Mixed Martial Arts

Fan favorites return with a bang at Bear River Fight Night

Photos by Karla Rivas – Ross Lopez, right, in action against Shane Sergent at the Bear River Casino last month.

Two fan favorites returned to the cage with a bang at the Bear River Casino two weeks ago.

Austin Mitchell and Ross Lopez both won their fights in decisive fashion with first-round TKOs in the co-main events at the the casino’s Fight Night 15.

For Mitchell, it was his first fight since pre-COVID and the Del Norte native improved to 2-0 as a pro.

Lopez, meanwhile, finally kicked off his pro career after a series of setbacks and cancelations over the past few years, and he did not disappoint.

“Ross looked fantastic,” trainer and fight promoter Brian Wilson said. “I’m so proud of him. He’s a very skilled fighter … Ross is such a technician. He has such a high MMA IQ.”

Wilson, who trains Lopez at the Lost Boys Gym in Arcata, believes this is just the beginning for him.

“I really think he’s going to take it far,” he said. “This time next year, we’ll be talking about him doing some special things.”

The hard-hitting Mitchell, meanwhile, showed a different side to his game as he continues to grow as an MMA fighter.

“He looked good on the ground,” Wilson said. “He showed good control.”

Mitchell, who also fights out of the Lost Boys Gym, will be back at the next Bear River Fight Night in November.

Several other locals were also in action at the sold-out event, including Austin Chase, who won his fight debut at 185 pounds.

“It was a good fight,” Wilson said. “His opponent came out aggressive, and Austin had the better gas tank and outlasted him.”

Austin Mitchell, top, in his fight against Richard Carsten.

Tyler Watkins and Caleb Harrison

Samuel Gonzalez also won at 145 and improved to 2-1 with a second-round TKO after landing a big punch.

“It was pretty exciting for him,” Wilson said.

Nate Cruz also won at 145 with a first-round TKO and improved to 1-1 in the cage.

“He kind of steamrolled his opponent,” Wilson said.

In kick boxing, Gerardo Salas of the Redwood Muay Thai in Fortuna won his fight by decision at 155, while his teammate Caleb Harrison lost to Ty Watkins at 145.

Titus Balliet (Lost Boys) also lost his kick boxing fight by decision at 185, while teammate Wilfred Ferris lost his MMA fight with a first-round submission.

And rounding out a busy night for the local fighters, Shannon Albers lost his fight at 145 and dropped to 0-2.

Photos by Karla Rivas – 17-year-old Raul Rosas Jr, center, is the youngest fighter in UFC history and was on hand at the recent fight night. Rosas Jr. regularly trains with the Lost Boys.

Austin Chase in action against Michah Titus.

All in all, it was another successful fight night at the casino with the event selling out ahead of time and fans quickly picking up an extra 100 standing room only tickets that were added on Saturday.

“I feel our fan base is just growing every time,” said Wilson, who’s company Hard Hough Productions promotes the event. “And I think our fan base are educated fight fans.”

The event was the 18th overall Wilson and Bear River have put on together and it’s a partnership that has worked well.

“The events are going so well because of the hard work of the casino,” Wilson added. “None of it would be possible without the support of the tribal council and the Bear River staff. They do such a good job.”

Hard Fought Productions and Bear River will host a fourth and final fight night of 2022 on Nov. 19, which will feature fan favorite Andrew Guisa in one of the main events.

Photos by Karla Rivas

Leave a Reply