The last day of the month produced the performance of the month by a prospect. Coming from a mostly unknown prospect who was supposed to be an opponent used to propel a different prospect. However, things did not go according to plan February 28th at the Legends Casino in Toppenish Washington this past Thursday as Luis Alberto Lopez or El Venado as he is known ruined the plans of Ray Ximenez. Ximenez and his team’s plan was to showcase the young featherweights talent on UFC Fight pass, have him put on a show, capture the WBO international crown and then be in the position to challenge Oscar Valdez as early as 2019 or 2020. Instead, its Lopez who took home the strap and issues a call out of his fellow countrymen.
” He was pretty quick a lot more awkward than I thought” was the immediate post-fight reaction from Ray Ximenez. That awkwardness caught the attention of Ximenez just moments into the fight, a quick right hand put the Texan on his heels as El Venado pushed forward keeping Ximenez on the defensive and uncomfortable for the remainder of the first round. Ximenez had his best round in the second hurting and momentarily freezing Lopez with a thumping body left hook to the body followed by a right hand. However, Lopez hung tough and regained control in the third round walking Ximenez down and using nimble footwork to avoid the Texans return fire. The Mexicali native won many of the rounds in the first half of the fight off the back foot and countering Ximenez a tactic no one expected and putting numerous early rounds in the bank and putting the fight out of reach as the game Ximenez started to get to Lopez in the seventh and eighth rounds with body shots and hooks. An accidental head butt opened up a nasty gash above the left eye of Ximenez that caused a halt to the bout. Going to the scorecards of a very competitive fight the cards varied a bit but all in favor of the Mexicali native 72-80, 74-78, 75-77 to capture the vacant WBO International Featherweight Title. The last score seemed to be the most accurate to how the crowd and ringside had it scored.
Lopez scored the major upset and turned heads doing it, Roy Jones Jr Promotions had an option on Lopez should he win and not only did he win he looked to be at the most elite level, additionally El Vando’s trainer told us that he had an offer to come back and fight at the same venue in a few months. The sold-out crowd at Legends Casino seemingly would have no issues with that. So we should be seeing the versatile Mexican again sometime soon. Lopez will likely be ranked in the top 10 or so in the WBO’s featherweights ranking upon their next release which will put him in position to secure another major fight and should he win position to possibly challenge Oscar Valdez for the world title by years end.