Thu Sep 13th, 2018
Special to the Drum
Hard of hearing but also quite hard of hitting, twins Alen and Anel Dudo—graduates of Grandview High School in Aurora, Colo.—took great pride in their inclusion on the amateur portion of King of the Cage’s Sept. 1 Aggressive Lifestylecard held inside Sky Ute Casino Resort Events Center.
And though baby bro one-upped his elder sibling after each went the full nine minutes against his respective foe, both 125-pounders agreed the experience was—and always will be—worth every second.
“Everything about it, you know? The adrenalin, the people, the crowd, the coaches—I just love this sport,” said Alen Dudo, five minutes faster into the world back on March 7, 1998, in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
“Everyone can see who we are and the gym we fight for,” Anel Dudo added (the brothers represent appropriately-named A Family Affair Boxing & MMA, based in Denver). “I mean, it’s cool to see two Dudos walking out and fighting! Like the Diaz brothers, you know?”
Defeated by Aztec, N.M., product Derrick Pringle back in July at KOTC: Perennial, Alen Dudo took on Albuquerque’s Aaron Taylor in the 11-fight night’s third bout. And take Taylor on he did; Dudo unfortunately fell victim to two first-round takedowns and ultimately couldn’t get out from one final pin-like predicament in losing a 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 unanimous decision.
“You know, I think I improved…a little bit on keeping my distance, but I think I can work on sparring more,” said Dudo, still seeking his first amateur MMA win. “He was taking me down all three rounds, so I could work on that.”
After Barb ‘Outlaw’ Cuellar, repping Colorado Springs-based CIES (pronounced see-ess) MMA, out-banged Californian Samantha Miller and also received a 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 UD after three three-minute rounds at 150 pounds, Anel Dudo stood in against Albuquerque’s Francisco Dominguez.
Dominguez managed to stay alive late in Round 1, landing some elbow shots while bracing himself against the circular fence, but the younger Dudo would lock in a rear naked choke late in Round 2, to which Dominguez—who’d nearly clamped on a submission hold himself—was forced to submit at the 2-minute, 40-second mark.
“To be honest, the game plan was mostly just striking—try to knock him out…maybe do some body shots, and then take down, elbows,” Dudo said. “But it happened so fast to the point where he got me in an armbar! I was like, ‘Oh snap!’ He almost had me; I’ll be honest with you! He was pretty good right there, so I just had to breathe, played it smart, and once I got out I tried to bring (the action) back up again.”
“It went 50-50, I guess—I choked him out, so it still works!”
“I really like it when we both fight—it’s not the first time—at the same card,” he added, with Alen nodding in agreement. “And when we both put on a show, people are like, ‘Oh damn! This is really good!’ That’s how you get more followers, you know?”
From Albuquerque’s well-known FIT/NHB camp, Belen, New Mexico’s Shania Arredondo was a technical-knockout (by strikes) victor over Colorado Springs’ Brandi Hancock after referee Mike Beltran stopped the 105-pounders’ clash 1:14 into the third and final round. Moriarty, New Mexico’s Austin Lewis, who won at Perennial, then closed out the card’s amateur portion with a 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 UD at 115 pounds over Grand Junction’s Angelo Trujillo, who’d lost at Perennial.
Getting the night underway, 155-pounder Matthew ‘El Problemo’ Cordonero finished a kick-heavy first round atop Grand Junction’s Brad Mantell and began pounding away. More or less saved by the bell, Mantell found himself again on his back in Round 2, and Cordonero again rained down blows from a full mount—causing Beltran to stop the bout 1:15 into the round, giving Cordonero a TKO due to strikes.
Knowing they had quite an exciting act to follow, Albuquerque’s Sarina Ochoa and Colorado Springs’ Kayla Barrington did their best in Bout No. 2, with Ochoa (another FIT/NHB entrant) content to use her fists in Round 1 and Barrington her knees.
Able to draw blood from beneath Ochoa’s left eye with a solid elbow, Barrington took a wicked standing right kick from Ochoa before Round 2 expired, and took a left foot to her temple in Round 3 as well as a vicious 1-2 punch combo. Still doing damage at close range with her knees, Barrington ensured the fight would go to the judges’ cards, but Ochoa’s more sustained aggression carried weight in a winning 28-29, 30-27, 29-28 split decision.
“At the end of the third, I…knocked her down, and it looked like (Barrington) was kind of suffering there. At the end of the fight she threw up and I’m pretty sure that’s from all those body kicks,” Ochoa said. “I landed a nice head kick too, but next time we’ll work some more kicks.”
“But it was awesome; everyone’s been coming up to me and telling me that it was a great fight, so I’m going to take their word for it!”
“I go out there and fight ’til the end, you know? I’m going to put on a show no matter what, and so long as the fans enjoy it, it doesn’t matter,” said Barrington, who dropped to 0-2 as an amateur.
“My first fight was last April, so it’s been a little over a year,” she noted. “Game plan was to go out there and fight, have some fun. It’s been a while since I’ve been in there, so I’m…enjoying the process. I felt real good, so I’m excited to get back in there—this is just the start.”
Now 1-0, Ochoa also expressed an eagerness to continue her development.
“I just really want to get back in the gym and work on not getting caught in the clinch as much—that’s where a lot of the fight obviously took place,” she stated.
“I might need some time to heal up this boo-boo,” she added, pointing at her battle wound, “but as soon as it looks nice—it’s going to leave a little ‘happy face’ scar—we’ll probably try to get back in there. That was a blast and I really want to do it again.”
DID YOU KNOW: In addition to wrestling at GHS, the Dudos also earned kudos in soccer as they helped the varsity Wolves reach the CHSAA Class 5A State Championships’ ‘Sweet 16’ as juniors in 2014, then played again as seniors in ’15 before graduating in Spring 2016.