Hometown favorite, former Yosemite High wrestler and Cal Fire firefighter Anthony Ruiz (34-18) notched his 34th mixed martial arts win last Saturday, with a unanimous decision over Leonard Smith (9-4) during last weekend's Up and Comers fights at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino.
Ruiz, who fights out of Dethrone Basecamp in Fresno, was riding a four match win streak coming into Saturday's bout and said he was undoubtedly anxious fighting in front of his home crowd.
"I was really nervous but it felt good, especially fighting in front of my hometown and all the people that have supported me throughout my twelve year career. Having everyone there was really cool," Ruiz said.
The boisterous crowd repeated an "A-Train" chant as the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Ruiz entered the cage looking focused and confident.
After touching gloves with his opponent, Ruiz wasted no time getting down to business, delivering several aggressive kicks to the legs of Smith followed by a powerful double leg takedown. While on the ground Ruiz pinpointed some three or four devastating knees to Smith's midsection and maintained top position for majority of the round making him the clear first round winner.
Ruiz continued his domination in the second round, taking Smith down on several occasions. After being taken down early in the second round Ruiz quickly recovered with a reversal to again gain top position and finished the round in classic ground and pound style.
From there Ruiz displayed his conditioning skills as he did not let up, into the third and final round, and continued to pin Smith down and deliver blows to the mid section and face. All three judges scored the fight 30-27 declaring Ruiz the unanimous victor.
Ruiz said his next step is to continue conditioning and prepare for whatever comes next, which may include Ruiz' third trip to Russia in the past three years.
Ruiz, who has won all three of his fights at Chukchansi, said he is also eyeing another possible fight at at the casino as early as September.
Saturday's matches also included six bouts part of the Fighter Source regional competition which is a newly developed international amateur league aimed at developing MMA into an Olympic sport as early as 2016.
Winners from Saturday's Fighter Source regional matches will travel to New York to compete in the Fighter Source national fights. Winners in the New York finals will then have the opportunity to travel to London in September to represent Team USA against 10 other countries from across the globe in the official Fighter Source World Challenge.
Promoter and Fresno Force team owner says he was impressed with all the fighters during Saturday's event and hopes to host future MMA events at Chukchansi.
"Chukchansi is a great venue. It's beautiful and they have been great to work with. It is truly is an spectacular outdoor arena," Weiner said. "I think for hosting the first Fresno Force event at casino and having a great partner in Chukchansi it was great for Fresno, for Chukchansi and for everyone. It's just good exposure and it's the beginning of a league and a national tournament that is going to grow"