Adrian Pang connects on Yui Chul Nam. | Photo Courtesy: Legend FC
Twelve months after fighting to a majority draw at Legend Fighting Championship’s first event, Adrian Pang and Yui Chul Nam got to do it again on Thursday in the main event of Legend FC 4 at Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Expo exhibition center.
While the result was little more conclusive than their initial encounter, the judges did decide a victor this time around. Originally booked as a championship bout with Pang’s lightweight belt on the line, the rematch became a non-title affair when Nam failed to make weight on Wednesday.
After a tense first few minutes, Nam took the driver’s seat, using hard inside low kicks and left hands to stumble the champion. Pang returned fire, however, and opened a deep gash on Nam’s left eyebrow which would affect the rest of the fight. Both bleeding, Pang and Nam stood toe-to-toe in the next round, each man swinging for the fences and taking his turn landing haymakers. Pang targeted the cut above Nam’s left eye and succeeded in forcing the ringside doctor to check on his opponent late in the round.
The fight’s pace slowed in the last stanza, though the punches from both men stayed hard as they picked their shots down the line. In the end, two judges saw the match 29-28 in Pang’s favor, while the dissenting judge gave the same score for Nam.
New Zealander Rodney MacSwain was crowned Legend’s first welterweight champion, as he took a three-round unanimous verdict over Pancrase veteran Hoon Kim.
The heavy-handed Kim dropped MacSwain with a three-punch combination halfway through the first round, but MacSwain kept his composure, surviving to crack the Korean with a looping left hook minutes later. The same punch found its mark early in the second, prompting Hoon to smile and offer MacSwain a mid-round handshake for his work.
MacSwain again put Kim down in the second, but soon after found himself in a triangle choke attempt. Quickly escaping, MacSwain controlled the fight from atop Kim, and then popped his opponent with several more hard hooks when they were stood back up.
The third round was largely a standup affair, with MacSwain getting the better of the punching exchanges before taking Kim down in the final 60 seconds. Kim was also issued a yellow card for a second inadvertent kick to MacSwain’s groin. The point deduction would not come into play, as the judges turned in scorecards of 29-26 and 30-26, twice, all in favor of “Hot Rod” MacSwain.
Chinese prospect Jing Liang Li weathered a rough stretch and choked out Australian Tony Rossini in their welterweight contest.
An early guillotine attempt from Li precipitated a Rossini takedown, which the Australian used to dominate the first round, taking Li’s back and nearly finishing with a rear-naked choke. In the second, Li cracked his foe with a right hand and snared another guillotine as Rossini shot in for a double leg. Li rolled to guard and wrenched the choke, and Rossini went unconscious for several seconds before referee Thomas Fan stepped in to halt the match at the 1:11 mark.
In the first of two bantamweight title tournament semifinals, Chinese wrestling convert Hong Gang Yao used his base skill to edge out a narrow unanimous decision against Australian Michael Mortimer. Despite being floored twice by punches in the first minute of the fight, Yao recovered and even sunk in a deep guillotine choke toward the end of the opening frame.
Mortimer used his hands well in the second, but could not resist the strong takedowns of Yao. In the final round, the Aussie once again out-boxed a tiring Yao, this time managing to stay upright for the majority of the round. Nonetheless, all three judges gave the hometown fighter the nod with scores of 30-27 and 29-28, twice.
It took 19-year-old Nam Jin Jo until the second round to defeat Yohan Mulia Legowo, though the brash South Korean had vowed to take out the Indonesian veteran in the first period of their bantamweight tournament semifinal. Eleven years Legowo’s junior, Jo grinded away from top position throughout much of the first five minutes.
Jo’s strength advantage became more pronounced in the next round, when he battered Legowo with ground-and-pound before forcing him to submit to a rear-naked choke at the 3:20 mark. With the win, Jo moves on to face Yao for the inaugural bantamweight title at Legend’s next event.
The evening’s “Fight of the Night” honors went to welterweights Alex Niu and Wang Sai. After three hard-fought rounds, the muay Thai specialist Niu took a unanimous decision over his countryman.
New Zealand’s Pat Crawley picked up his second win inside the Legend ring, forcing Indian “Basher” Bhupesh Kamble to tap out to punches at 3:31 of the first frame.
Yeong Gwang Choi took a unanimous decision against 18-year-old sanda specialist Aorigele.
Filipino featherweight Mark Eddiva submitted the Hong Kong-based Alex Lee with a guillotine choke in the first round of what was both men’s MMA debut.