High Fives: Dominant Performances, Freak Occurrences and a Triumphant ‘Tyson’

Feb 18, 2019
The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA were not the only promotions staging events during the weekend of Feb. 15-17. There were two pivotal bantamweight bouts at One Championship “Clash of Legends” in Bangkok, and there was a quick finish to the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 101 headliner in Liverpool, England. Both events took place on Saturday. Meanwhile, a new champion was crowned at Invicta Fighting Championships 34 in Kansas City, Kansas, and there was an exciting light heavyweight battle at Legacy Fighting Alliance 60 in Clive, Iowa. Those shows went down on Friday.

They provide the material for this installment of High Fives.

GRAPPLING MASTERCLASS … The latest One Championship main event was a bantamweight title eliminator between Japan’s Shuya Kamikubo and South Korea’s Dae Hwan Kim. Over the course of the three-rounds, Kamikubo used his superior wrestling, adept top control and ground-and-pound to dominate his tough but overmatched adversary. In emerging victorious by unanimous decision, Kamikubo upped his record to 10-1-1. In defeat, Kim slipped to 14-4-1.

TRIUMPHANT DEBUT … In supporting One Championship bantamweight action, New Zealand’s Mark Abelardo made his promotional debut opposite Japan’s Daichi Takenaka. This fast-paced encounter saw the unbeaten Takenaka dominate the grappling exchanges, while “Tyson” threatened with heavy strikes on the feet. The end came via an Abelardo right elbow, which caused a cut to Takenaka’s mouth and culminated in the doctor calling a halt to the match at 2:34 of Round 3. In winning his organizational debut, Abelardo improved to 18-5. Meanwhile, Takenaka dipped to 11-1-1.

SUBMISSION SUCCESS … The LFA 60 headliner was a light heavyweight showdown that pitted Lithuania’s Julius Anglickas against America’s Clayton York for the company’s vacant 205-pound title. The Lithuanian controlled proceedings with powerful takedowns and heavy ground-and-pound. With a little under a minute to go in the second frame, Anglickas took his standing rival’s back against the cage and cinched a rear-naked choke. York collapsed to one knee before tapping out. The official time was 4:13 of Round 2. With the emphatic victory, Anglickas moved to 4-1, while “C-4” dropped to 4-1.

A NEW QUEEN … The Invicta 34 headliner saw Brazil’s Vanessa Porto challenge America’s Pearl Gonzalez for the organization’s vacant flyweight strap. In the first round, Gonzalez threatened with a standing kimura. The second stanza was fought at a frenetic pace, with the two combatants trading effective strikes. At the midway point of the fourth round, a Gonzalez right hand resulted in contact with her opponent’s left eye with her fingers. This accidental foul left Porto unable to continue. The incident triggered a technical decision, which led to the judges all siding with the Brazilian. With the bizarre win, Porto became the new flyweight champion and rose to 21-8. Gonzalez fell to 9-4.

UNFORTUNATE ENDING … The Cage Warriors 101 main event was a heavyweight contest between England’s Tom Aspinall and France’s Sofiane Boukichou. Just 1:19 into the first frame, Boukichou threw a heavy, low right roundhouse kick that connected with his adversary’s lower left leg. The Frenchman immediately reeled back and collapsed against the side of the cage, clasping his broken right leg in agony. The freak injury gave Aspinall the win and saw him up his record to 6-2. With the unfortunate loss, Boukichou slid to 6-3.
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