Behind the glitz and glamour Smash Global has always been about one thing; helping those in need. Proceeds from every Smash Global event have gone to organizations that help combat bullying is society. On Thursday December 19, at the Smash Global IX event, CEO Steve Orosco announced the newly founded Smash for the Troops. A Veteran based empowerment program that leads to a pathway of success for those suffering from PTSD.
Like every event before it, Smash Global IX was filled with celebrity, charm, and of course MMA action. The event was held at the Taglyan Complex in the heart of Hollywood, California. The night was filled with four bouts as well as three honorees. It has become tradition at every Smash Global event to honor combat sports athletes who have helped paved the way for today’s generation. The Smash Global IX honorees were humanitarian Rafi Anteby, boxing legend James Toney, and UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock.
Rafi Anteby is the founder of Bullets 4 Peace, a company that creates one of a kind jewelry from recycled bullet casings “with a focus on promoting global peace and helping humankind by giving back to communities through partnerships with charitable organizations. Used bullet casings are collected from around the world giving them a new purpose, a handcrafted jewelry line symbolic of peace and unity.”
James Toney compiled a 77-10-3 in a nearly 30-year boxing career and he held multiple world championships in three weight classes, including the IBF middleweight title, IBF super middleweight title, and the IBF cruiserweight title. Toney also famously challenged entered the UFC’s Octagon in 2010 when he challenged former two division champion Randy Couture at UFC 118.
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Ken Shamrock was the first mixed martial artist to break through onto America’s radar. He was dubbed the “World’s Most Dangerous Man” after being interviewed on a national news story about the UFC back when the organization was newly formed. Along with his MMA career, Shamrock has also had a successful career in professional wrestling, most notably for the World Wrestling Entertainment.
Along with the list of honorees, the night had four fights lined up including three title fights. The action was kicked off with a bout to crown the first ever Smash Global heavyweight champion. Jared Vanderaa took on Tony Lopez. Vanderaa would control the fight with his grappling and walked away with an easy unanimous decision victory. There were periods of the fight where both men stood and traded strikes but Vanderaa was able to withstand any offense from Lopez and control the fight.
The night’s second fight was for the middleweight title. Gregory Rodrigus defeated Brandon Hester in an exciting bout that did not make it out of the first round. Both men came out ready to fight when the bell sounded. They traded hard shots but it was Rodrigus who was landing more frequent and accurate. After a few minutes, Rodrigus opened up a cut under the left eye of Hester. Rodrigues would continue to pressure Hester until he landed a hard shot that sent Hester crumbling down to the canvas. The referee stepped in before any more damage could be done and stopped the fight.
The third fight of the night was a welterweight title fight between Daniel Rodriguez and Quinton McCottrell. Rodriguez would dominate McCottrell early and would score a TKO win in round 2.
The night was headlined by former UFC fighter Paulo Thiago returning to action and taking on Sam Liera. The fight would be a close one until Liera put on the pressure late in the first round and scored a knockout over Thiago. The first half of the round was a battle of positioning as Liera would survive Thiago’s multiple submission attempts. Liera would escape and get back to his feet. It was in the striking department where Liera held the advantage. He would land hard shots until he rocked Thiago with a hard shot late in the round. Liera chased Thiago to the fence and landed a hard punched right on the chin that knocked him out cold.
Smash Global IX Results:
- Jared Vanderaa def. Tony Lopez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Gregory Rodrigus def. Brandon Hester via KO in round 1 at 3:03
- Daniel Rodriguez def. Quinton McCottrell via TKO in round 2 at 1:48
- Sam Liera def. Paulo Thiago via KO in round 1 at 4:58
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