Before UFC women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Pena squares off with former champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 on Saturday, fight fans will be treated to another rematch at Titan FC 78.
Heavyweights Oscar Sosa and Alex Nicholson are set to collide in Friday’s main event for the second time this year after one of the most controversial ends to a kickboxing or mixed martial arts fight in recent memory.
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 bare-knuckle 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 downtime, 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.
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. A victory for Nicholson could prove he is without a shadow of a doubt the better fighter, but if Sosa happens to catch him, fight fans can expect a third fight at some point down the line either in kickboxing or mixed martial arts, though a bare-knuckle match would make for something truly unprecedented as far as fight trilogies go.
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Rest of the Card
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 of 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 Results
Main Card (UFC Fight Pass, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT)
Alex Nicholson def. Oscar Sosa via Submission (Anaconda Choke) at 3:47 of Round 1 — for the Titan FC Heavyweight Championship
Jhonasky Sojo def. Jefry Roy via Unanimous Decision — for the Fighting Force Featherweight Championship
Talita Alencar def. Karen Quintero via Submission (RNC) at 1:45 of Round 1
Ty Johnson def. Juan Pablo Mendoza via Unanimous Decision
Carlos Matos def. Mauricio Diaz via Submission (RNC) at 1:30 of Round 1
Devon Dixon def. Elias Santos via Submission (RNC) at 3:17 of Round 2
Luis Peralta def. Billy Molina via TKO (punches) at 2:35 of Round 1
Edgar Jaquez def. Daynnys Rivas via TKO