Mixed Martial Arts is all about control. In order to defeat an opponent you must first control them, either physically or psychologically.
For “Lethal” Lewis Gonzalez that mode of control is his wrestling. Gonzalez (6-0) has the ability to subdue an opponent on the mat, weaken his will, and pressure him into submission. These tactics have led to six professional MMA victories by way of stoppage, the most recent of which was earned on Friday night against Preston Scharf (12-14) at the Woodlake Hotel in Sacramento.
“I knew my wrestling was going to be a lot better than his, but he was a tough guy,” Gonzalez said. “He had that old man strength.”
Although MMA is synonymous with the image of a cage, Gonzalez and Scharf faced off in the middle of a ring on Friday, competing in the only MMA bout on the boxing-based Rage IV War promotion. Gonzalez, who routinely trains inside a ring at both the Team Voodoo and Delhi Boxing Club gyms, felt right at home; pressuring Scharf into the ring’s corners where he took down the Oxnard native at will.
“The ropes in the ring make it harder to defend the takedown,” Gonzalez said. “So it actually worked to my advantage.”
The majority of rounds one and two were spent on the mat with Gonzalez mounted atop Scharf where he landed a variety of strikes, including elbows to the face and knees to the midsection. Gonzalez momentarily found himself in danger during the second round as Scharf attempted a guillotine choke, but the Turlocker quickly broke free and reasserted his dominant presence.
The third round signaled the end for Scharf as Gonzalez once again backed him up into the corner, threw a flurry of strikes, and took him to the mat where he applied a dose of ground and pound. Scharf tapped out due to the strikes 41 seconds into the round; it was Gonzalez’ longest fight to date.
“This is how we planned it; fighting different types of opponents,” Gonzalez’ Team Voodoo trainer Gene Fields said. “I wanted to make sure he’d be prepared by the time he gets to the big show.”
The big show, of course, is the UFC where Gonzalez hopes to be fighting soon. His undefeated record and the fashion in which he’s earned it have moved him closer than ever to his professional dream. Now, with a potential fight at the famed Tachi Palace in Lemoore on the horizon, Gonzalez is preparing to intensify his training by practicing and sparring with seasoned Mixed Martial Artists like the Diaz brothers, Danny Castillo, and Urijah Faber.
“It’s got to be soon,” Fields said of Gonzalez’ ascension to the upper ranks of MMA.