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:
Nothing in mixed martial arts draws attention like a long, destructive winning streak.
Denis Goltsov mowed down another unfortunate soul on the European MMA scene on July 15, as he took care of UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Paul Buentello with a first-round head kick in the Absolute Championship Berkut 41 main event at Adler Arena in Sochi, Russia. Buentello hit the deck 3:07 into round one, suffering his first knockout defeat in nearly six years.
Goltsov sat down “The Headhunter” with a jab inside the first 10 seconds, flurried with punches and then eased off the accelerator when it became apparent a finish was not imminent. He later separated from a Buentello clinch and started peppering the 42-year-old Texan with jabs. Soon after, a quick left hook from the 6-foot-5 Goltsov forced Buentello to drift into the oncoming path of the right high kick that followed. He fell to the canvas stiff and unconscious.
The 26-year-old Goltsov has rattled off 13 straight wins, 11 of them finishes.
Meanwhile, Russian bantamweight prospect Petr Yan rebounded from his first professional setback -- a split decision defeat to Magomed Magomedov -- by earning a unanimous verdict over Ed Arthur in the co-main event. Yan, 23, won the 2015 Absolute Championship Berkut bantamweight grand prix with victories over Murad Kalamov, Kharon Orzumiev and Renato Velame.
Ishiwatari, Miki Retain Pancrase Titles
Jonathan Brookins could not crack the Shintaro Ishiwatari code a second time.
Ishiwatari retained his bantamweight championship with a five-round unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter 12” winner in the Pancrase 279 headliner on July 24 at Differ Ariake in Tokyo. Scores were 48-47, 49-46 and 48-47, all in the champion’s favor. Ishiwatari -- who had dropped a decision to Brookins in a non-title bout in 2014 -- stymied the challenger’s takedowns, outstruck him for much of the match and withstood his final push in the fourth and fifth rounds.
The 31-year-old Ishiwatari has gone 12-2 over his last 14 appearances, falling only to Brookins and UFC flyweight contender Kyoji Horiguchi.
In the co-main event, Ryuichi Miki successfully defended his flyweight crown with a unanimous decision against Yuki Yasunaga. Miki swept the scorecards with 48-47 marks across the board, as the former Shooto mainstay recorded his third consecutive victory. He has now delivered 15 of his 19 pro wins by decision.
Yushin Okami and Rin Nakai also saw their hands raised at the event. Okami submitted Shingo Suzuki with a rear-naked choke 2:06 into the first round, while Nakai stopped Emiko Raika with elbows 2:43 into round three.
Around the Horn: Gordon Strikes CFFC Gold
Jared Gordon improved to 10-1 and captured the vacant Cage Fury Fighting Championships featherweight title, as he knocked out former Ring of Combat champion Anthony Morrison with a head kick 1:48 into the first round of their CFFC 59 main event on July 9 at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia ... Middleweight prospect Trevin Giles sits at 7-0 after he submitted Josh Clark with a rear-naked choke 1:10 into the second round of their Resurrection Fighting Alliance 41 headliner on July 29 in San Antonio. Giles, 23, has finished all seven of his opponents ... Paraestra Matsudo rep Ryohei Kurosawa, 23, laid claim to the vacant Shooto flyweight crown on July 17, as he put away Ryuto Sawada with punches 4:41 into round two of their encounter at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo ... Surging Hawaiian Maki Pitolo got his hands on Victory Fighting Championship gold on July 16 in Omaha, Nebraska, as his five-round unanimous decision over Kassius Holdorf in the Victory 52 main event brought him the welterweight title. Pitolo, 25, has won seven fights in a row ... Simone Aparecida da Silva Duarte walked away with the vacant Jungle Fight women’s flyweight championship by earning a split decision over Bianca Daimoni in the Jungle Fight 89 headliner on July 30 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Duarte improved to 4-0 ... In a showdown between two of Europe’s top featherweight prospects, Paddy Pimblett submitted Teddy Violet with a rear-naked choke 2:28 into the second round at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 77 on July 8 in London. Pimblett, 21, has won seven straight bouts since his October 2013 loss to Cameron Else.
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