Crane chokes out 4th straight

GLENDALE — It’s getting borderline predictable every time Alberto Crane enters a mixed martial arts fight as of late.

First-round submission wins coming via choke have become standard fare for the Glendale resident as his recent streak of dominance has now climbed to four straight wins.

His latest triumph, in the end, fit right along those lines, as Crane submitted Eric “Short Bus” Regan in 2:20 of the first round in the main event of Saturday’s Rage in the Cage 122 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.

The bout was far from a slick submission clinic before the conclusion, however, as Crane showed off his ever-developing overall game with a vicious ground-and-pound effort that he thought, and hoped, would stop the fight.

“It was different because I just didn’t go for the submission,” said Crane, who improved his MMA record to 12-4 with the win against Regan (11-13), a grizzled veteran who’s fought 22 times under the RITC banner. “I give him credit, he was tough.”

According to Crane, the fight began with the two swinging hard standing up, so he changed levels, shot in and took Regan down, quickly moving to sidemount and pinning Regan’s arm, which opened up a barrage of ground-and-pound blows.

“I pounded him hard,” Crane, 32, said. “The ref should’ve stopped it. I beat him up pretty bad.”

Eventually, though, Regan was able to roll free of the position, but basically rolled right into the finish, with Crane easily slipping on a triangle choke.

“I just slipped it in and it was over,” Crane said.

Crane, who’s said many times before that his home is at the lightweight limit of 155 pounds, fought at 168, with Regan coming in two pounds heavier.

The extra weight hardly hampered him, though, as Crane called this his best fight to date.

“I just felt really comfortable,” said Crane, who still intends to drop back down to 155 in the future. “That was the most ready I’ve ever been for a fight.”

A bit of icing on the cake was that Crane’s friend and business partner at Legacy Mixed Martial Arts in Encino, Romulo Barral, submitted opponent Adrian Valdez in a middleweight (185) bout earlier in the night. Barral won via rear naked choke at 1:20 of the second round.

“He’s a beast, he’s gonna make waves for sure,” Crane said. “He just dominated.”

For Crane, a two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran, the road back to the big stage that is the UFC continues to be his goal at hand.

“I feel like I should be able to get back in the UFC,” he said.

As for his next fight, he’s hoping for something in Southern California around late-April.

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