(Coulda been worse, I guess…)
Just two months after bouncing out of the UFC following his third-straight loss at UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko, notoriously cursed striker James Irvin began his climb back to the big leagues at a Rebel Fights event in Roseville, California, on Saturday. As you’ll see in the video after the jump, it must have been a humbling experience from the get-go. Instead of a deafening, appropriately lit arena, Irvin squared off with a dude named Angel DeAnda for the entertainment of a couple hundred folks in a cinder-blocked space that was as small as it was bright.
It would have been especially depressing if Irvin lost — and he was a ball-hair away of doing just that. DeAnda starts the fight bombing out on Irvin with left hooks, but is floored by a patented Sandman Superman Punch. DeAnda pops back up, quickly scores a knockdown of his own, and starts pouring on the pain from the top. Check the vid’s 1:35 mark to see just how close Josh Rosenthal was to stopping the fight; he basically changes his mind at the last possible moment, which allows Irvin to get his bearings, work his way up, and put the stamp on DeAnda.
In all fairness, Irvin vs. DeAnda was a ridiculous back-and-forth slugfest that would have won Fight of the Night honors had it taken place at a UFC event. Instead, it occurred in near-obscurity, and served as a reality check that James Irvin needs a lot more tuning-up before he’s ready for the UFC again. And now, the video…