Austin Hubbard waited out the storm, assessed the damage and got down to business.
The Elevation Fight Team export put away an exhausted Killys Mota with ground-and-pound to capture the vacant Legacy Fighting Alliance lightweight championship in the fifth round of the LFA 56 headliner on Friday at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minnesota. The end came 4:45 into Round 5, though referee Joe Fipp by most reasonable measures could have stepped in much sooner.
Mota (11-1, 1-1 LFA) set a frenetic pace in the first round and had Hubbard reeling on multiple occasions with sweeping power punches. However, he paid a steep price for his aggression. By the start of the second, it was clear he was a spent force and that no amount of coaching from mentor Glover Teixeira was going to improve his situation. Hubbard (9-2, 2-0 LFA) grinded on the undefeated Brazilian for three-plus rounds, setting the stage for the finish.
Late in the fifth, Hubbard backed to the fence with punches. Mota, in an outward sign of surrender, crouched twice at the base of the cage in an apparent search for a way out. Fipp was nowhere to be found. Hubbard let go with a violent barrage of knees to the body, elbows and punches, the onslaught lasting more than a minute despite calls for mercy from announcers, cornermen and the crowd. Mota absorbed 35 unanswered strikes over the final 23 seconds of the fight before Fipp determined it was time to wave it off.
In the 165-pound catchweight co-main event, Hard Knocks 365 prospect Demarques Jackson submitted Bobby Lee with a first-round guillotine choke. Lee (8-3, 4-3 LFA) conceded defeat 2:11 into Round 1, as the Minnesotan lost for the second time in three appearances.
Jackson (10-2, 2-0 LFA) countered effectively and scored with the jab while moving forward and backward. Lee struck for a takedown some 90 seconds into the first round and tried to secure his position, leaving his neck exposed in the process. The opportunistic Jackson snatched the choke from the bottom, rolled to full mount and prompted the tapout.
The 28-year-old Jackson has rattled off three consecutive victories.
Meanwhile, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series alum Alton Cunningham wiped out King of the Cage veteran Erick Murray with punches in the second round of their light heavyweight showcase. Murray (3-2, 0-2 LFA) succumbed to blows 1:53 into Round 2.
Cunningham (4-1, 3-0 LFA) spent much of the first five minutes engaging his counterpart at close range, with moderate success. In the second round, he executed a takedown, hovered inside Murray’s open guard and rained punches from a standing position. After Cunningham administered a sustained volley of damaging strikes to his defenseless opponent, referee Vance Swerden made the decision to intervene.
In other action, Jonathon Thomson (6-4) eked out a split decision -- 28-29, 29-28, 29-27 -- over Ange Loosa (6-1) in a three round welterweight battle; Youssef Zalal (3-0) tapped Steven Merrill (4-3) with a brabo choke 3:22 into the first round of their encounter at 145 pounds; Dante Schiro (2-0) submitted Robert Gidron (2-1) with an arm-triangle choke 2:25 into the first round of their middleweight pairing; Sean Strube (1-0) dispatched Jesse Wannemacher (1-3) with a rear-naked choke 1:25 into the first round of their bantamweight tilt; and Joel Bauman (1-0) took a unanimous decision from Corey Davis (2-2) in a three-round catchweight tussle at 175 pounds.