HIGHLAND — Alberto Crane’s road back to mixed martial arts prominence took a sudden and devastating turn thanks to the left hand of Tony Hervey.
Late Thursday night at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, Crane squared off with Hervey in a 160-pound bout at King of the Cage’s “Militia” and was stunningly knocked out just 12 seconds into the contest.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been knocked out,” Crane said Friday. “I guess [expletive] happens. I don’t remember anything.”
Crane (12-4), who had never been stopped in the first round, much less knocked out, opened well with a surprising right-handed Superman punch that pushed Hervey (10-5) back against the cage.
Crane then jumped up in the hopes of pulling guard and transitioning into a leg lock, but the plan went horribly awry.
It appeared that Crane was unable to hold on and, in turn, left himself open for a vicious array of punches that led to the knockout, but the Glendale fighter said his corner told him he was caught before that while trying to pull guard.
Nevertheless, the fight ended with Hervey raining down a barrage of straight lefts — after an apparent left hook had led to the knockout — to a downed Crane.
“I was already out,” said Crane of the punches to him when he was down.
Crane was soon responsive and moving, but was stretchered out of the cage and taken to a nearby hospital for tests.
“Everything’s OK,” he said.
Still, it made for some apprehensive moments after the match.
“Honestly, I didn’t want anything like that to happen, that’s my biggest fear,” said Hervey in an in-ring, postfight interview. “My heart’s out to Alberto Crane right now.”
Crane, a former two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran, was riding a four-fight winning streak that saw him emerge victorious all by first-round submission. But being on the wrong side of Hervey’s fourth KO win in his last five fights certainly alters his ascension.
For now, Crane said he’s going to spend some much-needed time with his wife and three small children in Glendale, while focusing on coaching and teaching at his Legacy Mixed Martial Arts in Encino.
After some time with that, he indicated he’s likely to weigh the options for his next fight.
“I’ll see where I’m at,” he said. “I’m sure there’s something that’s out there.”