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UFC veteran Chris Camozzi returns at SCL 76 vs Bare Knuckle Badass Tony Lopez

Former UFC veteran Chris Camozzi (24-15) makes his return to the cage at Sparta Combat League 76 in Golden, CO and looks to end his four fight losing skid. Camozzi ended his third stint in the UFC with back to back losses in 2017 and would not return to MMA competition until March ‘19 in Russia’s Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) in third round KO against Muslim Magomedov (5-0). Camozzi represents the Factory X fight team out of Englewood, CO which includes current UFC darlings like Ian Heinisch and several Bellator fighters including former Bantamweight & Featherweight Champion Joe Warren.

He faces off against celebrated journeyman Tony Lopez (62-30) making his 93rd appearance in the octagon. That record alone is impressive enough, but it only begins to scratch the surface of Tony’s martial arts journey as he has Boxing and Kickboxing matches to his name as well. He has also contributed to the current rising popularity of Bare Knuckle Boxing with his performance against former UFC and Bellator competitor Joey Beltran. The two chipped away at each other’s faces slugging it out to a gruesome and bloody draw at BKFC 4, which also featured former UFC veterans Leonard Garcia and Bec Rawlings.

Camozzi makes his walk out to the expected hometown pop. Lopez is cool and casual in his walkout, expected from a near hundred fight veteran. The smoke from the fog machines and the fairground dust mingle in the spotlights as the referee indicates to each fighter the bout has begun.

They square up in the center of the cage, hardly feinting as they circle, and Lopez finally opens the striking with an outside kick to the lead leg. Camozzi fires back with his own and you can hear the differential in power even over the crowd noise. Lopez fires another outside kick as Camozzi responds by letting his hands go. They both lumber into heavy power shots but remain calm in the pocket. Lopez with another solid kick to the lead leg, but his power just pales to Camozzi’s.

Lopez comes in with heavy overhands and Camozzi counters with his own 1, 2. They engage the clinch and a lean into the fence as Camozzi takes control. Despite the length advantage of Lopez, it’s becoming apparent that Camozzi is just too strong for him as he struggles to keep the fight standing. Camozzi presses him into the cage and eventually scores the take down. Lopez is on his back with Camozzi falling comfortably into side control, diligently stepping his way over into half guard.  

There isn’t an any work from Lopez on the bottom as Camozzi now controls the action from full mount. Camozzi begins to attack with the left elbow as he ties up Lopez’s right hand. Lopez tries to keep Camozzi close, but with his size and strength he looks too settled and patient in the mount. He sneaks his way under the left arm of Lopez searching for the arm triangle. It doesn’t take long for Camozzi to sink in the choke and during a few uncertain beats, Lopez’s hand can be seen gingerly flirting with the tap before fully committing to the gesture.

It was a quick victory for Camozzi as improves his professional record to a stout 25-15, but it will be an even quicker turnaround for Lopez. Lopez came into this bout with his next MMA fight already book 22 days later. For a man like that the love of the game just doesn’t let the grind stop. To be fair a man like ‘Kryptonite’ probably wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he wasn’t living in the gym and on the road. And it is exactly that type of passion that sets the example, albeit sometimes cautionary, for the youngsters developing alongside on the regional scenes.

Sparta Combat League is a promotion based in Denver, CO. They consistently host professional and amateur rules bouts in MMA, Boxing and Kickboxing. The promotion has been gaining some national attention as promising UFC prospects Corey Sandhagen and Ian Heinisch have risen through the promotion to big leagues. To recognize the overall progression of martial arts culture in the region and specifically the impact SCL has had over the years, they will be hosting a red carpet awards show for their 10 Year Anniversary on September 28 at the Saratoga Casino in Blackhawk, CO.

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