Blood, sweat and tears of MMA

Bobby Abplanalp/Cortez Journal

Elsie Zwicker stands guard Saturday night against Brenda Gonzales in the King of the Cage “Battlegrounds” main event at the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc. Gonzales defeated Zwicker by second-round total knockout to retain the women's junior flyweight world title belt.

By Bobby Abplanalp Journal staff writer

A spinning back elbow.

It's a Mixed Martial Arts move that separates the men from the boys. And, women from the girls.

But Elsie Zwicker and Brenda Gonzales were anything but ladylike Saturday night.

The two professionals duked it out in the main event of King of the Cage “Battlegrounds”

Duking it out may be an understatement.

Zwicker and Gonzales indeed battled like warriors, as the home Ute Mountain Casino fans chanted “Elise, Elsie, Elsie.”

Then, came the spinning back elbow, and down went Zwicker.

The raucous chants for its McElmo Canyon hero quickly turned to a collective gasp. A collective deep breath that sucked the air out of the room. Zwicker laid on the ground getting the wind knocked out her by Gonzales.

With the women's 125-pound junior flyweight world title belt on the line and Zwicker's eyes nearly swelled shut, the cage official called the fight at the 4:59 mark of the secondround.

Gonzales, 30, retained her championship belt and moved her pro record to 4-0. As she leaned back against the cage holding a bag of ice to her face while catching her breath, Zwicker (6-5) remained on the ground.

Once Zwicker, the one they call “Sweetheart” came to her feet, the fans applauded and the two fierce competitors congratulated each other.

“I felt a little sluggish. The first-round, she came out balls to the wall, you know. She's just tough,” Gonzales said. “The second round, I got a little tired. I just kind of knew I had to land some big shots and take control.”

Both battered and bruised, it was Gonzales who would gain control with the spinning back elbow.

“That's one of my favorite moves. I practice that a lot,” Gonzales said. “I was hoping to catch that (drop) kick and If I was right on the money, it would be a game changer. I threw it and got it to land.”

Zwicker matched Gonzales' intensity in the first five-minute round. But Gonzales, a former boxer from Moriarty, N.M., just had more left in the tank in Round 2.

“She definitely got me with at least two good punches. They blurred my vision. She hits hard,” said Zwicker, 30, while holding an ice pack against her bandaged face. “The elbow that caught me above the eye, really dazed me. It rung my bell. I was trying to recover from that, but she was following through (with punches).”

It was Zwicker's first loss at home. But in a sport filled with the ultimate highs and lows, Montezuma County's favorite sweetheart is sure to be back in the cage.

In the other pro fight, Grant Hobbs made quick work of 38-year-old Dameon Baker at 125 pounds.

The former Dove Creek wrestler body slammed Baker (Rawlins, Wyo.) and took tke control early. Baker briefly seized control pinning Hobbs against cage.

However, Hobbs secured a reversal and Baker was on the ground. Hobbs packed a 1-2 punch of grappling and boxing, with the latter resulting in Baker's demise. Hobbs kept connecting with punch after punch, and the official signaled for the bell.

Hobbs (Cortez Lifer MMA) upped his pro record to 2-1 with a knockout at the 1:51 mark of the first-round.

“Hard work and dedication is what it takes, and that's what you've seen tonight,” Hobbs said. “Everybody knows me as this two-time state champion wrestler. I'm not just a wrestler. I'm a Mixed Martial Artist. I can go from the ground to my feet, back-and-forth. It doesn't matter.”

Hobbs was cool and calm with a confident demeanor, acting like he's suppose to be winning in the cage. It was Hobbs' second straight triumph as a pro fighter.

“I didn't have any pressure on me. I was 1-1 as a pro,” he said. “I knew I had to do something to stay alive and stay on the positive side. I just went in there and did it like I do every time. I stayed calm and relaxed, and pulled the trigger when I needed to.”

Lifer MMA was 2-0 on the night.

Joey Trevino avenged his last loss at 130 pounds. It took just 38 seconds to even his amateur record at 2-2 with a win by first-round guillotine chokehold submission over Kyle Platero (Grants, N.M.).

“An excellent day for us,” said Kaan Clark, trainer at and owner of Lifer MMA. “They all did really good. They all listened to their corner and did what they were supposed to do. You train hard and that's the end result.”

The next King of the Cage fights at the Ute Mountain Casino are tentatively scheduled for March, 2013.

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