Locals gear for World Fighting Championships Saturday at Stateline

STATELINE, Nev. — A handful of locals fighters will enter the ring this weekend for the World Fighting Championships at Bally’s Lake Tahoe, formerly known as Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa.

Local grappler Ryan Wallace is headlining WFC 129 that starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Other amateur fighters from Escobar Training Grounds in South Lake Tahoe include Carlos Trejo, Keenan Herrera, Chris Montenegro and Kenny Howell.

“They’ve all had good camps and I’m super excited to see how well they’ll do with all the hard work they’ve put in,” said Cory Escobar, owner of Escobar Training Grounds.

Wallace will be battling in a heavyweight grappling match, and if he wins, Escobar said he’d be in position to fight to reclaim a championship belt he once held.

Wallace, who coaches at the gym and also directs the South Tahoe High School wrestling team, is an inspiration to all after overcoming losing his leg to bone cancer.

“Ryan is one of the best grapplers I’ve ever met,” Escobar said.

“Ryan’s a savage,” Trejo said.

Herrera, a South Lake Tahoe resident, has plans to turn professional and has basically been in training camp for the past year, working out six times per week and three times per day, cardio, strength and then strategy. He recently fought in October and has a quick turnaround to battle at WFC 129.

“I’m looking forward to getting in there and having some fun,” Herrera said, who’s known as “The Big Ninja” to his teammates. “I really enjoy this. Skill vs. skill, no animosity and I appreciate that. I’m excited to see my teammates. They have been progressing so much, I can’t wait to watch them. I love the whole aspect of this lifestyle.”

He’s also testing for his black belt in December and is excited to have a big bowl of ramen once his fight is over.

Trejo is stepping into the ring for the third time with Escobar and the 165-pounder is excited for his entire fight family. He loves the path it takes to get into the ring.

“It’s the journey, once you step in the ring you’ve won,” Trejo said. “Everybody wins that night.”

Howell said he was always interested in learning how to fight and the 130-pounder got a motivational push to start training during the COVID pandemic when he lost his best friend to cancer. He will be getting into the ring for the second time.

“Fighting is something I always wanted to learn, and how to protect myself and others,” Howell said, who is also known as Kenny “The G” Howell to his fight camp.

“My teammates, we train together 4-5 times per week, and I’m excited to see them in action, Howell said. “Saturday night is going to be epic.”

He’s also looking forward to a big, juicy hamburger after his kickboxing match.

Tickets for premium seats, which are recommended, cost $50 and reserved seating is $30.

Tickets for the all ages event are available online at, but Escobar asks those interested in going to purchase tickets from the gym or one of the local fighters to help support them.

“The guys from Escobar are dedicated, focused, and help kids around the gym and in the community,” Escobar said. “My guys are known to be tough guys, but also good guys.”

Local fighters from Escobar Training Grounds (from left) Carlos Trejo, Kenny Howell and Keenan Herrera, along with coach Cori Escobar, will be in action this weekend at Stateline.
Bill Rozak/Tahoe Daily Tribune

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