Legacy Fighting Alliance thrills Vail again
Legacy Fighting Alliance 65
Brandon Royval KO Jobey Sanchez, first round
Joanderson Brito KO Chepe Mariscal, first roud
Matt Jones split dec. Youssef Zalal
Pauline Macias dec. Sarah Shell
Adam Stroup dec. Hayward Charles
Adam Martinez TKO Cory Galloway, third round
Dan Argueta TKO Max Rojas, first round.
Carmen “Sage” Sawtelle split dec. Taylor Sprowl
Catchweight bout — 165 pounds
Anthony Pineda TKO Matt Powers, third round.
Catchweight bout — 150 pounds
Jota Ninomiya TKO Daniel Nieto, second round
VAIL — It’s the code of combat sports.
After trying to do everything short of killing your opponent during a 9-15 minute span previously, there is sign of mutual respect between opponents — be it an embrace or a tap of the fists.
Welcome to fight night at Vail’s Dobson Ice Arena, as Legacy Fighting Alliance 65 touched down Friday night. As incongruous as some might find a night of mixed-martial arts playing out in the shadows of Vail’s fabled slopes, the event drew many for the second year in a row.
The northern bleachers of Dobson were nearly full, while floor seating was well-populated as was standing room on the south side of the arena. Perhaps it was not the traditional “Vail” crowd, but who’s to judge? The crowd boisterously enjoyed what was an action-packed evening.
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The first fight of the main card embodied the Rubik’s Cube that mixed-martial arts can be. Cory Galloway clearly wanted to make it a boxing match against Adam Martinez, who desired wrestling.
Galloway dictated most of the fight, not only darting in and out with jabs, but also landing power shots, flooring Martinez three different times. However, Martinez got Galloway in his grasp in the second and the third rounds, and the latter resulted in a technical knockout of Galloway.
The home crowd had a favorite in the second fight of the night between Avon’s Haywood Charles and Adam Stroup at middleweight. Stroup used the “martial” portion of things to have his way with powerful kicks that sent Charles to the canvas multiple times.
Stroup did not pursue Charles when he had him down, which is an option according to the rules, forcing Charles to get up and come back for more. Charles did record a takedown late in the second round, much to the delight of the partisan crowd. Yet, all and all, Stroup’s punches, elbows and knees to Charles’ face and body won him the fight.
In strawweights, Pauline Macias proved herself to be the master of the takedown against Sarah Shell. And when Macias had Shell on the mat, she delivered vicious blows to the head.
Macias won on the judges’ cards in a closer-than-expected decision. Happy nonetheless, Macias celebrated with a one-legged cartwheel.
Carmen Sage goes to 4-0
The preliminaries had a local flavor with Carmen Sage, Battle Mountain Class of 2012, recording a split decision over three rounds against Tayler Sprowl.
An amateur, Sage was coming full circle as one year ago at LFA 39, she made her debut at Dobson.
“It’s a pure blessing. It’s quite surreal,” she said after her fight. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to perform for my hometown crowd. I left Vail a couple of years ago to pursue the dream of being a mixed-martial arts fighter.”
Not a professional yet, Sage’s day is a whopper. She gets up to train at 5 a.m., followed by a full shift at Kaladi, a coffee shop in Denver, followed by more training, meal prep and sleep. Though the schedule is vigorous, “it doesn’t feel like work,” Sage said.
Sage, 24, had a tough bout against Sprowl as indicated by the split decision.
“I definitely felt I had it, based on the pressure I had and the flush takedowns,” she said. “I felt like I was doing the pressure and on top more. It’s all about the experience at this point in my career. You have to face the best to be the best.”
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.