Close Combat

Experience a night of explosive one-on-one combat between some of the best amateur fighters out there when World Fighting Championships 85 returns to the Avi Resort & Casino for a full fight card of action Saturday, April 14 (doors open 7 p.m., fight starts 8 p.m.).
Tickets are $75 cage side; $50 reserved; $30 general admission and they can be purchased at or All ages are welcome to attend.
This special event in the octagon contains MMA and Muay Thai bouts for fans who enjoy both fighting styles and the no-holds-barred skills demonstrated by many of these young fighters working to make names for themselves.
For those who don’t know, Muay Thai or Thai boxing can be a brutal form of MMA, and is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand. It was developed several hundreds of years ago as a form of close-combat that utilizes the entire body as a weapon.
Muay Thai is referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs;” and using eight points of contact, the body mimics weapons of war. The hands become the sword and dagger; the shins and forearms were hardened in training to act as armor against blows, and the elbow to fell opponents like a heavy mace or hammer; the legs and knees became the axe and staff. The body operates as one unit. The knees and elbows constantly searching and testing for an opening while grappling and trying to spin an enemy to the ground for the kill.
MMA and Muay Thai are all about knowing your craft and earning the right to wear a title strap. Earning that strap doesn’t mean a fighter’s story ends there. In reality, it is only the beginning, and where the real work comes into play. Now he must defend his right to claim it over and over again, because all those other hungry guys out there want nothing more than to snatch it away.
Local MMA favorite Shane Mapatis knows all about how the whole belt thing works — he has had to prove himself each and every time he’s stepped into the octagon. The Needles native is still undefeated with his record of (9-0) and ranked No. 1 by World Fighting Championships. He defends his MMA title once again during the main event in the Avi’s Grand Ballroom Saturday night.
“He is our Heavyweight Champion,” said Matt McGovern, president of World Fighting Championships. “Shane is a Fort Mojave Tribal member and people get pumped up because he’s really popular in that area.
“Lonnie Red ‘The California Grizzly’ Tavares vs. Laughlin’s own and WFC Heavyweight Champion Shane Mapatis should be an all out war,” McGovern added. “Both guys like to bang, so Laughlin is in for a treat.”
The Mapatis-Tavares fight isn’t the only title fight on the card.
Cristian “The Little Savage” Molina, the WFC MMA Strawweight Champion, takes on Dequan Meeks out of Nevada in the 115-pound title fight.
“Cristian is a really popular local fighter, too. He’s in the 115-pound division defending his title,” McGovern said.
The action-packed card features 13 scheduled bouts at this time, with many fighters from the local and surrounding area. However, it is always subject to last minute changes and bout cancellations without notice.
The remainder of the fight card is scheduled to include:
• Kaine Marzola vs. Paul Gardiner in the 155-pound MMA division;
• John Buttner vs. Vladimir Martinez in the 145-pound MMA division;
• George On vs. Gauthier Vimbert in the 160-pound Muay Thai division;
• Marco Simmons vs. Curtis Hill in the 145-pound MMA division;
• Mayhi Medrano vs. Trevor Booth in the 175-pound Muay Thai division;
• Breon Barnes vs. Mike Paningbatan in the 125-pound Muay Thai division;
• Aaron Loya vs. Wesley Bailes in the 145-pound MMA division;
• Dario Castillo vs. Dion Wilson in the 195-pound MMA division;
• Tofilua Mika vs. Jarred “The Flash” Gordon in the 170-pound MMA division;
• Tyrell Black vs. Chris Meyers in the 135-pound MMA division; and
• Fabian Salazar vs. Ray Gonzalez in the MMA Heavyweight division.

WFC 85

Grand Ballroom within the Avi

Saturday, April 14 (8 p.m., doors open 7 p.m.)

See “Showtimes” for tickets