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MMA takes over Burbank

Plenty of Alberto Crane fighters come out victorious in "Valley Invasion," which was promoted by their trainer.

October 29, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
(Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

BURBANK — Burbank opened its doors to mixed martial arts on Saturday night, as Alberto Crane's National Fight Alliance presented "Valley Invasion" at the Burbank Marriott Convention Center.

Headlined by Glendale's Sevak Magakian, a former "The Ultimate Fighter" cast member, claiming victory in his return to the cage, the nine-bout card thrilled a healthy throng of fight fans.

"Finally, it's good to be back, to be back in the cage," said Magakian, cornered by Glendale fighter Karen Darabedyan, legendary trainer Gokor Chivichyan and Alex Ariza, who's Manny Pacquiao's strength and conditioning coach, "I'm never gonna stop, I'm gonna keep going."

Crane, a Glendale resident and MMA fighter, as well, who's brought Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu studios to Burbank and Pasadena, among other Southern California locales, also led in a healthy stable of fighters who trained under his guidance.

Leading the charge was Orlando "The Cuban Tree Stump" Sanchez, who like Magakian, claimed victory in the first round in the co-main event to aid in the evening ending with an exclamation point.

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Magakian (9-3), who hadn't fought professionally in more than a year, defeated David Gardner (18-20) at the 2:37 mark of the first round. Gardner shot in for a single leg and held tight to Magakian's limb for the duration of the bout, but Magakian began laying in hammer fists and elbows before dropping down and finding space to throw uppercuts that sent Gardner limp.

"I thought he was gonna stand up with me, but he tried to shoot. I'm comfortable there, too," Magakian said. "I felt him drop [after the first uppercut] and I just continued to hit him [until the fight was stopped]."

Sanchez, who leads the charge at Pasadena Gracie Barra, wasted no time in claiming victory, as the former La Cañada High football standout muscled down William Wheeler and took side control. From there, Sanchez (2-0) controlled top position and blitzed Wheeler (2-2) with a vicious barrage of punches, elbows and finally hammer fists that solicited the stoppage by referee Mike Beltran just 56 seconds into the first round.

"I was just looking to have fun," said Sanchez, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt. "That's what it's all about, being a champion in life."

Haik Tsaturyan, fighting out of Glendale's Main Event Gym, began the night with a sloppy, but entertaining unanimous decision win over Octavio Flores.

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