Ward Wins While Eying Mega Megu

By Josh Gross and Dave Mandel Jul 15, 2007
COMPTON, Calif., July 14 -- With an early submission under the stars Saturday at the Crystal Park Casino, American Lisa Ward (Pictures), flyweight champion of the Fatal Femme Fighting organization, may have locked up a shot at arguably the best female fighter in the sport.

Eyeing a fight against Japan's Megumi Fujii (Pictures), who recently signed to fight at 125 pounds with Bodog, Ward faced the tall and skinny Taeko Nagamine during the main event of the seven-bout women-only mixed martial arts card.

Carrying her 109-pound title into the cage, Ward needed less than one round to assert dominance over Nagamine (2-3). Locking up in the center of the cage, Ward twisted the Tokyoite off her feet before helping gravity by driving Nagamine onto the mat.

Ward went on the offensive, landing a big elbow from mount that had Nagamine backpedaling the rest of the way. Ward transitioned to back-control, where she remained during several series of vicious punch and hammerfist sequences to the head.

After several attempts, Ward (9-2) finally locked on a rear-naked choke, forcing Nagamine to tap at 2:37 of the opening period.

FFF promoter Eddie Millis said he'd like Ward to fight Fujii, but the weight discrepancy is a concern.

If it wasn't for Megumi Yabushita (Pictures)'s grit, Ginelle Marquez (Pictures) would have walked out of the cage tonight with a stoppage victory. With Josh Barnett (Pictures) in her corner Marquez doled out three rounds of punishment, which was reflected in the lopsided scoring by judges at ringside.

Luis Cobain saw it a conservative but accurate 30-27; Ralph McKnight thought Marquez's performance deserved a lopsided 30-24; Dej Sri-Ampai rounded out the scoring with a 30-26 tally, marking round two as 10-8 for Marquez.

Securing position on the canvas after early scrambles, Marquez took Yabushita's back and pounded away with punches. The second round played out in similar fashion, and it was clear that Yabushita could not win a decision as action headed to the third.

The Japanese fighter, who weighed 127 pounds to Marquez's 134, tried to make it a war, with fists and hair flying in volleys. But Marquez put it back on the canvas, dominating with a series of punches and elbows from mount and back-control that had some fans calling referee Jason Herzog for a stoppage.

Vanessa Porto's victory over Tonya Evinger (Pictures) secured a Femme Fatal title shot against 135-pound champion Roxanne Modafferi (Pictures).

Evinger scored off the opening bell, connecting with a punch that put Porto down. But the Brazilian rebounded and eventually swept to the top. Passing guard to mount, Porto patiently waited before attacking Evinger's right arm. The tapout from armbar came at 2:14 of the first.

Angela Samaro made her pro MMA debut a successful one, submitting Crystal Harris (Pictures) via armbar at 1:08 of the second period. Samaro was the aggressor throughout by using her power to walk through Harris while delivering her own strikes.

Jessica Pene took advantage of Sumie Sakai's sloppy judo by taking the Japanese 115-pounder's back several times off throws. What would have been a nice arm-drag by Sakai in the third resulted in Pene extending her opponent's left arm to induce a tap at the 33-second mark.

Sophie Bagerdai overwhelmed Stephanie Palmer to force a referee stoppage 67 seconds after the opening bell. Palmer had to be carried out of the cage on a stretcher, saying she'd badly injured her right foot during the short contest, and was transported to UCLA Harbor Hospital.

Yoko Takahashi (Pictures) finished the 16-pound lighter Keiko Tomai midway through the opening round. Awkwardly applying pressure on Tomai's left knee, Takahashi earned the submission at 2:27 of the first.
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