UFC Fight Night 137 and Bellator 205 did not have the mixed martial arts market cornered during the weekend of Sept. 21-23. One Championship “Conquest of Heroes” on Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia, decided the fate of the promotion’s strawweight title, and Legacy Fighting Alliance 50 on Friday in Prior Lake, Minnesota, played host to a number of impressive finishes.
YOUTHFUL PROMISE … The One Championship “Conquest of Heroes” main event saw a strawweight title fight between the promotion’s Japanese champion Yoshitaka Naito and Filipino challenger Joshua Pacio. It was a rematch of their 2016 showdown, which was won by Naito. This time, Pacio outlanded his adversary on the feet and got the better of the grappling exchanges when the action hit the mat. The 22-year-old showed impressive wrestling in stuffing numerous Naito takedown attempts. After five rounds, Pacio emerged victorious by unanimous decision, claimed the strawweight crown and upped his record to 13-2. The deposed Naito slid to 13-2.
upset— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) September 22, 2018
Koyomi Matsushima TKOs Marat Gafurov in 1R pic.twitter.com/wM40CoSDGb
IMPRESSIVE DEBUT … In supporting One Championship action, former featherweight titleholder Marat Gafurov met promotional debutante Koyomi Matsushima. A Matsushima right hook to the head felled Gafurov. The Japanese pugilist then pounced on his dazed, crouching opponent and cut into him with a flurry of punches until the referee called off the contest. The official time was 2:41 of Round 1. Matsushima improved to 10-3, while Gafurov dropped to 16-2.
A NEW POWER RISES … The vacant Legacy Fighting Alliance middleweight title was on the line in the LFA 50 headliner, with Brendan Allen facing off with Tim Hiley. The first two rounds were fairly competitive. In the third stanza, Allen secured a takedown from the clinch against the cage. Having landed in side control, he transitioned to his opponent’s back and after some adjustments secured the fight-ending rear-naked choke from the bottom. Hiley initially hung tough but eventually succumbed 3:16 into Round 3. The win moved Allen to 10-3, with all 10 of his victories coming by stoppage. This was Hiley’s first career defeat, as he fell to 7-1.
PUNCHING POWER … In supporting LFA 50 heavyweight action, American Brian Heden squared off with Brazilian Raphael Pessoa. The early going saw Pessoa land some heavy leg kicks, but an undeterred Heden kept pushing forward until he was hit by a right hook to the head, which caused him to tumble face first to the mat. Another Pessoa right hand followed before the referee dived in. The official time of the stoppage was 1:39 of Round 1. Pessoa improved to 9-0 in victory, while Heden dropped to 30-17.
FLYING KNEE … LFA 50 was buoyed by a welterweight scrap between Bobby Lee and Ben Neumann. It was soon apparent that the stocky Lee possessed a considerable speed advantage. The end came 3:50 into the second frame, where Lee leaped off his feet and launched himself through the air. Neumann responded by crouching down in an ill-advised maneuver, as he was caught by a right knee to the side of the head from the still-airborne Lee. The referee stepped in and prevented a semi-conscious Neumann from taking more punishment. With the emphatic finish, the 22-year-old Lee rose to 8-2. Neumann dipped to 13-6.