Lemoore, Calif. – From a fight that was supposed to happen in May to a fight that some thought might never happen; all eyes this August 5th will be squarely on Darrell Montague and Ian McCall.
McCall earned the right to face McCall for the Tachi Palace Fights strap in February when McCall knocked off the World’s Top Flyweight Jussier da Silva.
Later that same night, Montague defeated Ulysses Gomez for the title.
Immediately it was rumored the pair would meet in May.
“That’s the fight we wanted to make,” said Tachi Palace Fights matchmaker Richard Goodman. “It would have been the main event and the best flyweight fight to date.”
Unfortunately Montague was injured and could not compete and then it was unsure if McCall would continue at Tachi Palace Fights, as he was rumored to be a shoe in for “The Ultimate Fighter” TV show on Spike TV.
“I really didn’t even have to tryout, but I did it anyways with some friends. It was fun, my mom bought me the ticket to New Jersey so I had to go,” said McCall (10-2). “I did well at the tryouts, I hit a flying triangle and it was a really good time.
“After that I flew to Las Vegas and did the interviews and we knew we would be fighting to get into the house a few weeks after the May fight with Ortiz.”
But the Southern California fighter, who is now known to the world as “Uncle Creepy”, did something no one expected not even his manager Jason House.
“Right after the fights, Jason came up and said ‘he is yours’. I didn’t even know who he was referring to at first,” said Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino Entertainment Coordinator Jeremy Luchau. “Jason said Ian wanted to talk to me. I walked over to the fighter locker rooms and Ian walked out, gave me a hug and said I want to stay with Tachi and make a name for myself at flyweight.”
McCall has been in the spotlight before, though, going 1-2 in World Extreme Cagefighting. Even in his last defeat to now UFC Bantamweight king Dominic Cruz, McCall was impressive.
“This by no means was a snub to the UFC. I think that Ian just knew that the 25s were coming to the UFC and he wanted to take a different path to the big show,” Luchau said. “He knows that Tachi has a pretty solid track record of getting guys to the UFC and that he could do it at flyweight rather than go back up to bantamweight. I still think it was a bold move, though.”
The match was made that night – McCall vs. Montague would finally happen on August 5.
“I want to be the best flyweight in the world. I spoke to my coaches and team and we all thought this was the best way to get there. We felt that the UFC would bring the flyweights soon and I saw the guys at tryouts and they were huge at 135,” McCall said. “I didn’t want to get laid and prayed on national television. That wouldn’t be any good for me or for the UFC. They want exciting fights and I’m an exciting guy at 125. Tachi takes really good care of me, so we decided to stay.”
Forgotten about in the storylines leading up to what surely will be one of the more pivotal showdowns in the division’s young history is the champion Montague (9-1).
The Chino, California fighter has won six straight bouts, including notables like Gomez and Luis Gonzales.
“He’s a good wrestler and real aggressive,” Montague said of McCall. “He is coming and trying to take my belt. I have a lot of respect for him, but I think this is a good matchup for me.”
The hype did start to build first on MMA.tv’s “Underground” forum and also on Facebook, but has since slowed as the fighters now ready for the tilt.
“He is just a weird guy,” Montague said. “Ian is going to pressure me during the fight, though. I will counter with my jab, I have the reach and I will outbox him on the feet and counter him. I just see him trying to pressure and push the action and running into my shots.”
The 9-bout fight card features four of the top six flyweights in the world. McCall is ranked No. 3 and Montague No. 6.
In another pivotal flyweight bout World No. 2 ranked Mamoru Yamaguchi (26-5-3) faces No. 4 Jussier da Silva (9-1). Brazil’s da Silva will be back in action for the first time since suffering his first loss and losing his top ranking. Meanwhile, Japan’s Yamaguchi will be making his second consecutive appearances for TPF.
McCall expects a tough fight with Montague, but none-the-less is prepared.
“He is a tough kid, has some good kick boxing and good defense. We didn’t really get to see Ulysses shoot too much on him, so I really don’t know what his wrestling defense or his jiu-jitsu is like.
“I think he might be a little better striker, especially with the reach, but I think I hit a lot harder. I feel like I am the quicker fighter and I know I’m a better wrestler. Our jiu-jitsu might be about equal, but I definitely have the better ground and pound. I think it’s going to be an exciting fight.
In the co-main event, Porterville, Calif.’s Joe Soto (9-1) makes his return to Tachi after suffering his first career loss and is returning from several eye surgeries. Soto will take on San Diego, Calif.’s Eddie Yagin (13-4-1).
In a middleweight special attraction former WEC Light Heavyweight World Champion Doug Marshall (12-4) makes his return to the cage against Irvine, Calif.’s Giva Santana (15-1).
Also in action;
- -Las Vegas, Nev. welterweight Jorge Lopez (9-1) vs. Sacramento, Calif.’ David Marshall (8-2)
- -Las Vegas, Nev. bantamweight Ulysses Gomez (7-2) vs. Soledad, Calif.’s Drew Bittner (4-0)
- -Merced, Calif. welterweight Phil Collins (10-6) vs. Exeter, Calif.’s Kenny Ento (11-6)
- -Fresno, Calif. featherweight Art Arciniega (10-4) vs. Santa Rosa, Calif.’s Andy Miranda (5-1)
- -Oakdale, Calif. featherweight Brad McDonald (6-1) vs. Lemoore, Calif.’s Sergio Quinones (6-7)
Tachi Palace Fights will stream live and free on Sherdog.com at 5:30 p.m. (PST). The stream will be blacked out to fans within 100 mile radius of the Palace unless there is a sellout.
Tickets can be purchased at www.tachipalace.com or charge by phone at 1-800-225-2277. Tickets may also be purchased at the Tachi Palace Gift Shop and start at a low price of just $30 for general admission seating.