Last night Sergio Gomez of Dave Strasser’s Freestyle Academy battled Rich Crunkilton in a lightweight showdown at WEC 33 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Joint – Hard Rock Casino & Hotel. Both fighters were coming off losses in the WEC and neither could afford a second WEC loss in a row, and both fighters fought like it. Gomez lost the bout via a unanimous decision but put on a valiant fight.
Rich “Cleat” Crunkilton had recently lost to the former WEC Lightweight Champion in September of last year when he was TKO’d by “Razor” Rob McCullough. Gomez on the other hand had lost via a guillotine choke to Marcus Hicks in May of 2007 at WEC 27, although he won a TKO victory over the winless Brent Rose last November at FCC 31.
In the fight last night, Gomez sustained a cut on the back of his head in the first round that turned the fight into a complete bloodbath that easily had to have been considered the fight of the night. Sergio Gomez didn’t seem to have an answer for Crunkilton takedowns but it didn’t stop him from getting the fight back to the feet on almost every occasion. Gomez had much better cardio and stand-up skills than Crunkilton, but anytime Gomez put Crunkilton in danger, Crunkilton went back to his bread and butter, the takedown. Both fighters had equivalent Jiu-Jitsu games.
Gomez was put in dangerous spots on many occasions such as a very tight d’arce choke in the first round, but he hung tough and never gave in always finding ways to scramble out of many positions. He did spend too much time against the fence, which resulted in some of the takedowns, but did an excellent job using his hips and getting the fight back to the feet on many occasions. It was apparent that Gomez has been working his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game as it has gotten much better, but he still has some work to do in the submission department.
What’s next for Gomez?
The WEC does not run enough shows throughout the year that fighters can afford to lose twice in a row in the organization. His performance and display of heart may have earned him a ticket back to the prestigious organization in the future though. It is unclear if Gomez is able or willing to drop down to the 145lb weight class where he would be the dominant fighter. I believe that Gomez drops from about 170lbs to make the 155lb class. He is however 2-3 inches shorter than most opponents in the weight class and that may present problems for him in the future. The WEC website has him listed at 5’4” tall.
If anyone missed the fight, I have the complete play-by-play action from start to finish listed below. Wisconsin Combat Sports and its readers would like to congratulate Sergio Gomez in his gut-wrenching performance last night. You made us proud. I’ll try to post a link to the video when one comes available.
Sergio Gomez vs. Rich Crunkilton Play-by-Play
As the fighters feel each other out, Crunkilton gets a single leg takedown. Gomez is on his back from the half-guard. Crunkilton tries several times to pass the half-guard, he hits Gomez with an elbow in frustration. Gomez is then able to hip out and get the fight back to the feet. Crunkilton attempts a trip takedown but fails, Gomez give him a knee to the chest for his efforts. Crunkilton then puts Gomez up against the cage and throws a left knee. The two dirty-box from the clinch and Gomez give him another knee. From the clinch, Crunkilton throws a big elbow to the head of Gomez. Crunkilton continues to hold Gomez against the fence and give him another big elbow from the clinch. I’m not sure if the first or the second elbow did it, but one of them opened up a big cut on the back of Gomez’s head. Crunkilton attempts another single leg on the left side of Gomez. As Gomez hops around on one leg to avoid being taken down he lands seven shots on Crunkilton, before succumbing to the takedown leaving Crunkilton in side control. Gomez rolls over attempting to get out but ends up back in side control, but almost gets out again and sits back against the cage. Crunkilton attempts a d’arce choke and begins rolling into it as Frank Mir says that Gomez is done for. Gomez walks around and out of the choke. As he gets the fight back to the feet he gives Crunkilton a big knee followed by a right cross. Crunkilton attempts to return the favor with a left high kick that misses the mark followed by a lazy jab. With two minutes left in the first round, Crunkilton looks tired and Gomez looks good cardio-wise, he throws the one-two combination three consecutive times and Crunkilton is forced to cover up and back away. The fighters are again in the middle and Crunkilton throws a right high kick this time that kind of lands on Gomez. Gomez gives him an overhand right followed by a right uppercut and then a left hook. Gomez then throws a left jab that misses and Crunkilton looks to take it back to the canvas where he is more comfortable by scooping up a single leg takedown again on Gomez’s left side lifting the leg above his shoulder and forcing Gomez against the fence. Gomez manages four quick right-handed body shots, before Crunkilton switches legs and drops Gomez to the mat showing off a nice takedown technique. Gomez looks like he is going to attempt a kimura from half-guard but opts against it. Gomez uses the same technique as earlier to hip out and get the fight back up but Crunkilton brings him right back down. It looks like Crunkilton was going to attempt another d’arce choke but Gomez quickly gets out and up to the feet again. Crunkilton continues to push Gomez against the fence and throws a cross that misses. Gomez finally gets off the fence and turns the tables putting Crunkilton against the cage. He gets a right hook and uppercut before both fighters return to the center of the cage. Crunkilton throws a lazy left jab followed by a right kick to the body of Gomez. Gomez traps the leg and gives Crunkilton three right hooks as he backs him up leg in tow. An overhand right by Gomez almost lands and Crunkilton rushes Gomez across the cage getting a takedown using an outside leg trip on Gomez’s right side. As Gomez tries to get out Crunkilton goes for another d’arce choke but the round ends.
Crunkilton starts the second round with a left body kick followed by a left hook that misses. Gomez then attacks with a right uppercut followed by a jab, then cross. Crunkilton shoots for his trademark single on Gomez’s left side. Gomez gives him eight body shots during the effort as Crunkilton brings the single above his shoulder and switches legs to finish the takedown. Crunkilton lands in side control and Gomez attempts to escape, as he does Crunkilton takes the back of Gomez. Gomez defends a rear naked choke attempt, pulls the hooks apart and turns into Crunkilton. He slaps a guillotine on Crunkilton, but Crunkilton picks Gomez off the ground and slams him down to the mat. Crunkilton manages to escape the guillotine and drops some elbows on Gomez from half-guard. Both fighters stay busy throwing ground strikes and Crunkilton postures up for what looked like an arm bar attempt from half-guard? He ends up in a bad spot and Gomez fails to capitalize on a chance to take Crunkilton’s back. Crunkilton attempts a knee bar, but Gomez slips out and punishes Crunkilton with hammer fists and shots from the top. Gomez gets Crunkilton into side control but Crunkilton manages to roll out. In the ensuing scramble it appeared that Gomez was going to attempt a guillotine and drops to his back but missed the choke entirely. With Crunkilton on top, Gomez rolls into another d’arce attempt. Gomez slips out and punishes him with body shots, but Crunkilton manages to get into Gomez’s half guard. As Crunkilton attempts to pass, Gomez gets him back into full guard and Crunkilton drops shots onto Gomez. Gomez throws his legs up for an armbar but it’s not deep enough and Crunkilton passes the guard and manages to get full mount but the round ends before he can do any damage.
The third round begins with both fighters trading some shots but nothing is really landing. Gomez then hits Crunkilton with a left high kick followed by a right hook. Crunkilton lands two jabs and his own right low kick. Gomez throws some shots but they are not landing. Crunkilton scores a takedown with some help from the cage. He doesn’t use his takedown and mainly maintains position on Gomez eating time off the clock. Gomez manages to get to his knees and attempts a kimura but he doesn’t have guard or any position that would make the submission a success. Crunkilton again gets Gomez down into the half-guard. He throws just enough shots to keep the fight from being stood up and eat more time off the clock. With just over two minutes left in the round, Herb Dean stands the fighters up. Crunkilton throws a right leg kick followed by a left hook. Gomez attacks Crunkilton with his classic one-two combinations, but Crunkilton runs him across the ring for yet another takedown. Crunkilton again throws just enough ground strikes to keep the fight on the ground and Herb Dean warns him that he will stand it up again. In the final thirty seconds, Gomez almost gets back up to the feet again but Crunkilton manages to keep him down and the round ends.
Scores were Gene Labelle – (30-26) Nelson Hamilton (30-27), Al Lefkowitz (29-28)
Here the quick results according to MMA On Tap
Brian Stann def. Doug Marshall via TKO (Strikes) Rd 1.
Chael Sonnen def. Bryan Bakervia Unanimous Decision
Marcus Hicks def. Ed Ratcliff via Submission (Guillotine Choke) Rd 1.
Steve Cantwell def. Tim McKenzie via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Rd 1.
Hiromitsu Miura def. Blas Avena via KO Rd 1.
Brock Larson def. John Alessio via DQ (illegal knee to downed opponent) Rd 1.
Richard Crunkilton def. Sergio Gomez via Unanimous Decision
Alex Serdyukov def. Ryan Stonitsch via Submission (Triangle Choke) Rd 1.
Chris Manuel vs. Kenji Osawa ends in a Split Draw
Logan Clark def. Scott Harper via TKO (Strikes) Rd 1.
Here are links to photo galleries of the fight:
My earlier article on Sergio Gomez:
Breaking News: Sergio Gomez vs. Rich Crunkilton at WEC 33
This article originally appeared on Wisconsin Combat Sports on 03-27-08.