San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica unbeatable in weekend fight competition

Costa Rican fighters snatched all three international mixed martial arts (MMA) titles that were up for grabs in stunning style at Fite Nite´s Night of Champions on Saturday at the Villa Olímpica in the southern San José district of Desamparados.

Of the event´s 13 fights, which included boxing and MMA – a full contact combat sport that allows a variety of martial arts and other fighting techniques – the final three gave six Latin American fighters a shot at hoisting the prized gold Fite Nite belt above their head and wearing it proudly out of the ring.

In the first of the night´s championship fights, Costa Rica´s Ludwing Salazar squared off against Elton Brown from Panama in the 170 pound weight class. Brown dominated the first round with strong upper-body clinches and ferocious fist assaults.

But in round two, Salazar kept the Panamanian on the defensive. The Tico forced Brown into a corner and delivered several knockout blows until the referee called the match. Salazar sealed the welterweight title and set the pace for the remaining two championship fights.

Alejandro Villalobos of Costa Rica and Mattias Vásquez of Chile represented the 145 pound weight class in the second of the night´s championship fights.

Vázquez controlled much of the fight with vicious punches, but was unable to deliver the knock out as Villalobos got tied up in the ropes and fell out of the ring.

Both returned to the center of the ring, but this time it was Villalobos on the attack. The Tico pulled Vázquez to the ground and punched his way to a second round victory and a Fite Nite featherweight championship.

But it was Costa Rican and crowd favorite Alejandro “Mandarina” Solano, who boasts an impressive 13-4 record, who sealed the clean championship sweep for Costa Rica.

Against Argentine fighter Fernando “Pitbull” Martínez, Solano never let up. In the second exchange of punches, Solano forced Martínez from one side of the ring to the other until the Argentine was caught against the ropes. Solano kept striking until the referee stopped the match, securing a lightweight title for himself and his country.

“I love this sport,” Solano said at the end of the match. “I appreciate all the fighters for doing what they do, but it feels great to represent Costa Rica with this belt.”

Once the final bell rang, Solano ran to his corner and leapt out of the ring into the arms of his team. Chants of “ Costa Rica ” rang out from the stands as the Tico´s posted a perfect 3-0 record in championship fighting.

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