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Locals return to invade the cage

Mixed martial arts: Valley Invasion 2 comes to Woodland Hills with Glendale's Magakian on card.

April 05, 2012|By Grant Gordon

Within the confines of Alberto Crane's Gracie Barra Burbank studio sits a brand new cage, as the Glendale resident and Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt touts the growing presence of mixed martial arts inside his gym and beyond.

When he's not teaching classes or competing himself, Crane is also cornering a rising stable of fighters and lending his name to Alberto Crane's National Fighting Alliance Mixed Martial Arts, which will put forth its second Valley Invasion card tonight in Woodland Hills at the Warner Center Marriott.

From the get-go, Crane has emphasized that his hopes were to help with shows that would give local talent a platform to get fights and build up their careers in the cage.

"[We want to] keep on putting out good fights, good shows and, for me, build the fighters into future UFC fighters," said Crane, a two-time veteran of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Among the cavalcade of local Southern California fighters will be Glendale's Sevak Magakian (10-3), who will face Ismael Gonzalez (6-10) of Los Angeles in the night's co-main event.

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Magakian competed on the first Valley Invasion card on Oct. 29, 2011 in Burbank, as he defeated David Gardner via technical knockout in the first round. It's part of a span in which Magakian has won three consecutive fights and nine out of his last 10, including two in the past six months' time since recovering from an injury incurred during his time on "The Ultimate Fighter" reality show.

The supreme goal at hand for Magakian is getting back into the spotlight of the UFC.

"That's what I'm looking for is another impressive performance [to] get back to the big show," said Magakian, whose bout is at a 160-pound catch weight.

"No doubt, he has what it takes," said Crane, who is 15-5 as a pro MMA fighter and has trained with Magakian. "He's exciting. He has a different style. I think he's ready now, he just has to prove himself to the brass."

Tonight's main event will showcase undefeated John Robles facing Caleb Vallotton. Robles (5-0) is a 29-year-old featherweight who's won all five of his bouts by knockout, including a first-round win over Bobby Sanchez at the Burbank event. Vallotton, 22, is 1-1.

A quartet of combatants who train under Crane are set for action in Daniel Clark, Ako Harper, Rob Gooch and Keenan Lewis.

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