FIGHT FOCUS: HD MMA XII BRADEN SMITH VS CODALE FORD

The Main Event at HD MMA XII is one of the most exciting Oklahoma MMA Welterweight fights in recently memory. Braden Smith, the former HD MMA Welterweight title holder and national prospect, who last year signed a multi-fight deal with LFA vacating his HD title, returns to the promotion with a fight against extremely dangerous and seasoned veteran Codale Ford, who most recently competed under the Bellator MMA banner.

Smith (8-2) is a well-known name in the Oklahoma and regional circuits. With his exciting style and bold personality, the fighter has racked up big wins in both MMA & boxing. After coming off an upset loss in his last bout, he is refocused and looks to showcase an evolved skill-set against a well-traveled opponent in Codale Ford.

Ford (12-10) has competed all over, with big fights and wins for such organizations as Bellator MMA. The talented veteran looks to propel his name back among fighters to watch in the Midwest with a big win over a highly regarded name such as Braden Smith.

In what is a big fight for both men, one that could determine their immediate futures, the Welterweights are sure to leave it all in the cage come Friday, June 8th.

Current Fight Card

PRO

Braden Smith (8-2) vs Codale Ford (12-10)
Aaron McKenzie (4-1) vs AJ Nichols (3-1)
Kyle Driscoll (6-3) vs Aaron Roberson (9-8)
Tanner Hickey (1-1) vs Ron Wetselline (0-1)

AM

Aryion Young (6-2) vs Triston Gwaltney (4-0)
Zachary Bradshaw (3-0) vs Tyler Rowe (6-3)
Zack Laurent (2-3) vs Emilio Gatewood (2-3)
Kris Vereen (3-1) vs Mitchell Cupp (1-3)
Clarence Standridge (D) vs Kentrell Pierson (D)
Zakery Walbergh (D) vs Joel Guzman (1-1)
Beck Blevins (D) vs Juan Garza (D)

 

 

 

BRADEN SMITH VS CODALE FORD HEADLINES JUNE 8 HD MMA XII IN OKC

HD MMA’s former Welterweight Champion, Braden Smith, is one of the most popular fighters in Oklahoma. The 8-2 prospect who has made waves in the region with big wins over multiple Bellator MMA veterans, returns to fight for HD MMA at Remington Park in Oklahoma City on Friday, June 8th. More than year after winning the State of Oklahoma Welterweight Championship at HD MMA 8 and vacating it for a two fight stint with LFA, the fighter known as “HP” is back. He will take on another dangerous Bellator MMA vet, Codale “Crunchtime” Ford (12-10), in a three round non-title Main Event clash. Both fighters have a lot to prove. Smith, who looks to rebound after an upset loss and revive his dream of a UFC call-up, will have to turn away a savvy contender in Ford, who wants nothing more than to prove that he is still a force to be reckoned with as a top ranked regional Welterweight.

Braden Smith

The co-feature on the fight card is an extremely intriguing and potentially exciting pairing of two top ranked Lightweight contenders. Aaron McKenzie (4-1), training under the undefeated rising MMA star and BJJ World Champion Rafael Lovato Jr., squares off with LFA veteran AJ Nichols (3-1). Each man is hungry to prove that he is the next contender at 155. Both fighters have big wins under their belt and will look to test themselves against each other in a fight that could come down to who has the best strategy and game plan.

Aaron McKenzie

Also on the card is the return of former HD MMA title challenger Kyle Driscoll (6-3), who was last seen at Remington Park in a memorable title fight vs Marcus “Lone Star” Penland, the former State of Oklahoma Lightweight Champion. Driscoll who moved training camps to AKA, most notably the home of UFC stars like Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, and Khabib Nurmagomedov, looks to show the development of his arsenal as he takes on Aaron “AR-15” Roberson (9-7). Roberson, like headliner Braden Smith, was also on the HD MMA 8 card and finished his opponent Chris Mullins with a first round RNC submission.

Kyle Driscoll

Other announced fights

Tanner Hickey (1-1) vs Ron Wetselline (0-1)

Zach Bradshaw (3-0) vs Tyler Rowe (6-4)

GRINNELL VS SALINAS HEADLINES HD MMA 11 FEB 24 AT REMINGTON PARK

Oklahoma headquartered promotion HD MMA, who in 2017 showcased some of the best fights in the Midwest, including current UFC Flyweight Champion Nicco Montano vs Invicta prospect Julia "Raging Panda" Avila and Bellator MMA breakout Kristina Williams in her last Amateur fight, have released their initial lineup for the highly anticipated HD MMA 11 show at Remington Park in OKC on Saturday, February 24th.

The Main Event features Bellator MMA veteran Brian Grinnell (10-7), coming off the second fastest submission finish in the promotion's Welterweight history, as he takes on dangerous Texan Danny Salinas (13-10). In what should be an exciting headliner, HD MMA 11 looks like a great fight card

 Brian Grinnell submits Kemmyelle Haley at Bellator MMA

Brian Grinnell submits Kemmyelle Haley at Bellator MMA


Tanner Hickey.jpg

In the Co-Main Event, a pair of exciting prospects collide.

"Titan" Tanner Hickey made his debut on HD Fight Night on January 6 against an experienced and dangerous opponent in Dakotah Atnip. Hickey impressed right out of the gate. In fight that was predicted to be a nail biter, he controlled Atnip for the majority of the first round with his strong ground game, then choked him unconscious in devastating fashion, with less than a minute left in the round. Hickey will take on a fighter who's riding a two fight wining streak, with finishes of both opponents.

Julius Homes (2-2) is a talented Texas product who's pro career started with a few bumps. After consecutive wins however, he is back on track and looks to show his potential against Hickey.

Also on the card is the return of fan favorite Frank Jones (2-1) who looks to cement his name in the Oklahoma Lightweight rankings as he takes on Jaban Barchue (0-2).

Frank Jones

The rest of the lineup features other exciting prospects such as Raul Garcia (1-0), Brandon Bailey (2-1), Justin Weaver (D), and more!


CURRENT FIGHT CARD

PROFESSIONAL

BRIAN GRINNELL (10-7) VS DANNY SALINAS (13-10) 175

TANNER HICKEY (1-0) VS JULIUS HOLMES (2-2) 170

RAUL GARCIA (1-0) VS JUSTIN WEAVER (D) 125

FRANK JONES (2-1) VS JABAN BARCHUE (0-2) 155

BRANDON BAILEY (2-1) VS CHRIS HATLEY JR. (0-1) 145

AMATEUR

ARPAN GURUNG (2-2) VS EDUARDO HERRERA (3-1) 135

POTEY DOAHI (2-0) VS ZACK LAURENT (2-2) 145

ABRAHAM BENJAMIN (3-1) VS ALBERTO VARGAS (1-1) 155

BECK BLEVINS (D) VS QUINTIN CARMICHAEL (1-2) 135

Look for more fight announcements in the coming weeks.

OKLAHOMA MMA MAKES NATIONWIDE IMPACT IN 2017 - PART 2

 BJJ World Champion & undefeated MMA competitor Rafael Lovato Jr.

BJJ World Champion & undefeated MMA competitor Rafael Lovato Jr.

This second part of our inside look at the impact Oklahoma MMA made nationwide in 2017, focuses on fighters outside of the TKO Network (Trigger KO®, HD MMA®, etc.). Three out of four fighters in this group competed for championships on national TV and helped continue the surge that Oklahoma MMA has been making throughout the nation.

The name who arguably made the biggest impact in 2017 was the lone fighter in the group who didn’t compete for a belt. World champion BJJ black belt Rafael Lovato Jr. made giant strides in his MMA career in 2017 as he won all three of his Bellator MMA fights pushing his undefeated record to 7-0. The 34 year old Lovato also scored a spectacular 13 second knockout shining bright in the spotlight. Lovato’s BJJ career includes many accolades, none bigger than being one of only three Americans to ever win the World Jiu Jitsu Championship. The future looks bright for this world class athlete, who also runs and coaches his own academy in Oklahoma City. Expect big things from Lovato in 2018 as he sets his sights on contention for the Bellator MMA belt.


Our next focus is on another top female talent out of the Oklahoma City area, which seems to be infused with high level Women’s MMA in all weight classes. Multiple prospects, training at different gyms all around the city, have recently shined in big moments. Emily “Gordinha” Ducote is no stranger to these moments and is arguably the pioneer of the Oklahoma women’s rise over the past few years. Ducote (6-3), stepped up to the Bellator MMA stage in 2016 and handled a favored prospect earning her spot on the roster. Gordinha has been instrumental in the development of the Bellator MMA 125 pound division. Since that victory, she fought five more times for the organization, losing only two of those fights. Both of those defeats are against current Champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane.

Overall Ducote went 2-1 in 2017. The lone defeat of the year was in November, when Ducote and Macfarlane re-united to fight for the inaugural Women’s Flyweight Championship on Spike TV. While Ducote may have come up short, she never wilted in a five round war with her opponent and fans all over were able to witness the exact type of talent that Oklahoma MMA has been showcasing at the national level. With the 125 pound division still in it's development stages and new, exciting names starting to make their case for a shot at the top, Ducote is in perfect position to be featured in some very exciting match ups. In 2018, she will have the opportunity to climb back into the title picture.

 Macfarlane vs Ducote I in 2016

Macfarlane vs Ducote I in 2016

 

The final two fighters we will take a look at below are Justin “Darth” Rader (7-3) and Darryl “The Reaper” Wilson (7-2), capping off what in our opinion are the most deserving Oklahoma fighters of the year, in terms of impact at the main stream level.



 Rader's new skills made for a big year in 2017

Rader's new skills made for a big year in 2017

Rader, an Oklahoma City fighter training under the first name we discussed in this article, Rafael Lovato Jr., is another standout Oklahoma prospect. Just as Lovato, known for his championship caliber Jiu Jitsu, Rader has likewise successfully transitioned to MMA. Rader went 2-1 in 2017 with a huge win over former FCF Champion Zach Church (8-5), and snapped the six fight undefeated record of Emmanuel “El Punisher” Rivera (6-2). Both wins earned Rader a title fight opportunity for Legacy Fighting Alliance in August on AXS TV. Darth fought a hard and gritty battle, going the distance with the defending Champion Kevin “The Angel of Death” Aguilar (13-1). While Aguilar went on to defend his belt, Rader showed an incredible array of improvement in all aspects of his game. A fighter who was once primarily known for his grappling, added diverse kicks and movement to his arsenal in 2017 and looks to show in 2018, that he is a true contender at the highest levels of the sport.


 Wilson finished 3 opponents in 2017

Wilson finished 3 opponents in 2017

Daryl Wilson out of Tulsa, OK is a similar story. A fighter who was once primarily known to be a striker, showed a rapid jump in development as he went on a five fight winning streak, finishing four of five opponents. Two of those wins were via submission and the others via way of exciting knockouts. In 2017, Wilson went 3-1 and earned a shot at the LFA Lightweight Championship held by Rob Watley (9-1). Wilson jumped on the opportunity and squared off with Watley on AXS TV, adding his name to the list of 2017 Oklahoma fighters in the national spotlight. Watley defended his belt as well, but Wilson’s showing left a lot of room for growth and the young fighter seeks to come back even stronger for 2018.


2017 showed the world that Oklahoma MMA is a force to be reckoned with. In both parts of this series, we were able to look at some of the incredible talent that is centered within about a three hour radius of Oklahoma City. The state’s rise in recent combat sports success is a testament to the quality of the gyms, coaches, and opportunities available to fighters in the area through organizations such as LFA, Bellator MMA, HD MMA, to name a few. As more talent continues to emerge, we wouldn't be surprised if 2018 ends up even bigger. If anything can be said about the past year and looking into the future is that one year's time can change a lot of things.

LIGHTWEIGHT PROSPECT FRANK JONES SIGNS 3 FIGHT DEAL WITH HD MMA

HD MMA is reporting that the organization has agreed to a three fight deal with Chickasha, Oklahoma fighter Frank Jones. The up and coming lightweight fighter has a 2-1 record and is coming off a dominant win over Brandon Wright at HD MMA 9. He is being billed for the HD MMA 11 Co-Main Event on February 24, 2018 at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. HD MMA has not at this time announced an opponent.

Frank Jones The Forge MMA
 Frank Jones stops Brandon Wright at HD MMA 9 | Remington Park, Oklahoma City

Frank Jones stops Brandon Wright at HD MMA 9 | Remington Park, Oklahoma City

HD MMA 11.jpg

OKLAHOMA MMA MAKES NATIONWIDE IMPACT IN 2017 - PART 1

Oklahoma MMA took a big step forward in 2017.  Multiple big fights and fighters made a large impact at all levels, with many namely finding a big boost through Oklahoma City's HD MMA organization and the Trigger KO network.

Everything started with an HD MMA title bout in Oklahoma City which would set the pace for the rest of the year. On January 7th, current UFC 125 pound Champion Nicco Montano made her way from New Mexico to take on Oklahoma’s Julia Avila for the State of Oklahoma Bantamweight Championship. The two warriors put on the type of fight that MMA fans salivate over and dream of being lucky enough to see live. The fight went all five rounds in a bloody, gritty, and back and forth battle which culminated with Avila taking the win and moving her record to 3-0. Montano had dropped to 3-2. Later in the year, Avila would go on to successful defend the belt against Candace Maricle, winning via submission just over a minute into the first round. The dominant performance earned her a 4-0 record and a contract with Invicta.

 Photo courtesy of HD MMA

Photo courtesy of HD MMA


Montano on the other hand, may have made the biggest impact of all. Shortly after the fight, she jumped on the opportunity to compete for a spot on The Ultimate Fighter at 125 pounds. She made the house and shocked the world when she upset multiple top seeds earning a title shot on Fox Sports 1 against Roxanne Modafferi. Montano defeated Roxy, moving her record to 5-2 and capturing the title. No one could have expected such a meteoric rise and Montano truly shined in the spotlight. The future is bright for both fighters as Avila sets her sights on a 2018 Invicta debut, while Montano prepares to defend her UFC title.

Another Oklahoma female fighter who made a gigantic impact at the international level in 2017, was also once a relatively unknown name. Kristina “Warhorse” Williams amassed a 12-0 Amateur record between Muay Thai, Boxing, and MMA. In March, she had made her Amateur MMA debut on a Trigger KO network card during which she handily defeated her opponent Ashlynn Kleinbeck. Williams followed up that win with a dominant showing against Rachel Young on an LFA card, then capped off her Amateur career at HD MMA 9 with another one sided victory over opponent in Taylor Pace.

 Photo courtesy of MMA Junkie.

Photo courtesy of MMA Junkie.


That’s when Bellator MMA came calling. Needing a foe for their perennial women’s star and reigning 20-0 boxing World Champion Heather Hardy, Bellator tabbed Williams for the opportunity, clearly underestimating the skill level of the debuting fighter. Williams was billed as a heavy underdog by all oddsmakers with not many offering much as to hope of an upset.

The fight panned out an entirely different way. Williams dominated from the opening bell, outclassing Hardy in every aspect of the fight. It looked as if Hardy was the amateur jumping to the big stage, rather than Williams who decimated her with kicks, elbows, and strikes from all angles. Hardy hung tough until a huge kick from her opponent smashed her nose forcing the referee to call a halt and prompted the doctor to stop the fight. A new name in women’s MMA was born. William’s popularity soared and her future looks bright with the organization as she prepares for her next fight.

 Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA.

Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA.


Other HD MMA fighters who made a significant impact on the big stage were reigning Lightweight Champion Manny “The Dragon” Muro, who competed with HD MMA contender Emmanuel “El Punisher” Rivera, normally a Featherweight stepping up to the challenge. The bout was an all-out war with both fighters giving it all they had, never backing down. Muro used his jab and kicks in a wide array of diverse angles, outpointing Rivera en route to a clear cut unanimous decision.

 Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA.

Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA.

Another Oklahoma fighter scored the second fastest submission finish in Bellator MMA Welterweight history as Brian Grinnell forced his opponent Kemyelle Haley to tap at just 39 second of the first round. Grinnell was coming off a dominant victory in his previous bout as well at Freestyle Cage Fighting in Shawnee, OK.

 Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA.

Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA.


While the list of fighters who made a name for themselves in 2017 isn’t limited to this article, these were in our opinion the most impact worthy performances of the year for fighters who competed on an Oklahoma fight card. If 2017 shows us anything, is that Oklahoma MMA is on the rise and that HD MMA is an organization to watch for top talent. Multiple prospects are waiting for their chance to shine, such as current undefeated Champion (6-0) JR Coughran. 2018 will be an exciting year!

HD MMA VET WILLIAMS DEFEATS BOXING STAR HARDY AT BELLATOR 185

 Kristina Williams stops Heather Hardy at Bellator 185

Kristina Williams stops Heather Hardy at Bellator 185

Oklahoma fan favorite Kristina "Warhorse" Williams adder her name to the mix of exciting women prospects to watch coming out of the HD MMA promotion, as she stunned in her pro debut devastating undefeated boxing star and heavy favorite Heather "The Heat" Hardy. Williams took the lead from the opening bell dictating distance and utilizing her superior kickboxing to pressure Hardy. Bloody and battered, Hardy ate one final kick  in the second round which shattered her nose forcing the doctor to stop the fight.

Williams, an undefeated Amateur in mixed competition (12-0), continued her impressive run with an improbable pro debut victory over a household name in the Bellator MMA spotlight on Spike TV. Williams finished her career as an Amateur fighting under the HD MMA banner, the same promotion that current UFC 125 Women's Champion Nicco Montano fought for in her last pro bout before The Ultimate Fighter, and home of undefeated top women's prospect Julia "Raging Panda" Avila.

 Nicco Montano is a current UFC Champion

Nicco Montano is a current UFC Champion

 Julia Avila recently signed with Invicta

Julia Avila recently signed with Invicta

COUGHRAN VS PARVIN ROUNDS OUT HD MMA 9 MAIN CARD ON JULY 22

The HD MMA 9 card continues to add incredible fights as another exciting pro bout has been booked, finalizing the Main Card for the event.

Oklahoma City star JR “Bam Bam” Coughran (4-0) makes his return to the cage, coming off an big win against the gritty Daniel Carey (2-1), who almost stopped Coughran multiple times in the first round of their LFA bout. Coughran was tested like never before and showed that he can survive the toughest of circumstances. He looks to continue this impressive run against another dangerous opponent.

Coughran will face a tough and experienced opponent in Billy “The Fool” Parvin (3-1), coming off an impressive win in his own right, in which he defeated Levi Smith via TKO. Parvin has finished each of his three wins and looks to derail “Bam Bam’s” undefeated streak.

The fight card continues to shape into one of the best Oklahoma MMA cards of the year with more bouts yet to be announced.

⭐️ M - Demoreo Dennis (6-4) vs Brandon Lee (4-1) - HW

⭐️ C - Julia Avila (3-0) vs Candace Maricle (1-0) - BW

JR Coughran (4-0) vs Billy Parvin (3-1) - FW

Brandon Wright (1-1) vs Frank Jones (1-1) - LW

Tanner Hickey (3-0) vs Steve Jones (6-3) - WW

Ryan Hoover (4-0) vs Arpan Gurung (1-1) - BW AM-C

Kris Vereen (2-0) vs Adam Stumblingbear (2-3) - MW

Akeeme Williams (1-0) vs Chris Shea (2-2) - LW

JULIA AVILA VS CANDACE MARICLE HD MMA 9 MAIN EVENT SET FOR JULY 22

The July 22nd HD MMA 9 Main Event at Remington Park Casino in Oklahoma City, is a showcase of quickly rising women’s bantamweight stars.

State of Oklahoma Women’s Bantamweight Champion Julia “Raging Panda” Avila (3-0), fresh off a Fight of the Year candidate battle against KOTC Champion Nicco Montano at HD MMA 7, returns to take on dangerous contender “Scrappy” Candace Maricle (1-0) in a non-title, three round contest.

Avila, ranked #8 out of 408 at 135 pounds in the US West, looks to keep the momentum going and seeks to retain her undefeated record against Maricle, who’s ranked #6 of 322 in the US Southeast.

Avila, who already holds a win over current UFC fighter Marion Reneau (7-3-1), looks to get one step closer to putting herself into the national spotlight, while Maricle seeks to derail Avila’s unbeaten streak and earn her way into the same spot.

This is a stellar match-up of two women who have their sights set on the next level in the immediate future. In what shapes up to be an event full of “fireworks”, this must see fight is just one of many exciting bouts from top to bottom.

BRANDON WRIGHT VS FRANK JONES SET FOR HD MMA 9 ON JULY 22

Two young prospects are set to square off on Saturday, July 22nd at Remington Park Casino in Oklahoma City for the next installment of Oklahoma’s premier MMA ticket.

Brandon Wright (1-1) takes on Frank Jones (1-1) in this highly anticipated pairing of two promising talents. The bout is set to take place in the lightweight division.

Both men are intent on making a statement and look to showcase their abilities at HD MMA 9. Wright has been the more active fighter in the past year with multiple bouts under his resume, while Jones has had several fights fall through, including an HD MMA 8 scheduled billing with Angel Garcia, who pulled out of the fight just weeks before and was suspended indefinitely by the OKSAC.

HD MMA has a history of making terrific, exciting fights and this one is primed to be just that.