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Fight Club: Local fighters help each other prepare for Gladiator Challenge
Never before has Clinton Fouse had so much to fight for.
When the 19-year-old mixed martial artist from Colusa steps into the cage against Kevin Hamby Jacobson, a veteran with a career record of 8-10, not only will he be fighting for pride, but the Gladiator Challenge Featherweight belt.
Originally slated to face Daniel Aguiar, a submission specialist, Fouse (4-1) had to refocus on a new opponent after Aguiar left Gladiator Challenge.
"For a while I kind of lost motivation," Fouse said about not knowing who he was going to fight. "Then I got hurt, but for the last two weeks I've been on it hard doing two-a-days."
Fouse enters his first title fight on a three-fight win streak in the 145-pound weight class. His most recent victory was a second round technical knock out of Tony Dominguez, who will now fight another Colusa mixed martial artist, Kevin Montejano.
Montejano (0-1) made his debut on June 23 in a loss to a high-calibre wrestler, Dillon Mueller. In his first fight, Montejano had to battle nerves as well as a tough first opponent who he knew nothing about.
"Now, coming in with a good network of training partners I know what I'm facing. I was so nervous for the first fight," Montejano said.
Not only is Montejano more prepared this time, he knows more about his opponent, which has him more excited than nervous for his second fight.
Montejano trained at Soares MMA for his first fight but after an ownership change at Colusa Fitness, he now trains out of his brother's garage with Fouse and Keil McGrath, also a fighter for Colusa, and in Williams at Team Powerhouse MMA.
Alex Zuniga, who lives in Williams, formed Team Powerhouse with David Covarrubias, a fighter from Williams, and worked with the Williams Parks and Recreation Department to get a workout place at the Old Gym next to the Sacramento Valley Museum in Williams in September.
Zuniga (3-2) won his last fight against Adam McKeon with a first round TKO on June 23 in his first fight at 185 pounds, after losing two in a row at 205 pounds against much taller fighters.
On Nov. 24 he takes on Jeff Morris (8-7) in a 185-pound fight. Morris will be prepared for the fight because he trains out of the same gym as the only fighter to beat him, Steve Morgan.
He brought in Phillip Santillan to help coach the fighters and Alejandro Ramos helps with their cardio.
"(Santillan) looks over everything. I'm in much better shape, we have monster workouts. He's the best thing to happen to me," Zuniga said.
A fourth Colusa County mixed martial artist will step into the cage for the first time, 18-year-old Colusa High senior Santino Valdez.
Valdez takes on Nick Sperling (1-2), a kick-boxer coming off a first-round knockout victory on Sept. 14, in his debut. Valdez got his start because Fouse needed a training partner closer in size than Zuniga while training with John Soares of Soares MMA at Colusa Fitness.
"I started going every day and I wanted it to mean something. John (Soares) and I made the decision to start fighting," Valdez said.
He wanted to fight on the September Gladiator Challenge card but an injury forced him to push back his debut. Fully healed, he's ready to join a growing stable of mixed martial artists in Colusa County.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.