ORANGE, Calif.: In the night’s sole upset, Puerto Rico’s Javier Flores (15-2, 13 KOs) downed previously unbeaten welterweight prospect Angel Ruiz (16-1, 12 KOs) with a counter right hand in the second round of the “Path to Glory” main event on Friday night.
Both southpaws started tentative, content with feeling each other out in the opening stanza. Once the second round started, however, Ruiz, 22, began to apply pressure with Flores handling it with ease.
Behind a tight and high guard, Flores, 33, was able to neutralize the Ruiz attack and took advantage of his aggressiveness by timing a right hook across his jaw that dropped him for good at the 2:02 mark.
In the co-feature, lightweight George Acosta (8-1, 1 KO) ran the table on the overmatched Roberto Almazan (9-13, 4 KOs). Acosta, who had a sizeable contingent of fans in attendance, out boxed and out maneuvered Almazan throughout the six-round fight.
He cautiously landed combinations and defended well, often frustrating Almazan into throwing wild shots. Scores 60-54 all around.
In his U.S. debut, junior welterweight prospect Alec Zavala (4-0, 3 KOs) knocked out Carlos Apodaca (3-14-2, 1 KO) at the 1:02 mark of the opening round. Zavala, who is from California’s Inland Empire region east of Los Angeles, landed a left to the midsection that crippled Apodaca.
Zavala, 23, is an intriguing talent with a solid combination of size, strength and speed. He appeared measured and calm in seeking the knockout win – rare traits for fighters that young.
Super bantamweight Ivan Zarate (1-0) was successful in his professional debut, earning a unanimous decision win against Neri Garcia (1-9). Zarate landed a thundering right hand in the first round that put Garcia on his back. Garcia would rally and make it a close fight, but the first round knockdown proved too much to overcome. Scores 38-37 all around.
The “Path to Glory” show opener between lightweights Golden Garcia (11-0-2, 6 KOs) and Hector Garcia (14-7-3, 8 KOs) ended in a draw with all three judges scoring it 57-57.
Both fighters loaded up on power shots throughout the six-round fight and each had their moments. Toward the end of the second round, Hector staggered Golden with consecutive body shots but was unable to close, as the bell saved Golden from further trouble.
The fourth round belonged to Golden, with the Canadian connecting frequently on two-punch combinations. In the end, neither fighter could build enough momentum to steal a close win.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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