Burbank-trained Jared Papazian falters at Valley Invasion 3

WOODLAND HILLS – Clamoring for the toughest competition he could find in his hopeful journey back into the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Jared “The Jackhammer” Papazian found a worthy foe in Brandon “The No. 1 Contender” Bender.

On Saturday night at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, Papazian’s trip back to the big stage took a hit, as he was submitted in the first round by Bender in the main event of the National Fight Alliance MMA’s Valley Invasion 3.

Papazian, one of four fighters who train at Burbank Gracie Barra who competed on the card, was submitted via rear-naked choke in 2:01 of the opening round of the featherweight tilt.

It started out tentatively, with Papazian (15-10) throwing more strikes, while Bender (11-0) was seemingly waiting for his time to shoot for a takedown. It came after Papazian, a three-fight UFC veteran, landed a solid leg kick.

Bender shot in, Papazian defended at first, but Bender frantically went for his opponent’s back, jumped up and then wrestled Papazian down and worked in the hooks and then the choke. Papazian resisted, but eventually tapped at the 2:01 mark.

It was the 10th victory for Bender via submission and, subsequently, Papazian’s sixth submission loss.

On the night, Gracie Barra Burbank fighters, trained and cornered by Glendale’s Alberto Crane, went 2-2.

Drawing one of the loudest ovations of the night was for Robert “Strictly Business” Gleckman, as the Burbank Gracie Barra product made his professional debut at 49 years young.

Gleckman wasted little time in giving his vocal fan base something to cheer about as he worked a rear-naked choke for a first-round submission of Jeremy Ramage at the 2:16 mark of the opening round.

Gleckman wasted no time, pressing the action and landing a big left hook and an uppercut to stagger Ramage (1-5).

A barrage followed and Ramage went to the ground, as Gleckman, a jiu-jitsu practioner, flashed his striking skills. Gleckman pounded away on the ground, first from side guard, then from full guard and finally was able to roll and work for a rear-naked choke, where he coaxed the tapout.

Former football player Damien Marzett made his second foray into the cage and earned a hard-fought three-round unanimous decision over Miguel Cosio. Scores were not announced.

Marzett used clinch work, takedowns, top control and more effective striking to notch the win, which saw both fighters supremely fatigued at the conclusion.

“I’m still learning,” said Marzett (2-0), who trains at Burbank Gracie Barra and came on strongest in the third when Cosio (1-12) was noticeably exhausted.

Marzett landed particularly well with upper cuts in the clinch and used better stamina to win going away in the middleweight bout. He later thanked “the whole Gracie Barra family for getting me ready.”

Keenan Lewis was the first of the locally-trained fighters to take to the cage, beginning his fight phenomenally, but ending it devastatingly with a second-round knockout loss.

Lewis dominated the opening round of his bantamweight bout against Kevin Michel, landing a leg kick and then securing a double-leg takedown.

From there, he rained down a ground-and-pound assault of right hands, right hammerfists and then lefts to the head and body.

But the second round quickly turned, as he landed another leg kick, but his subsequent shot attempt was stopped and moments later he walked into a blistering right and fell face-first.

Michel (5-5) followed with ground strikes and the bout was called to a halt 25 seconds into the second stanza. Lewis (2-3) protested the stoppage, but appeared to have been woken up by the ground strikes.

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