Birchak stuns favorite Leyva at Jackson MMA Series 10

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Albuquerque, NM, United States (4E Sports) – Anthony Birchak scored a huge upset win Saturday at the Jackson’s MMA Series 10, stopping favorite Matt Leyva in the first round of their featured bantamweight showdown at Tingley Coliseum.

Birchak decked Leyva with a right hand then swarmed him with a series of unanswered follow-up punches on the ground, forcing referee Richard Espinoza to stop the fight at the 1:22 mark.

Birchak’s third victory this year improved his record to 9-1 and at the same time, stopped Leyva’s four-fight winning streak, dropping him to 9-3 overall.

“You got all of these great people right here, dudes that I aspire to be,” Birchak said. “I knew Matt was tough coming in here. Albuquerque doesn’t like me right now.”

Birchak dominated the fight early, dropping Leyva twice but the latter managed to return to his feet and answer with solid strikes.

However, Birchak’s relentless pressure on his opponent bore fruit when he found the opening he needed.

“At the end I wanted to change levels. I threw an inside kick, double jab, changed levels and came up with a two — and I put it right on the chin. After that I just unloaded — that’s what I do,” Birchak said.

Meanwhile, Conrad Padilla made a successful return to action after a one-year absence with a unanimous decision triumph (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Rolando Cespedes (2-2) in the evening’s co-main event.

“It’s been over a year, so I was shaking off the cobwebs bad. I was a bunch of nerves in the back,” Padilla said after the bout. “I tried to do what I could to finish it, but I said, ‘Man, let’s just put on a good show.”

In other fights, , Mike Justus survived an early assault from Team Tompkins representative Manuel Cespedes to earn a technical knockout victory in the third round of their lightweight bout.

Justus, a member of Jackson’s MMA, unleashed a series of strikes to his opponent, forcing referee Craig Zellner to stop the bout at the 4:28 mark.

Earlier, Jackson’s MMA’s Jon Sparks defeated Team Wildman’s Allen Washington via submission 68 seconds into the first round of their 150-pound catch-weight clash/

Another Jackson’s MMA representative, George Clynes, defeated Randy Ray Sanchez via the unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at 155 pounds.

Jackson’s MMA member Ricky Esquibel outfought Nick De Fiore to earn a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) in a flyweight clash while Team Wildman representative Matt Johnson earned a split-decision triumph (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) over Jackson’s MMA product Michael Asmar.

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