Lemoore, Calif. – Cody Gibson and Ulysses Gomez seemed to be headed in much different paths.
Gibson (5-1) was fresh off of a victory of Walel Watson (9-2) that thrust the Visalia, Calif. bantamweight into the Tachi Palace Fights title picture against Farkhad Sharipov (13-5), who had just defeated Tommy Vargas (8-2) on the same card.
In September, Gomez (8-2) bounced back with a bantamweight victory over Drew Bittner (4-2) and was looking to move back down to flyweight in December.
But the mixed martial arts gods had other ideas… Sharipov signed with Bellator, leaving an opening for the bantamweight title on Dec. 2 and the Las Vegas, Nev. grappler Gomez was quick to seize the opportunity.
“It’s a big honor that Tachi thinks enough about me to give me an opportunity to fight for the 135-pounhd title,” Gomez explained. “I’m looking to make the most out of the opportunities that are given to me.”
Gomez has openly said that his goal is still to get back to flyweight and fight for Tachi gold at that weight class as well, but couldn’t pass up a shot at a title at 135 pounds.
Gibson understands why.
“It feels good to be fighting for that title. Look at where the two guys that held that belt before are at now. They’ve both moved on to bigger things,” Gibson said. “I’m really excited to be fighting for that title.”
Former Tachi Palace Fights Bantamweight champions include the red-hot Ultimate Fighting Championship contender Michael McDonald (14-1) and UFC vet and WEC legend Cole Escovedo (17-9).
Although Gibson doesn’t carry the credentials of Gomez, he still is a worthy opponent. He snapped Watson’s 7-fight win streak with a dominating performance and then watched Watson get scooped up by the UFC one fight later.
“Cody is a really good wrestler and a game fighter. You can’t sleep on him,” said Gomez, who has competed against some of the world’s top flyweight fighters. “I think this should be an exciting fight.”
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 $35 for general admission seating.
Gibson has been designated the underdog for this fight. It seems like a role the former Menlo College wrestler is comfortable with.
“Ulysses is great on the ground. I know he is a brown belt at Cobra Kai. I’ve seen all of his fights,” Gibson said. “I know what he is going to bring to the table. He isn’t bad on his feet… I mean he is no Jose Aldo, but he isn’t a fish out of water either.”
Gibson didn’t want to go into too much detail about his plans for the fight but did say that “At the end of the night, I think this is going to be a good fight”.
Meanwhile, Gomez thinks he might have the fight figured out.
“I kind of can see the fight in all different aspects. We will start on the feet, but I do see him trying to take me down and I see myself subbing him if he is able to do that,” Gomez said.
In the main event, TPF Flyweight champion Ian McCall (11-2) puts his belt and World No. 1 ranking on the line against Omaha, Neb.’s Josh Rave (18-8). San Clemente, Calif.’s McCall was originally scheduled to meet Will Campuzano, but an injury forced Campuzano out of action and Rave took the fight on short notice.
Isaac DeJesus returns to action after a 6-month suspension by the California State Athletic Commission and will face Riverside, Calif.’s Georgi Karakhanyan (16-3) in the co-main event. DeJesus (9-3) was stripped of his TPF Featherweight title in May after failing to make weight.
In other bouts:
-Lemoore, Calif. welterweight Andrew Martinez (7-3-1) vs. Merced, Calif.’s Phil Collins (10-7).
-Newport Beach, Calif. lightweight Rob Emerson (11-10) vs. Pasadena, Calif.’s Savant Young (9-8).
-Oakdale, Calif. bantamweight Brad McDonald (7-1) vs. Buena Park, Calif.’s Francisco Rivera (5-2).
-Virginia Beach, Va. lightweight Bubba Jenkins (0-0) vs. Clovis, Calif.’s Josh Williams (0-0).
-Firebaugh, Calif. flyweight Paul Ruiz (2-0) vs. Gilroy, Calif.’s Anthony Figueroa (5-6-1).
-Lemoore, Calif. featherweight Sergio Quinones (7-8) vs. Merced, Calif.’s Jesse Bowen (7-6).
-Lemoore, Calif. flyweight Alex Perez (3-0) vs. Merced, Calif.’s Edgar Diaz (1-2).
-Sacramento, Calif. heavyweight Freddie Aquintania (2-0) vs. Porterville, Calif.’s Javy Ayala (2-0).