ByRyan Matsunaga, writer at Creators.co
https://twitter.com/RyanMatsu
Ryan Matsunaga

Combate Americas returned to UFC Fight Pass earlier tonight, broadcast live from the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.

The event was headlined by the promotion's first ever title fight: a bantamweight battle between Gustavo Lopez and John Castaneda. Castaneda took the historic win, finishing Lopez via TKO in the 4th round. However, because Castaneda failed to make weight ahead of the fight, he was ineligible to become the division's champion, and the bantamweight title will remain vacant for now.

Photo by Amy Kaplan
Photo by Amy Kaplan

A light heavyweight fight between UFC veteran Matt Hamill and Julian Marquez served as the co-main event. Marquez won via TKO inside of the first minute and a half of the opening round, although many in attendance believed that the stoppage had been premature.

At the post-fight press conference, UFC co-creator and Combate Americas founder Campbell McLaren was asked why Hamill was signed to the traditionally Hispanic-centric MMA promotion.

"We are proudly hispanic, but you don’t have to be hispanic to fight for us," McLaren said. "You just have to fight with heart."

The full results of Combate Americas: Empire Rising are as follows:

  • John Castaneda def. Gustavo Lopez via TKO
  • Julian Marquez def. Matt Hamill via TKO
  • Marc Stevens def. Victor Reyna via unanimous decision
  • Jose Ceja def. Irwin Rivera via KO
  • Paulina Granados def. Jenna Serio via unanimous decision
  • James Rodriguez def. Alex Henry via submission (rear naked choke)
  • Matt Almy def Freddy Arteaga via TKO
Photo by Amy Kaplan
Photo by Amy Kaplan