.Fight Night Comes To Santa Cruz

Local stars Daniel Compton, Lorenzo Figueroa and more gave it their best shot at the MMA event

Bass boomed and lights flashed as Santa Cruz’s first professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event took over Kaiser Permanente Arena this past Friday. 

Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) 165 drew people from the Bay Area and beyond as around 2,300 people filled the home of the Santa Cruz Warriors basketball team. The event was transmitted live on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Pass and reached a worldwide audience. 

The main event was the highly-anticipated middleweight bout between rising local star Daniel Compton and the Brazilian Renato Valente. The match was set for three five-minute rounds in a caged octagon.

The crowd roared and got on its feet as Compton, sporting a black hoodie, made his way to the octagon with a calm intensity in his eyes. The fight got underway and after the first round, Compton was bleeding from a cut over his right eye. The fight was stopped at 00:49 of Round 2 as Valente scored a technical knockout (TKO) with some heavy blows to Compton’s head.

Lorenzo Figueroa, a Santa Cruz High alum, made his professional debut in a heavyweight match against New Mexico’s Billy Ray Valdez.

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That battle closed out the night with Valdez defeating Figueroa with a rear naked choke at 2:33 of the first round. Compton fell to 8-3 while Figueroa started off at 0-1.

“I’m blessed,” Figueroa said before his bout. “When this opportunity came up and they asked me to be a part it was like a dream come true. To fight in my hometown alongside Danny Compton[…], it’s like ‘hell yeah!’”

Despite the disappointing local losses, the MMA world got a taste of Santa Cruz’s local talent.

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