Josh Quayhagen's first pro MMA win was a memorable one at Bellator 52. | Photo: Keith Mills
LAKE CHARLES, La. -- Maybe it was because it was in Josh Quayhagen’s hometown. Maybe it was because this was the first MMA bout for Brazilian kickboxing star Cosmo Alexander. Regardless of circumstance, it was Quayhagen who upset the highly-touted lightweight striker, taking a unanimous decision win in the attention-grabbing moment Bellator 52’s undercard at the L’Auberge du Lac Casino.
Alexander, who compiled a 40-14-1 record as a world-traveled kickboxer, failed to live up to the hype, but it was Quayhagen's doing. Despite a pedestrian 9-6 mark as an amateur, the 25-year-old hometown hero was fearless while striking and was the more aggressive fighter throughout the match. While Alexander landed a few heavy shots -- low kicks especially -- that collectively took the air out of the crowd, Quayhagen’s jab and superior movement did most of the consistent, effective damage.
“I’ve just always been a standup guy, and that’s what I knew I was getting into when I took this fight,” a jubilant Quayhagen told Sherdog.com. “I didn’t want to fight on the ground, so you saw a standup war for three rounds. A lot of people told me not to take this fight, [because] it was a lose-lose [situation], but I didn’t look at it that way. I was making my pro debut, and who better to learn from than a guy like Cosmo, with such an impressive background?”
On several occasions, Quayhagen caught Alexander kicks and countered, putting the star striker on the canvas.
Quayhagen’s in-and-out striking puzzled the Brazilian, who has already earned a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under Marcelo Nigue and has trained in Boca Raton, Fla., with the likes of former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and K-1 veteran Tyrone Spong since moving to Florida this past December to focus on his MMA career.
Though the fight was competitive throughout the first two rounds, Quayhagen dashed any hopes the 29-year-old Alexander had in the third frame. After again matching Alexander tit-for-tat on the feet, he secured a takedown with less than two minutes ago, chipping away from full guard. Alexander was able to maneuver back to his feet with 10 seconds left, but it was far too little, too late.
All three judges -- Joe Ancona, Jordan Bass and Corey Manuel -- saw the bout 30-27 for Quayhagen, who earned a considerably dramatic first win in his professional mixed martial arts career. However, in spite of the upset win and the fact that he overcame considerable adversity, the Lake Charles lightweight was unsatisfied with his performance.
“No excuses at all, but I had to learn how to fight southpaw over the last few weeks, since I haven’t been able to put a ton of pressure on my right foot, as I fractured it a few weeks back,” Quayhagen revealed. “It could have been an excuse to pull out of this fight, but I just used it as motivation.”
Brazilian featherweight Genair da Silva might not have been able to make weight for his bout with Bryan Goldsby, but he certainly took care of business in the cage better than he did on the scale, earning a smooth first-round submission.
Da Silva came in at 150.5 Friday for the 145-pound contest, and was unable to shed any more weight, thus forfeiting 20 percent of his undisclosed purse to Goldsby. However, in the cage, the Brazilian’s superior grappling showed up quickly.
After springing up from an early Goldsby takedown, da Silva threw the Macon, Ga., native to the ground and set up in side control. Goldsby tried to scramble, but da Silva locked on a tight brabo choke from the front-headlock position. Goldsby tried valiantly to roll out, but was ensnared and forced to tap out at 3:51 of the first.
With the W, the 27-year-old Junior PQD moved to 11-4 in his MMA campaign.
Batesville, Ark., resident Justin Frazier remained unbeaten, as “The Grizzly Bear” used his strength advantage and a vicious top game to take out Liron Wilson less than two minutes into their heavyweight contest.
The unbeaten Frazier, a former power lifter, started his training camp at 288 pounds before clocking in at 263 for Friday’s weigh-in. As soon as the bell rang, the strength difference was apparent: Frazier rushed in with punches and dove for the takedown, easily securing side control. After that, it was only a matter of time, as Frazier began slinging heavy leather at his helpless opponent’s head, forcing referee Myron Gaudet to rescue the Fresno, Calif., native just 1:50 into the affair.
The 22-year-old Frazier is now 5-0 in his nine-month MMA career with five stoppages inside of three minutes.
In the evening's opener, undefeated Matt Van Buren gave up nine pounds, but still dispatched Nick Nichols in their 213-pound catchweight duel in the second round to move his pro MMA mark to 4-0.
After securing a takedown, the Virginia Beach, Va., product easily controlled Nichols on the ground, eventually forcing him to turn to the side and expose his back. Van Buren unleashed two vicious punches to the side of the head that forced Nichols, making his pro debut, to turtle up. Referee Gaudet sensed Nichols was helpless and called the bout at 2:29 of the second frame.
A slated heavyweight contest between Zak Jensen and Josh Burns was scrapped on Friday after Bellator Season 5 heavyweight tournament entrant Thiago Santos was unable to secure a visa to compete on the card, forcing Jensen to take his place in the bracket against Bulgarian sambist Blagoi Ivanov.