On December 3, 2016, four of MMAGOLD’s amateurs left the on-deck circle in El Dorado Hills, California, stepped to the plate in Vallejo, and hit one grand slam after the other, upsetting their opposition at Cage Combat Fighting Championship: Contender Series.
Leading off, Eric Helm (4-1) tested the team’s nerves early on, pulling off the favorable split-decision victory over Kaijin MMA’s Jonathan Sellers (0-1). A lightweight who found a middle ground to work from following a ten-month layoff, Helm didn’t push too aggressively and open himself up for carelessness, nor did he fall into an overly defensive groove and allow Sellers to dictate the action; instead, he wiggled into the ‘just right’ strategy and found the proper end of the judges’ perspective.
Next up, heavyweight ‘D-Train’ Dyllan Snavely (2-2) rumbled into the station at the center of the Solano Fairgrounds to face Dwight Maters (1-1). Riding the wake of a fantastic win at NCFS 3 on September 10, 2016 in the super heavyweight division, Snavely entered the contest at Cage Combat FC with his confidence at an all-time high.
He anticipated raising the roof with howls and cheers, but the cage, literally, burst at the seams beforehand. Toward the end of the second round, Snavely speared Maters into one of the chainlink walls, but the force of over five hundred pounds of flesh ripped the fencing from the cage’s frame. While the cage was repaired, C.A.M.O. (California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization), the regulatory body overseeing the all-amateur event, decided to move to the judges’ scorecards and handed Snavely the win via unanimous decision.
No luck needed when the third member of MMAGOLD, Arlene Culbreth (4-3), pitched a shutout versus Maritza Sanchez (1-3) at 145-pounds. Throughout round one’s entirety, Culbreth refused to allow Sanchez an inch to breathe, blitzing the product of AB’s Dragon House Mixed Martial Arts Studio before seizing the slightest of moments.
Months earlier—at NCFS 3, Culbreth, the naturally sized bantamweight, challenged at 155-pounds and struggled. Ten pound leaner and every bit as mean, she smothered Sanchez in any direction the fight swayed. Finally, one of Sanchez’s limbs dangled as a delightful treat, and Culbreth carnivorously feasted. Muscles and tendons began to snap, and Sanchez tapped, with one-second left in the round; otherwise, her bones would have followed suit.
Batting cleanup, Lucas Gubbins (7-1) stood toe-to-toe with Napa Valley MMA’s Raymond Lopez (3-3), again, attempting to knock him out of the park and collect his third amateur strap. In their May meeting at NCFS 2, Gubbins gravitated to his bread-and-butter: grappling, and Lopez had little-to-no response.
Headlining Cage Combat FC: Contender Series for the vacant welterweight belt, both evidenced their potential to succeed at the next level with a back-and-forth that captured everyone’s attention. The outcome at Cage Combat FC and NCFS 2 were similar: Gubbins was granted the unanimous decision and wrapped in Cage Combat FC’s championship marker at 170-pounds, but the potential for a trilogy at the professional ranks isn’t out of possibility’s realm.
By finishing the evening at Cage Combat FC: Contender Series with four wins and no losses, each of MMAGOLD’s fighters, whether draped in a belt or not, shined.