Danillo Villefort (left) outpointed Matt Horwich at Shark Fights 14. | Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Crisp striking and strategic takedowns brought victory to Danillo Villefort, as he took a unanimous decision from former International Fight League middleweight champion Matt Horwich in the Shark Fights 14 headliner on Friday at the Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas.
All three judges scored it 30-27 for Villefort, who has pieced together a four-fight winning streak since being released by the UFC in August 2009.
Outgunned on the feet and on the ground, Horwich had nowhere to turn. Villefort attacked him with power in variety in the first round, as he delivered kicks to the leg and punches to the head and body. The 27-year-old former American Top Team representative mixed in three takedowns, two of them on judo throws, as he used Horwich’s constant forward movement against him.
Rounds two and three followed a similar narrative. Villefort punctuated his ninth win in 10 outings with a wicked back elbow that opened an inch-long gash beneath Horwich’s left eye late in the third.
“I respect [him] a lot,” Villefort said. “He always keeps coming forward. I’m in great shape for that.”
In the co-main event, Tara LaRosa submitted Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Carina Damm with a second-round inverted heel hook, as she solidified her place as one of the sport’s premier female fighters. Damm asked out 28 seconds into round two.
LaRosa broke the ice on the feet, as she punched into the clinch midway through the first period. Damm secured a surprise takedown and briefly moved to mount, only to surrender the position on a failed armbar attempt. LaRosa capitalized on the miscue, as she fed the Strikeforce alum some textbook ground-and-pound from inside her guard.
A straight left hand staggered Damm, as the fight spilled onto the floor in the opening seconds of round two. There, the two 125-pounders traded leg lock attempts. While Damm dug for a heel hook, it was LaRosa that landed hers, forcing the tap and winning for the 17th time in 18 appearances.
Meanwhile, twice-beaten Texas-based prospect Mike Bronzoulis carried a unanimous decision against Lucas Lopes in a grueling 175-pound catchweight affair. All three cageside scored it 29-28 for Bronzoulis, who had never before gone the distance and won.
Their sloppy 15-minute encounter was heavy on heart and light on technique. Lopes secured a pair of takedowns in round one and turned to high-volume attack with his strikes, including knees from the clinch. However, he failed to maintain his pace and lacked the firepower needed to take out Bronzoulis.
Lopes was visibly exhausted by the start of the second round, his hands held low as he drew intermittent heavy breaths between exchanges.
The Strikeforce veteran ate several knees from the clinch from Bronzoulis, along with uppercuts and straight left, as he lost his foothold in the bout. Neither man stood out in round three, thought Bronzoulis landed the heavier blows and remained the aggressor.
“I came into this fight with some injuries,” Bronzoulis said. “I didn’t have the chance to train properly. That guy’s super tall. He’s a tough guy, by far one of the toughest guys I’ve fought.”
Finally, the well-traveled Eric Davila posted his third victory in as many appearances, as he stopped Alex Cisne on third-round punches in a featured welterweight tilt. He finished it 63 seconds into round three.
Davila turned the tide in his favor with a booming straight right hand in the second round. In the third, the relentless 34-year-old Texan piled up the heavy punches -- left hooks, straight rights, right uppercuts and body shots -- and broke down Cisne. One final straight right brought Davila’s wilted foe to his knees and forced the stoppage.
“I planned on knocking him out,” Davila said. “His camp was kind of messing with me [before the fight], saying that I couldn’t make the weight, that I wasn’t very professional, that I didn’t care about my fighting. I think I proved them wrong.”
Other winners at Shark Fights 14 included Gabriel Vasquez (third-round guillotine choke submission against Layne Hernandez) and the unbeaten Joseph Sandoval (unanimous decision over Sean Shakour).
Reader comments are active below. Chime in with an opinion or thought by signing in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Yahoo! account.