Denver’s Fight to Win promotion invaded the National Western Complex yet again with “Invaders” on Saturday, July 23.  The event featured eight professional fights and three amateur bouts.

Cavan remains undefeated in wild battle with Peak

In one of the most entertaining fights in recent memory, Team Wildman welterweight Josh Cavan moved his record to 8-0 after surviving an early onslaught from Travis Peak and forcing a late third-round stoppage.

Peak opened the fight aggressively, initiating a clinch and delivering a series of knees that opened a massive cut on the head of Cavan.  Despite the heavy bleeding, Cavan continued to fight.  Peak used his wrestling to repeatedly slam Cavan to the ground, but struggled to keep him down.

During the second stanza, Peak took Cavan’s back with both hooks, but Cavan was able to escape the rear-naked choke attempt.  The escape appeared to rejuvenate Cavan as he began to unload on Peak, peppering the head and body.

In the final frame, both fighters appeared exhausted, but it didn’t stop them from continuing their war.  Peak desperately sought the takedown, but Cavan consistently slipped his leg out and delivered shots to the head.  With only thirty seconds left in the fight, Peak had taken too much damage and the referee stepped in to stop the war.

The crowd, which had been on its feet throughout the contest, roared for both fighters as the bout concluded.

Macias outworks Ford, earns shot at featherweight belt

Nick Macias (L) against Josh Ford (Phil Lambert Photography)

Well-rounded featherweight Nick Macias used superior striking and solid submission defense to take a unanimous decision win over grappling ace Josh Ford.  Ford, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt fighting out of Grudge Training Center, entered the fight after missing weight by four pounds.

Throughout the fight, Ford looked for any opportunity to get a takedown, but Macias worked hard to prevent it.  Ford scored with a slam in the opening round, and rolled for a leglock, but Macias escaped.

Macias repeatedly landed with combos, bloodying Ford’s nose in the process.  A low blow in the first round, coupled with a questionable groin strike in the second, resulted in a point deduction for Macias.  Unfazed by the deduction, Macias put Ford on the mat multiple times, scoring with strikes from half guard.

The judges gave Macias every round.  Promoter Seth Daniels entered the cage following the fight, announcing that the Factory X Muay Thai trained Macias would challenge current Fight to Win featherweight title holder Cameron Dollar in his next fight with the promotion.

Anthony Alirez overwhelms George Ashauer

Heavyweights Anthony Alirez and George Ashauer met in a quick brawl.  Making his pro debut, Alirez neutralized Ashauer’s reach advantage by moving forward and swinging wildly.  Ashuaer initialized a clinch and was picked up and slammed violently to the canvas.  Alirez moved to mount and then took Ashauer’s back.  He landed big shots throughout, ultimately forcing a stoppage just ninety seconds into the fight.

Hackett dominates Duarte

Chase Hackett delivers punches from the mount (Phil Lambert Photography)

Returning from a long layoff due to a knee injury, Factory X lightweight Chase “Prison Stare” Hackett wasted little time to get back into the win column.

His opponent, former state wrestling champ Angelo Duarte, shot for a takedown immediately as the fight started.  Hackett shrugged him off, but Duarte gained a clinch against the cage.  Using a headlock, Duarte attempted to bring the fight down to the ground, but Hackett reversed and took Duarte’s back.  From there, Hackett made it look easy, securing both hooks and softening up Duarte with a barrage of strikes.  When the opportunity for the rear-naked choke appeared, Hackett locked it in and finished the bout.

Simms takes home submission win over Johnson

In another lightweight contest, Zingano-trained Matt Simms scored an unusual submission victory over Nate Johnson.  The pair traded on the feet early, and Johnson clipped Simms, forcing him to shoot for a takedown.  Landing in the half guard against the fence, Simms appeared to be in a bad spot as Johnson had a choke from the bottom.  However, due to the proximity to the cage, Simms forced his shoulder into Johnson’s neck, which prevented Johnson from escaping.  With nowhere to go, Johnson was forced to tap from the bottom.

Nelson puts on striking display, stops Cole

Grudge lightweight product LT Nelson used a barrage of knees to inflict heavy damage to Michael “Texas” Cole, setting up a textbook headkick finish.

The pair exchanged repeatedly in the opening frame, with Cole looking for takedowns.  Nelson defended well, using a guillotine to keep the fight standing.  Nelson hurt Cole late in the first round, but Cole managed to gain side control and briefly take Nelson’s back.  Nelson spun into guard as the round closed.

A clearly exhausted Cole was in trouble entering the second round.  Nelson tossed him violently to the canvas and as Cole attempted to return to his feet, Nelson delivered a kick to his head and a barrage of punches to force the referee intervention.

Chaves completes amazing comeback, submits Alirez

In a thrilling comeback, featherweight Zac Chaves survived two rounds of brutal punishment to put away Andrew Alirez early in the final round.

Alirez controlled the action for the first two rounds, putting Chaves on his back over and over again.  Chaves was forced to defend while mounted on multiple occasions, but managed to survive the dominant display from Alirez.

An illegal knee from Alirez in the second round appeared to give Chaves an opportunity to clear his head and he capitalized early in the third round, locking in a fight-ending rear-naked choke just seconds into the round.

Nathan Gates (L) and Justin Houghton (R) exchange kicks (Phil Lambert Photography)

Houghton finds range, scores decisive TKO

In the night’s most patient and technical display of striking, Justin Houghton took advantage of an opening to put away Nathan Gates in the third round of their 150-pound catchweight fight.

The first two rounds saw Gates effectively land kick after kick, while Houghton sought his range.  In the third round, Houghton found it and connected with a big right hand that sent Gates stumbling backwards into the cage.  Houghton pounced and the referee moved in to halt the fight.

Goldberger retains amateur welterweight title

Amateur titleholder Josh Goldberger needed less than a minute to dispose of Trials Martial Arts product Josh Cole.  Cole scored with an early takedown, but Goldberger immediately looked for an armbar from the bottom.  Goldberger transitioned to a triangle and swept to mount, forcing the tap.

Goettsch takes split decision over Powell

In his first fight, heavyweight Chris Goettsch looked comfortable in the cage en route to a split decision win over Stever Powell.  The pair battled back and forth, with Goettsch exhibiting solid wrestling and BJJ skills throughout.  Powell used power to slam his way out of multiple armbar attempts, but was unable to mount consistent offense.  Two of the three judges rewarded Goettsch for his efforts.

Hernandez chokes Shcmitt

Featherweight Keven Hernandez used a nice sweep from the bottom to gain control and then take the back of opponent Kevin Shcmitt.  From there he locked in a rear-naked choke and finished the fight.


  • Josh Cavan defeats Travis Peak by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 4:24
  • Nick Macias defeats Josh Ford by unanimous decision (29-27 x3). Macias was deducted a point for illegal groin strikes.
  • Anthony Ailrez defeats George Ashauer by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 1:36
  • Chase Hackett defeats Angelo Duarte by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:33
  • Matt Simms defeats Nate Johnson by submission (shoulder choke). Round 1, 1:02
  • LT Nelson defeats Texas Cole by TKO (headkick). Round 2, 0:48
  • Zac Chaves defeats Andrew Alirez by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 3, 0:19
  • Justin Houghton defeats Nathan Gates by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 1:47
  • Josh Goldberger defeats Josh Cole by submission (triangle choke). Round 1, 0:53. Retains 170 lb. amateur belt
  • Chris Goettsch defeats Steve Powell by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) (a)
  • Keven Hernandez defeats Kevin Shcmitt by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:35 (a)

Photo: Josh Cavan (L) battle Travis Peak (R) (Phil Lambert Photography)