If you came for a fight, you’ve come to the right place.
Friday night culminates in a promising MMA card that brings some of the brightest up-and-coming fighters throughout Latin America.
Those in Monterrey, México may be able to see the fight unfold from Arena José Sulaiman. Here in the states, you have plenty of options to see all the action on either Estrella TV, Facebook Live or Naciones MMA’s YouTube channel.
Friday night’s fight is just one chapter in an unfolding Naciones MMA mission that is aimed at growing not just interest but the talent in an underrepresented part of the world.
“The mission is to find, discover and help propel new talent,” Vargas tells En Fuego by phone. “We want to we want to find those gems that people have neglected in Latin America.”
June 18 marks the second throwdown for the event, the inaugural bout was set back on March 19, and it was a night to remember.
March’s fight came as the pandemic continued to surge, yet Naciones found a way to amplify some exciting fighters. And despite the struggles of scheduling during a health crisis, Vargas explains that it went far better than expected.
“Obviously, when you start out something new and you're putting so much work into it, you're nervous about what people are going to say or how the fans are going to react,” he said.
“The fighters came out, gave it their all they were very appreciative of the opportunity, obviously being a pandemic, that there wasn't much out there. But I was so, so happy with the results.”
Vargas, who previously led promotions and training for Combate Americas, is dedicated to creating a spotlight for fighters who deserve so much recognition. I ask him about the region and its athletes who train tirelessly to make it to the next level.
“I think it's been overlooked for a long time. And we're seeing the evolution of the athletes that are popping up nowadays. I mean, you're seeing a lot of the former guys that I helped find come from the other league that are in the UFC now. And these guys are not just not one-dimensional strikers. Now, you see them be jiu-jitsu fighters, you see them be grapplers at a very high level.”
Naciones 2 will culminate with a marquee event pitting Alejandro “Gallito” Flores against Teo Londoño, which is perhaps a microcosm of the entire event’s purpose.
Flores (29) is a veteran who has an 18-3 record through a career fighting mostly out of Combate. He’s the No. 1 pro featherweight fighter out of Mexico, coming off a unanimous decision victory over Andy Perez last October.
Londoño is a 24-year-old with a 5-0 record and the future well in front of him. Fighting out of Colombia, he was scouted by UFC fighter Freddy Serrano for Naciones.
“Teo is exactly what we're looking for,” Vargas explained. “We're looking for that young, hungry, well-rounded kid. And I think he's going to surprise a lot of people.
“He's tall and he's a striker. He's a wrestler. He puts it all in. So, you know, Gallito isn't going to walk through this guy, as I think I'm hearing out there, I think Gallito has a lot more to lose than Teo does.”
Naciones is also looking ahead to the rest of the calendar year, promising to hold more cards that put Latin America where it should be in the fight world, and that’s front and center.
“Fans should always be excited about the Naciones cards because there are always going to see someone new. They're going to discover new talent that they didn't know was out there. So, yes, we will have some names that are known within the regions and some exciting fighters that you've heard before.”