Steven Peterson was unfazed by the hype surrounding Manny Vazquez.
Peterson submitted Vazquez with a rear-naked choke to capture the Legacy Fighting Championship bantamweight title in the Legacy 56 headliner on Friday at The Bomb Factory in Dallas. The bout ended with Vazquez asleep in the challenger’s arms 3:08 into the fourth round.
Vazquez found himself stuck in two guillotines inside the first five minutes but bounced back with smooth punching in the second round, opening a laceration near the Octagon MMA export’s right eye. However, Peterson rebounded in the third, where he weathered an early storm, took down the champion and seized his back before threatening with a rear-naked choke for roughly two minutes. Peterson could not seal the deal, but it was a harbinger for what was to come.
The 22-year-old Vazquez appeared to tire midway through the fourth round, as he surrendered his back yet again. Peterson wasted no time, applying a textbook rear-naked choke. Vazquez fought to free himself but ultimately succumbed to the choke and slipped into unconsciousness.
Meanwhile, bantamweight contender Jason Sampson won his sixth consecutive fight by outlasting Ryan Hollis over three grueling rounds in the co-feature. Sampson swept the scorecards with matching 30-26 marks.
The much-shorter Sampson secured routine takedowns and controlled the action on the ground. On the feet, Hollis found his long reach nullified for much of the match.
In a fight that could have gone either way, Levi Mowles saw his hand raised in a minor upset. He was the busier fighter over the course of his battle with Edwin Figueroa at 135 pounds, landing the cleaner punches on the feet while dictating the pace in the clinch and on the ground. All three judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Mowles.
Meanwhile, featherweight contenders J.C. Cottrell and Cody Walker waged a terrific back-and-forth war from start to finish. Both men were on the verge of being knocked out and both threatened submissions. In the end, Cottrell was quicker and more effective with his strikes and cage control. All three judges agreed he had done enough to win, rendering scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 29-27. Cottrell has won six fights in a row.
Elsewhere, welterweight Bilal Williams was too much for Sean Holden to handle, as “The Tiger” ripped him apart with punches until referee Birchie Stillwagoner intervened. A flurry of punches to the head rocked Holden and forced him to stumble around the cage. Williams did not stop throwing until the fight was over. The stoppage came at 3:13 of round one.
Finally, it took featherweight Miles Johns just over a round to dispatch Eliazar Rodriguez with punches, as he dropped him with a vicious uppercut and then finished him with a series of strikes. It ended 38 seconds into the second round.