ONTARIO — In the hours leading into his fight on Sunday night, Sevak Magakian wondered if he should even enter the cage.
His cornermen, in fact, advised him against it, given how poorly he felt after a sudden illness overtook him. But Magakian decided to go down swinging.
And, though visibly ill hours after his bout late Sunday night, Magakian was smiling ear to ear as he had grinded out an impressive unanimous victory over Jeremy Umphries in the co-main event of CalledOut MMA II at the Ontario Citizens Business Bank Arena.
“I wasn’t feeling good. … I didn’t want to back out last minute,” said Magakian, who improved to 8-3 in his mixed martial arts career. “I tried to give 100%, but I probably didn’t.”
But the Glendale fighter did enough to win an exciting three-round lightweight (155 pounds) tilt with 29-28 scores across the board.
However, fortunes for other Glendale fighters in the main event and undercard were not as glorious.
In the main event of the evening, Glendale’s Alberto Crane lost a unanimous decision to Eagle Rock’s Albert Rios, as the latter out struck Crane and fended off the majority of his takedown attempts and didn’t let Crane’s world-class submission game enter the equation. It was scored 30-27 on all three judges’ scorecards.
Earlier in the night, Ando Dermenjyan, who trains locally at the Main Event Gym in Glendale, was knocked out by Mike Palo in the opening round of their featherweight (145 pounds) scrap.
Dermenjyan was dealt his first loss in stunning fashion during the fifth bout of the 10-fight card.
Seemingly looking to keep the fight standing, Dermenjyan was caught with a left uppercut from Palo that buckled the Team Hayastan fighter’s knees and dropped him to the canvas. A barrage of Palo punches followed, eliciting a stoppage from referee Herb Dean at the 1:31 mark of the first round.
When Palo (2-0) pushed the fight to the cage early, Dermenjyan (3-1) quickly circled off and got separation. Soon after, Dermenjyan connected on a textbook straight right that scored a flash knockdown on Palo. Dermenjyan later went down, but it appeared to be a stumble and he quickly regained standing position after Palo dropped down on him. Only moments later, Palo, a Team Quest product with a wrestling background, landed the fight-ending uppercut.
Magakian and Umphries (4-1) squared off in the night’s ninth fight.
In the first round, Umphries secured a takedown only to have Magakian go for an armbar and quickly transition into a leg lock attempt. Magakian would later land two judo throws, as well. Much of the round was a back-and-forth scramble, too, as Umphries, a wrestler, and Magakian, a judo player, grappled and changed levels throughout. At the end of the round, it was clear that Magakian was breathing hard.
In the second round, Magakian once again got the best of the grappling, but the most significant blow of the fight came when Magakian landed a left uppercut with Umphries coming in that knocked Umphries to the canvas. A barrage of Magakian punches followed, but Umphries regained his composure soon thereafter.
“That uppercut was from Vanes,” joked Magakian, referring to Glendale boxer Vanes Martirosyan yelling instructions to him while seated cageside next to Glendale MMA fighter Karen Darabedyan, one of Magakian’s closest friends and training partners.
Magakian was cornered by Main Event’s Roman Kalantaryan, Manny Gamburyan and Team Hayastan’s Gokor Chivitchyan.
“Everybody was there for me,” Magakian said.
In the third round, Magakian secured a takedown early once more. But later in the round, Umphries secured a kimura attempt, which had the crowd on its feet and Magakian’s arm in a precarious position. But the local fighter stayed calm throughout and eventually rolled through and ended the round in top position.
“I was flexible, I got out of it,” Magakian said.
In the three-round main event, a 150-pound catchweight fight, Crane (12-5) simply never got going, as Rios (12-4) was the crisper striker and controlled where the fight went through most of the bout.
“It was really important,” said Rios of the cage control. “I was working [during training camp] on stopping the takedown.”
Crane secured a judo takedown in the first, but couldn’t keep Rios grounded. In the opening moments of the second round, he notched three takedowns, but after the first two, Rios popped up quickly, and the third led to only a few elbows by Crane from the top until Rios once again worked back up to his feet. There, he won the round with a pair of straight rights that stunned Crane, a two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran.
Crane was nailed with a left in the third round, but the veteran fighter pressed forward. A few more rights from Rios landed, but Crane did go for broke at the end, trying to pull guard and somewhat succeeding in getting Rios down on top of him. Crane then moved in for an ankle lock, but the bell rang to end the fight.
Also on the card, Jared Papazian, who trains with Team Hayastan and with Crane’s Legacy Mixed Martial Arts, pounded out a unanimous decision win over Greg Guzman, 30-27 twice and 29-28. Papazian (6-4-1), who was cornered by Darabedyan, used solid ground and pound to notch
the decision against Guzman (7-4) in a fast-paced, action-filled scrap.