Brian Foster will not have pleasant memories of his encounter with Justin Gaethje.
Gaethje kept his perfect professional record intact and retained the World Series of Fighting lightweight championship, as he cut down Foster with first-round leg kicks in the WSOF 29 headliner on Saturday at the Bank of Colorado Arena in Greeley, Colorado. Foster (25-9) succumbed to kicks 1:43 into round one.
As many anticipated, it was fun while it lasted. Both men swung for the fences, and Gaethje briefly floored the challenger with a left hook. Foster returned to his feet and was met with a series of kicks to the outside of his left knee, the last of which buckled the 31-year-old and dropped him to the mat in visible pain. Gaethje (15-0) then scaled the cage and punctuated his latest conquest with one of his trademark backflips.
In the heavyweight co-main event, former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Josh Copeland made a successful promotional debut, as he left the cage with a unanimous decision over Mike Hayes. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Copeland (12-3).
Hayes (19-11-2) did little to give the “Cuddly Bear” pause. Copeland utilized a probing jab, backed up the onetime Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder with occasional power punches and clinched when the mood struck. Hayes never adjusted. By the time it was over, he had lost all three rounds and had blood streaming from his nose and mouth.
The 35-year-old Hayes is 1-7-1 across his past nine outings.
Meanwhile, Bellator MMA and Strikeforce veteran Louis Taylor choked Cory Devela unconscious with a standing guillotine in the first round of their middleweight showcase. Devela (16-7), who had not been submitted since Luke Rockhold did the honors nearly seven years ago, went limp 29 seconds into round one.
Taylor (12-3) waited for an opening and did not miss it. He countered an ill-advised takedown attempt from Devela with the guillotine, backed him to the fence and squeezed until he lost consciousness. Once referee Tom Johnson signaled it was over, Taylor released the choke and let his counterpart collapse to the canvas face down.
The 36-year-old Taylor has won five fights in a row, the last four by guillotine choke.
In other action, Kris Hocum (8-4) eked out a split decision -- 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 -- against Josh Cavan (11-7) in their three-round welterweight pairing; Ian Heinisch (3-0) captured a unanimous verdict over Tyler Vogel (2-1) in their 15-minute confrontation at 185 pounds, earning 30-26, 30-26 and 29-27 marks on the scorecards; Josh Huber (16-9) took a unanimous decision from Clay Wimer (6-1) in their three-round featherweight battle, picking up 30-27 scores from all three judges; and Brandon Royval (3-1) knocked out Danny Mainus (3-5) with a knee 2:48 into the first round of their clash at 135 pounds.