The fifth edition of the War of the Heroes Muaythai Kickboxing/MMA Championships presented by USMF/Xfight officially brought a standing room only crowd of nearly 1600 fans to the Santa Clara Convention Center on Saturday night. Unofficially, estimates on seating capacity and the Virtual Box Office information show that as many as 1800 fans may have been in attendance. The Santa Clara fire department shut down the box office because it was over capacity.

In the two main event professional MMA bouts, UFC/WEC veteran under Ganyao “Dr. Knee” Fairtex out of SF, Tim McKenzie (13-6) blitzed Mike Arellano, and Fairtex Mountain View’s Chris Moore showcased a slick wrestling and submission game as both ended their fights with early first round submissions. Four U.S. Muaythai Federation title contests headlined 15 amateur fights, and the lone professional muaythai bout witnessed Strikeforce kickboxing veteran Ryan “T2” Roy batter and bloody a game Nathan Bagby.

Flanked by cheerleading and MLM marketing exhibitions, Conference Room B was packed wall-to-wall with fight team members, vocal supporters and a growing underground kickboxing fan base for 4+ hours of marathon kickboxing/mma hybrid action. Stockton-based Tim “the Wrecking Machine” McKenzie has been in the cage with several grizzled MMA veterans and up-and-comers including Emanuel Newton, Akihiro Gono, Scott Smith and Chael Sonnen. With 3 losses in his last 5 fights, McKenzie was looking to rebound against Gladiator Challenge and Tachi Palace veteran Mike “Showtime” Arellano.

After a short feeling out process, McKenzie went airborne to keep his balance against a solid double leg takedown attempt from Arellano. Folding the Corona, CA native back on himself, McKenzie ended up in the dominant mount position after a short scramble. Instead of going for a ground and pound finish, “the Wrecking Machine” flattened out his opponent while controlling the head. As Arellano bucked his hips and reversed position, McKenzie kept control of the wrists and slipped fluidly into a textbook armbar. The Ronin Jiu-Jitsu instructor finished the fight in 43 seconds with an armbar submission.

In his professional MMA debut, Fairtex Mountain View’s Chris Moore looked impressive en route to a first round submission over Sacramento native Tramail Smith. Moore plowed through a hard side kick to score an early takedown, but he could not gain a good enough posture to advance his position. After Smith showed several agressive upkicks and inside kicks off his back, he tried to press the action standing with a flurry of kicks and punches. Moore quickly used a hip throw into the mount position, sinking in a deep keylock submission moments later. Tramail Smith tapped at 1:53.

Burgeoning Muaythai and San Shou star Jenna Castillo (25-1) has seen her profile rise quickly among Bay Area fans and media. A member of Fairtex SF under Ganyao “Dr. Knee” Fairtex, she has also sparred with 2-time female boxing champion Ana Julaton and UFC/WEC/Strikeforce veteran, Scott Smith. Castillo also recently defended her WCSC Batamweight title as the headliner on a San Francisco Female Fury card in convincing fashion. Facing her would be 29-year old Melanie Kohler Edwards (8-4) of Utah. Edwards, a K-1 USA Superfight winner in 2003, came out to a solid walk-in track by Gangstar, but the flow of the fight would be directed by Castillo from the outset.

Castillo piled up damage until the decisive third round. Quick two-punch, inside leg kick combinations found their mark for Jenna. Along with a piercing right hand, left high kick combination, Edwards was on the defensive, covering up and on her heels. Castillo pressed the action and forced a standing 8-count. Cornered again later in the round, Castillo’s right hand found its mark repeatedly until referee Dan Stell stepped in and stopped the fight.

In the lone professional Muaythai bout of the evening, Strikeforce and WCSC veteran kickboxer and a member of the Fairtex Mountain View under Ganyao “Dr. Knee” Fairtex, Ryan “T2” Roy put his stamp on Fort Worth, Texas native Nathan Bagby. Bagby started the fight with more effective strikes from the outside, but Roy’s power changed the gameplan early. Heavy kicks to the body echoed off the walls of the conference room, and looping right hands were thrown with knockout intentions. Bagby threw a solid, technical high kick at the end of the first. Roy blocked it with both hands and tossed him unceremoniously to the canvas.

In the second round, Bagby followed his corner’s instructions and landed several quick pinpoint kicks to the legs and body. An imposing T2 started leveling heavy kicks to the midsection, almost like chopping wood. After scoring a knockdown, Roy sent Bagby sprawling to the mat seconds later after kicking his leg out from under him. Ryan Roy began finding the zone in the third round, backing up Bagby into a corner and landing knockout quality punches. Bagby was bloodied, but he remained on his feet. An elbow, right hand combination cut a gash over the right eye of Nathan, but after a quick consult the doctor said he could continue. The onslaught resumed until the doctor was called a second time and the fight was stopped. It was the 7th win for Ryan Roy, and argueably one of the most impressive of his career. His animated in-ring celebration drew a slight chuckle from veteran Thai referee Dej Sri-Ampai, who is as stone faced and professional as any referee in California.

IFMA World Championship Gold Medalist (Nov 27-Dec 5th – Bangkok, Thailand) and AKA fighter, Eric Luna earned a unanimous decision win over a flamboyant, spinning weilding Mario Martinez, and Combast Sports Academy’s Amber Pope looked impressive with unanimous decision wins in USMF Muaythai title fights. American Kickboxing Academy’s Gabe Carrasco (11-0) scored the knockout of the night with a high kick through the guard of American Top Team’s Eric Shellard. The Winter Springs, Florida native Shellard was out cold for several seconds, and had to be restrained briefly by the ref as he came to after the fight was stopped.

Team Black’s Quincey Shamon upset Matt Lucas with a 4th round TKO. The technically sound Shamon picked apart the powerful striker Lucas, and after one knockdown in the corner in the 4th he pressed and stopped the fight. Fairtex Mountain View’s Lawerence Ward beat Unlimited Kickboxing’s Robert Connejo with a solid performance, 30-27 on all three cards, and San Francisco’s Andrew Moy came from behind to win with a stunning 3rd round TKO of Ray Hov. Team Black’s Soni Tuungasasi stalked Elite MMA’s Matt King for 3 rounds, but the heavy hitting heavyweight could not knock him out. Instead the enormous Pacific Islander earned a decision win, 29-27, 29-27, 28-89, and the well earned respect for any future opponent he will face in the ring. Christie Cheekets, Brooks Hurd, Podar Duarte and Amber Goodwin were all successful in a blistering start to WOTH 5, which created a good atmosphere in the crowd and built up anticipation for the main event fights.

It was announced that there will be 5 War of the Heroes events in 2010, WOTH FC 6 is scheduled for May 22nd at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, WOTH FC 7 is scheduled for July 24th at the Fairtex Thepasit Stadium in Pattaya, Thailand, and WOTH FC 8 & 9 will return to the Santa Clara County Convention Center at the end of the year. Fairtex USA and USMF President Anthony Lin also noted that the USMF is looking to expand its muaythai reach to Texas, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania. The U.S.

Muaythai Federation had its most successful run at the IFMA World Muaythai Championships to date, earning 2 Gold medals, 1 Silver Medal, and 4 Bronze Medals in Bangkok, Thailand (Nov 27-Dec 5th). The USMF is dedicated to the promotion of Muaythai kickboxing in the U.S., and looking to furthur the competition of muaythai as an Olympic sport. The USMF will scout American talent to represent the U.S. at the upcoming PAMU Championships in Brazil (April), SportAccord in China (August), and IFMA World Championships in Thailand (November-December).

Strikeforce/UFC/former WEC Champion Scott Smith, Strikeforce Lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, K-1 former champion Carter Williams, WBC Muaythai/WBC Asia/ABCO General Secretary General Kiate Sirigul were on hand to award USMF belts inside the ring on Saturday night. Former Strikeforce title holder Cung Le was in the corner for several USH team fighters. Other notable players within the MMA/Muaythai community included promoter Scott Coker of ISKA Strikeforce, Mike Kogan of FEG/K-1, promoter Mick Maynard of Long Star Beat Down, promoter Andy K of Muaythai Lao, Trevor of Pure Pankration, and others.


War of the Heroes 5
Muaythai/MMA Championships
March 6th, 2010
Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara

PRO Mixed Martial Arts bout
Tim McKenzie (13-6) Submitted Mike Arellano (6-4)
Armbar Submission, 1st Round – 0:43.

PRO Mixed Martial Arts bout
Chris Moore (1-0) Submitted Tramail Smith (3-2)
Keylock Submission, 1st Round – 1:53.

PRO Muaythai Kickboxing Fight
Ryan Roy (7-2) tko Nathan Bagby (3-2)
Doctor stoppage, 3rd Round.

USMF Muaythai Title Fight
Jenna Castillo TKO Melanie Kohler Edwards
3rd Round.

USMF Muaythai Title Fight
Eric Luna Defeated Mario Martinez
Unanimous Decision.

USMF Muaythai Title Fight
Gabe Carrasco KO Eric Shelland
KO, 1st Round – 0:40.

USMF Muaythai Title Fight
Amber Pope Defeated Carresa Kibler
Unanimous Decision.

(Amateur Muaythai Undercard)

Tony Lawrence def. Diego Cuenca
Chrisente Joaquin def. Ivan Guerrero
Quincey Shamon tko Matt Lucas
Laurence Ward def. Robert Cornejo
Andrew Moy tko Ray Hov
Jeremy Leslie def. Vincent Urruty
Soni Tuungasasi def. Matt King
Amber Goodwin def. Liezel Warford
Podar Duarte def. Daniel Marchbanks
Brooks Hurd def. Philip Jucaban
Christie Cheekets def. Jennifer Faust