, IMMAF national champion, his amateur record is 18-1 amateur, he is a two-time regional MMA champion as a professional fighter, nine-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion, three-time kickboxing champion, NJCAA national qualifier in wrestling, and judo black belt.
Mariscal grew up in Chicago, and “not necessarily the nice parts.”
His father and brother put him in a mixed martial arts program so he’d learn to defend himself. He fell in love with it right away, he says. In fact, he was in it for less than a week when he entered a competition and won.
“I went to school, did homework, played soccer and then MMA training,” Mariscal said.
He wrestled, earned a black belt in judo and won a rugby state title in his senior year of high school, “because I was bored,” he said.
“MMA is all those sports in one. I did all those other sports to help my MMA. And I learned to punch people. That made it even more fun,” Chepe said.
Brito is the Fusion FC lightweight champion in Peru. His nickname “Tubarao” means “Shark” in Portuguese and he is one of the top prospects in Brazil.
“I am excited to take the next step in my career by fighting in the LFA,” Brito said in an email. “I feel this will take me one step closer in my career to where I want to be. It’s a great honor to be fighting in the United States against Chepe on Cinco de Mayo weekend. He is a tough guy that likes to move forward just like me. Mexican fighters come to fight. I am looking forward to that and representing Brazil. This will give the fans the fight they want to see.”
Bean happy to be back
Sven Bean, LFA president, is a Colorado native and grew up in the mountains. He did a couple of shows in Vail in 2006 or so under his Ring of Fire brand. They added AXS TV and approached Vail.
“After five years of presentations they let us try it,” Bean said.
Last year’s inaugural show was successful, so they’re coming back, Bean said. This year, Vail gave them Cinco de Mayo weekend.
“It’s traditionally slow in the resort. We hope to turn that around,” Bean said.
About the LFA
The Legacy Fighting Alliance is a professional mixed martial arts promotion for rising stars and top contenders. LFA presents live Mixed Martial Arts events on a monthly basis around the United States including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, and Houston. LFA can be seen live in over 53 million homes nationally through its television deal with AXS TV.
Local dancers attend classes in New York ranging from ballet to Broadway.