NM combat sports: a look back, then forward

Apr. 8—This is another big week in New Mexico combat sports, with Angelo Leo fighting in Florida on Wednesday and Holly Holm facing Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday.

First, though, we need to play a little catch-up.

A WIN FOR TY: And almost as important, simply a fight.

Last Saturday at Revel Entertainment Center, Albuquerque MMA middleweight Ty Miller (4-0) defeated Colombia native Michael Tovar (2-5-1) by unanimous decision in the main event of FightWorld 33.

It was Miller's first MMA victory since August 2022; it also was his first MMA fight since then. (He did have a victory by third-round TKO over Deane Williams on a pro boxing card in Denver on Jan. 20).

Miller had been out of action due to a knee injury before he was scheduled to face Houston's Montrel James in the main event of a FightWorld card at Revel on Nov. 25.

Surprise: James, after coming to Albuquerque and weighing in the previous day, refused to step into the cage over a dispute about drug testing. No fight for Miller.

In an effort to stay busy, Miller made his pro boxing debut in January — defeating Williams despite having weighed in 10 pounds lighter than his opponent.

Finally, last Saturday, Miller was able to again compete — and win — in his chosen sport, the sport he'd been preparing for since he wrestled for Sandia High School years earlier.

ARGUETA SUBMITTED: Albuquerque MMA bantamweight Dan Argueta won the first round. He appeared to be winning the second.

And then, Saturday night on a UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas ...

With just seconds remaining in the second round, Brazil's Jean Matsumoto secured — almost out of nowhere — a guillotine choke. Argueta tapped out with just one second left in the round.

"Double dose of humiliation," Argueta wrote on his Facebook page. "Live by the sword, die by the sword."

It should be noted that, until Argueta (9-2) fell victim to the choke hold, he looked terrific — imposing his strength and will on a talented, unbeaten (now 15-0) opponent.

Now, looking ahead ...

LEO VS. BAEZ: Leo, an Albuquerque native and the former WBO super bantamweight champion, continues to reap the benefits of the contract he signed with Florida-based promotional company ProBox.

He's scheduled to face Mexico's Eduardo Baez (23-5-2, nine KOs) on Wednesday at the ProBox arena in Plant City, Florida.

Yes, ProBox has its own arena, enabling it to promote on a frequent basis. Saturday's card will be its seventh already in 2024.

Leo (23-1, 11 KOs) will be fighting under the ProBox banner for the third time in five months — this after a 2 1/2-year hiatus stemming from his breakup with Mayweather Promotions.

Now campaigning at featherweight, Leo, 29, is seeking another world title before too many more months pass.

HOLM VS. HARRISON: Albuquerque's Holm is a huge betting underdog in her fight against Harrison.

The latest: Harrison is a minus-500 favorite, meaning a bettor would need to wager $500 on Harrison to reap a profit of $100. Holm is a plus-350 underdog, meaning a bet of $100 on Holm would produce a profit of $250 should she win.

Lest we forget, Holm has been a huge underdog against an Olympic judo gold medalist before. She was at plus-600 entering her dramatic upset of Ronda Rousey on Nov. 14, 2015.

Holm has 15-6 record. Harrison is 16-1, though she's compiled that record in the Professional Fighters League and hasn't faced the caliber of opposition that Holm has in the UFC.

Saturday's fight will be Harrison's UFC debut.

TCL: Albuquerque's Sharahya Moreu and Las Cruces' Samantha Ginithan are scheduled to make their Team Combat League boxing debuts this month.

Moreu (2-0 as a pro), who competes for the TCL's Philadelphia Smoke, is matched against former world champion Erica Anabella Farias (27-8, 10 KOs) on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Farias competes for the Los Angeles Elite.

TCL bouts consist of only one round, after which team scores are compiled.

Ginithan, a two-time Golden Gloves national champion, is scheduled to make her TCL and pro debut on April 18 against Kimberly Connor-Hamby (13-4-2. five KOs) in Houston.

Ginithan competes for the Houston Hitmen, coached by Las Cruces' Austin Trout. Connor-Hamby competes for the San Antonio Snipers.