Bernardo Magalhaes (top) defended his CFC lightweight title Friday. | Photo: Scott Clark/Sherdog.com
GOLD COAST, Australia -- Bernardo "Trekko" Magalhaes became the first man to retain the Cage Fighting Championships lightweight title with a comprehensive and slightly controversial performance against Lion’s Den young gun Robert Lisita at the promotion’s 17th showing on Friday at the Southport Sharks Function Centre.
In a stop-start affair, TP Fight Team’s Magalhaes improved to 11-1, as he controlled a majority of the fight on the floor to win all five rounds of the title bout. It was not without drama, however, as Magalhaes had a point deducted twice during the encounter, first for an elbow to the back of the head and again for a knee to a grounded Lisita that threatened to prematurely halt the fight.
Trekko secured back control early in the first round but delivered a hard elbow to the back of Lisita’s head just above and behind the ear that was deemed illegal by referee Steve Perceval. The Brazilian and his corner were visibly unimpressed with the decision to take a point for the blow, and Lisita took his time recovering as blood flowed from the wound.
Both corners went from unimpressed to livid, when, after controlling round two, Magalhaes landed a hard knee to “Ruthless,” who was grounded against the fence in the third. Again Perceval paused the bout, much to the dismay of Trekko and his corner, who felt it landed cleanly to the body. Lisita stayed flat on his back for a number of minutes as the corners argued across the cage and the referee and doctor examined the fighter. Eventually, the doctor decided the fighter was fit to continue, and, despite being visibly shaken, Lisita agreed.
Trekko scored with knees in the clinch and superior positional grappling to close out the last two rounds and retain the title, and the scores were 48-45 across the board.
“I’m sorry. That wasn’t me out there. I’ll make you proud one day, Dad," said Lisita on the mic, invoking his father who passed away this past weekend.
Australian lightweight Adrian "The Hunter" Pang and Strikeforce veteran Muhsin Corbbrey waged a three-round slugfest that was controversially ruled a split draw, with two judges splitting their picks 2-29-28 and the third ruling it an even 28-28.
The first round saw both fighters content to find their range early with single shots before a low blow landed on Pang. It did little to slow him: the pair engaged in toe-to-toe flurries to finish a close round. Pang drew in Corbbrey to more close-range combat on the feet early in the second round and began to land cleanly before Corbbrey clawed back some ground in the second half of the round by making more effective use of his reach advantage and staying further outside.
The final round saw another shot land to Pang’s groin, after which he came out hard and landed cleanly on Corbbrey. He then clinched and put him on his back. From there, Pang landed a steady flow of clean strikes, as Corbbrey tried to throw up armbar and triangle attempts, only to be split open for his efforts.
The split draw announcement was met with a chorus of boos from the parochial crowd, and they continued into the post-fight remarks. Pang gave credit to Corbbrey for his toughness.
“I feel I won the fight,” said the Papua-New Guinea native. “He didn’t hurt me, and though he probably thinks I didn’t hurt him, take a look at his face.”
“I won the first two rounds, but let’s do it again,” Corbbrey said. “That had to be ‘Fight of Night,’ right?”
Local welterweight Ben "Blanco" Alloway showed the benefits of some hard work put in recently at the H.I.T. Squad. However, in the end, Robert Whittaker’s raw athleticism ended up being the difference in their bout.
Alloway came out calm, throwing leg kicks and working his improved wrestling. Despite some B.J. Penn-esque balance displayed by Whittaker, Alloway dragged him to the ground. However, the explosive Perez MMA fighter was able to reverse Alloway, turning the tide of the bout.
Whittaker came out swinging in round two and wobbled Alloway with a Superman punch from which he never seemed to fully recover.
Alloway took down his opponent but was reversed with a slick hip bump sweep. Whittaker promptly took the bout and ended the fight with a rear-naked choke at 4:07 of the second round.
Lightweight Greg Atzori made it past local favorite Shane Wundenberg via submission. “Wonderboy” had the better of the first round by working top control, but Atzori turned the tables in the second.
Atzori took Wundenberg’s back and showed great patience, ending up with an armbar in transition. Despite Wundenberg’s best effort to make it to the end of the round, he was forced to tap with less than 30 seconds to go in the second frame.
Light heavyweight Josh Webb never fully recovered from a hard shot to the eye courtesy of Adam Sarkis early in their fight and, despite pressing on, was dropped and finished with a flurry of punches 1:19 into the match.
Ricky English took an amazing amount of punishment in his heavyweight clash with Matt Walker, who controlled the action on the ground and positionally dominated while landing hard punches and elbows. English was taken down and mounted by Walker, who dropped bombs on him until the towel was thrown in just 69 seconds into the second round.
Full Metal Jiu-Jitsu’s Guy Belgrove and Steven Semrany battled to a majority draw in a welterweight affair. It was a case of power versus technique on the feet, as Belgrove landed hard shots and effective takedowns, but Semrany was consistently landed accurate strikes on the feet and a takedown of his own in the third.