Belal Muhammad Overwhelms Steve Carl, Captures Titan FC Welterweight Crown

By Tristen Critchfield Apr 30, 2016
Belal Muhammad turned the Titan Fighting Championship 38 headliner into his personal showcase.

The Chicago native overwhelmed former World Series of Fighting titlist Steve Carl to capture the promotion’s vacant welterweight strap on Saturday at the Miccosukee Casino in Miami. “Remember the Name” ended his streak of five consecutive decision victories, as he put a halt to the contest with punches on the ground 4:07 into the fourth round, handing Carl (22-5) just his second defeat in his last 10 outings.

“Everybody was calling me out, saying I can’t finish fights,” Muhammad said. “I take them to my ocean. I’m a shark. Anybody that comes into the cage with me, they’re going down.”

The bout gradually turned into a battle for survival for Carl, who struggled to put together any kind of meaningful offense. Muhammed (9-0) relied on his distinct speed advantage to batter his opponent with crisp punching combinations and kicks, and the cumulative damage eventually took its toll. Muhammed bloodied Carl’s nose in the second frame and then shifted gears in round three, as he hurt his foe with attacks to the body and nearly finished the contest with a barrage of ground-and-pound at the end of the frame.

The assault continued in round four, and an exhausted Carl, who was unable to land a single takedown in the fight, resorted to falling to his back in an attempt to draw Muhammad into his world. Even that failed, as he was unable to defend himself when Muhammad mercifully ended the contest with a stream of unanswered punches while Carl unsuccessfully attempted to roll out of danger.

In the co-main event, Jason Novelli and four-time Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Yosdenis Cedeno battled to an unsatisfying split draw in a lightweight tilt. One judge scored it 29-28 Novelli, while a second had it 29-28 in favor of Cedeno. A third submitted a 29-29 scorecard to cement the final verdict.

The lanky Novelli (11-1-1) controlled large periods of the fight with his reach. The Team Quest representative kept Cedeno (10-5-1) at bay with kicks at range in the opening stanza, but “The Pink Panther” had a couple bursts of offense in the period, as well. Novelli began to find a home for his straight right hand in the second, eventually dropping Cedeno to the canvas and moving to his opponent’s back in the most decisive frame of the bout.

Cedeno blasted Cervelli with a big counter right hand early in the third round, but “Flipside” only briefly stumbled backward before collecting his bearings. Ultimately, neither combatant was able to put his stamp on the fight down the stretch.

Elsewhere, Pedro Nobre battled fatigue and a scrappy opponent in Sid Bice to capture a split decision in a featured flyweight scrap. Two judges submitted 29-28 scorecards -- one each for Nobre and Bice -- while a third saw it 30-27 for the Rio de Janeiro native.

Bice (5-1) spent most of the fight on his bicycle and was effective in spurts when he flurried with punching combinations, but Nobre (18-2-2) connected with the harder shots throughout, landing punches to the head and body and kicks to the legs. Bice’s best moment came in the second round, where he had Nobre on wobbly legs after landing an uppercut and a knee. However, Nobre recovered to land a takedown before moving from side control to mount and battering his foe with ground-and-pound to recapture the bout’s momentum.

A heavyweight showdown between Chase Sherman and Jack May came to a premature end when May appeared to injure his left leg on a checked kick in the opening frame. The end came 56 seconds into the period, as May instantly collapsed to the canvas while grabbing his leg in agony. It was May’s first bout since a technical knockout loss to Shawn Jordan at UFC Fight Night “Bader vs. St. Preux” in August 2014.

The 6-foot-8 May (7-3) attempted to capitalize on his reach advantage early with heavy kicks to the legs and body. However, an attempted switch kick from the kickboxing specialist resulted in a knee-to-knee collision when Sherman (9-1) checked the maneuver. After the bout was halted, May needed assistance to exit the cage. According to a report on the broadcast, May was later transported to the hospital with a potentially fractured leg.

In other action, Bruce Lutchmedial (5-1) garnered a three-round verdict over Pablo Alfonso (9-7) in a 140-pound catchweight affair; Caio Uruguai Rocha (5-0) took a split decision against Peter Petties (3-1) at featherweight; Jose Torres (2-0) cruised to a dominant unanimous verdict -- 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 -- over Reynaldo Walter Duarte (8-9) at bantamweight; and Andrew Whitney (13-4) captured a unanimous decision -- 30-29, 30-27, 30-27 -- against Cory Tait (8-4) at 135 pounds.
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