There’s no looking back for the Palace Fighting Championship.
After giving the mixed martial arts community one of the very best events in Central California history in October, Christian Printup and the PFC are looking to raise the bar even further for Thursday, January 17th.
Printup, the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino Entertainment Director, confirmed three blockbuster PFC World Title fights for the Jan. card and also confirmed deals with a pair of elite fighters.
Maybe the biggest announcement is that of the PFC Lightweight Championship will be on the line. Interim champ Poppies Martinez (13-3) of Lemoore will tangle with Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Diego Saraiva (9-6-1) of Atlanta.
“Diego Saraiva is a very exciting fighter. He’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and he likes to bang. Poppies management and his head trainer, Urijah Faber, are excited about this opportunity for Poppies. Poppies has always just fought who was put in front of him and to this day the only fight he has ever asked for was the Cole Escovedo fight,” Printup said. “Saraiva is coming off three losses, but to really good fighters. I believe this fight is a career defining fight for both guys. Both guys are excited to fight each other. This is a great fight for PFC fans. These are the types of competitive match ups that the sport needs.”
Saraiva lost three straight in the UFC, most recently a unanimous decision at UFC 76 in Sept to Des Moines, Iowa’s Jeremy Stephens (12-2). “Saraiva is a three-time UFC veteran, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and had Fight of the Night against Jorge Gurgel in a fight where he broke Gurgel’s jaw,” super agent Ken Pavia said.
Pavia and the PFC also came to terms with 145-pound phenom Rafael Assuncao (11-1). “This might be the first time that Lemoore has ever had a World Ranked guy fighting at one of their events,” Pavia said. “Assuncao is No. 10 in the World right now at 145 pounds and holds a victory of TUF fighter Joe Lauzon. His only loss was a controversial, split-decision loss to Jeff Curan and after the fight Curan got on the mic and even said he felt he had lost the fight.” An opponent for Assuncao, who is also fighting out of Atlanta, has not been named.
Martinez is a local favorite from Lemoore and is expected to fighting one of his toughest opponents to date in Saraiva. Martinez was scheduled to take on San Bernardino’s Shad Smith (9-8-2), but Smith failed to meet his contract obligations in a scheduled bout in Oct., which has left a sour taste in Printup’s mouth. “Coming off the last bout agreement we had with Shad Smith I just don’t feel comfortable with him actually seeing a rematch through with Poppies. Diego Saraiva vs. Poppies is a great fight and we have it signed sealed and delivered and we don’t have to worry about whether Saraiva will show up. They’re both going to collide head on and may the best man win,” Printup said.
In a PFC World Featherweight Title fight, Oroville’s Shawn Bias (12-5) will put his belt on the line against Oakdale featherweight Art Arciniega (5-1) and Porterville bantamweight Shawn Klarcyk will put his PFC World Championship on the line against Oakdale’s Rolando Velasco (4-0).
Bias won the title defeating Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Aaron Maldonado (3-2) by decision in June, but since has gone 1-1 in fights away from the PFC. He most recently defeated Fernando Arreola (1-4-1) on Nov 11th in a Gladiator Challenge show in Porterville.
“Shawn Bias vs. Art Arcienega is a great fight. On paper these guys match up well. Neither will back down an inch in this fight I guarantee and if Art wants Shawn’s belt he will probably have to be willing to walk through hell and back to get it. I love this fight,” Printup said.
Klarcyk earned the title in a 5-round war against Sacramento’s David Espinosa (3-1) in June at PFC 3. That fight was the most exciting fight ever held in the Place’s Bingo Hall.
“Rolando Velasco is a serious threat to Shawn Klarcyk. Both guys have tremendous wrestling and ground-and-pound skills and coming off the Espinosa fight to win the belt nobody can question Klarcyk’s heart.” Printup said. “This is as good as it gets in the bantamweight division in any organization. Whomever stands as the PFC bantamweight champion come January 17th to me is the best 135 lb champion in the United States. I’d put them in against anyone in any other organization.”
“The Palace is a diamond rough. This will be one of elite level feeder shows for the UFC,” Pavia said. ” I think this is a very underrated venue and now the hotel is up, it’s a real pleasure to come out here. It’s now a great overall experience and Christian Printup does a phenomenal job. This is a first class show.”