Meaningful MMA exists beyond the confines of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Bellator MMA and World Series of Fighting. In this monthly series, Sherdog.com recaps the month that was on the regional circuit in mixed martial arts:
Valdines Silva saw the hype surrounding Jonas Bilharinho and shrugged.
The Pitbull Brothers representative took out the previously unbeaten Bilharinho with second-round punches and laid claim to the Jungle Fight featherweight championship in the Jungle Fight 86 co-headliner on April 30 in Palmas, Brazil. Silva finished it 3:52 into round two.
Silva was the aggressor from the start. He controlled the cage from the center, as he chipped away at the highly touted Team Nogueira prospect with stabbing jabs, winging rights and heavy leg kicks. Silva flurried at times and also executed a takedown late in the first round that kept the momentum in his corner. Bilharinho at one point swept him off his feet after catching a kick, but that was the extent of his early offense.
Bilharinho seemed to turn the tide in the second round, where he unloaded with kicks to the leg and body, straight lefts, overhand rights and close-quarters knees. Silva weathered the assault, slowed the 25-year-old’s advances by luring him into the clinch and then reset at a distance. From there, he forced Bilharinho to cover up along the fence with a wild volley of punches and knees to the body and head. Silva floored his fellow Brazilian with a right hook and finished him with a series of hammerfists while the fallen Bilharinho tried desperately to cling to his leg.
Meanwhile, the Jungle Fight bantamweight belt changed hands in the main event, as Josenaldo Silva pocketed a unanimous decision over Constrictor Team’s Maike Linhares Galvao Amorim. Silva, 29, has rattled off 16 consecutive victories since suffering back-to-back submission defeats to Dileno Lopes and Dalton Mello Lima in 2011.
Undefeated Kunchenko Snatches M-1 Global Gold
Alexey Kunchenko has become impossible to ignore.
Kunchenko disposed of Murad Abdulaev with fourth-round punches to capture the M-1 Global welterweight championship in the M-1 Challenge 65 co-main event on April 8 at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Abdulaev succumbed to blows 3:12 into round four, as his modest two-fight winning streak grinded to a screeching halt.
Operating out of the Boets MMA camp in Tyumen, Russia, the 32-year-old Kunchenko has finished his last six opponents. His record now stands at 13-0.
Meanwhile, reigning M-1 Global middleweight champion Ramazan Emeev submitted Maiquel Falcao with a first-round anaconda choke in the semifinals of a four-man grand prix at 185 pounds. Falcao conceded defeat 2:50 into round one. Emeev will face former Bellator titlist Alexander Shlemenko in the tournament final at M-1 Challenge 68 on June 16.
Elsewhere, onetime M-1 Global lightweight titleholder Maxim Divnich rebounded from his first career defeat -- a technical knockout loss to Mansour Barnaoui in May 2015 -- to stop Robert Turnquest with second-round punches. Divnich brought it to a close 4:40 into round two, as he moved to 12-1.
In Brief: Pimblett, 21, Extends Streak in Cage Warriors
Fast-rising featherweight prospect Paddy Pimblett took a unanimous decision from Ashleigh Grimshaw in the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 75 co-main event on April 15 at Camden Centre in London. Pimblett, 21, has won six fights in a row ... UFC washout Piotr Hallmann eked out a split decision over Jason Ponet in the Slava Republic 1 headliner on April 30 in Bojano, Poland. The win improved Hallmann to 16-5 ... CSW’s Victor Henry bounced back from his failed title bid against Shintaro Ishiwatari, as he was awarded a unanimous verdict against Alan Yoshihiro Yamaniha in a bantamweight showcase at Pancrase 277 on April 24 at Differ Ariake in Tokyo. The 28-year-old Henry has won six of his last seven bouts ... Niko Price retained the Fight Time welterweight championship, as he put away Jose Caceres with punches 91 seconds into the first round of the Fight Time 30 headliner on April 22 at the War Memorial Auditorium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The 26-year-old Price, who trains out of an American Top Team affiliate, has finished all seven of his opponents as a professional.
Former two-division Deep champion Masakazu Imanari submitted Nam Phan with a heel hook 35 seconds into the first round of their Deep Cage Impact 2016 main event on April 23 at Differ Ariake in Tokyo. It was his eighth career victory via heel hook ... Nazareno Malegarie posted his seventh win in eight outings, as he choked Iramar Frota unconscious with a guillotine 35 seconds into round one of their Aspera Fighting Championship 34 headliner on April 16 at the Limoeiro do Norte Municipal Gymnasium in Limoeiro do Norte, Brazil ... World Series of Fighting alum Andrew McInnes extended his winning streak to seven fights, stopping Tom Gallicchio with fourth-round punches in the Triumph Fighting Championship 1 main event on April 22 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta. McInnes closed it out 4:48 into round four, his latest victory bringing with it the vacant Triumph Fighting Championship lightweight crown.