Global MMA Recap: Sweden Pitches Shutout At Cage Warriors 71, RFA Crowns New Champs

Hermansson TopalskiOn a weekend with two UFC events, there was just as much intriguing MMA outside of the Octagon as in it. That says a lot about the numerous promotions around the world who put on relevant fights this weekend, and that’s exactly what we’re here to take a look at. The weekend started off well, as Cage Warriors 71 took place on Friday afternoon in Amman, Jordan. The event was initially scheduled to take place in Stockholm and featured a plethora of Swedes as a result. It’s unfortunate that the card had to be moved, because the Swedish fans would have liked what they saw. In the main event, Jack Hermansson (9-2) retained his Cage Warriors middleweight title with a first-round TKO. Hermansson generated some incredible power on his punches while controlling opponent Deyan Topalski (11-3) with a seated back mount, and nearly put the Bulgarian out cold before referee Rich Mitchell stepped in. The co-main event saw former Cage Warriors title challengers Martin Svensson (14-5) and Dave Hill (12-4) square off in the featherweight division. Hill had his moments, but Svensson was overall the better grappler and was rewarded with the unanimous decision. Swedish welterweight prospect Jonatan Westin (7-2) also picked up a win over veteran Jack Mason (28-14), but wasn’t able to show his skills as the bout was stopped due to injury early in the first. 22-year-old Pannie Kianzad (6-0) is a women’s bantamweight fighter to look out for. She already has a win over UFC fighter Milana Dudieva, and continued her impressive young career with a third-round TKO on Friday. Later on Friday, Resurrection Fighting Alliance and Titan Fighting Championships were scheduled to go head-to-head, but because a women’s softball game went long on CBS Sports Network, most fans tuned into RFA first. The promotion run by Ed Soares had two titles on the line, and both were captured impressively. Christos Giagos (10-2) closed the show impressively by scoring a flying knee knockout over Dakota Cochrane (17-6). Giagos is now the RFA and Tachi Palace Fights lightweight champion, and normally when a fighter holds belts in multiple organizations it isn’t too much longer before he gets a call to head to the UFC. Someone who is trying to earn a spot back in the UFC is Justin Lawrence (6-2), who took a big step towards that goal by winning the vacant RFA featherweight title with a five-round unanimous decision over Mark Dickman (9-2). Lawrence was cut from the UFC after losses to Max Holloway and Daniel Pineda, but has won his two bouts since then and shown some major improvements in his wrestling and cardio. One would think that a couple of title defenses would have him drop the RFA belt like predecessor Brian Ortega and head for the Octagon once again. After the riveting softball game had concluded, Titan FC 29 ended up being a pretty decent show for something that was pre-empted by women’s softball. Mike Ricci (10-4) continued to look impressive against past-their-prime UFC castoffs. His opponent this time around was George Sotiropoulos (14-7) who has now dropped his past five fights. Ricci was simply the better fighter on the feet, and Sotiropoulos didn’t have the wrestling to take him out of that realm for long enough to get any offense going. Kurt Holobaugh (11-2) was more emphatic in his second victory since being cut from the UFC and joining Titan. It took just 15 seconds for him to land a big right hand that stopped Lloyd Woodard (13-5) dead in his tracks and sent the Bellator veteran stumbling to the ground. From there, a few more rights sealed the deal. With the win Holobaugh earns a shot at the inaugural Titan FC featherweight title. Bristol Marunde (14-9) also picked up a win on the televised portion of the card, taking a decision over Micah Miller (19-7, 1 NC), while Fight Master runner-up Mike Bronzoulis (15-8-1) fell victim to a rear-naked choke from Keith Johnson (10-2). Mirko Cro CopAction shifted over to the Far East on Saturday morning as the UFC set up shop in Macau, but DEEP and Inoki Genome Fight also had solid cards lined up. The most notable result coming out of those two shows was Mirko Filipovic (29-11-2, 1 NC) upsetting Satoshi Ishii (12-3-1) in the main event of IGF 2. Ishii was able to get Cro Cop to the ground in the first round, but the Croatian opened up a massive cut with an elbow from the bottom. The fight continued on, but Filipovic seemed to target the cut in the striking exchanges during the second round, and after multiple stoppages to check the wound, the bout was stopped by the doctor. The loss snapped an eight-fight winning streak for Ishii, and marked Cro Cop’s first MMA victory since 2012. DEEP 68 was certainly the more robust of the Japanese cards from Saturday. The main event featured Yuki Motoya (12-4) reclaiming his flyweight title from Tatsumitsu Wada (11-8-2, 1 NC). Motoya had dropped his title to Wada via unanimous decision last August, but earned a shot at redemption after three consecutive wins. He didn’t let the second chance go to waste, as he submitted Wada with a rear-naked choke in the second round. Also posting submission wins on DEEP 68 were Masakazu Imanari (28-13-2), Michihiro Omigawa (14-14-1), and Kazunori Yokota (21-5-3). Imanari is still as dangerous as anyone on the planet attacking his opponent’s legs, as he posted his 12th career victory via leg lock in just 22 seconds. Omigawa needed just 1:02 to lock in a straight armbar, while Yokota took almost forever in comparison to finish his fight with a kimura at 2:38 of round one. Some other results from around the globe include:

  • Former Cage Warriors title challengers Joni Salovaara (14-7) and Mikael Silander (12-3) both picked up stoppage victories on home soil at Cage Challenger 3.
  • Lightweight Darrell Horcher (10-1) won a unanimous decision over Alex Ricci (8-3) in the main event of CFFC 40. With the CFFC lightweight title recently vacated by Paul Felder, Horcher should be in line for a title shot.
  • Landon Vannata (5-0) was victorious at Jackson’s MMA Series 13. The prospect was linked to World Series of Fighting back in January, but never fought with that promotion.
  • Invicta FC veteran Jennifer Maia (9-3-1) picked up a win at Talent MMA Circuit 11. Her Chute Boxe teammate Julio Cesar Araujo (6-0) remained undefeated on the same card as well.
  • Carlos ‘Indio’ Pereira (32-10-1) gets better with age. After starting his career 6-7, the 35-year-old has gone 26-3-1 since then, and picked up another win at Shooto Brazil 49. Luciano Azevedo (17-9-1) — better known as the only man to defeat Jose Aldo — returned to MMA after a three-year absence and picked up a win on the card as well.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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