Jon Fitch knows all the tricks of the trade.
The longtime American Kickboxing Academy standout submitted Brian Foster with a modified rear-naked choke in the inaugural Professional Fighters League main event on Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida. Fitch closed the deal 3:12 into Round 2, as he recorded his first finish in more than a decade.
Foster had the upper hand in the early going. He tagged Fitch with several clean right hands and countered his takedowns and top control with attempted submissions, first with a guillotine choke and later with an armbar. Foster dropped the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native to a knee with a right hook in the second round, met his desperate bid for a double-leg takedown with sweeping punches and peppered him with uppercuts when he returned to an upright position. However, he appeared to suffer a knee injury during one of the exchanges and subsequent scrambles. Foster went to all fours and a bloodied Fitch moved to the top ride, sneaking his arms into place for the rear-naked choke.
It was Fitch’s first submission victory since he tapped Roan Carneiro with a rear-naked choke on June 12, 2007. The 39-year-old has rattled off four straight wins.
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In the welterweight co-headliner, Strikeforce and Bellator MMA veteran Herman Terrado extended his winning streak to four fights by claiming a split decision over Joao Zeferino in their three-round clash at 170 pounds. Scores were 29-28 and 30-27 for Terrado, 29-28 for Zeferino.
Zeferino was effective in the first round, where the Renzo Gracie protégé executed a pair of trip takedowns from the clinch, settled in guard and dropped short elbows. Terrado was not dissuaded. The 27-year-old Guam native turned the tables in the middle stanza, cut off an attempted takedown from Zeferino and chipped away with ground-and-pound. Terrado built on his momentum in the third round, as he scrambled to his feet after being taken down and blasted the winded Brazilian with winging power punches before sprawling out of a late takedown attempt.
Meanwhile, takedowns, top control and ground-and-pound carried 2009 Dream welterweight grand prix finalist Jason High to a unanimous decision in a three-round lightweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for High, who has compiled a 12-3 record across his past 15 outings.
Fodor struggled to gain traction in the match. High controlled the first two rounds with his takedowns, piling up points and chewing up valuable time with punches and elbows from top position. Fodor turned the tide in Round 3, as the AMC Pankration mainstay sprawled out of an attempted takedown, punished “The Kansas City Bandit” with punches and spilled some blood in the process. It was not enough to erase the two-rounds-to-none deficit with which he was faced.
Elsewhere, Ronny Markes won for the third time in five appearances, as he took a unanimous decision from former World Series of Fighting heavyweight champion Smealinho Rama in a three-round battle at 205 pounds. Markes swept the scorecards with 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 marks from the judges.
Rama enjoyed some success on the feet, particularly with kicks to the legs, body and head. However, he could not keep Markes at bay. The Brazilian executed multiple takedowns in the 15-minute affair, advanced to full mount in the second round and bled valuable time off the clock in the third, where he assumed top position, applied his ground-and-pound and did enough to stave off a referee restart until the final minute.