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MMA fighter overcomes deportation; Back in Tucson to defend title

TUCSON – Former Ironwood Ridge student Jose Alday will defend his world title at the Combate Americas Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bouts this Friday at the Casino Del Sol.

Alday has an amazing comeback story.  He came to the USA as a young kid and was deported after being arrested as a teen after his visa expired.

Alday picked up Mixed Martial Arts in Hermosillo and is headlining a nationally televised card in Tucson. Here’s more from Wednesday night’s News 4 Tucson sportscast:

Ironwood Ridge grad Jose Alday.
Jose Alday spent most of his childhood in Oro Valley.
Jose Alday shows off his belt.
Jose Alday training on top of “La Campana” mountain in Hermosillo, Sonora.

TUCSON – Hundreds of fight fans are expected to pack the Casino Del Sol this on Friday as a former Ironwood Ridge High school star Jose Alday takes the octagon.

Here’s more from the last time Combate America and MMA bouts came to the Old Pueblo.

Combate Americas has announced a world bantamweight (135 pounds) championship rematch between reigning kingpin Jose “Pochito” Alday (12-3-1) and challenger Gustavo Lopez (9-4-1) live, exclusively on DAZN (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) in English in the U.S. and Canada from the Event Center at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz. on Friday, March 29.

Tickets for “Combate Americas: Alday vs. Lopez 2” go on sale on Monday at CombateAmericas.com/Tucson.

“This is an incredible rematch that had to happen after these two fought an all-out war for three straight rounds,” said Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren.  “If their rematch is anything like their first meeting, we will have a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate on our hands.”

In featured action also announced today, Kobe “The Stunna” Ortiz (16-7) of San Manuel, Ariz. will face off with James “Loose” Cannon (7-4) of Tucson in a middleweight (185 pounds) contest).

Oscar “Jacare” Suarez (4-2) of Tenerife, Spain will battle Joao Camilo (4-2) of Tucson via Goiania, Goias, Brazil at flyweight (125 pounds).

Andy “Golden Boy” Perez (9-7) of Tucson will square off with Eduardo “El Pube” Alvarado Osuna (6-5) of Tijuana, B.C., Mex. in a bantamweight tilt.

In one of two women’s bouts, unbeaten Codie Wareham (2-0) of Phoenix, Ariz. will collide with Gabby Romero (2-3) of Los Angeles, Calif. via Albuquerque, N.M. at strawweight (115 pounds) while, in the other, Marisol Ruelas (0-1) of Chicago, Ill. Will face off with Corrie Ward (0-3) of Tucson.

The rematch between the 27-year-old Alday of Tucson and the 30-year-old Lopez of Las Vegas, Nev. via Yakima, Wash. comes six months after the two stars collided with the vacant title at stake in a unique, three-round championship bout in Phoenix.

The two engaged in a relentless, see-saw battle that went the distance before Alday walked away with a razor-thin, split decision that left unfinished business in La Jaula, the Combate Americas cage.

To arrive at their initial meeting, which also marked his first world title bout, Alday notched a split decision over superstar John “Sexi Mexi” Castaneda before an audience of over 4.6 million live television viewers across the U.S. and Mexico on Univision and Azteca 7, respectively.

The championship victory represented a major milestone for Alday, a Dreamer who was born in Hermosillo, Sonora.

The rematch will mark the third time that Lopez, a stable member of MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture’s Team Couture, quickly rebounded from the loss to Alday, defeating Vicente Marquez of Spain with a von flue choke just 50 seconds into the first round of their meeting at “COPA COMBATE” on Dec. 7.

To date, Lopez owns five victories in Combate Americas action, four of which he produced with (T)KO or submission.

Additional main card matchups, as well as the preliminary bout card for “Combate Americas: Alday vs. Lopez 2”, will be announced soon.

Paul Cicala

Paul Cicala

2-Time "Edward R. Murrow Award" winner as both sports & news reporter; Multiple-EMMY nominations; Multiple Associated Press (AP) Awards in sports & news reporting/anchoring; Named "Best of Best" Sportscaster by "Tucson Weekly" readers for 3 straight years.
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