Arreola steps up to 170 pounds to challenge McClain for title
VISALIA, Calif. – The build up for 559 Fights Friday in Visalia was one for the record books, pitting two of the top local amateur mixed martial artist against each other in a championship showdown.
But when an injury forced 559 Fights Lightweight Champion Evan Solorio (5-2) to withdraw, former Featherweight Champion Alberto Arreola was forced to make some big decisions for his return to Visalia Rawhide Stadium.
“I had some options on which direction to go. I could have sat out and waited for Evan, I could have fought some lesser opponents possibly, but ultimately I’m here to challenge myself,” said Lemoore’s Arreola, who carries an 11-0 record into Friday’s fights.
“Fighters get hurt, it’s part of the game. I’m not always 100 percent healthy, but I’m doing this for the experience and to make me a better professional in the future and that’s why I wanted to fight (Justin) McClain.”
559 Fights pieced together an equally high-profile fight, pitting the No. 2 ranked Welterweight in the State against Arreola. Marina’s McClain carries a 12-5-1 record into the bout, winning five of his last six bouts.
“It’s never easy getting the calls about an injury or illness, but it happens so often you really have to be prepared to make some adjustments,” said 559 Fights President and Owner Jeremy Luchau. “We were blessed that we had two guys that were looking to challenge themselves rather than take the easy way out.”
Doors open at 6 p.m. and fights start at 7. Tickets start at just $20 and are available at Visalia Nutrishop or the Rawhide Box Office. For VIP information call 559-813-0307.
McClain was originally scheduled to take on Fresno’s Garret Marks (4-0) for the vacant Welterweight title, but Marks received a cut over his eye during training and could not compete.
“The cut sucks, but it happens. I’m happy to have Arreola step up and take the fight. Fighting on short notice is never easy, especially with records like ours,” McClain said. “I go for the finish. My last fight ended in knockout and I’d like to do the same.”
Arreola moved up two weight classes, vacating his Featherweight Title to compete for the Welterweight Title.
“The titles aren’t important. I’m honored to fight for 559 Fights, but really I just want to challenge myself. The toughest option for me was with McClain,” Arreola said. “I’m not sure what happens after this fight, but I will be looking to challenge myself regardless of weight class. I’m just trying to learn right now and get better. Maybe me and Evan can meet down the road, I’m sure that he’s injured pretty bad, because he was willing to vacate his title, which was the honorable thing to do in this situation.”
Weighins will be held Friday morning at 10 a.m. at CrossFit West Visalia.
In the co-main event, 559 Fights Cruiserweight Champion Myles Shaw (9-2) defends his title for the first time against Paso Robles’ Andre Nickelson (6-4).
“There’s no one in the state that wants to fight this guy (Shaw),” Luchau said of the Stockton fighter, who is ranked No. 1 in the State. “I could only really think of one or two guys that would step up and compete, Andre was the first person that came to mind. He’s an athlete and was ranked in the Top 5 at 205 pounds. I wasn’t sure he would come up in weight, but he really stepped up to the challenge.”
In another cruiserweight showdown, Kerman’s Leo Cantu (8-3-1) takes on Hanford’s Daniel Hernandez (2-4) and in a flyweight rematch Fresno’s Carlos Hernandez squares off with Porterville’s Josh Sudbeck (2-1).
“There are a couple fights that are really important to the landscape of future title fights and main events,” Luchau said. “We have some pretty important undercard bouts on this card featuring several talented locals.”
Bakersfield middleweight Eric Huggins (2-3) takes on Hanford’s Daniel Ortiz (1-2) and Farmersville lightweight Juan Campos (2-1) fights Visalia’s Fabian Luevano (2-3-1).
In other bouts;
-Modesto bantamweight Daniel Osequera (3-2) vs. Hanford’s Ricardo Vasquez (1-3).
-Visalia bantamweight Aaron Warnke (1-1) vs. Ridgecrest’s Luis Garcia (0-2).
-Visalia welterweight Chris Gottschall (1-0) vs. Fresno’s Bryant Franklin (0-0).
-Escalon featherweight Steve Ronneberg (0-1) vs. Linden’s Edgar Quinonez (0-0).
-Huron featherweight Rudy Soto (0-1) vs. Ridgecrest Myles Lowis (0-0).
-Bakersfield lightweight Cameron Ramirez (0-0) vs. Stockton’s Anthony Taylor (0-0).
-Visalia cruiserweight Jef McQuilliams (0-0) vs. San Leandro’s Amir Lacey (2-0).
-Citrus Heights middleweight Casey Parcell (0-0) vs. Stockton’s Levi Scott (0-0).