Football is over, and now it is time for mixed martial arts to go full blast on a local level. Expect to see many MMA caged events in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas now through the fall season. Gladiators Promotions is the first to kick off the cage fighting for this year in Baton Rouge.
Friday, March 1, Gladiator Promotions will present “Rise and Fall” at the Texas Club in Baton Rouge. The card is stacked with 12 fights combining local MMA talent and fighters from all across the South, including former LSU football player James Stampley who is currently undefeated as a heavyweight.
“I haven’t promoted a fight with this many fights since 2007,” said Tony Jarreau, owner of Gladiators Promotions. “I decided to add this many fights to give back to the fans, since my last event was shortened to only seven fights due to last-minute drop-outs. I guarantee the fight fans that March 1 will be one great night of fights.”
It will be interesting to see if Stampley will fall into the similar footsteps of Shawn “Savage” Jordan, who is also a former LSU football player and has signed on with the Ultimate Fighting Championships.
Powerhouse Stampley is scheduled to fight Eric Lunsford on Friday. Stampley won his debut fight by a technical knockout from damaging strikes within the first two minutes of the first round in January. His power and speed are impeccable.
Lunsford has a successful amateur record with majority wins by submissions. If Lunsford has the strength and conditioning to stand with Stampley and bang, it is possible the fight will go the distance. If the fight goes to the ground, Stampley may take control in a dominant position and use his dangerous strikes to end the fight.
It is common to see new MMA competitors transition from other sports like football, but they may not have the ju jitsu or other martial arts discipline skills that many other fighters already have in the sport. If that’s the case, Stampley could get caught in a submission, leaving Lunsford’s hand raised.
Also on this card, hometown favorite and featured professional fighter Michael Guidry of LA Boxing of Baton Rouge and Gladiators Academy of Lafayette will be going up against Jonathan Lopez from Texas.
Guidry has been training in MMA for five years with Gladiators Academy in Lafayette with UFC veterans “Crazy” Tim Credeur and Dustin “The Diamond” Porrier. He has recently relocated to Baton Rouge to attend Law School at SU. He has also started training at LA Boxing to sharpen his skills.
“After taking a little time off from MMA about a year ago to focus on school, I came to realize that the time that I will spend competing in MMA will be a fraction of my life,” Guidry said. “I realized that I may not have the opportunity and time to do this for very much longer. So I decided that I wanted to have the most memorable fights and achieve the greatest success that I can now, and that involves facing the highest level opponents that I possibly could face.”
Guidry has had tough fights with Jonathan Mackles, who is rumored to be talking to the UFC about a fight contract, and Aaron Williams, a hometown favorite and phenomenal athlete from Biloxi, Miss. He has over 40 fights.
“Both of the fights between Mackles and Williams were close,” Guidry said. “I feel that I am continuing with the trend of fighting tough opponents with Jonathan Lopez, who is a young up-and-coming fighter out of Texas.”
Ironically, Lopez is scheduled to fight Mackles in April in New Orleans. Lopez trains with the Academy of Mixed Martial Arts and is fighting out of Plainview, Texas. He had a well-polished amateur record of seven wins and one loss. Similar to Stampley, he came from playing collegiate sports and wanted to stay competitive.
“Once I found MMA after basketball, I tried it out and fell in love,” Lopez said. “I feel that I am a well-rounded fighter. I don’t know much about Guidry, but I heard he’s a scrappy wrestler, and I’m a scrappy guy myself, so get ready for a fast-paced fight.”
Guidry has a purple belt in ju jitsu and fights aggressively. If Lopez is taken down to the ground, he could lose this fight by submission. If this fight stays standing, it has the possibility to be a full war for all three rounds with potential to win the Fight of the Night.
Official Fight Card:
125lbs. Mike Guidry vs. Jonathan Lopez
145lbs. Landon Ackle vs. Angel Matinez
Hvy. James Stampley vs. Eric Lunsford
130lbs. Corey Smith vs. Jake Foster
145lbs. David Lee vs. William Prather
185lbs. Breaux Smith vs. Dustin Hatfield
205lbs. Tommy Britton vs. Chris Morgan
205lbs. Chris Ganey vs. Jacques Stewart
130lbs. Clay Burns vs. Jonathan Martinez
170lbs. Jatory Evans vs. Stephen Stepano
155lbs. Carlos Hurtado vs. Todd Cochran
170lbs. Daniel Blake vs. Tommy Alcazar
*Fight card subject to change
Fights start at 7:30 p.m. VIP tables available. For ticket information contact (225) 333-8305 or visit www.GladiatorPromotions.com.