Debut scores knockout

Luis Salgado sat in the corner, battered and bruised. He still wore a big smile because he remained undefeated.

After the mixed martial arts fighter's second match of his career, Salgado delivered what the crowd at the Fight Club OC wanted Thursday night. He knocked someone out.

He raised his fists and pumped them to the 1,568 fans, making the money they spent to get into the Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center worthwhile. Most fans root to see someone go down hard.

Fight Club OC finally delivered one in its debut in front of a sold-out crowd in Costa Mesa.

In the fifth fight on a seven-bout card, Salgado landed a right uppercut shot, sending Ozzie Alvarez to the canvas. Salgado not only won the 185-pound fight at the 2:35 mark in the third and final round, he punched his ticket to another venue the next day.

"I told him if he knocks [Alvarez] out, I'm going to give him my two Laker tickets [for Friday's game]," said Sam Choi, one of Salgado's trainers out of All In MMA in Buena Park.

"He did it with [25] seconds left."

Salgado earned the tickets. He promised Choi and the rest of his team that his next fight would not last as long.

Someone joked that Salgado might not be able to walk around at Staples Center. His thighs looked like a painter had just brushed blue and red strokes on them.

The pain did not matter to Salgado.

"I know we made history. I know I hold down the first knockout here at the Hangar, so I'll hold that dearly in my career," Salgado said. "I'll try to [have] a [better] showing next time around, maybe a first-round knockout."

Salgado hopes to get another shot at one of the upcoming cards Fight Club OC will feature this season.

No fighter went down in the opening round of any of the five boxing and two MMA bouts on Thursday. Salgado was the only MMA fighter to record a knockout. Brent Urban of Dallas, Texas, produced the lone one in boxing, knocking out Joseph Jones in the second round of a four-round cruiserweight fight.

The overall event, brought to the fans by promoter Roy Englebrecht of Newport Beach, still floored those in attendance.

Many of the loyal fans that followed Englebrecht's "Battle in the Ballroom" for the past 26 years at the Irvine Marriott enjoyed the new venue. The Hangar is bigger, making for a larger crowd, as well as 10 luxury suites.

Englebrecht stopped by ringside to let some know that each of the luxury suites sold out. MMA fighter Isaac Gutierrez said there was not really a bad seat in the Hangar.

"Because you can look right at the big screen," said Gutierrez, who could not help but look over to the screen as well after he improved to 5-3 after earning a unanimous decision against Huntington Beach's Carlos Garces in a 150-pound matchup.

"I definitely want to come back."

Fight Club OC returns to the OC Fair & Event Center for a special card on March 18.

Englebrecht will team up with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions and feature two rising professional boxers from Santa Ana in light welterweight Luis Ramos Jr. (17-0, eight knockouts) and super featherweight Ronny Rios (13-0, six knockouts).

Englebrecht is expecting another huge turnout. Fans came out strong in Englebrecht's first act with Fight Club OC, even though most of the fighters on display were newcomers.

One heavyweight boxer, Quadtrine Hill, is trying to make a name for himself in the ring after he starred on the football field at the University of Miami.

Hill graced the cover of ESPN The Magazine in Dec. 2009, with the question, "IS THERE A BOXER IN YOUR BACKFIELD?" Hill kept driving his opponent backward Thursday before he improved to 4-1 after scoring a unanimous decision against Chad Davis of Phoenix, Ariz.

Fans began to get a little frustrated when Hill was unable to knock out Davis in the fourth fight of the evening. The first four bouts featured zero knockouts.

One fan yelled, "You boys don't get hurt now!"

When it was Salgado's turn to battle, he made sure to drop the first fighter. The opponent's corner did not believe Salgado had the stamina in him. They told Alvarez (1-2) to attack and Salgado caught him with a vicious blow to the head.

"He fights like a gorilla," Salgado said of Alvarez, who is from Miami, Fla. "There's not much technique to him.

"We weren't gassed. If we were gassed, the power wouldn't have been there. The power was there."

The energy was definitely there for the first Fight Club OC event.

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