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Mixed martial arts fighters tear up the cage in Lodi

Hundreds cheer, boo as 12 fighters duke it out in cagefights

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Posted: Saturday, March 10, 2012 11:29 pm | Updated: 9:47 am, Wed Mar 14, 2012.

The mat of the cage bounced violently as Stockton fighter Christopher Nunez was thrown onto his back by his Sacramento-based fighting opponent, Reggie Young.

Young hit Nunez's face once, twice, three times. His fists were unstoppable.

In a matter of seconds, Nunez became motionless. His eyes closed, and when Young realized his opponent was out cold he pumped his gloved hands in the air and took off out of the cage amongst a flurry of trainers and audience members who were scrambling to get into the cage to help the fallen fighter.

The fight between Nunez and Young was just one of six amateur mixed martial arts cagefights that took place at the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds on Saturday night.

Hosted by Hooked on Endorphins, the crowd of hundreds cheered — and booed — as 12 men took to the cage to duke it out.

And of those six fights, only two lasted three rounds — the allotted number of two-minute fight sessions between opponents.

The rest ended as Nunez's did — flattened on the mat, one fighter conceding to his opponent after a brutal beating.

Only one Lodian was scheduled to participate in Saturday night's event — Demetri Moore — but his fight was cancelled due to his opponent's injury, a pinched nerve in his neck.

And even with Moore out, the crowd certainly had their favorites.

The first fight pegged Stockton fighters Cameron Quigel and Joey Holland against each other.

Quigel, however, was the clear favorite.

But the fight started slow for Quigel, who was quickly pinned by Holland. But about 30 seconds in, the round turned in Quigel's favor and he flipped Holland around and landed a punch straight in Holland's face.

In 39 seconds, the round — and the fight — was over with Quigel walking away the victor after knocking out Holland.

Out-of-towners Brandon Sparks and Manuel Martinez were next into the cage. Sparks, from San Bruno, and Martinez, from Manteca, fought two rounds before Martinez submitted after Sparks held him relentlessly in a neck grab.

The first of two fights to last through three rounds featured Chico-based young gun Paul Robles going up against opponent Steven Cartwright.

Though Cartwright initially appeared to be ready to take down his youthful opponent, Robles exploded from his corner with more energy and more endurance than Cartwright could muster in any of the three rounds.

Robles was declared the winner in a unanimous decision by judges, and Cartwright was left breathing heavily and shaking his head afterwards.

Nunez's fight against Young brought the crowd to their feet as Nunez entered the ring.

It was like watching a gladiator enter the ring against the lion — Nunez held his head high and nodded to the dozens of people cheering his name cage-side.

His popularity would not win him his fight, however, and in less than 20 seconds he was done and had to be carried out of the cage by Lodi-based trainer Terry Morgan and others.

Lee Lopez and Myles Shaw took to the cage next. But once again, the two only lasted two rounds before Lopez shouted to the referee monitoring inside the cage that he was finished after he failed to block a number of Shaw's punches and kicks.

The final fight of the night featured Modesto-based fighter Daniel Oseguera and Sacramento-based fighter Jesse Henderson.

Though the two were battling it out in the title fight, neither took the initiative once inside the cage. Both reactive fighters, a majority of the fight was spent lunging at each other and occasionally tossing out a punch.

Both endured through the three rounds, with Oseguera landing a majority of his punches or kicks on Henderson. Henderson attempted to return the favor, but Oseguera proved to be too quick to have Henderson do any real damage.

The next Lodi-based MMA event will be June 9, when Demetri Moore will be battling it out for a title.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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