UFC 277‘s two top fights between women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Pena and former champion Amanda Nunes and the interim flyweight title fight between Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France will not be the only rematches worth monitoring this weekend when they take the cage on Saturday night.
Heavyweights Oscar Sosa and Alex Nicholson are set to collide at Friday night’s Titan Fighting Championships 78 for the second time this year after one of the most controversial ends to a fight in recent memory.
Titan FC 78 Preview
The two fighters previously met at Titan FC 75 in a kickboxing match for the Titan FC Heavyweight Kickboxing Championship. Fireworks promptly ensued with hometown-favorite Sosa initially hurting the UFC veteran with one left hook before knocking him down with another, prompting a count from the referee, or so thought the spectators. Instead, the referee, likely mistaking the rules of the bout with mixed martial arts, stepped in to wave off the fight instead of starting the 10-count for Nicholson to get back to his feet, at which point the fight would have either resumed or been awarded to Sosa via TKO. However, the two-time bareknuckle MMA competitor appeared to make a quick recovery, but not before Sosa had leaped out of the cage to celebrate the win. From there, chaos began to set in, with nobody at home or in the arena quite sure what to make of the situation. Titan FC CEO Lex McMahon even stepped into the cage to help problem solve.
After nearly 10 minutes of down time, officials were successfully able to wrangle Sosa back into the cage to restart the fight. Upon resuming, the tone of the fight changed to a more war-of-attrition type feel, with both fighters having gone through a significant adrenaline dump and looking to simply outlast the other. An inadvertent groin strike from Nicholson in the third round halted the fight for another five minutes while Sosa was afforded the full time to recover. Nicholson would then connect on another inadvertent shot below the belt in the fourth round, prompting Sosa to take another five minutes to catch his breath. Eventually, nearly 45 minutes into a 25-minute championship kickboxing match, Nicholson would be awarded the victory via unanimous decision.
“It was entertaining, which is the most important part of all this,” Nicholson told MMASucka’s own Jeremy Brand. “It was madness. I was telling myself to remain calm. I did that and we got through it. He hit me with a big left hook, and I fell. As I was getting up, he started ground and pounding me during the kickboxing fight. I jumped up, I happened to push the ref out of the way and I wasn’t finished even if it was an MMA fight. I was still ready to keep going. I dropped him twice and he did everything he could do to quit. I beat the s**t out of him for 14 minutes and 30 seconds after [he dropped me].”
Friday evening will see the two heavyweight rivals meet for a second time this year, this time under MMA rules for the Titan FC Heavyweight Championship of mixed martial arts.
The narrative entering the fight is two-fold. On one hand, Nicholson dwarfs Sosa in quality MMA experience having faced the much stronger competition of the two. He also boasts a more well-rounded skillset that will lend itself to a mixed martial arts fight. However, it has to be questioned whether the inevitable ground and pound behind Sosa’s left hook, which caught Nicholson just behind the ear, would have been enough to put Nicholson away in an MMA fight.
Both fighters stand to gain quite a bit from a win on Friday night. Should Nicholson get his hand raised again, he will be able to claim the Titan FC Heavyweight crown in two different disciplines. If Sosa is able to settle the score, however, it will represent the biggest victory of the Dominican prospect’s career and potentially put him on the radar of some larger promotions.
— Titan FC (@TitanFighting) July 26, 2022
“Shoutout to Oscar Sosa for wanting to do this again,” Nicholson said. “This is very exciting. I haven’t actually done a normal MMA fight in three years and I’m really, really good at it. I’m better at this s**t than him and I’m going to prove it.”
Rest of the Card
Nicholson vs. Sosa II will not be the only fight taking place at Titan FC 78 on Saturday night. Fighting Force Promotions will be back to co-promote the event with Titan, set to take place at the Fencing Pavilion in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. As a result, fans around the world will be treated to a Fighting Force Lightweight Championship fight between Jhonasky Sojo (14-2) of Venezuela and Jefrey Roy (6-3) of the Dominican Republic. Sojo has evolved into a bit of a prospect for Titan, winning the lightweight title at Titan FC 69 where he forced the doctor to step in to stop his fight with Lucas Marte. He has since gone on to defend the strap in a rematch with Marte at a Fighting Force live event and will now be forced to contend with Roy, who took a unanimous decision victory over countryman Vincent Van Gogh his last time out in November 2021.
Additionally, Nicholson will not be the only American competing in Santo Domingo on Friday night, as Devon Dixon (4-1-1) is set to face off with Elias Santos (4-5) of the Dominican Republic at 155 pounds. Dixon had a promising start to his MMA career, going 4-0-1 entirely in the Titan FC cage before suffering a setback against Richie Miranda at LFA 128. He will now return to the promotion he has had significant early-career success in, and is looking to spoil the party for hometown favorite Santos. Santos is a tricky fighter who has a pair of wins on his record by way of heel hook as well as one by flying knee. He is also yet to be knocked out in his young career, but has two losses by way of rear naked choke. Dixon, conversely, has historically weaponized that very submission with four his eight amateur wins coming back way of rear naked choke.
Fight fans will also bare witness to a featherweight fight between Ty Johnson (formerly Ty Kalista) (8-6) and Juan Pablo Mendoza (3-4). Johnson will enter the cage on Friday having won five of his last seven, and can make it six-for-eight if he can defeat Mendoza, who has been finished in three of his four career defeats.
Titan FC 78 can be streamed on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.