No one can question J.C. Cottrell’s resilience.
The former King of the Cage champion submitted Ed Cline Jr. with a standing rear-naked choke in the Legacy Fighting Championship 45 headliner on Friday at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Okla. Cline (8-5-1), who had locked in a tight standing guillotine just moments earlier, met his surprising end 1:18 into round one.
The welterweights did not waste time. Cline staggered his counterpart with a clean right hand and snatched an arm-in guillotine during their opening exchange. Cottrell (16-3) was in visible distress but remained calm and waited for the squeeze to subside. Once free from the choke, he climbed on the unsuspecting Cline’s back, cinched the choke and elicited the tapout.
Cottrell, 25, has won five fights in a row and 14 of his last 15.
In the featherweight co-main event, unbeaten Blackzilians prospect Caio Rocha knocked out James Warren with a first-round front kick to the face. Rocha (4-0) brought it to a close 4:49 into round one, as the 22-year-old made a successful stateside debut.
Warren (6-3) sat down the Brazilian with a left hook a little less than two minutes into the match. Rocha responded by securing a pair of takedowns and neutralizing the mohawked Oklahoman on the canvas. He pinned Warren against the cage, exited to his feet through an open guard and set the trap. Warren relaxed his defenses while trying to return to an upright position and ate a shin to his face for his troubles, collapsing where he stood and prompting referee Kevin Nix to act.
Meanwhile, American Elite MMA rep Derrick Adkins submitted Jesse Chaffin with a first-round brabo choke in a featured battle at 155 pounds. Chaffin (6-4) conceded defeat 2:56 into round one, as he lost for the third time in four appearances.
Adkins (4-1) executed multiple takedowns, freed himself from an attempted guillotine and settled into side control. He caught the choke when Chaffin tried to scramble to his feet and drove him to a kneeling position, hooking the Victory Fighting Championship alum’s leg in the process. With all escape routes cut off, Chaffin had no choice but to tap.
Elsewhere, Next Generation MMA export Bilal Williams snapped a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision over Canaan Grigsby in a three-round middleweight showcase. Williams (4-2) netted 30-27 scores across the board.
Grigsby (4-3) did not enjoy the 15-minute encounter. Williams delivered a crushing head kick in the first round that left the Oklahoman with a badly disfigured nose and made it difficult for him to breathe. From there, the bout grew less and less competitive. A combination of fatigue and damage had Grigsby in a zombie-like state midway through round two and left him unable to sufficiently defend himself. Williams (4-2) attacked the legs, body and head with success, as he fired away with high-percentage strikes, from jabs and hooks to knees, kicks and standing elbows.
The 34-year-old Grigsby appeared to be on the verge of collapse throughout the third round but survived to see the final bell. Blood was everywhere.
In other action, Kaline Medeiros (6-4) swept to a unanimous decision over Kathina Catron (6-7) in a three-round women’s strawweight scrap, earning 30-27 marks from all three judges; and Emmanuel Rivera (2-0) wiped out Wes Sharp (0-4) with an overhand right and follow-up hammerfists 44 seconds into the first round of their featherweight clash.