Meaningful MMA exists beyond the confines of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Bellator MMA and World Series of Fighting. In this monthly series, Sherdog.com recaps the month that was on the regional circuit in mixed martial arts:
If Mike Rhodes keeps this up, the UFC might have to rethink its decision to release him.
Rhodes captured the vacant Victory Fighting Championship middleweight title, as he submitted Rakim Cleveland with a second-round guillotine choke at VFC 51 on June 24 at Buccaneer Arena in Urbandale, Iowa. Cleveland tapped 2:42 into round two, his four-fight winning streak at an end.
Still only 26 years old, Rhodes has gone 4-0 since being cut by the UFC following consecutive defeats to George Sullivan, Robert Whittaker and Erick Silva, the latter by arm-triangle choke submission. A protégé of four-time world kickboxing champion Duke Roufus, “Biggie” has once again made himself a person of interest on the regional MMA scene.
Rhodes was not the only UFC castaway to get his hands on gold. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 graduate Robert Emerson laid claim to the Victory bantamweight championship, as he disposed of Shawn West with a rear-naked choke 90 seconds into the second round. Emerson, 34, has won six of his last seven bouts, five of them via submission.
Meanwhile, former World Series of Fighting champion Rick Glenn posted his third straight victory, as he escaped with a three-round split decision over Ramiro Hernandez. The 27-year-old Glenn owns an 11-1 mark across his past 12 appearances, a rear-naked choke submission loss to four-time NCAA All-American Lance Palmer the only blemish.
Suspended Shlemenko Guillotines Rival
A stateside PED suspension has done nothing to curb Alexander Shlemenko’s prolific tendencies.
The former Bellator champion tapped Vyacheslav Vasilevsky with a third-round guillotine choke in their M-1 Challenge 68 rematch on June 16 at the Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Vasilevsky conceded defeat 2:09 into round three, as he was submitted for just the second time in his 32-fight career.
Shlemenko, 32, now boasts 38 finishes among his 53 professional victories.
Meanwhile, Alexander Volkov tightened his grip on the M-1 Global heavyweight championship, as he wiped out Attila Vegh with punches in the first-round of their co-main event. Vegh, who had not been knocked out in nearly six years, succumbed to blows 2:38 into round one. The 30-year-old Slovakian finds himself on a troubling three-fight losing streak.
Around the Horn: ‘The Gift’ Keeps on Giving
Blue-chip prospect Gregor Gillespie improved to 7-0 and retained his lightweight championship with a split decision over Sidney Outlaw at Ring of Combat 55 on June 3 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. “The Gift” was a four-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Edinboro University, where he won a national title in 2007 ... Satoru Kitaoka kept the Deep lightweight title on lockdown with a three-round unanimous decision against Kota Shimoishi in the Deep 76 Impact headliner on June 26 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. Tatsumitsu Wada captured the vacant flyweight crown at Yuya Shibata’s expense in the co-main event ... Amanda Oliveira de Lemos retained the Jungle Fight women’s bantamweight championship, as she knocked out Mayra Cantuaria Rodrigues with a knee strike 28 seconds into the third round of their Jungle Fight 88 rematch on June 25 in Pocos de Caldas, Brazil. The two had fought to a majority draw in January ... Brian Ebersole came out retirement, was greeted rudely and promptly lost a five-round decision to Steven Kennedy in the Hex Fight Series 6 main event on June 24 in Melbourne, Australia ... Raoni Barcelos made sure the Resurrection Fighting Alliance featherweight crown was not going anywhere, as the once beaten Brazilian pocketed a five-round unanimous decision over Bobby Moffett in the RFA 39 headliner on June 17 at the Hammond Civic Center in Hammond, Indiana. Barcelos, now 10-1, will carry a three-fight winning streak into his next appearance ... Former Shooto and Sengoku champion Hatsu Hioki walked away with a unanimous verdict against Yojiro Uchimura at Pancrase 278 on June 12 in Tokyo. Hioki, 32, has registered consecutive victories since parting ways with the UFC a little more than a year ago ... Jack Marshman pushed his record to 19-5 on June 4, as he submitted Ali Arish with a guillotine choke 3:45 into the first round of their Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 76 headliner in Newport, Wales. The 26-year-old Marshman has won five fights in a row, finishing four of them.
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