Chuck O’Neil earned a bloody and precious W over UFC vet Marcus Davis. | Photo: William Musacchia
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Heavily-favored Marcus Davis found himself up against a true challenge for the first time since his UFC departure, as former “Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 alum Chuck O’Neil shocked his fellow Octagon veteran with a split decision victory in the main event of Warrior-1 MMA 7 “Reloaded” Saturday night at the BankUnited Center.
The two New England natives exchanged opening rounds, in a hotly contested bout that took place all over the cage. O'Neil was able to use his reach to keep his distance on the smaller Bangor native despite him being the more classically-trained boxer.
In the third period, O'Neil took top position and blasted “The Irish Hand Grenade” with a nasty elbow, cutting the notoriously paper-skinned veteran. O’Neil maintained his dominant position even after referee Jorge Alonso stopped the bout so doctors may check the cut as blood began to spew.
The damage done proved to be enough as Davis could get in no more offense before the bell. Judges Mark Streisand and Jean Warring scored the bout 29-28 for the Bridgewater, Mass., native, while Hector Gomez saw it 29-28 for Davis. Sherdog.com saw the bout 29-28 O’Neil.
The victory represents a signature win for O’Neil, now 9-4 in his campaign. It was the first action for O’Neil since he dropped a unanimous decision to fellow cast member Chris Cope at the TUF 13 Finale in June. Davis falls to 20-9 with the loss.
After an 18-month lay-off, James Edson Berto returned to against adopted Miami hometown favorite, Luis Palomino in a lightweight contest. From the opening frame, it was apparent that Berto’s time off was of considerable hindrance, as he looked to have slowed from prior performances, and was easily outstruck by the native Peruvian.
The MMA Masters product controlled the bout from bell-to-bell, effectively shutting out the returning Berto. The Bellator veteran even badly hurting the “Tiger” with one of his own favorite attacks, a flying knee, Berto would however live to see the judge’s decision, but had little else to celebrate, dropping scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for the victorious Palomino.
15 pounds north of lightweight, Strikeforce veteran Nathan Coy dominated Patrick Mikesz from bell-to-bell in a one-sided welterweight affair.
Coy, a former Team Quest rep now training out of American Top Team, repeatedly took the Key West, Fla., native to the mat, badly mashing his face up with hammerfists and elbows from the top position. After 15 minutes, it was a no-brainer for the former Oregon State wrestler, who earned a unanimous 30-27 decision from judges Mark Streisand, Jean Warring, and Hector Gomez.
It was a tough opening frame for Kim Couture, who found herself considerably outclassed by kickboxing convert Suzie Montero in their 135-pound contest.
As Couture looked to wing punches, American Top Team's Montero -- who once fought Gina Carano in her muay Thai career -- used an array of kicks coupled with crisp punches to dominate the opening frame, even dropping Couture with a teep to the head. Couture came out looking to wrestle in the second frame, but found little success. The Las Vegas-based fighter then reverted back to looking for the one-shot kill, finding herself outstruck for the remainder of the bout.
Coral Springs, Fla.,-based Montero took three 29-28 scorecards for the unanimous decision victory, earning the first win of her pro MMA career. With her third straight loss, the 35-year-old Couture's pro mark now stands at 3-6.
Welterweights Sabah Homasi and John Manley fought 15 closely-matched minutes, with both men taking advantageous positions through different points of the fight , showing off their positional dominance and submission attempts. However, it was the Team Link product Manley who was ultimately the more consummate grappler, as he walked away with the nod as the judges unanimously scored the bout 29-28 in his favor.
Lightweight and local fan favorite Allen Arzeno put an end to Tom Waters’ night after being controlled for much of the first stanza. Arzeno came out for blood in the second, crushing the Canadian with a flying knee to the body and a sharp right cross. After additional strikes on the ground, referee Jorge Ortiz had seen enough, calling the bout at 3:12 of the second frame.
Frank Carrillo got only a short night of work as he put out Joseph Watson with a stiff uppercut as he came in for a takedown, just 37 seconds into their 180-pound contest. The MMA Masters product left his foe from ATT splayed out with the lone punch and mercifully walked away before referee Jorge Alonso could intervene.
It was all smiles for Lake Wales, Fla., welterweight Kenny Moss who cleanly outstruck American Top Team’s Bruno Reis de Maria before setting up a submission victory in the second frame. The stop came at 1:46 of round two when Moss got top position and drove his shoulder into de Maria's throat, forcing the St. Louis native to tap.
Giovanni Brugnoni needed only 57 seconds to oust Melbourne, Fla.'s James Wynn from the cage, as the American Top Team featherweight forced a tap via guillotine in the very first period.
Evolution MMA welterweight Michael Trujillo came out looking to impress, absolutely leveling Orlando native Eric Raposo with an overhand right and follow-up punches in just 57 seconds.
Debuting welterweight Anthony Garavito thoroughly dominated Davaun McKoy in the grappling department, cutting through the American Top Team product’s guard and working his way into mount seemingly at will. The Miami native eventually forced the tap via keylock at 2:57 of the final frame.
Karate specialist Michael Quinones used an array of exotic kicks to outland Denis Sejdievski in a bout between debuting lightweight strikers. After a thrilling 15 minutes, Margate, Fla.'s Quinones took home a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).