Leandro Higo made Legacy Fighting Alliance history on Friday night, and he just might have punched his ticket to the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the process.
Higo, the former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champ, claimed the new promotion’s bantamweight title with an impressive five-round verdict over ex-Legacy FC titlist Steven Peterson in the LFA 1 headliner at the Bomb Factory in Dallas. The 27-year-old Brazilian swept the scorecards by identical 50-45 counts to win his eighth consecutive bout. Peterson (14-5) saw a six-fight winning streak come to an end.
Higo (17-2) battered his opponent throughout the 25-minute affair, flurrying with hard and fast punching combinations that left Peterson bloodied from opening stanza. Higo repeatedly snapped his foe’s head back with counter right hands, powerful hooks and uppercuts.
Despite absorbing a considerable amount of damage, Peterson continued to press forward throughout the contest. His best moment of the fight came in round four, when he landed a takedown and attached himself to Higo’s back as the Brazilian stood. “Ocho” secured a body triangle and squeezed desperately for the rear-naked choke, but Higo was able to survive and shake free of his adversary before the period ended. From there, he went back to the business of punishing Peterson with his hands until the fight concluded.
The event was the first for the new promotion following the official merger of RFA and Legacy FC at the conclusion of 2016.
In the co-main event, three-time UFC competitor Damon Jackson won his second in a row since his exit from the Las Vegas-based promotion by submitting Charles Cheeks III in a featherweight showdown. “The Leech” sunk in a rear-naked choke at the 1:24 mark of round two to cap off a relentless performance.
Jackson (11-1-1) spent the majority of the opening stanza attached to his opponent’s back, and he alternated between threatening with chokes and landing punches to the head. Still, Cheeks (11-6) kept his composure and made it to the final horn.
Jackson left nothing to chance in round two, as he put Cheeks on the floor with an overhand right in an initial exchange. The Metro Fight Club product quickly popped back up but ate a head kick and another right hand for his efforts before Jackson was able to drag the fight back to the canvas. From there, Jackson worked his way to Cheeks’ back and was able to successfully sink in the fight-ending choke.
Elsewhere, Eli Tamez returned after nearly a two-year hiatus to keep his unbeaten record intact, as he earned a split decision victory over Ulyses Aguila in a featured bantamweight affair. Two cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Tamez (10-0), while a third curiously submitted a 29-28 scorecard in favor of Aguila (6-2).
Tamez sprawled successfully on takedowns, repeatedly scrambled out of danger when Aguila threatened with submissions and took his opponent’s back in both the second and third frames. While prolonged standup exchanges were limited, “Tomahawk” did manage to briefly wobble Aguila with a short right hook on the feet in the second frame.
In earlier action: Cynthia Calvillo (3-0) stopped Montana Stewart (6-4) with ground-and-pound 2:54 into round three of their strawweight clash; Cameron Miller (2-0) tapped Oscar Ramirez (6-4) with a rear-naked choke 29 seconds into the first frame of their 130-pound catch-weight encounter; Sean Holden (5-2) captured a split verdict (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) over Armando Servin (4-5) at welterweight and Robert Butler (2-0) submitted Jessie Vasquez (2-2) with a neck crank 4:36 into the opening stanza of their featherweight clash.