Joe Doerksen got busted wide open in the CFC 16 headliner. | David Bloomfield/Sherdog.com
SYDNEY, Australia -- Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard successfully defended his other title -- the Cage Fighting Championships middleweight crown -- Friday night at the Big Top Arena in Luna Park, as the Cuban Olympian earned a doctor's stoppage over tough Canadian Joe Doerksen in the headliner of CFC 16.
Lombard opened with a powerful left hook that stunned “El Dirte,” who immediately tried to get the American Top Team fighter on the ground. When it did hit the mat, it was Lombard on top, attacking with flurries of punches and elbows. Referee Steve Perceval stood the pair up, but Lombard landed a solid right hook that sat Doerksen down against the cage. It was here that Lombard landed a series of punches and elbows against the fence that opened up a large cut above the Canadian's hairline.
The blood flowed quickly, and before long Percival called the doctor into the cage to inspect the damage: the cut was two-and-a-half inches long, and the ringside physician remarked that he could see Doerksen's skull. The bout was then mercifully stopped, prompting a loud chorus of boos from the crowd.
"Hey guys, don't boo me please," implored the disappointed Lombard after the fight. "I represent Australia every time I fight; I don't know what to say to be honest." Next for the 33-year-old Lombard is a non-title affair for Bellator, as he takes on gritty Hawaiian veteran Falaniko Vitale at Bellator 44 on May 14 in Atlantic City, N.J.
In the co-feature, Manuel Rodriguez earned a unanimous decision (30-28, 30-28, 29-29) over New Zealand's Rodney "Hot Rod" MacSwain to become the No. 1 contender for CFC welterweight champion Jesse Juarez.
Having fought to an exciting decision at CFC 14 last June which Rodriguez won, the two fighters picked up exactly where they had left off. Rodriguez opened the bout with fierce low kicks, controlling the distance expertly. The TP Fight Team-trained fighter didn't have it all his own way though, as his New Zealander foe constantly moved forward in an attempt to get inside the range of the low kick, landing punches to the body and head.
The second round was the most entertaining of the three. Rodriguez bloodied the nose of the Kiwi with a stiff jab, before putting him on the mat where he threatened with an armbar with seconds left in the round. At the bell, MacSwain had Rodriguez lifted off the ground in an effort to slam out of the hold, but he resisted the temptation, giving a big smile to the crowd and letting Rodriguez down gently.
The pair slowed in the third after their furious first 10 minutes, but still managed an in-fight congratulatory high-five. MacSwain went for broke with a guillotine in the third, allowing Rodriguez to close out the fight with some heavy ground-and-pound to claim the decision, and the right to fight for Juarez's title.
In bantamweight action, Australian-based Nebraskan Nick Honstein put on a grappling clinic to finish Matt Wilken 63 seconds into the second round with a rear-naked choke.
After coming to the cage wearing a Daft Punk-style helmet with accompanying Daft Punk soundtrack, Honstein used the rubber guard in impressive fashion to control Southern Cross Jiu-Jitsu's Wilken, threatening with omoplatas, gogoplatas and armbars throughout the opening five minutes.
Wilken bravely made it to the first break, however, a quick scramble at the beginning of the second round saw Honstein briefly have full mount, then take the back and finish the choke for his third straight victory.
Lion Den's Josh Payne submitted Aussie-based New Zealander Jason Harris by armbar. The lightweight impressed with his grappling, transitioning from a triangle to the fight-ending armbar at 3:56 of the opening frame.
House of Pain's Chris Woranjowski and the Lion's Den Academy's Alex "Bolo" Le had a hard-fought welterweight battle that saw Woranjowski take the unanimous decision (30-28, 30-28, 29-29).
TP Fight Team's Zein Saliba rear-naked choked Chris Lofts 4:27 into their light heavyweight bout. In middleweight action, Lion's Den fighter Charlie Sukkar armbarred Luke Butler 66 seconds into their contest, while Chris Pattison punched out Chris Carterat 1:56 of the first round.
In the opening bout of the evening, heavyweight Marcelo Altieri defeated Leon Johns in just 70 seconds via arm-triangle choke.