September 14, 2011 5:05 am by Pedro Carrasco

As the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) explodes more and more in growth, the cream of the next crop of fighters is beginning to rise to the surface. This Friday, September 16th, the two best 145-pound amateur fighters in Las Vegas will lock horns with national pride and their futures on the line when Cesar Campos and Rudy Morales battle as MMA Xplosion (MMAX) presents its Team Qualifier event. This electrifying fight card, presented by Millennium Events, will take place at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The MMAX Team Qualifier will feature an all-amateur card, with teams coached by UFC® veterans Tony “The Freak” Fryklund and Marvin “The Beastman” Eastman, respectively. In addition, the fighters will be competing for an opportunity to become part of two newly established Las Vegas home teams, named the Las Vegas Spiders and the Las Vegas Scorpions, who will compete against each other at the next scheduled team event in October.

This Friday’s main event features two fan favorites in Campos (8-1) and Morales (7-1) in an excellent match-up between rising local stars.

Cesar Campos was born in Los Angeles, and raised in Oregon. He is full-blooded Mexican, and is extremely proud of his heritage. The 5’11” 145-pounder trains at TapouT Training Center in Vegas…which is also where his opponent trains, though they train at different times in different classes. Though he’s only been training in MMA for a couple years, Campos has already made a name for himself, and at 26 years old, his future is quite bright. But first, he’s got to get past Morales.

“I’m still working on my game plan, but my mentality is that no matter which way the fight goes, I’m going to be in it,” states Campos. “But I’m going to try to finish Rudy as soon as the bell rings for the first round.”

“I think it’s going to be a good fight. I know Rudy’s training hard, I’m training hard, and we’re two of the best featherweights in Vegas right now. I know it’s a fight I’d like to see.”

Also looking to display his talents this Friday is Rudy Morales. At 26 years old, just like his opponent, Morales has carved out a reputation as an ultra-tough competitor. Born and raised in Guatemala, he began training Kenpo karate at the age of eight. He later picked up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and started doing MMA over the last few years. With his thoughts on turning pro in 2012, Morales is planning to leave it all in the cage this weekend. “My style for this fight will be something like Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, and I want to make sure the crowd gets their money’s worth. I will put my health on the line to accomplish that. And so far, I haven’t been able to finish an opponent. I don’t want to let this fight go to the judges.”

This weekend, both Mexican Independence Day and Guatemalan Independence Day take place. As such, both Campos and Morales will be proudly representing their respective heritages. “Mexican fighters have a lot of heart. They’ll fight,” explains Campos. “It doesn’t matter if they’re hurt, they’ll keep going. And I want to show that part of me this Friday…that part of my heritage.”

“I’m trying to avoid the Guatemala versus Mexico angle…we’re all Latino Americans,” says Morales. “But representing Guatemala this weekend is pretty much one of my biggest achievements, other than being a father. It’s a lot of pressure, but life without risk is no life. If I don’t risk it all, I won’t be able to accomplish anything.”

Here is the Team Qualifier fight card as it stands now:
Cesar Campos (8-1) vs. Rudy Morales (7-1)
David Jordan (8-1) vs. David Tompkins (4-1)
joe Angelo (7-5) vs. Daniel Cuison (2-0)
Mike Florio (5-1) vs. Weston Duschen (6-6)
Prentice Williams (5-1) vs. Khalil Roundtree (2-0)
Jimmy Like (1-2) vs. Christian Cardona (2-2)
Kevin Smith (0-1) vs. Jason Rivera (1-3)
Shane Benbow (2-1) vs. Boostayre Nagarios (2-1)
Richard Patini (0-0) vs. Cruz Ramos (0-0)
Ramsen Merza (1-2) vs. Hugo Gonzalez (0-0)
Aaron Fonseca (0-0) vs. Nate (0-0)
Jamie Sanchez (0-1) vs. Jake Malili (2-0)
Joshua Lopas (0-0) vs. Sean Cantor (3-0)
Junior (15 fights) vs. Arthur Nicholas (2-0)
Rick Fell (0-0) vs. Eddie Guerrero (0-2)

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