Southwest Scene: The Desert Digest
In this edition of the Southwest scene we span the western states
for news. Alberto Crane
(Pictures) of New Mexico preps for his
debut versus Roger Huerta
(Pictures). Art of War once again
brings MMA to Dallas. Arizona's Drew Fickett (Pictures) recovers from injury and the
story of the late Gilbert
Aldana (Pictures) continues.
What does Santa Fe's Alberto
Crane (Pictures) have in common with Jason Dent (Pictures), John Halverson (Pictures), Leonard Garcia, and Doug Evans (Pictures)? On August 25 Crane will be the
fifth fighter to make his UFC debut versus Roger Huerta (Pictures) in the past 11 months.
Thus far the wrestler from Austin, Texas is 4-0 against Octagon
rookies. Sherdog.com recently spoke with Crane, who has moved out
to California in preparation for the biggest fight of his
The BJJ black belt has focused this training camp on improving his
striking abilities by enlisting the help of renowned kickboxing
coach Edmond Tarverdyan of the Glendale Fighting Club. Crane
describes his opponent as both an "exciting" and "dynamic"
Crane, undefeated in eight MMA fights, has not stepped inside a
cage since January 2005. The two-year layoff allowed Crane to
decide on which direction he wanted to take his fight career.
"They stopped the lightweight division in the UFC. I wasn't really
committed to go all the way," said Crane. "I took a break and just
worked and thought about life. I needed to be fully committed to
the sport, before I made my comeback."
The proud papa of a 2-month-old baby boy, Crane has a new lease on
his fighting life. In the jiu-jitsu versus wrestler match-up, Crane
plans to utilize his submission skills and superior guard game to
halt Huerta's win streak.
Up-and-coming MMA brand Art of War returns Saturday, Sept. 1 at the
American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas with its USA vs. Brazil
national team style format. Former UFC heavyweight contenders
Jeff Monson (Pictures) and Pedro Rizzo (Pictures) headline the fight card.
The event is also the pay-per-view debut for the promotion, as past
events were broadcast exclusively on HDNet. Sherdog.com sat down
with CJ Comu, CEO of Sun Sports & Entertainment, to talk about
the future of their copyrighted Art of War brand. SUN is the
production company behind all Art of War events.
Describing the TV production quality of his events as Entertainment
Tonight meets American Gladiators, Comu is confident about the
promotion's early jump to pay-per-view.
"We already have a big following locally and throughout Texas,"
said Comu. "We think going into the pay-per-view market makes
financial sense and also provides a chance for the fighters to get
that type of exposure."
With events scheduled in October and December to close out 2007,
Comu's company already plans to go international next year with
events scheduled in Canada, Mexico, China, and the United Arab
"The primary objective of the four international fight cards," said
Comu, "is to take the USA national team abroad and go head to head
with some of the fighters in the four countries to see how they
rank with our fighters."
With the UFC being the gold standard for MMA in the U.S., can an
upstart company from Dallas, Texas rise to the top and provide
serious competition? Comu doesn't see why not.
"I'll be candid, we feel we are a true No. 2 contender for this
market," said the Chairman of SUN. "We are trying to key our
business to the major corporate sponsors. This is the fastest and
number one growing sport, and now it's moving internationally.
We're taking a brand, Art of War, its 2,500 year old tradition and
rolling it with the most spectacular one on one sport."
Tucson, Ariz.'s Drew
Fickett (Pictures) is still recovering from a knee
injury that forced him to pull out of his scheduled bout against
Chris Lytle (Pictures) at UFC 73 in July. Fickett
originally stepped in for injured Canadian fighter Jeff Joslin (Pictures).
According to Fickett the injury lingered longer than expected and
he aggravated it in preparation for the fight.
"The knee is fine now," he said. "I've been doing a lot of yoga and
specific strength training for my injury. I tweaked it in the
Nakamura fight and it never really fully recovered since I jumped
right back into training."
Fickett plans on returning to competition in early October with a
possible match at UFC 77 a strong possibility.
As first reported by the Arizona Republic the body of former
MMA fighter Gilbert
Aldana (Pictures) was found washed ashore on
Saturday, Aug. 5 at Arizona's Lake Pleasant.
A Maricopa County representative spoke to Sherdog.com about the
incident and said, "A citizen reported to the sheriff's office that
they had discovered a body floating in the water at the lake."
After the civilian report to the sheriff's office, the lead
investigator on the case, Detective Kaufman, was called to the
scene where he ordered the body to be convoyed to the medical
examiner's office so a positive identification could be confirmed
and an official cause of death will be determined.
The UFC veteran was first reported missing while boating with his
family on Lake Pleasant on March 11 of this year.
Flashy Albuquerque bantamweight Coty "Ox" Wheeler has received the
call up to the big show. The submission fighter recently announced
his signing to the WEC after a win at last month's Fight World
event in New Mexico. Wheeler provides much needed depth to a WEC
135-pound weight class currently ruled champ Chase Beebe (Pictures). …
A slew of amateur and pro MMA events hit the desert in the coming
weeks. New Mexico has a full weekend starting on Aug. 17 with a
card in Santa Fe at the fairgrounds billed as "Resurrection Fight
Night." The event will be a mix of amateur MMA, kickboxing, boxing,
and submission grappling fights. The following night MMA hits the
Sunshine Theater in Albuquerque with a Wild Side produced card
packed with amateur MMA fighters. …
Texas MMA debuts on the country club circuit Aug. 23 with Fight
Night 2007 live from the Village Country Club in Dallas. The
outdoor event offers up 10 amateur MMA match-ups as well free
admission for fans.
On Saturday, Aug. 18 Arizona's Rage in the Cage heads south to the
Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson for RITC 99. The vacant RITC
middleweight title is on the line when Paul Arroyo takes on Jeff Horlacher, and the co-event
has Tito Jones battling
Danny Martinez for the
Questions, comments, and suggestions are welcomed. Let your
local fight voice be heard by e-mailing me at
GRRRR!!!More on Sherdog.com Mobile