At an early point in the Purgatory Fight Series 10, it seemed as if there was more cheering for the scantily clad, heavily made-up ring girls who circled the sparring ring, better known in mixed martial arts circles as the octagon.
Ray Hernandez changed that.
Competing against David Parker in a welterweight MMA bout Friday at the Huntington Center, Hernandez seemed to use every upper appendage possible to spar against Parker. Hernandez punched with his fists and utilized a few flying elbows, including a direct hit on Parker's forehead, which came — almost mercifully — as the bell sounded to end the first of three rounds.
“He’s very scrappy, and he’s kind of hard to put in one place,” Hernandez said of Parker. “The guy can take a hell of a hit.”
Parker continued to fight against Hernandez, who suffered a gash underneath his right eye early in the second round, and Parker appeared to gain a second wind late in the second round. But, again, he had to withstand Hernandez's fists, elbows and even his upper arms.
“We’ve fought twice before as amateurs, and we split,” said Parker, who found out earlier this week he would fight against Hernandez. “I’ve just got a lot of heart, and a tough head, I guess.
"You’ve got to spar, spar, spar. You’ve got to be in a fight, and you’ve got to know how to get hit.”
When the bout was finally over, Hernandez lifted Parker’s hand in the air with his — even before the judges decision was announced, unanimously and in favor of Hernandez, who improved to 4-2 as a professional.
Hernandez’s win over Parker and Jake Grigson’s bantamweight decision over Andrew Huffman served as the precursor for the final bout — considered the main event on the nine-bout card.
In front of about 2,000 people at the Huntington Center, Tyler Beckley earned the win over Hector Urbina 92 seconds in a middleweight bout, on account of a doctor’s stoppage. During the opening minute of the bout, Urbina sustained a gash above his right eye and despite treatment inside the octagon, the doctor on site ruled to suspend the bout.
“He came out a little slower than I thought he would,” said Beckley, a former football player at the University of Findlay. “I expected him to really come out guns-a-blazing and I caught him with that head kick real early, about 20 seconds into the fight. I saw him kind of rock back and I saw him clench back, and then I threw a couple of strikes. That’s when I hit him with a drop. He was fighting a good, tempoed pace.”
In the opening bout, Eugene Barrett stood a few inches shorter than the 5-foot-10 Matt Young but used a lower center of gravity to his advantage. With 1:11 left in the opening round, Barrett overpowered Young, who tapped to end the bout.
Richard McDole battled exhaustion through three rounds in a featherweight bout to defeat Rustin Jones by a unanimous decision.
Raymond Yanez was awarded a flyweight win on account of the first doctor’s stoppage Friday night — a result of a crescent-moon shaped gash above David Blattman's left eye that continued to bleed after the bout was stopped.
Immediately after defeating Rick Day in the first round of a heavyweight bout, Steve Cotterman grabbed a cell phone and called his brother, Perrysburg wrestling coach Sam Cotterman, whose team is competing at the Ironman tournament at Walsh Jesuit in Cuyahoga Falls to give him the good news.
Matt Montalvo won his featherweight bout against Donte Adams, and Andrew Osborne defeated Jake Draves in a split decision in a welterweight bout.
BOXING RESCHEDULED: The Grand Plaza Hotel in Toledo will host the Purgatory Fight Series 11 boxing event at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, with Masedonio Molina and Wade Tolle, Jr., promoted as the main event.
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.