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BABY JOE SHINES IN BELLATOR 94

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By Patrick Lujan

Baby Joe Taimanglo gets his hands raised in victory after a second round submission in this photo taken from a TV shot aired live on Guam. (courtesy photo)

Baby Joe Taimanglo gets his hands raised in victory after a second round submission in this photo taken from a TV shot aired live on Guam. (courtesy photo)

It is a Good Friday for Guam MMA fans!

Baby Joe Taimanglo made Guam proud once again, controlling his opponent in his Bellator debut, winning by second round submission via north-south choke in Bellator 94 in Tampa, Florida.

“I’m so happy it’s over with. I’m very relieved right now,” said Taimanglo, who admitted he felt the pressure on his shoulders heading into his first Bellator show. “I’m overwhelmed with all the people from Guam and my gym for giving my that love and support. I feel blessed for this.”

BJT came into the bout four inches shorter than Ronnie Rodgers, his 5’8″ opponent from South Carolina but the height difference had no effect on the outcome as his ground game made the difference.

“I’m very proud of him,” UFC fighter Jon Tuck said. “I’m glad to see another Chamorro putting Guam on the scene. And that’s what it’s all about. Guam is getting the recognition for the talent we have. I knew he would win.”

Here’s the recap from the short bantamweight (145-lb) outing.

1st round

BJT comes out the aggressor, but Rodgers turns a bearhug from BJT to a power slam.

“The canvas is so soft, it’s like cushion,” BJT commented that the power slam on him didn’t hurt. “The Bellator ring is so nice, the best I’ve fought in.”

Both get back on their fee. BJT pressing Rodgers against the fence while the action slows. Hard low kick by Rodgers trips BJT. BJT lands inside rights. Full slam by BJT. He has top position, side control, delivering right hands and reverse elbows in a crucifix position.

“We worked diligently on the ground with coach David Avellan. When I got into that position, I knew what to do. That’s one of the best positions to be if you’re on top and the worst position to be of you’re on the bottom.”

Elbow staples coming down, throw in some hammer fists. BJT totally controlling the fight. More damage to the head of Rodgers. Rodgers gets up. both exchange before BJT sprawls on a takedown attempt. The bell sounds and BJT easily wins the opening round. Rodgers looks exhausted.

“I already knew I was dominant in that round and I knew he was tired.”

2nd round

BJT pushes the tempo and delivers another full slam…north-south position, BJT twists his torso and cranks the choke as Rodgers taps only 33 seconds into the round.

“I can sense that I was overwhelming him. That’s one of my favorite chokes. That’s one of my trademark moves.”

As for the Guam flag shown nationwide on TV, BJT said, “To have that time on TV to put us on national TV and show the people that this little island can represent, I was proud to have the Guam flag up there.”

Prior to his fight, BJT gets the feel of the cage with his coach Dave Avellan. (courtesy photo)

Prior to his fight, BJT gets the feel of the cage with his coach Dave Avellan. (courtesy photo)

What’s Next?

Taimanglo is now in line to be a top contender in the upcoming Bellator featherweight tournament.

He’ll be hanging out in San Diego to be on hand for the Jon Tuck UFC fight in San Jose, California on April 20.

He’d like to once again thank his fine sponsors, family and friends for all the support: So Kel Industries/Productions, Elegant Reflections, Alliance MMA, Camachili Tree Store, Guardyagrill,  DJ Quen, Club Xscape, my family and GSPN.

 

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