Jens Pulver tasted victory at XFO 38. | C. Yucus/Sherdog.com
WOODSTOCK, Ill. -- Jens Pulver isn’t ready to hang up his gloves just yet.
The former UFC lightweight champion survived a whirlwind start to his XFO 38 featherweight main event bout at Woodstock Harley Davidson Saturday night with Mike Lindquist, snapping a six-fight losing streak at the 49 second mark of the first round with his first win since December 2007.
“If I got beat, it meant it was over,” said Pulver, who joined Team Curran and set up shop living in an upstairs room at Jeff Curran’s Curran Martial Arts Academy in Crystal Lake, Ill., for three months leading up the fight.
“I love were I live, I Iove training with these guys,” Pulver said, crediting his time working with Curran for reviving his career. “All my old coaches, I love them to death -- but [their tutelage] fell on deaf ears ... These guys spend a lot of time with me, and do a lot of stuff for me.”
Lindquist came out of the gates swinging, and landed a left hand that opened up a cut near Pulver’s right eye in the fast-paced opening to the fight. But a takedown attempt from Lindquist ended up with Pulver taking his opponent’s back and the two combatants tumbled to the mat. From there, it was a matter of seconds before Pulver cinched up a rear-naked choke, forcing the Team Blood Loss fighter to tap.
“I thought I was going to put him down, but he recovered pretty quick,” said Lindquist. “I tried a takedown, but he was sweaty and slipped underneath me.”
Pulver said he was battling nerves as he stepped into battle with the long losing streak.
“All I could think about was, ‘God, not again, not another [loss].’ I'm getting in the cage and I'm like, ‘Find it man, find the fire’ … like Bart [Palaszewski] said -- ‘Be that Lil Evil.’”
Curran stated that he was happy to help Pulver in his quest to revitalize his career.
“It means the world that I could be a part of that,” said Curran. “We’ve all been trying to determine out a way to resurrect his career. It’s been a hard three or four months, he’s been living in my gym … he just handed it over. He said, “Take charge,” and I canceled everything.”
It was a big evening for Team Curran, who finished 3-0 in the pro portion of the night.
International Fight League veteran Mike Corey earned a unanimous decision victory over Tom Ahrens in the evening’s co-main event. Corey controlled the fight on the ground in the first frame, taking Ahrens’ back and threatening with a rear-naked choke. Ahrens opened the second with an early takedown of his own, but Corey escaped, and later returned the favor, working some ground-and-pound from half guard.
The third round saw Corey land a series of knees to Ahrens’ head from the muay Thai clinch, crumpling the Team Destruction fighter, who dropped a knee on the canvas. The Curran protégé finished the duel on top, earning a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-26, 30-26). The win was the fifth in a row for Corey, who entered the fight following a 13 month hiatus.
Joey Diehl did not disappoint the decidedly pro-Team Curran crowd in the evening’s second pro bout, earning a tapout via RNC from Chicago Fight Team’s Dexter Wright in the opening period of their flyweight contest.
Diehl opened with a pair of sharp low kicks before shooting a double-leg takedown and quickly transitioning to mount. Wright gave up his back, and Diehl wasted little time sinking in the choke, securing a tapout at the 2:53 mark.
Midwest Training Center’s Will Brooks also had a victorious pro debut at lightweight, earning a TKO victory over Team Zombie’s J.R. Hines in the evening’s first pro contest. “Ill Will” scored a quick double-leg takedown and proceeded directly to the mount, where he pounded out Hines for a TKO stoppage at 2:09 of round one.