Raufeon Stots passed the most significant test of his career to date and earned himself some championship hardware in the process.
The Roufusport prospect took a unanimous verdict (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) over seven-time UFC veteran Robert Emerson (18-12) in the Victory Fighting Championship 56 headliner at Baxter Arena in Omaha, Neb., on Friday night to win the promotion’s bantamweight crown. After the victory, “Supa” proclaimed himself ready to move on the sport’s next level.
“I want to be the best in the world. I train as hard as I can to be the best in the world,” Stots (8-0) said. “I deserve to fight the best fighters in the world and I deserve to be in the UFC. I’m ready. I’m telling y’all now I’m coming.”
Emerson was unable to pull the trigger against Stots, who blended his striking and wrestling well throughout the 25-minute affair. Stots repeatedly found the mark with clean left hands during exchanges, as Emerson struggled to solve his foe’s southpaw stance. Stots also smoothly transitioned to takedowns, grounding his foe in every frame.
Emerson offered a brief threat in round three, when he secured a heel hook following a Stots takedown. Stots, who took little in the way of damage otherwise, was eventually able to free himself from the predicament and cruised to victory from there.
In the co-main event, Yuri Villefort grounded muay Thai stylist Kassius Holdorf to claim the Victory FC welterweight crown with a dominant performance. Two cageside judges scored the contest 49-46, while a third had it 50-45 — all in favor of Villefort (10-5).
Holdorf (9-4) simply didn’t have any answers for Villefort’s ground game. While the Omaha native was effective in spurts, he could not remain upright for any significant period of time. Villefort took his foe down in every frame, opened a cut near the bridge of his nose with ground-and-pound and repeatedly passed to full mount or side control.
Holdorf’s best moment came at the outset of round two, when he let his hands go and had Villefort reeling against the fence from the flurry. Even that success was fleeting, however, as “Killer Kayne” found himself back on the canvas shortly thereafter.
Elsewhere, E.J. Brooks used his wrestling to grind out a unanimous decision triumph over “The Ultimate Fighter 15” cast member Dakota Cochrane in a welterweight clash. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Brooks (10-5), who has won two straight bouts after losing five of his previous six appearances.
Cochrane (27-11) had his moments, but they were usually all too brief. Brooks landed multiple takedowns and maintained smothering pressure throughout to neutralize his foe for most of the contest. While Brooks didn’t land a significant amount of damaging offense, his positional control was enough to get the win.
In earlier action: Sodiq Yusuff (4-0) outpointed (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Chuka Willis (8-4) in a 148-pound catch-weight affair; Terrence Almond (2-1) earned a submission triumph over Tony Ortega (2-3) at bantamweight when Ortega appeared to suffer a shoulder injury 1:24 into round one; Bryce Logan (6-2) forced a verbal submission from Will Shutt (22-24-1) with a slam and follow-up elbows 4:23 into the opening stanza of their lightweight encounter; Corey Davis (2-0) submitted Kenny Licea (4-2) with a rear-naked choke at the 4:58 mark of round one in a welterweight tilt and Bernard Thomas (4-1) defeated Boima Karmo (2-1) via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) at lightweight.