John Alessio countered Luiz Firmino to a decision nod at SCC 3 in Vegas. | Photo: Paul Hernandez
LAS VEGAS -- One of the most consistent fighters on the MMA circuit, Vancouver native John Alessio has taken on some of the toughest opponents in virtually every organization that matters. Making his lightweight debut in the main event of Superior Cage Combat 3 inside the frigid Orleans Arena on Friday night, Alessio was expected to have his hands full against Pride Fighting Championships veteran Luiz Firmino.
Those expectations were correct.
“Buscape,” a high level Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, was the aggressor from the start and forced Alessio to fight his fight. Alessio appeared frustrated by Firmino’s pressure and submission defense. Late in the first round, Alessio couldn’t close the show with an armbar and also missed at a guillotine attempt in the second frame.
In the final round, fatigue overtook the combatants and the action slowed considerably. Neither man was able to put an exclamation point on the fight, but Alessio was able to emerge victorious via unanimous decision thanks to identical scores of 29-28 from all three judges. Sherdog.com also scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Alessio.
“I thought it was close,” the Xtreme Couture fighter said after his win. “He scored a lot of takedowns but didn’t really do much with them. I thought I had better striking. It was close and I’m happy with the result. He was tough.”
Alessio, now 33-14, said he “felt good” after fighting at lightweight for the first time after a successful career at 170 pounds. Firmino, from Finney’s HIT Squad in St. Louis, fell to 20-6.
In the co-main event, Bristol Marunde and Jay Silva (7-5) did little to excite the crowd until the final 90 seconds of their SCC middleweight title contest. After four-plus rounds of very little action that elicited choruses of boos, Silva almost ended the duel with a sinister right hand. The punch badly wobbled Marunde, but the Reign MMA fighter simply couldn’t put away his foe. Marunde hung tough and wound up mounting Silva late after a sprawl, but time ran out before he could dole out any real punishment.
“I never felt in danger though he landed some good shots,” the Team Throwdown fighter said afterward. “It just motivated me to keep going.”
The three ringside judges awarded Marunde a unanimous decision via tallies of 49-46 and 48-47 (twice). Sherdog.com saw it 48-47 for Marunde, who improved to 15-6.
In other action, “The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights” cast member James McSweeney (13-9) tapped out to a rear naked choke from Reign MMA’s Emanuel Newton (16-6) in the first round. Newton controlled most of the action, took the Denver-based Brit down and seized his back to secure the choke. The official time of the submission came at 4:25.
An illegal elbow cost Goon Squad member Dominique Robinson (7-4-1) dearly in his bout with Xtreme Couture’s Steve Lopez (12-5-1), as the one-point deduction resulted in a majority draw between the two lightweights after three rounds. .
Fortaleza, Brazil’s Porfirio Alves won a tough unanimous decision over Alonzo Martinez via tallies of 30-27 and 29-28 (twice). Alves (8-3), a lightweight who fights out of Finney’s Hit Squad in St. Louis, used superior grappling and smoother striking to earn the win. Martinez, from the Premier Combat Center in Omaha, fell to 32-15.
Shane Nelson won via TKO in the second round of his lightweight bout against Lance Wipf (8-5) when the Xtreme Couture representative injured his knee while setting up a triangle. The fight was immediately stopped and Nelson (15-5), who comes from the BJ Penn’s MMA camp, was awarded the victory at the 2:15 mark.
In a rematch from the first SCC card, Boston-born Phil Dace (8-2) won a hard-fought unanimous decision over Xtreme Couture’s Dave Terrel (6-6) in a welterweight bout. All three judges scored the contest 29-27.
Team Throwdown’s Cameron Diffley (3-0) demonstrated superior submission skills in forcing Wand Fight Team’s Sidney Silva (8-4) to tap to an armbar at 4:01 of the opening frame in a welterweight scrap.
In another welterweight affair, Team Fryklund’s Shawn Fitzsimmons scored a second-round TKO of Team Mica representative Blas Avena (7-6) with a barrage of strikes at 3:42 of the second round.
Medford, Ore., native Marlin “Shorty” Weikel (9-2) capitalized during a scramble midway through the second round of his featherweight tilt with Xtreme Couture’s Kui Gonsalve (3-1) and secured a rear naked choke to force the tap. The official time of the submission came at 2:30.