Weekend Rundown: Lombard, Larosa, Burkman Triumphant

By Brian Knapp Nov 23, 2009
D. Mandel/Sherdog.com

Cage Fighting Championships middleweight kingpin Hector Lombard struck UFC veteran Kalib Starnes into verbal submission in the first round of their CFC 11 main event on Friday at Big Top Stadium in Sydney, Australia.

Unbeaten in 16 fights, Lombard, who also holds the Bellator Fighting Championships middleweight crown, has posted 11 consecutive victories. Based at American Top Team, the 31-year-old Cuban judoka grounded Starnes early in their encounter and dropped punches and elbows until “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 semi-finalist asked the referee to intervene.

Starnes, who has lost three of his past four fights, was booted by the UFC following a forgettable performance in a unanimous decision loss to Nate Quarry at UFC 83 in April 2008.

Larosa Submits Coolbaugh

Tara Larosa submitted Valerie Coolbaugh with a first-round rear-naked choke in the Extreme Force “Locked in the Cage 1” headliner on Friday at Alexandra Hall in Philadelphia. The end came 3:58 into round one.

Larosa, one of MMA’s top female fighters, has won 15 consecutive bouts, the last eight of them finishes. She scored with an early takedown, moved to mount and eventually positioned herself for the fight-ending choke. A former collegiate field hockey player, Larosa holds victories against Roxanne Modafferi, Hitomi Akano, Julie Kedzie and Shayna Baszler. The former Bodog Fight women’s champion has not tasted defeat in more than six years.

Meanwhile, former EliteXC champion and Bellator Fighting Championships featherweight tournament finalist Wilson Reis defeated Dwayne Shelton by unanimous decision in the co-main event. Reis has delivered back-to-back wins since his decision loss to Joe Soto in May.

Burkman KOs Melendez

In his first appearance in 11 months, Josh Burkman knocked out fellow UFC castoff Brandon Melendez in the featured bout at Throwdown Showdown 5 “Homecoming” on Friday at the McKay Event Center in Orem, Utah. Burkman sealed the deal 4:14 into the first round with a lead right hook.

Burkman rocked Melendez with an early head kick, scored with some nasty elbows in the clinch and later cut him with a punch. The 29-year-old, whose career was nearly derailed by neck and back injuries, snapped a three-fight losing streak with the victory and finished a fight for the first time since he submitted Drew Fickett with a guillotine choke at UFC Fight Night 3 in January 2006.

Melendez, a 26-year-old product of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5, saw his two-fight winning streak come grinding to a halt.

Villefort Stays Unbeaten

Yuri Villefort remained unbeaten as a professional, as he stopped Joshua Lee on second-round strikes at Unconquered 1 “November Reign” on Friday at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla. Lee, the first man to push Villefort beyond the first round, met his end 4:08 into the second.

Villefort, the 18-year-old younger brother of UFC veteran Danillo Villefort, showcased his superior ground skills in posting his fourth straight victory. He landed a series of unanswered blows from the top position and left the referee no choice but to step in on Lee’s behalf.

Other winners at “November Reign” included Rene “Level” Martinez, a Kimbo Slice-esque street-fighter transitioning to mixed martial arts, and Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Luis Palomino.

Orr Stuns Wallace at Art of Fighting 6

Reggie Orr defeated UFC and Strikeforce veteran Crafton Wallace by unanimous decision in the Art of Fighting 6 headliner on Sunday at the Germain Arena in Estero, Fla. Scores were 30-27 across the board.

Orr, who has spent much of his career inside the King of the Cage promotion, controlled Wallace with superior wrestling, as he grounded the Floridian and neutralized his striking advantage. Wallace later opened a cut under Orr’s right eye but failed to keep the fight standing long enough to make it count.

The defeat snapped a five-fight winning streak for Wallace, who submitted to rear-naked chokes from Nate Marquardt and Martin Kampmann in two failed UFC bids.

Other Art of Fighting 6 winners included International Fight League veteran Delson Heleno, who stopped Levon Maynard on third-round strikes, and “The Ultimate Fighter 8” castaway Shane Primm, who submitted one-time World Extreme Cagefighting title challenger Ariel Gandulla with an opening-round triangle choke.

Romero Captures Ring of Combat Title

Ricardo Romero submitted Silmar Rodrigo to win the Ring of Combat heavyweight championship at ROC 27 on Friday at the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Rodrigo met his end 4:56 into round one, when he tapped out to a keylock.

Unbeaten outside of a 2008 disqualification against Glen Sandull, Romero has delivered nine of his 10 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission and has finished six opponents inside one round. His list of victims includes “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 quarter-finalist James McSweeney.

Other winners at ROC 27 included newly minted featherweight champion Anthony Morrison, unbeaten heavyweight Gian Villante and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 quarter-finalist Dante Rivera. The 34-year-old Rivera, a Renzo Gracie protégé, submitted WEC veteran Justin Haskins with a rear-naked choke.
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