December kicked off with a bang. ONE Championship, Titan FC, Legacy FC, KSW, UFC, Bellator, etc. There was no shortage of action this weekend in the world of mixed martial arts. So; why not give a brief rundown of everything you may have missed! Huge knockouts, sneaky submissions, wild fights. Here’s everything that happened over the past three days!
The Ultimate Fighter 24: Tournament of Champions Finale – Las Vegas, Nevada
A stacked flyweight season of The Ultimate Fighter concluded with the TUF 24 Finale. The winner of the show, Titan FC champion, and UFC veteran; Tim Elliot earned a shot at dominant UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. The show’s coaches Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo, #1 & #2 ranked flyweight contenders respectively, met up in the highly anticipated co-main event. Jake Ellenberger faced Jorge Masvidal at welterweight, and two TUF 24-alum, Brandon Moreno & Matt Schnell, were also on the card.
After a pretty scary first round, “Mighty Mouse” used his grappling for the majority of the final 20 minutes, picking up a unanimous decision victory over a very, very game Tim Elliot. Johnson made the ninth defense of his flyweight title. With one more defense, he will tie Anderson Silva’s record of ten title defense at middleweight. Perennial contender Joseph Benavidez defeated former Olympic gold winner Henry Cejudo by split decision in a close contest that saw Cejudo get a point deducted in round one due to groin kicks. In a very weird finish, Jorge Masvidal beat #15 ranked Jake Ellenberger after Ellenberger’s foot got stuck between the cage and the octagon, allowing Masvidal to land some punches on a stuck Ellenberger. Check out the full results below!
- Main Card
- Demetrious Johnson def. Tim Elliot via Unanimous Decision – Flyweight Championship
- Joseph Benavidez def. Henry Cejudo via Split Decision
- Jorge Masvidal def. Jake Ellenberger via TKO (Punches) in Round 1
- Jared Cannonier def. Ion Cutelaba via Unanimous Decision – FOTN
- Sara McMann def. Alexis Davis via Submission (Arm Triangle) in Round 2 – POTN
- Brandon Moreno def. Ryan Benoit via Split Decision
- Televised Prelims
- Ryan Hall def. Gray Maynard via Unanimous Decision
- Rob Font def. Matt Schnell via TKO (Knee + Punches) in Round 2
- Dong Hyun Kim def. Brandon O’Reilly via Unanimous Decision
- Jamie Moyle def. Kailin Curran via Unanimous Decision
- UFC Fight Pass Prelims
- Anthony Smith def. Elvis Mutapcic via KO (Elbow + Punches) in Round 2 – POTN
- Devin Clark def. Josh Stansbury via Unanimous Decision
Bellator 166: Dantas vs. Warren II – Thackerville, Oklahoma
Night #1 of Bellator’s doubleheader was a good one. Eduardo Dantas faced rival, and former champion, Joe Warren. Dantas aimed to defend his bantamweight title as Warren was looking to reclaim the gold. The co-main event was supposed to be a battle between two of the hottest featherweight prospects in the game; AJ McKee Jr. and Emmanuel Sanchez. However, Sanchez pulled out of the bout a week prior and fellow prospect Ray Wood took his place. Marcos Galvão returned to the cage for the first time since losing his bantamweight title as he faced L.C. Davis, and middleweights Chris Honeycutt & Ben Reiter opened up the main card.
Eduardo Dantas defended his title against Joe Warren, AJ McKee Jr. continued being one of the most intriguing prospects at featherweight, a former champion rebounded from his title loss and Chris Honeycutt resumed his climb up the middleweight ranks.
The prelim portion of the card only featured four fights. Prospects Chris Jones and Emiliano Sordi, among others. Check out the full results below!
- Main Card
- Eduardo Dantas def. Joe Warren via Majority Decision – Bantamweight Championship
- AJ McKee Jr. def. Ray Wood via Unanimous Decision
- Marcos Galvão def. L.C. Davis via Split Decision
- Chris Honeycutt def. Ben Reiter via Unanimous Decision
- Spike.com Prelims
- Gregory Babene def. Emiliano Sordi via Submission (Guillotine Choke) in Round 1
- Treston Thomison def. Dawond Pickney via Submission (Armbar) in Round 1
- Derrick Adkins def. Chris Jones via Submission (D’arce Choke) in Round 2
- Kinny Spotwood def. John King via Unanimous Decision
Bellator 167: Caldwell vs. Taimanglo II – Thackerville, Oklahoma
Night #2 of Bellator’s doubleheader featured a bantamweight #1 contender rematch between Darrion Caldwell and Joe Taimanglo. In the co-main event, Justin Lawrence replaced an injured Pat Curran against impressive Brazilian striker; John Teixeira. Rising flyweight star Ilima-Lei MacFarlane faced Emily Ducote, and welterweight strikers Chidi Njokuani and Andre Fialho did battle. On the prelims, highly-touted wrestler Jarod Trice made his MMA debut.
Despite finding himself on the wrong end of some submission attempts, Darrion Caldwell picked up a unanimous decision win over Joe Taimanglo, avenging the first and only loss of his career, and earning a shot at bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas in 2017. John Teixeira put on a striking clinic against a very tough “American Kid” Justin Lawrence. Ilima-Lei MacFarlane defeated Emily Ducote in a fun women’s flyweight battle, and lastly; Chidi Njokuani needed just 21 seconds to KO Portuguese prospect Andre Fialho. Check out the full results below!
- Main Card
- Darrion Caldwell def. Joe Taimanglo via Unanimous Decision – Bantamweight #1 Contender
- John Teixeira def. Justin Lawrence via Unanimous Decision
- Ilima-Lei MacFarlane def. Emily Ducote via Unanimous Decision
- Chidi Njokuani def. Andre Fialho via KO (Punches) in Round 1
- Spike.com Prelims
- Fernando Gonzalez def. Chris Hicks via KO (Punch) in Round 1
- Jarod Trice def. Tommie Britton via Majority Decision
- Justin Patterson def. Codale Ford via Unanimous Decision
- Jonathan Gary def. Aaron Roberson via Unanimous Decision
- Bronson St. Romain def. Joey Soto via Unanimous Decision
Check out the bantamweight rematch to determine the next title challenger in its entirety here!
KSW 37: Circus of Pain – Kraków, Poland
KSW knows exactly what they are doing. Billing this event as a “Circus” was fitting when you consider their main attraction was a heavyweight fight fitting a former bodybuilder/strongman taking on a controversial rapper with tattooed eyeballs and (intentional) scarification on his face. But hey, as usual, they put on a solid event. along with the previously mentioned heavyweight fight, this card featured three title fights, a few title changes, some nice finishes, and quite a bit of blood.
Mariusz Pudzianowski survived an early scare to stop “Popek Monster” Paweł Rak. Fernando Rodrigues Jr. ended the title reign of Karol Bedorf, much like “The Polish Zombie” Marcin Wrzosek ended the title reign of Artur Sowiński in a bloody battle. Borys Mańkowski dominated UFC-veteran John Maguire to make the sole title defense on the card. Former multi-promotion champion Mansour Barnaoui bloodied up and stopped Łukasz Chlewicki to, very likely, earn another shot at KSW gold. Check out the full results for this action-packed card below!
- Main Card
- Fernando Rodrigues Jr. def. Karol Bedorf via TKO (Punches) in Round 2 – Heavyweight Championship
- Mariusz Pudzianowski def. Paweł Rak via TKO (Punches) in Round 1 – Heavyweight Feature
- Borys Mańkowski def. John Maguire via Unanimous Decision – Middleweight Championship
- Marcin Wrzosek def. Artur Sowiński via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) in Round 2 – Featherweight Championship
- Mansour Barnaoui def. Łukasz Chlewicki via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) in Round 1
- Marcin Wójcik def. Marcin Łazarz via Submission (Guillotine Choke) in Round 1
- Filip Wolański def. Denilson Neves via Split Decision
- David Zawada def. Robert Radomski via TKO (Punches) in Round 2
- Roman Szymański def. Sebastian Romanowski via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 3
Legacy FC 63: Harris vs. Cobb – Tulsa, Oklahoma
In typical AXS TV Fights fashion, this event was littered with great finishes throughout. After a three-year layoff, Gerald “Hurricane” Harris returned to face Aaron Cobb. Legacy veteran Bilal Williams returned to the cage to take on Bellator veteran and BattleGrounds MMA one-night tournament semi-finalist; Trey Houston.
This event, though action-packed, was bittersweet. As it was the last event in Legacy Fighting Championship’s history before they merge with RFA to create Legacy Fighting Alliance early next year. In the main event, Gerald Harris had a successful return as he won via his patented slam knockout vs. a ridiculously overweight Aaron Cobb in a KO that was fitting to close out an enjoyable run for Legacy FC. Bilal Williams punched his way to a knockout win over the tough Trey Houston. Check out full results below.
- Main Card
- Gerald Harris def. Aaron Cobb via KO (Slam) in Round 1
- Bilal Williams def. Trey Houston via KO (Punch) in Round 1
- Levi Mowles def. Jimmy Flick via TKO (Strikes) in Round 2
- Jesse Hernandez def. Josh Lanier via TKO (Strikes) in Round 1
- TeeJay Britton def. Diego Pichilingue via TKO (Strikes) in Round 1
- Kyle Driscoll def. William Walker via Unanimous Decision
- Kathina Lowe def. Ariel Beck via Unanimous Decision
- Joshua Anderson def. Shawn Bley via Unanimous Decision
- Matthew Coe def. Daniel Hastings via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 1
- Canaan Grigsby def. Bill Smallwood via KO (Strikes) in Round 1
Check out event highlights below!
Titan FC 42: Lima vs. Jackson – Coral Gables, Florida
The main event of this show saw a somewhat surprising title fight result. The main event plus everything else on the card, in typical Titan Fighting fashion, was a fun watch. Some nice finishes, a title defense, a new champion, and some familiar faces picking up very impressive and much-needed wins.
How did names like Kurt Holobaugh, Des Green, and Gesias Cavalcante do? Did Dhiego Lima defend his title? Was it Andrew Whitney or Farkhad Sharipov that was crowned bantamweight champion? Check out the full results below to find out!
- Main Card
- Jason Jackson def. Dhiego Lima via TKO (Punches) in Round 1 – Welterweight Championship
- Farkhad Sharipov def. Andrew Whitney via Unanimous Decision – Bantamweight Championship
- Kurt Holobaugh def. Yosdenis Cedeno via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 3
- Des Green def. Martin Brown via Majority Decision
- Gesias Cavalcante def. Robert Turnquest via Unanimous Decision
- Adriano Capitulino def. Taylor Krahl via Submission (Armbar) in Round 3
- Bruno Mesquita def. Abdiel Velazquez via Submission (Anaconda Choke) in Round 2
- Preston Parsons def. David Mundell via Submission (Armbar) in Round 1
- Barbara Acioly def. Trisha Cicero via Split Decision
Check out the full event on UFC Fight Pass here!
ONE Championship: Age of Domination – Pasay City, Philippines
As usual, bright and early Friday morning, ONE brought some crazy action to the Philippines and our television/computer screens. At the top of this very solid card sat two title fights. Brandon Vera put his heavyweight title on the line against Japan’s undefeated Hideki Sekine. And one of the best bantamweight fighters on the planet Bibiano Fernandes defended his title against Australia’s Reece McLaren.
UFC-vet Brandon Vera used kicks to get an early stoppage against Sekine. This was the first defense for Vera since winning the vacant title by knocking out Paul Cheng. The co-main event saw Reece McLaren put up an incredible fight before dropping a very narrow split decision to defending champion Bibiano Fernandes. There was plenty more action in the Philippines on Friday, including a very rare but always amazing gogoplata finish! So check out the results below!
- Main Card
- Brandon Vera def. Hideki Sekine via TKO (Punches) in Round 1 – Heavyweight Championship
- Bibiano Fernandes def. Reece McLaren via Split Decision – Bantamweight Championship
- Mark Striegl def. Sotir Kichukov via Unanimous Decision
- Toni Tauru def. Geje Eustaquio via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 1
- Honorio Banario def. Rajinder Singh Meena via Submission (Armbar) in Round 1
- Leandro Ataides def. Mohamed Ali via KO (Flying Knee) in Round 2
- Edward Kelly def. Sunoto Peringkat via TKO (Punches) in Round 3
- Jenny Huang def. April Osenio via Submission (Gogoplata) in Round 2
- Danny Kingad def. Eugene Toquero via Submission (Armbar) in Round 1
- Sim Bunsrun def. Pengshuai Liu via Unanimous Decision
- Xie Bin def. Mario Satya Wirawan via Unanimous Decision
So, that’s about everything you need to know that happened in the world of MMA this weekend. The question is; who won, though?
In my opinion, the winner of this weekend was KSW. There was not a bad fight card in the bunch, and all were a joy to watch, but KSW delivered the most entertainment for me. There were some wild fights, there were some spectacle fights, there were some amazing finishes, there were title changes, and there was production value that is damn-near unparalleled in combat sports.
When KSW hosts an event in Poland, it is always sure to be a fun one and KSW 37 was no different. They billed it as a “Circus of Pain”, but I’d gladly visit again!