County MMA fighters take to cage
Fighters from Colusa County are becoming a fixture in the Gladiator Challenge cage at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln.
Clinton Fouse, of Colusa, and David Covarrubias, of Williams, are set to take part in Gladiator Challenge: Unchained, which begins at 7 p.m. on Friday. Both fighters are coming off victories in the June Gladiator Challenge event.
Fouse (3-1) submitted Dave Williams with a guillotine choke in June, earning his second consecutive victory and a spot in a top contender bout in the 145-pound featherweight class against Tony Dominguez.
Covarrubias (1-0) won his debut in June with a triangle choke submission against Ryan Kelly, and will try to stay undefeated in his second 170-pound welterweight fight against Michael Edwards.
The fight will be Fouse's first since beginning training in January at Urijah Faber's Ultimate Fitness gym in Sacramento, where he trains with coaches from Team Alpha Male and spars with other fighters.
The only loss in Fouse's career came via armbar to Jayson Jaynes in December in his first fight at 145 pounds after debuting at 135, but learning from Team Alpha Male's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coach Dustin Akbari is helping Fouse become more comfortable on the ground, he said.
"I go down there and roll with them whenever I can. It's coming along really well, (Akbari) is cleaning up my ground game — everything is better."
Learning to avoid submissions is often the hardest thing for a wrestler such as Fouse, 19, who wrestled for Colusa High, to do in mixed martial arts.
His work improving his submission defense could be put to the test by his opponent, Dominguez, who was 5-0 as an amateur and has good jiu jitsu, Fouse said.
Another change he made to his training regiment is an improved diet, with the help of his high school friend and training partner Sebastian Media.
"Sometimes I come down to the gym in Colusa to train with (Medina). He's a really good wrestler and he's really helped me with my diet, he's a diet freak," Fouse said.
A few weeks ago Fouse and Covarrubias sparred with each other and the experience was useful for both fighters.
"He hit me a couple times really good. He helped me out by showing me what I need to work on because he caught me with a few things," Fouse said.
The sparring session with Fouse was a good opportunity to focus on wrestling, Covarrubias said.
Covarrubias won an exciting, action-packed fight against Kelly that ended up on the ground before the Williams fighter ended it with a triangle choke midway through the first round, but he expects his next opponent, Edwards, to provide a challenge in the stand-up game.
Keeping the fight standing is where Covarrubias wants to be because he said it's the most comfortable and most exciting for the spectators.
He didn't absorb much damage during his first fight, so after three days of rest he went back to training with a renewed focus on his diet and getting ready for his next fight.
"(My training) feels a lot better. I feel more confident and everything is going a lot smoother," Covarrubias said.
As a fighter without a true gym, Covarrubias trains out of Alex Zuniga's garage and tests himself against other fighters in the area.
Zuniga, who is 3-2 in the Gladiator Challenge with four fights at the 205-pound class before dropping down to 185-pounds for his last fight, is Covarrubias' main coach and training partner.
Both fighters enter the final week before the fights healthy and prepared to put their strong training camps to use in the cage.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.