His bout on Saturday night in the main event of BAMMA USA’s “Pro Elite 3” at the Braemar Country Club in Tarzana was very emblematic of that.
Facing Jeff Martin, Papazian looked to have his opponent on the way out after a barrage of strikes and just as suddenly was caught in a triangle choke. But Papazian was able to weather the storm, pulling through and then, just as suddenly, landing a series of rights to the grounded Martin that called upon the technical-knockout stoppage at 3:52 of the first round.
“I should’ve finished him standing,” said Papazian, who ran his record to 17-10 with his second win in a row and third in his last four. “I was messing around a little too much. I like to have fun.”
Papazian’s bantamweight (135 pounds) bout capped an undefeated evening for Gracie Barra Burbank fighters, as Robert Gleckman and Daniel Clark collected first-round stoppage victories as well. All three train in Burbank under former Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran and Brazilian jiu jitsu world champion Alberto Crane.
"It was a good night, everything worked out," said Crane, a Glendale resident. "Jared had a close call, but he got the first-round stopppage."
In all, seven of the eight fights were ended in the first round.
Papazian is also a former UFC vet, having lost three straight with the organization, then rebounding with a win, then taking another loss and now riding two straight impressive victories.
Aside from the triangle scare, Papazian was utterly dominant throughout en route to his first stoppage win in 11 fights since a TKO win in July of 2010.
"He played [Martin's game on the ground], but he beat him," Crane said. "I'm happy, but I'm still upset because that shouldn't have happened."
Papazian caught a kick off the bat and pressed Martin (10-10) against the cage.
Papazian, fighting and winning for the second time in less than a month, got some separation on the cage and landed a big elbow to the head and kept pressing.
A big Papazian right would land and then a high kick, then another big right and then a huge barrage, as he began stalking a noticeably stunned Martin. Martin would stand pat and throw back, but Papazian then caught a leg kick and took him down, where he got Martin’s back. Papazian worked around to top position and eventually stood up, but jumped back in to a high guard from Martin.
“I wasn’t happy with my performance,” Papazian said. “I should’ve listened to my corner. They were telling me to stand up and I didn’t listen and I almost lost it.”
Martin worked for a triangle and cinched it in tight, with Papazian, who said he was not close to tapping, fighting it. It looked to be in deep, but Papazian pulled back to eventually free himself and then followed with a series of big rights on the ground to get “Big” John McCarthy to stop it.
Gleckman (2-0), 48 years young and making his second pro appearance in the cage in a 172-pound catch weight tilt, wasted no time in getting after Alex Rickards (4-9).
Gleckman came out swinging, working a jab and right cross to force a clinch, he was taken down, but brought it back standing in a clinch. After the fighters broke away, Gleckman landed another right haymaker and winged some lefts and rights before securing a takedown himself. Gleckman then got space from the top and began unrelenting ground and pound with hammer fists and forearms, leading to referee Mike Bell stopping it in the first round at 2:02.
“I really like the competition,” said Gleckman in the cage after the bout when asked why he started fighting at his age. “I thought I’d step it up and really go mid-life crisis on everyone.”
Clark (2-2) led off the evening in a 160-pound catch weight bout against veteran Bobby Sanchez (9-28) in the opening bout of the night. After the event started roughly an hour late, Clark took little time to dispatch his foe, who took the fight on two days' notice after Clark's scheduled opponent dropped out.
Clark began by pumping a solid left jab with nothing in return from the much more experienced Sanchez. A Clark uppercut then allowed Sanchez to shoot in and force a clinch against the cage. Looking for the takedown, Sanchez was instead taken down, with Clark moving swiftly to his back, where he deftly moved his hooks in and rained down punches. The punches allowed him to quickly sink in a rear-naked choke and get the tap at 1:25 of the opening round for his second pro victory.
“I just really wanted to keep it standing,” Clark said in the cage after the fight. “But he pushed the pace and got it to the cage and I did what I had to do.”