Category: International MMA

RESULTS | Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 4, Week 4

FOUR more up-and-comers earned UFC contracts in the latest Contender Series instalment, with only one winner missing out on a berth in the top MMA promotion. Jamie Pickett got the nod at the third time of asking with a vicious TKO victory, while Rafael Alves and Collin Huckbody won entry via submissions, and Jeffrey Molina carved out a unanimous decision triumph.


Third time was truly a charm for Pickett, as he inflicted a 22-punch barrage on Jhonoven Pati to put him away early in Round 2. Of his four career defeats, the 31-year-old middleweight suffered two of them in the Contender Series, but proved he has what it takes with his seventh victory via T/KO. Pati (6-4) was a dangerous opponent having earned finishes across his six professional wins, but was left out on his feet by Pickett’s fight-ending combination.

Earlier in the night, Huckbody (8-2) pulled off the quickest stoppage of the five-fight card, leaning on his patented arm triangle to submit Kyron Bowen at 1:28 in Round 1. The 25-year-old now boasts a five-fight win streak, with four first-round finishes and six submissions (five via arm triangle) on his ever-improving record. He pulled off the move from mount too, showcasing a heck of a squeeze to yield the tap against his lighter opponent.

Alves snared the second submission of the night, with the guillotine choke his MO for putting Alejandro Flores (16-3) away. The Brazilian, who is both a high level grappler and striker, looked powerful from the offset, stalking Flores and threatening with his power. Despite Flores’ movement, and ability to land a takedown, he shot right into an Alves guillotine and in a flash, could find no escape. Alves is another fighter enjoying a five-fight tear at 19-9, while Flores’ impressive run over 10 bouts sees another loss added to the tally. Both men are 29 years old.

In one of two unanimous decisions on the night, Molina and Jacob Silva put on a show across 15 minutes of flyweight action. Despite the loss Silva (6-3) remains on the UFC’s radar having proved his dangerous arsenal and durability. But Molina was the one to earn a contract, controlling the distance and pace well while also landing some nice counter strikers and looking incredibly relaxed overall. It was his first decision victory, but Molina is now 8-2 with seven wins on the trot. He also pulled it off after breaking his foot in Round 1.

The unlucky winner of the lot was Romero, who still has time to prove his case at 8-0 and 23 years of age. The Canadian is well-rounded and technical, proving too slick for Mike Breeden, who is as tough as they come. Romero’s inability to clinch a finish while Breeden was badly compromised by leg kicks, and after dropping him, ultimately proved costly.

CONTRACTS: Collin Huckbody, Jeffrey Molina, Rafael Alves, Jamie Pickett


Jamie Pickett def. Jhonoven Pati | TKO (punches) 0:33 Rd 2

Rafael Alves def. Alejandro Flores | Submission (guillotine choke) 2:55 Rd 2

Jeffrey Molina def. Jacob Silva | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 29-28

Anthony Romero def. Mike Breeden | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 30-27, 29-28

Collin Huckbody def. Kyron Bowen | Submission (arm triangle) 1:28 Rd 1

Featured Image: Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC

RESULTS | Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 4, Week 3

THE COSCE brothers each earned a UFC berth as Season 4 of the Contender Series rolled on into Week 3, accounting for half of the total contracts handed out. Josh Parisian and Cheyanne Buys were the other worthy prospects to impress Dana White, while Kenneth Cross was the sole winner to leave without his signature required.


The younger of two brothers to enter the UFC APEX octagon, Louis Cosce impressed in the night’s featured bout, making quick work of the experienced Victor Reyna. Despite an age gap of 10 years and the fact that Reyna had not been finished by opponents such as Kevin Holland, Daniel Rodriguez, and Miguel Baeza, the 24-year-old required just over a minute to get the job done.

The Round 1 TKO finish means Cosce improves to 7-0 as a professional, with all of his wins coming via first round stoppages. He rushed in with thunder from the get-go, with a huge overhand left dropping Reyna, before punishing unanswered blows from the side forced the referee to step in.

His older sibling, Orion Cosce boasts a virtually identical record at 7-0, all by way of stoppages and topped by his Round 3 TKO victory on the night. The 26-year-old faced tough opposition in formerly undefeated ace Matt Dixon, and was the biggest underdog on the card.

After Round 1, that status seemed justified as Dixon imposed his wrestling will on Cosce. But the Team Alpha Male product made some terrific adjustments across the following periods, forcing his opponent to desperately shoot for takedowns and eventually ending the fight in brutal fashion as he reigned down blows from the crucifix position.

The only other finish of the night came via the fists of heavyweight prospect Josh Parisian (13-3), took just under four minutes to put away Chad Johnson by TKO. It was Parisian’s second Contender Series dig after a winning debut in 2018, but the TUF veteran did enough this time to extend his finishing streak to six.

Parisian was the much bigger man at 50lbs heavier than his opponent, making it count with hefty leg kicks and strength to keep the fight standing. A knee and punch on the clinch break spelled the beginning of the end, as Parisian followed Johnson to the mat and eventually closed the show with some nasty ground-and-pound.

In the sole women’s matchup of the night, Cheyanne Buys brought a bit of gangster to the cage, despite requiring all three rounds to get the nod over Hilarie Rose. Both strawweight were 4-1 and looked virtually identical on the tale-of-the-tape, but Buys proved much to powerful on the feet for her quicker opponent.

Buys, whose husband is also a budding MMA prospect, controlled the fight in the clinch and had more answers up top, while managing to escape the tricky grappling prowess of Rose with an emphatic early slam. She now enters a division in need of some fresh contenders, and should bring some good flair with her well-rounded style.

Kenneth Cross was the unfortunate winner not to earn a contract, having edged Kevin Syler via decision in the night’s opening bout. Cross, now 11-3 and on a five-fight win streak simply didn’t do enough to earn his shot, and seemed to gas out late in the grappling-heavy bout.

CONTRACTS: Josh Parisian, Orion Cosce, Cheyanne Buys, Louis Cosce


Louis Cosce def. Victor Reyna | TKO (punches) 1:12 Rd 1

Cheyanne Buys def. Hilarie Rose | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

Orion Cosce def. Matt Dixon | TKO (punches) 4:42 Rd 3

Josh Parisian def. Chad Johnson | TKO (punches) 3:43 Rd 1

Kenneth Cross def. Kevin Syler | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 29-28, 29-28

RESULTS | Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 4, Week 2

UFC president Dana White‘s recent vacation put him in a generous mood, as he handed out a record-equalling five contracts on the latest Contender Series instalment. Each winner on the five-fight card was awarded a shot in the elite MMA promotion, with Impa Kasanganay offered a bout in just 11 days.


26-year-old Kasanganay again made good in his second Contender Series dig, earning another decision victory to move to 6-0 as a professional. The Congolese-American was forced to make some adjustments after falling behind in Round 1, taking the fight to the ground over the next two periods where he would dominate with vicious strikes from the top and back.

His opponent, Anthony Adams has now lost twice on the UFC feeder show, and boasts an 8-2 record. At 32 years of age, time sadly appears to be running out for the promising American to get his shot at the bigtime.

The first finish of the night came via another dominant showing of ground-and-pound in the very next fight, as Canadian TJ Laramie laid enough damage on Daniel Swain to warrant a doctor’s stoppage at the end of Round 1. White was impressed with his savage nature on the mat.

While it is yet to be confirmed, Swain appeared to have injured his ribs throughout the first five minutes, most likely due to Laramie’s attacks to his midsection from top position. Laramie, now 12-3 with four-straight wins, was the biggest favourite on the card despite his opponent’s notable 30-fight professional career.

The youngest fighter to grace the octagon on the night, Cory McKenna put on her own grappling showcase, edging highly-touted BJJ practitioner, Vanessa Demopoulos via decision. The 21-year-old’s win was made even more impressive by the fact that most of bout was fought on the mat, where the Welsh native’s strength and well-rounded game came to the fore.

McKenna seemed unfazed by the submission threats that Demopoulos posed, savvy to each as she dominated from the top and survived a late triangle attempt. She looked comfortable on the feet too, landing a couple of big head kicks in the face of Demopoulous’ wild aggression. McKenna is now 5-1 with plenty of time to develop, while Demopoulos is likely to remain around the mark having been crowned the LFA strawweight champion in July.

There may have been a couple of TKO’s due to injury on the night, but Adrian Yanez made no doubt about his first round stoppage of Brady Huang with a perfectly executed performance. His 39-second finish was the fifth-quickest in Contender Series history, and ensured he was a lock for a UFC contract.

Yanez also earned comparisons to Jorge Masvidal for his movement and boxing style, which is exactly how he got the job done. He initially slipped out to land a right hand and dropped Huang with the following left hook, before closing the show with an accurate four-punch combo to showcase his killer instinct.

Fans won’t be forgetting his name in a hurry, especially after hearing of his heartbreaking journey to the top, and a tongue-in-cheek plea to his new boss: “help me quit my day job… that was me on part-time”. The 26-year-old is now 11-3 with eight finishes, and riding a four-fight win streak.

In the night’s featured bout, Joe Pyfer‘s unfortunate elbow dislocation brought an early end to his battle against UFC newcomer, Dustin Stoltzfus. Pyfer looked the much larger man and landed a nice single-leg takedown amid the first round action, before Stoltzfus broke free via some submission attempts from bottom.

That was where the beginning of the end ensued, as Stoltzfus shot in for his own takedown with a big lift which saw Pyfer brace for impact, but his arm gave way. It happened just as the fight was heating up, but Stoltzfus had done enough in White’s eyes to earn a contract. At 12-1 with 10-straight wins, he seems to be entering his prime as a fighter.

CONTRACTS: Impa Kasanganay, TJ Laramie, Cory McKenna, Adrian Yanez, Dustin Stoltzfus


Dustin Stoltzfus def. Joe Pyfer | TKO (injury) 4:21 Rd 1

Adrian Yanez def. Brady Huang | TKO (punches) 0:39 Rd 1

Cory McKenna def. Vanessa Demopoulos | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 29-28, 29-28

TJ Laramie def. Daniel Swain | TKO (doctor stoppage) 5:00 Rd 1

Impa Kasanganay def. Anthony Adams | Decision (unanimous) 29-27, 29-27, 29-27

Card recap: XFN 367 – Morrow takes out heavyweight tournament

XTREME Fight Night returned this weekend to host its 2020 heavyweight kickboxing tournament, with Rob Morrow crowned champion as the last man standing. The 47-fight MMA veteran took out the 10-thousand dollar prize after wading through three opponents, capped off by a split decision victory over Demorio Dennis in the final.


An incorrectly written scorecard made for near-disastrous live coverage, as the blue corner of Dennis was initially announced the victor, before a correction ensured Morrow was given his rightful nod.

The deciding bout was a close one, with Morrow’s more effective strikes up top ultimately getting the points over Dennis’ volume. There was seldom a distinctive blow thrown as both men wore the effects of their three-fight night, making for even back-and-forth action.

After taking little-to-no damage in his quarter final clash with Mike Cook, which he won via KO early in Round 3, Morrow was pushed all the way by Randy Blake in their semi-final matchup. Controversy reigned as a late slip from Blake counted as a knockdown, seeing the scorecards read 28-apiece all round.

In a one-minute overtime round, Morrow turned up the heat to push his total to a superior 38-37 according to two judges. Blake looked like being a frontrunner to that point having picked apart Eric Lunsford with his kicking game, but fell victim to one bad decision in a close fight.

Dennis’ path to the final came through Rasheem Jones at the semi final stage. It was a dangerous fight for the eventual finalist as Jones had just defeated 2019 champion, Terrence Hodges, but he got the job done across three rounds having blanketed his opponent’s range and upheld a greater pace.

The card was also filled out by a trio of amateur MMA bouts. All of them ended in stoppages; with Nick O’Brien declared the winner due to doctor stoppage after two rounds, Sampson Tabbytite accelerating his path to turning pro with a body kick in Round 1, and Daniel Olajiga pulling off a surprise second round guillotine submission.



Rob Morrow def. DeMorio Dennis | Decision (split) 29-28, 28-29, 29-28


Rob Morrow def. Randy Blake | Decision (split, overtime) 28-28, 28-28, 28-28/37-38, 38-37, 38-37

DeMorio Dennis def. Rasheem Jones | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 30-27, 30-27


Randy Blake def. Eric Lunsford | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 30-27, 29-28

Rob Morrow def. Mike Cook | KO (punches) 0:33 Rd 3

Rasheem Jones def. Terrence Hodges | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

DeMorio Dennis def. Haze Wilson | TKO (punches) 1:49 Rd 1


Nick O’Brien def. James Warren | TKO (doctor stoppage) 5:00 Rd 2

Sampson Tabbytite def. Jad Ahlkatib | TKO (body kick) 0:46 Rd 1

Daniel Olajiga def. Znick Ferrell | Submission (guillotine) 1:35 Rd 2

RESULTS | Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 4, Week 1

THREE fresh faces are set to enter the UFC after earning contracts on Dana White’s Contender Series, which returned for Season 4 this week. Jordan Leavitt and Uros Medic captured the attention of their new boss with first round finishes, while Dustin Jacoby is set to make his UFC return after taking out a unanimous decision victory.

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While the card was stripped down to four fights due to a late scrapping, those in action took full advantage of their spots to earn passage to the elite MMA promotion. As is often the case, the setting of a smaller UFC APEX octagon made for a bunch of high-pace action, kicked off by Leavitt’s Round 1 submission of Luke Flores.

Having fought as recently as July 17, Leavitt kept his momentum going to improve to 7-0 as a professional and take the next step in his MMA journey. The 25-year-old grappling ace wasted no time in securing a takedown – albeit unconventionally – and got to work with a series of transitions on the mat.

No slouch on the ground himself, Flores looked to stay busy from the bottom, but a poorly judged decision to pull guard spelt the beginning of the end for him. Leavitt snatched up the arm triangle in quick time, and celebrated with his now patented split.

Flores is now 0-2 in his Contender Series digs, which remain the only two losses on his professional record. At 32-years-old, time may be running out on any hopes of a UFC berth.

MMA judging again came under fire after Jerome Rivera got the unanimous nod over Luis Rodriguez, with the former’s volume of kicks and perennial forward movement perhaps sticking in the judges’ minds. Most significantly, two of the judges had him taking out all three rounds, totally discarding Rodriguez’s dominance in Round 2.

It was an incredibly close fight nonetheless, and the LFA vet is now 10-2 as a pro, but still yearns for his UFC contract. 22-year-old Rodriguez, who is now 11-2, was impressive on his flyweight debut and looked strong across each discipline. His wicked hooks, leg kicks, and takedowns all took toll across the bout, but his seven-fight win streak was ultimately broken.

It seems inevitable that we may see both men in the UFC someday though, and there was plenty to like about their well-rounded skillsets.

Arguably the performance of the night belonged to Serbian prospect, Medic, who lays claim to one of the great MMA nicknames – ‘The Doctor’. He put on a clinic too, taking out Mikey Gonzalez via TKO in Round 1 to send a resounding message to all UFC lightweights and welterweights.

As Nick Diaz would put it, Gonzalez began to throw ‘spinning shit’ early, but it proved ineffective in the face of Medic’s slamming body kicks. Medic had him folded with one early, but he snapped up one of his opponent’s legs to survive the incoming onslaught.

It took just a few more moments for Medic to land another though, with the referee stepping in as Gonzalez could only cover up against the fence. Unsurprisingly, the quick and nasty work warranted a ‘Goddamn’ from Uncle Dana.

Now 6-0, Medic has five first round finishes to his name, and a 100 per cent stoppage rate in his fledgling professional career. The rise to the top looks a steep one for the 27-year-old.

After eight years away from the promotion, Jacoby secured the final contract of the night in the featured bout, but required all three rounds to do so against a tough a durable Ty Flores. Having cut his teeth of late in Glory Kickboxing, Jacoby showed a clear striking advantage as he lit up Flores on the feet in Rounds 1 and 2.

The 32-year-old’s punishing straight punches and flurries with Flores backed up against the fence almost had the fight stopped in Round 2, with knees and elbows also thrown into the masterful striking display.

Jacoby seemed to have emptied the tank looking for an early finish though, with both men looking gassed as the pace completely slowed during the ultimate period. It mattered little for White as he granted Jacoby a second shot in the UFC, and he looks poised to make a mark at 205lbs as he enters his fighting prime.


Contracts: Jordan Leavitt, Uros Medic, Dustin Jacoby

Dustin Jacoby def. Ty Flores | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 29-27, 29-27

Uros Medic def. Mikey Gonzalez | TKO (punches) 2:12 Rd 1

Jerome Rivera def. Luis Rodriguez | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 30-27, 30-27

Jordan Leavitt def. Luke Flores | Submission (arm-triangle) 4:15 Rd 1

Card recap: LFA 87 – Logan outpoints Rosales for lightweight title

LEGACY Fighting Alliance (LFA) capped off phase one of its return with a fourth title fight in as many weeks, seeing Bryce Logan take home the lightweight strap on the end of a six-fight card. Held once again out of the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the leading UFC feeder promotion gave fans a spectacle as four fights lasted all the allotted rounds.

The event proved somewhat of a curtain jerker for tomorrow’s UFC Fight Night at the Apex Centre, where 40 per cent of the fighters in action are LFA veterans. The promotion also announced phase two of its return schedule, with events to be held on August 21, August 28, and September 4.

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Bryce Logan def. Jacob Rosales | Decision (unanimous) 48-47, 48-47, 48-47

Local hero Bryce Logan is the new LFA lightweight champion after perfectly executing his gameplan to defeat Jacob Rosales via unanimous decision. The 30-year-old now moves to 12-4 as a professional and is riding a three-fight win streak.

Well aware of Rosales’ power and length, the man with two first names flowed with terrific footwork to steer clear of his opponent’s main threats, while keeping him guessing with constant feints and a popping jab.

The frustration began to show for Rosales as he was constantly made to miss, and it seemed he was up against it after being dropped by a stiff left hand in Round 2. That exact shot may have been the one to bloody the 25-year-old’s nose, leaving the LFA cage a crimson mess.

While Rosales was able to up the volume and snatch a couple of rounds on the scorecards, he was unable to land the winning blow as he opened up, and was smothered well in the closing stages as Logan capped off an intelligently executed five rounds.

The result sees Rosales, a Contender Series alum, slip to 12-6 and 1-2 in his last three outings, but he would have lost few admirers for the durability and heart he displayed.


Nick Browne def. Ben Egli | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 30-27

Nick Browne survived a series of Round 3 submission attempts from late notice replacement, Ben Egli to earn his own unanimous decision nod in the co-main event. It was a battle between two renowned grapplers, though it seemed the most straightforward path to victory for Browne would be paved on the feet.

Seemingly undeterred by Egli’s prowess on the mat, Browne was the one to initiate the grappling exchanges and earned points for his work in top position – staying heavy and landing nice ground-and-pound. Egli would do his best to scramble and reverse position, but Browne proved no pushover as he moved into mount.

Browne’s willingness to battle on the mat despite a clear striking advantage almost cost him late in the fight, as Egli looked to snatch up a couple of Hail Mary armbar submissions in Round 3. Having survived, Browne improves to 10-1 and may be next in line for a shot at the lightweight title.


Joaquin Buckley def. Jackie Gosh | TKO (punches) 1:47 Rd 2

In the second of two TKO stoppages for the night, Joaquin Buckley exacted revenge for his 2016 loss to Jackie Gosh by putting him away in Round 2. Since their previous meeting, Buckley has gone 4-1 (10-2 overall), while Gosh has slid to 1-3 (8-3) after a 7-0 start to his professional career.

Buckley looked ominous from the outset, stalking his Israeli adversary with bad intentions and teeing off with vicious combinations. It didn’t take long into Round 2 for the damage to take toll, with a power left hand dropping Gosh momentarily, before two big hooks had him covering up and the referee rushing in.

With such power on the feet at middleweight, the 26-year-old Buckley looks a prospect on the rise.


Kai Kamaka III def. Michael Stack | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

Gerald Scott def. Keith Phathaem | TKO (punches) Rd 2

Zac Pauga def. Zac Cavender | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 29-28

Card recap: Invicta FC 41 – ‘Conejo’ Ruiz taps Morandin in first round

FOR the second time in 28 days, the Invicta Fighting Championship put on a show from Kansas City, Kansas in the building now dubbed ‘Fight Church’. The five-fight event featured three decisions and two submissions, one of which came in the main event.

Fans will have to wait over a month for the leading women’s MMA promotion to return, with Ashley Cummins and Alesha Zappitella set to throw down for atomweight gold at Invicta FC 42 on September 17.

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Montserrat Ruiz made up for her loss to Danielle Taylor on Invicta debut with a vicious first round submission victory over Janaisa Morandin. Now 9-1 as a professional, the Mexican consigned her Brazilian opponent to a third-straight defeat, after she had missed the strawweight limit by 0.9lbs during the week.

An intense stare-down set the tone for Ruiz’s fight, as the two met in the middle and began to exchange some heavy blows. ‘Conejo’ showcased her tenacity with a couple of pressing flurries up top, before yanking Morandin down from the clinch and getting to work in a dominant position.

With Morandin’s arm trapped between the legs of Ruiz, the latter was able to land some punishing unanswered blows straight to the Brazilian’s face, before adjusting the position on that same isolated arm to yield a tap. In her first fight for 18 months, Ruiz proved she is back.

The co-main event slot brought about another relatively one-sided affair, as Erin Blanchfield earned a unanimous decision victory over Brogan Sanchez. It was a classic case of two high-level grapplers going toe-to-toe on the feet, though Blanchfield won the majority of her points on the mat.

The 21-year-old Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt wanted to prove her power on the feet, and looked well on her way to doing so after sitting Sanchez down with a solid two-piece combination. Sanchez was able to survive and had Blanchfield looking for the takedown as the fight wore on, which the latter was able to complete time and time again.

A brutal late rally of ground-and-pound almost saw Blanchfield close the show, but would instead serve to put an exclamation mark on the victory with a unanimous 10-8 round. She improves to a 6-1 record and truly looks the part.

Women’s MMA veterans Kaitlin Young and Latoya Walker went to battle in a bout sandwiched right in the middle of the card, with Young’s striking at range proving too much for the returning Walker.

While the ring rust from a four-year layoff did not entirely show from Walker, she simply had no answer for Young’s length and variety of kicks. The ‘Striking Viking’ improves to 11-10-1 after somewhat earning redemption for her loss to Pam Sorenson last year, and has been around the block in her 13-year career.

The sole split decision for the night came in Caitlin Sammons‘ narrow triumph over Claire Guthrie, with the former finishing strong to win at least two rounds in the eyes of two judges.

Usually renowned for her aggression, Sammons seemed to be well matched in the early goings despite holding what should have been the dominant position. After taking toll with her strikes from range, Guthrie was active in the clinch, and carried her momentum into Round 2 with great movement, a pumping jab, and leg kicks.

That was just about where the good run ended though, with Sammons able to smother her opponent and snatch the gruelling fight in Round 3 with dominant work on the mat.

Another exciting young prospect, Alexa Culp opened the show by submitting Natalya Speece after just two rounds, in a battle between fighters on their professional debuts.

Culp, a training partner of Megan Anderson, was terrific in the grappling exchanges and finished the show after a slick back take – requiring only one hook and a hell of a squeeze to yield the tap.

The 20-year-old looks set for a move back down to 115lbs after competing at flyweight.


Montserrat Ruiz def. Janaisa Morandin | Submission (keylock) 3:28 Rd 1

Erin Blanchfield def. Brogan Sanchez | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 30-26, 30-26

Kaitlin Young def. Latoya Walker | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 30-26, 30-27

Caitlin Sammons def. Claire Guthrie | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28, 30-27

Alexa Culp def. Natalya Speece | Submission (rear-naked choke) 3:59 Rd 2

Card recap: LFA 86 – Slick Flick snatches flyweight gold in 38 seconds

FIGHTERS meant business at LFA 86, with five of the six bouts finished within Round 1. The quickest stoppage of the lot fittingly came in the main event, as Jimmy Flick added some more hardware to his collection in the form of the flyweight belt.

Held out of the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it was the third-straight Legacy Fighting Alliance headlined by a championship bout, with a fourth to go down next week as Bryce Logan and Jacob Rosales battle for the vacant lightweight title at LFA 87.

For now, we recap the action from an entertaining, albeit short-lived night of fights in our fight-by-fight recap.

Jimmy Flick def. Greg Fischer | Submission (arm-triangle) 0:38 Rd 1

The quickest finish of the night belonged to Jimmy Flick, who became the first man to finish Greg Fischer en route to snapping up the vacant LFA flyweight championship. It was Flick’s third title fight in a row across three promotions, and his 12th submission victory across a 14-5 record.

A pumped-up Flick could be heard screaming “Dana White, I’m ready”, before declaring himself the best grappler in the world at 125-pounds. He certainly has a case, with his slick turn of the corner on a double-leg takedown, and lightning-quick arm triangle snatch earning him the victory and some more hardware.

It was the perfect way to cap off what was a short-lived night, and we may well be seeing yet another LFA flyweight champ on his way to a UFC berth.

Arthur Estrazulas def. Dominic Clark | Submission (rear-naked choke) 3:26 Rd 1

The evening’s co-main event delivered on its hype, with Arthur Estrazulas turning the early tide to submit Dominic Clark in Round 1. With the vacant LFA lightweight title on the line in a week’s time, the Brazilian has raised his hand as an early first contender for the next shot.

Clark looked strong out of the blocks as he shot in for a couple of takedown attempts, eventually landing one in the face of Estrazulas’ phenomenal balance and defence. But the now 12-4 Brazilian reversed the position with a takedown of his own, using it to take Clark’s back, sink in the hooks, flatten him out, and sink in a tight rear-naked choke.

That’s now eight submission victories for the 31-year-old out of Kings MMA, and two wins in a row.

Fabio Cherant def. Erick Murray Jr.| Submission (anaconda choke) 0:57 Rd 1

Fabio Cherant was a man on a mission, gaining redemption after his first professional loss on the Contender Series to submit Erick Murray Jr in the first round. In his maiden LFA bout, Cherant took just under a minute to get rid of his opponent, working shots to the body before winging a quick left hand up top to stun Murray.

Sensing his moment, Cherant quickly snatched up the choke and adjusted it beautifully on the feet, with Murray dragging it to the mat to escape, but eventually tapping. The only blight on Cherant’s performance was the fact he missed weight by nine pounds, but he looks a serious prospect at light heavyweight with five submission wins on his 5-1 record.

Mando Gutierrez def. Jeff Jepsen | Submission (rear-naked choke) 1:57 Rd 1

Mando Gutierrez ensured the train of promotional debut wins would roll on, with his slick first round submission of Jeff Jepsen. The 23-year-old grappler showed he has more tricks in the bag than just his wrestling, winging powerful kicks on the feet and heavy knees in the clinch, before wrapping up a guillotine and using it to take the fight to the mat.

From there, the brutal pace Gutierrez enforced took full toll on Jepsen, as he transitioned to the back from half guard, quickly sunk in hooks and the choke to yield a tap. He looks the real deal, and a well-rounded package with four submission victories on the trot.

Mark Martin def. Tony Grant | TKO (punches) 3:52 Rd 1

A relentless showing from Mark Martin saw him make quick work of Tony Grant in their welterweight clash, taking just under four minutes to improve to 4-1 on his LFA debut.

The 26-year-old has now won three-straight fights and boasts three first round finishes, making him an exciting prospect. He was in on a takedown early, but fell into a successful attempt on his second dig, using it to land heavy ground-and-pound and looking to advance the position.

While Grant was able to get to his feet, Martin maintained the pressure with swarming knees to the body, before a sweet uppercut spelt the beginning of the end. With Grant out on his feet after being momentarily dropped, Martin kept him on the hook and landed heavy shots up top, with another folding knee and more ground-and-pound to his defenceless opponent closing the show.

Jordan Heiderman def. Jacob Heavlin | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28, 30-27

Heavyweights again kicked off the action at the bottom of the card, with Jordan Heiderman handing Jacob Heavlin his first professional loss by way of a tight split decision. In what was both fighters’ LFA debuts, Heiderman was able to thwart the wrestling advances of Heavlin, and opened up a cut over his eye early, although it didn’t stop the now 1-1 (1) prospect from moving forward.

Both men had their moments on the feet, but seemed unfazed by the others’ power, continuing to get shots off at a high pace. Heiderman’s takedown defence, long punching combinations, and knees to the body got the job done in the face of Heavlin’s volume and pressure, with a late arm triangle attempt perhaps snatching Round 3.

Card recap: LFA 85 – Demopoulos crowned inaugural LFA strawweight queen

LEGACY Fighting Alliance (LFA) crowned its inaugural women’s strawweight champion at #LFA85, with grappling ace Vanessa Demopoulos pulling off a Hail Mary submission to take home her maiden professional title.

The UFC talent feeder put on a six-fight card, again staged out of the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with prospects staking their claims for a call-up to the elite MMA promotion. Among the entertainment, brothers Kevin and Christian Natividad both notched KO victories, with only one contest going the distance throughout the evening.

Another belt will be put on the line in next week’s LFA event too, with Greg Fischer battling Jimmy Flick for flyweight supremacy on July 24. But for now, get caught up on how each of the latest LFA bouts went down in our fight-by-fight recap.

Vanessa Demopoulos def. Sam Hughes | Technical submission (inverted triangle) 2:21 Rd 4

She may have effectively been down by the equivalent of four rounds to nil, but Vanessa Demopoulos only needed one moment of magic to snatch the inaugural LFA strawweight title from Sam Hughes‘ grasp. The Greek grappler put Hughes to sleep with an inverted reverse triangle, emphatically putting a frustrating 15 minutes and potentially costly point deduction behind her.

‘Sampage’ clearly made the better start of the two, coming out strong to land leg kicks and nice counter strikes on Demopoulos, who struggled to get within striking distance. While the victor had wrapped up a guillotine, Hughes popped out and continued her ascendancy, landing the more effective strikes – mostly via her right hand.

The American’s distance management proved vital in ensuring Demopoulos would be unable to land her own shots on the feet, but stiff straight shots were mixed in well with forward pressure and an intense pace from Hughes to put her well on top. She landed a takedown late, and just as Demopoulos searched for a leglock, she landed an illegal upkick to see a point taken away from her, meaning she would either require a finish to win, or to claim all three remaining rounds for a draw.

Hughes continued to find success at range and with her heavy punches in bunches, pushing the action forward and bloodying up the nose of her opponent. Demopoulos would return fire though, enjoying her best period to that point despite taking damage. Still, she was arguably four rounds down at that point.

Cue Round 4 and an incredible Hail Mary submission. The urgency from Demopoulos was clear, and she was able to punch her way into the clinch position, before working away as the fight transitioned to the mat. She threatened another kneebar, before throwing up the reverse triangle in lightning quick time and slowly breaking Hughes’ posture to tighten the choke. Seemingly out of nowhere, Hughes was out cold, and Demopoulos was the new LFA strawweight champion.

Kevin Natividad def. Kyle Estrada | KO (punches) 1:37 Rd 2

Kevin Natividad may well be in line for a shot at the vacant bantamweight title, after landing a dynamite knockout blow to 10-5 veteran Kyle Estrada. The win was Natividad’s fifth in a row, seeing him improve to 9-1 and match his younger brother’s earlier KO effort.

Estrada looked to have gained the early ascendancy with a barrage of low kicks to chop down his opponent’s lead leg and wide stance, but Natividad would adjust accordingly after the first bell, slowly working his way into the pocket and landing the fight-ending combination out of nowhere.

A double jab was followed by a big right hand to sit Estrada down, with the Hawaiian chasing his downed opponent to the mat to land one more hammer fist for good measure.

Leandro Gomes def. Jacob Thrall | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-26

Not even all of Jacob Thrall’s durability and nous could spare him from a unanimous decision loss to Leandro Gomes, who took out all three rounds in the first bout of the night to go the distance.

The Brazilian, nicknamed ‘Little Hulk’ may have taken the fight on short notice, but managed to grind out the win strongly to improve to 6-1 as a professional, with this his fourth-consecutive victory.

Thrall was not at all fazed by Gomes’ jiu jitsu pedigree, initiating the action on the ground and constantly looking to land big double-leg takedowns. But Gomes’ resistance was strong, and even when the fight got to the mat, he managed to dominate positon and work his submission game.
The high-octane pace was set early, with a side-kick from Gomes sitting Thrall down, a follow-up flying knee just missing, and elbows from against the fence finding a home to cut the American up.

While Thrall owned top position at times, he was unable to pose the same threats, as Gomes swept well, stayed the busier man, and landed some nice ground-and-pound throughout his time on top.

Gomes simply found an answer for all Thrall had, looking sharper on the feet, threatening to snatch kimura grips to switch position on Thrall’s takedown entries, and ending the fight on top with what one judge deemed a 10-8 round.

Jordan Leavitt def. Leivon Lewis | Submission (anaconda choke) 2:01 Rd 2

A series of unrelenting submission attempts from Jordan Leavitt eventually took toll on Leivon Lewis, who tapped to an anaconda choke for the former’s fourth submission win among an improved 6-0 professional record.

While this was the first fight of the night to endure past Round 1, it only lasted two minutes more as Leavitt sunk in the decisive choke, leaving Lewis exhausted by the end of his chained submission digs having taken the bout on two weeks’ notice.

While Lewis initially punched into range, Leavitt was the one to bring the fight to the mat, with leg-locks looking like the order of the day for much of the first round. Lewis was savvy to each transition and managed to resist for the most part, but Leavitt’s ability to thrive in awkward positions paid dividends as he snatched up an arm triangle, and eventually worked to the fight-ending anaconda choke, yielding a tap.

Christian Natividad def. Michael Aquila | KO (punches) 2:48 Rd 1

It was a classic left, right, good night for Michael Aquila by way of Christian Natividad’s heavy hands, with the Hawaiian marking his professional debut in style against a dangerous grappler.

The well-built bantamweight, who boasts a 5-0 amateur record, showed terrific fight IQ to keep the fight on the feet despite dropping Aquila twice, waving his opponent back up before eventually landing the knockout blows.

Natividad’s left hook, cross combination was his modus operandi, and made for a walk-off finish as Aquila crumbled with his back to the fence. No better way to set the tone for your older brother’s fight later in the night. 

Mitchell Sipe def. Darion Abbey | TKO (knee and punches) 1:37 Rd 1

Mitchell Sipe kicked off the show with a vicious TKO victory over Darion Abbey at heavyweight. The 5-2 professional broke a two-fight losing streak which spawned from his unsuccessful Contender Series dig, and boy was he pumped about the finish.

Despite entering his LFA debut without a corner in tow, Sipe secured his third first-round stoppage by way of a vicious knee and wild punching combinations. The 27-year-old’s weapon of choice was his winging overhand right, which initially stunned Abbey and backed him up, before the killer instinct kicked in.

The referee even copped a punch to the back amidst Sipe’s hammer fists to finish, as the knee to drop Abbey had him scrambling in to stop the onslaught. It certainly was an exclamation mark to open proceedings.

Card recap: LFA 84 – J-Train steams to featherweight title

THE NEW Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) featherweight champion was crowed in today’s four-fight LFA 84 event, with Justin Gonzales claiming the vacant title in dramatic fashion. Fans were treated to three finishes in what was the promotion’s first card in 18 weeks, streamed via UFC Fight Pass out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Each bout brought along enthralling twists and turns, confirming that the elite level feeder promotion is in good shape upon its return to full-time activity. The action will not stop here either, with LFA’s inaugural women’s strawweight title fight set to headline next week’s LFA 85 card, back in South Dakota.

But for now, check out our full run-down of each fight from today’s impressive showcase, highlighted by an entertaining main event.

Justin Gonzales def. Jake Childers | TKO (body kick and punches) 0:45 Rd 4

A rollercoaster main event saw the vacant LFA featherweight title go to Justin Gonzales, as the now 11-0 Contender Series alum again pushed his case for a UFC contract. The American claimed victory early in the fourth round, taking out formerly undefeated compatriot Jake Childers with a barrage of strikes as the latter faded.

Both men, who came in boasting perfect records also held similarities in their styles; adept wrestlers with terrific durability, who like to push the pace and turn fights into brawls. Gonzales would have greater success in the early goings, landing a takedown from against the fence followed by ground-and-pound with bad intentions. Everything seemed to be happening on his terms, with his superior size and smothering pressure taking toll on Childers.

After continuing to land hefty body kicks and blows up top, a takedown from Gonzales allowed Childers to turn the contest completely on its head. Childers put everything into securing a submission, first threatening a kimura and using it to sneak around to the back, where he locked in the body triangle and searched for a rear-naked choke. As the composed Gonzales turned out, he landed straight in the way of an arm-triangle, which looked to be incredibly tight.

But the new champ weathered Childers’ craftily constructed storm, and it soon became clear how much the submission attempts had taken out of the aggressor, who very nearly ended the fight. It was no surprise that Gonzales looked to keep the fight standing in the third period, and he did so with aplomb. He would repeatedly tag the fading Childers, with his right hand a main weapon of choice to go with great combinations to punish both the head and body of his opponent.

Gonzales was now close to the finish himself having initiated a measured striking clinic, and it took just 45 more seconds in Round 4 to secure victory. Despite Childers’ incredible heart, he could do little more than cover up and Gonzales began to wing heavy shots, with a pair of front kicks to the body spelling the beginning of the end. Gonzales finished the job on a retreating Childers, handing ‘The Working Man’ his  first professional loss.

With ‘J-Train’ remaining undefeated himself, and 20-0 including his amateur career, the future looks bright for this 29-year-old prospect whether he decides to stay and defend the belt, or move on to grander pastures should the opportunity present.

Maycon Mendonca def. Kassius Kayne | Submission (triangle choke) 2:16 Rd 2

A battle of two big welterweights ended in style as Maycon Mendonca submitted Kassius Kayne via a slick triangle choke in Round 2. It was the Brazilian’s first career submission victory, moving him to 9-4 with a third-straight win after having dropped three-consecutive bouts.

Kayne came out in typical fashion, throwing big shots on the feet, but came undone in Round 1 as Mendonca landed a massive slam takedown from the clinch. Ground-and-pound followed, before the American snuck in a leg lock attempt late in the piece.

He continued to look for a way inside, but Mendonca’s kicks kept him at bay. A beautiful spinning back kick to the body hurt Kayne, backing him up towards the cage. A flying knee would follow, but it only saw Mendonca give up the takedown.

In another twist within the short, fight ending period, Mendonca rode his legs up high to lock in a triangle position, before yielding a tap with the choke midway through Round 2. The 27-year-old is on a tear, and looked unfazed by the late change in opponent.

Boston Salmon def. Shawn West | DQ (illegal knee) 0:53 Rd 2

An ugly, but completely instinctual illegal knee handed Boston Salmon a DQ win over former training partner, Shawn West, bringing an unfortunate end to what was a highly entertaining fight in Round 2.

The now 7-3 Hawaiian looked to be kicking the pace and power up a gear early in the second period, landing some beautifully timed counters up top and cracking West with heavy body shots to follow.

It came after West had arguably taken out Round 1, credit to the damage he had inflicted to Salmon’s lead leg, and a slight knockdown by way of one of his many powerful punches.

The fight ending sequence was brutal, as both men landed big shots to stagger the other. West recovered quicker as Salmon hit the mat, and rushed over to finish the job on his grounded opponent.

That was the exact problem – he was grounded. West’s savage flying knee landed flush to put Salmon out cold and bring an immediate end to proceedings, but it soon became clear that he would not be earning a 17th career victory.

No bad blood was evident after the fact though, with the two showing great mutual respect for one another. We’d love to see this one run back, although Salmon has taken some heavy punishment over his last three fights, including two first round TKOs in his UFC outings.

Bruno Souza def. Kamuela Kirk | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28 29-28

Machida Academy prospect Bruno Souza leant on his karate skills to get the nod in a split decision against Kamuela Kirk, notching his seventh-straight victory to improve to 7-1 as a professional.

The bout was fought exclusively on the feet across the 15 minutes, with Souza’s sharp lateral movement, quick hands up top, and heavy kicks to the body helping to slow the closing Kirk.

The Brazilian simply found a greater rhythm and was more active throughout the fight, landing a greater volume of blows in response to Kirk’s thudding boxing combinations. While the first round belonged to Souza, Rounds 2 and 3 were much tighter, and Kirk produced some nice moments with his left hook in range.

But those efforts proved futile for the former Contender Series fighter, who now moves to 9-4 with his 100 per cent finishing rate intact. With a win in his fight in almost a year, the Souza remains perfect after his debut loss in 2016.