March 16, 2020
The Combate Americas Cage (La Jaula) is beginning to smell like Colombian coffee.
Colombia is developing its Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) scene, and the fighters are ready to take on the world. Here’s a brief history of Colombian fighters in Combate Americas.
As part of the inaugural Copa Combate in 2017, Felipe “Pipe” Vargas became the first Colombian to compete in Combate Americas,winning via decision against Victor “Periquito” Madrigal.
“The truth is the Colombian people are always moving forward. We are warriors, we want to get head, always fighting,” Vargas explained after his victory.
However, as they were alternates, the bout was only a five-minute round and had special rules.
The Main Event
Months later, Colombian Andres “Double-A” Ayala was given the opportunity to fight in a main event, against the Mexican superstar “Goyito” Perez.
When Ayala was asked why he would accept such a challenging fight on few days notice, he replied, “we fighters are all crazy for doing this, and get to do what I love.”
Despite being defeated by submission, as the first Colombian to headline an international event, Ayala took an important step in his country’s MMA history.
And the first victory came
It was Colombia’s time to win, and the right man stepped into La Jaula.
After two losses, Javier “Blair” Reyes of Bogota took his third fight in Combate Americas. The third time would be the charm.
Reyes defeated Joe Neal by submission in the second round, becoming the first Colombian to win in Combat Americas’s history.
“I feel like I made history, I’m the first Colombian to win in Combate Americas and I’m proud to carry the flag,” Reyes said. “This is a gift for Colombia.”
Time for the ladies
And then the first female Colombian fighter stepped into La Jaula. The next step was to welcome the Colombian women, and the one chosen for the hard work was Lina Franco.
Lina Franco took on one of the best fighters in Peru, Sandra “The Peruvian Zombie” Lavado.
“I’m happy, I’m proud to be the first Colombian in Combate Americas,” Franco said. “I’m sure if I’m here, it’s because I’m the best, then I’m going to show you why I’m here.”
Things did not go as planned for Franco, who was defeated by unanimous decision. However, Franco will return stronger in her next fight.
What’s next for Colombians in Combate Americas? The future is bright.