I like a good stand up fight when I can get it. David Fuentes, a 3rd Dan Goju Ryu stylist fighting out of Jeff Bonugli’s Green Ghost Academy, certainly provided plenty of stand up action the night of 26 September 2015, in the defense of his bantamweight title against Paco Castillo during Hero FC VI in El Paso, Texas. Castillo is reputed to be one of the El Paso area’s favorite fighters, because of the action he brings into the cage, and he certainly came looking for war. It began during the weigh ins, when he directed some smack talk towards Fuentes. Fuentes, who had just emerged from the sauna where he’d been for a last minute weight loss, could only smile as he leaned toward Castillo, bumping heads with him. Some were calling it a head butt, when in fact it was only a famished and weakened Fuentes having trouble holding his head up.
Once in the cage, Castillo attempted to take the fight to Fuentes, choosing to do stand up battle. This was to Fuente’s liking, as he does a good job at stand up. Although Castillo came on strong, Fuentes easily blocked or slipped the punches, while quickly countering in devastating fashion. One recalls Fuente’s battle with Jose Ceja, wherein Ceja was able to execute some pretty fair boxing skills in Fuentes direction prior to Fuentes ending the fight. This was not the case with Castillo, who in his haste to do battle, at times appeared to be windmilling, with punches which were telegraphed, and neither direct nor on target. In a “smoker” with fighters of lesser skill, Castillo is sure to provide an exciting battle. This is not so against a fighter of Fuente’s ability, who despite the fact that a kick to his calf had produced a painful cramp, was able to hit Castillo at will.
For me this was a case of deja vu. Some twenty five years ago, kick boxer Ismael Robles came to San Antonio to fight. I worked Robles’ corner, and was the only person in that packed house supporting him. Then too, I could see that Robles was carrying his opponent, who came on firing both barrels. He was plenty game, but his efforts were fruitless, and at a time of his choosing, Robles knocked him out.
Like Ishmael Robles’ opponent, Paco Castillo was also plenty game, with the same results. After watching the first round, I predicted the fight would be over early in the second round. I was correct. A powerful Fuentes uppercut to Castillo’s chin ended the fight in just 24 seconds into the second round.
Would Castillo have been better off taking the fight to the mat? That is doubtful. David Fuentes, a jiu jitsu purple belt, has a good ground game. At any rate, the stand up game we were treated to was David Fuentes at his best.