Clay french (top) edged James Krause at TFC 19. | Photo: Keith Mills
Former King of the Cage lightweight champion Clay French scrambled and hustled his way to a split verdict over James Krause in the HDNet Fights Presents Titan Fighting Championships 19 headliner on Friday at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. All three judges saw it 29-28, two of them siding with French.
Faced with an eight-inch height and four-inch reach disadvantage, French (19-6) worked hard to close the distance and secure takedowns when the opportunities presented themselves. Krause seemed content to try for submissions from his back, threatening with multiple guillotine chokes, and provided little resistance in terms of keeping the fight standing. French appeared to move ahead on the scorecards in rounds one and two, as he stayed busy, pushed to keep the fight on his terms and freed himself from Krause’s clutches more than once.
However, Krause (12-4) did not go quietly. The 25-year-old WEC and Bellator Fighting Championships veteran cracked French with a front kick to open the third round, backed him up with an uppercut and a right cross and landed a takedown of his own -- all inside the first minute. He then made French pay for an attempted knee bar, as he transitioned to top position and cinched an arm-triangle choke. French escaped but absorbed some elbows on the exit, and the round was lost.
French, who holds a win over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 6 winner Mac Danzig, has rattled off three consecutive victories since submitting to a guillotine choke from Eiji Mitsuoka under the Sengoku Raiden Championship banner in August 2009.
In the co-main event, 2004 Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann remained unbeaten and took a significant step forward in her development as a mixed martial artist with a one-sided unanimous decision over EliteXC veteran Tonya Evinger. McMann (3-0) swept the scorecards by matching 30-27 counts.
The first American to win Olympic silver in women’s wrestling, McMann delivered takedowns in all three rounds, as she bullied, smothered and largely short-circuited Evinger on the mat. She set the tone from the start, as she timed an ill-advised kick from Evinger, put her on the ground inside the first 30 seconds and settled into half guard, uncorking punches and elbows to the head and right hands to the body.
The scene repeated itself throughout the 15-minute affair, as Evinger (8-6) could not stay upright and failed to mount much in the way of offense outside of sporadic punches and an attempted triangle choke. Evinger bloodied McMann and may have broken her nose in the third round but again found herself pinned to the canvas with no viable means of escape.
Meanwhile, Brendan Seguin posted his fifth straight victory, as he took a hotly contested unanimous decision from UFC veteran Rob Kimmons. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for the 35-year-old Detroit native, who has not lost in nearly two years.
The two well-traveled middleweights engaged in a taxing clinch battle for much of the three-round encounter, as Seguin landed more strikes of consequence but received a diagonal cut near his left eye for his efforts. The spilled blood did nothing to discourage Seguin (23-17-1), as he attacked with punches to the body and short elbows to the face.
Kimmons (23-8) -- who was released by the UFC after defeats to “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 alum Kyle Noke and the once-beaten Dongi Yang -- now finds himself on a three-fight losing streak, the worst such skid of his career.
Lower on the TFC 19 lineup, Joe Wilk extended his winning streak to three fights with his one-sided unanimous decision (30-27 all) over Willian de Souza; Nick Nolte defeated Marcio Navarro by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 and 30-27); heavyweight prospect Alex Huddleston survived an illegal upkick to win his professional debut, ousting Daniel Gallemore by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25 and 29-26); and 20-year-old Anthony Gutierrez remained undefeated, as he struck Cody Land into submission with a knee and follow-up elbows 2:36 into the first round.