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WFC cage fights feature local flavor

May 22, 2019

LAUGHLIN — Mixed martial arts returned to the Tri-state earlier this month, featuring Bullhead City native and professional fighter J.J. Ambrose.

He defeated Arturo Hernandez in round one by rear-naked guillotine choke in the main event of the World Fighting Championships 104 Cage Fights at the Avi Resort & Casino.

“It’s really nice to fight in front of the people I have grown up with,” Ambrose said. “It’s good to be back home, and to catch up with childhood friends and family that still live here.”

Ambrose said he has a lot of nostalgia for the Tri-state as his fighting career started right here.

He wrestled and played football when attending Mohave High School. At the same time, he trained at Tom Ramirez’s Mohave Valley Boxing Club with a growing interest in MMA.

He spent some time back in Ramirez’s gym training the night before the fight.

“It was so great catching up with Tom Ramirez,” Ambrose said. “His gym is basically a passion project; it’s a nonprofit. He doesn’t make any money off it. He just allows young kids to come in to train and learn the art of boxing. Catching up with him, and just going back to where it all started … it was amazing, a great feeling.”

Ambrose now has a 32-8 professional MMA record and said he has no plans on stopping anytime soon. The fight last at the Avi was his third this year, all of which have ended with the rear-naked guillotine.

His last loss was over a year ago to Saad Awad by unanimous decision on Bellator 193.

“J.J. Ambrose has a big following and has fought all over the world,” WFC President Matt McGovern said. “ He has a soft spot for the (Tri-state) area. It’s hard to match him up as he is such a high-level guy.”

Hernandez was a late injury replacement on the card for Darren Smith, who originally was scheduled to fight Ambrose.

“I’m just happy somebody stepped up,” Ambrose said. “I know it takes a lot of courage to get in the ring as it is, but to find somebody on short notice, that’s another level.”

Ambrose has another upcoming bout on June 28 in Japan and another fight scheduled for July in Australia.

Now 32, Ambrose is aware that the window for him competing is closing, but said he feels he is currently at the top of his game.

“Every year I feel better, stronger and learn more about the fight game,” he said. “I feel like if I’m getting better and better ... why start slowing down. If I am improving, I am going to keep fighting.”

Ambrose fights out of Maite, Guam, and appreciates his wife of 11 years for it. He said one of the greatest things is the ability to see his wife’s family almost every day. Its the type of environment he wanted to raise his daughter in.

WFC 104 brought in a load of local amateur talent as well. McGovern said that is something he likes to do when putting the cards together.

“We want to get the local community involved,” McGovern said. “Its a lot of local and regional fighters that our customers potentially come to see. Christian Beyers is from Lake Havasu and Mikey Green is from Laughlin competing on the card. These guys keep getting bigger and better.”

Beyers lost to Trent Phillips in the 125 amateur fight and Green submitted Ernesto Nies by heel hook in the amateur 155 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu battle.

“I’m just looking to be aggressive, and be the best fighter I can be,” Green said before his his match. “I am coming back off a two-year break. I competed at the end of last March. So, I am back on my competition mode.”

Green has been training under Rick Lucero from, Lucero Jiu-Jitsu Academy, for 5 1/2 years. He now is a fourth-degree purple belt.

“I like to say I have the nastiest guillotine in the Tri-state,” Green said.

Matt Huffman, Christian Molina and Mayhi Medrano also were fighting under Lucero on the card at the Avi, Huffman and Molina in BBJ bouts and Medrano in his MMA debut.

Huffman defeated Treston Kaneao in the 185 match and Molina lost to Isacc Agabin in the very last second of their 130 battle.

Medrano was a fan favorite in the 165 amateur division fight against Las Vegas native Roger Atchley in the co-main event. Medrano proved the years of training had paid off after submitting Atchley 1:04 into round one by armbar.

He said. “I am going to keep working and do what I do to get ready for the next one.”

“I was really happy that Mahyi got his win in the last fight,” said Ambrose after defeating Hernandez. “I hope he keeps it up. He can go really far, and I hope people are behind him. There is no reason why he can’t be in the UFC someday.”

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