Bruno Souza Edges Elijah Johns in LFA 102 Main Event; Gregory Rodrigues Earns Title Shot

By Tyler Treese Mar 20, 2021

Legacy Fighting Alliance's second card of March saw Bruno Souza make a statement at the expense of Elijah Johns.

LFA 102's featherweight main event delivered as Johns (7-2) and Souza (9-1), who came in 1.2 pounds heavy, went tit for tat over three rounds. Both fighters displayed a well-rounded game as they went back-and-forth in exciting striking and grappling exchanges with Souza stuffing Johns' takedowns late. Overall, the judges favored Souza's aggressive offense and awarded him a split decision victory with scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28. After the win, "The Tiger" expressed a desire to fight for the LFA 145-pound belt next.

The co-main event saw Al Matavao face Gregory Rodrigues, who missed weight by 1.4 pounds, in the promotion's middleweight tournament semi-final. Matavao (8-4) came out looking for a knockout, but his reckless swinging allowed Rodrigues (8-3) to easily secure a takedown. Seconds later, Rodrigues delivered a vicious slam that he was unable to capitalize on. Early in Round 2, Rodrigues' precise striking damaged Matavao, who barely had any defense. A huge right uppercut finished the fight at 1:02 of the second frame. With the victory, Rodrigues will face Josh Fremd for the vacant LFA middleweight championship.

Kazakhstani welterweight Nikolay Veretennikov returned to the LFA Octagon for the first time since 2017 against Steven Jones. Kicks from Veretennikov (8-3) set the pace for striking exchanges and kept Jones (8-2) at bay during Round 1. The second round was more grappling heavy as Veretennikov showed off his impressive judo throws before Jones landed a takedown of his own and ended the round doing damage from top position. Despite the momentum, Jones was visibly fatigued going into the final frame. Veretennikov was able to land a huge knee and come close to finishing the bout, but Jones valiantly fought through exhaustion and was able to take his opponent down and finish the fight on top. In the end, the judges preferred the offense from the Kazakhstani fighter and awarded Veretennikov a unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.

Featherweights A.J. Cunningham and Javier Garcia made their promotional debuts against each other. Garcia (6-3) proved to be the more technical fighter on the feet, but Cunningham (7-2) was able to land takedowns in the first two rounds. However, Garcia put it all together in the third as he controlled the action on the feet and ground. That was enough for Garcia to take a clear unanimous decision victory with scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 in his favor.

Brandon Lewis fought for the first time since 2017 and showed why he's a bantamweight to watch against Jimmy Meza, who came in 4.4 pounds overweight. Both men came out swinging wildly, but it was Lewis (5-0) that got the better of the hard-hitting exchanges. While the chin of Meza (2-1) was tested, he never stopped coming forward and Lewis began to significantly tire late in Round 2. Despite being exhausted, Lewis would hurt Meza and take his opponent down in the final frame. After three thrilling rounds, the judges gave a split decision verdict to Lewis via scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27.

Featherweight prospect Chris Mecate suffered his first career defeat against Alberto "Angel" Rodriguez. Rodriguez (3-1) clipped Mecate (1-1) early with a big right hand and was able to swarm his opponent on the ground with punches until the fight was stopped at 1:12 of Round 1. This is the first knockout win for Rodriguez.

The main card opened with a battle between undefeated welterweights as Haris Talundzic took on Luis Iniguez. The fight was closely contested on the feet, but Talundzic (2-0) was able to take down Iniguez (3-1) throughout to gain an edge. After three rounds of action, the judges gave three 29-28 scorecards to Talundzic.

In preliminary action, Archie Colgan picked up a TKO victory over Andrew Claborn at 3:49 of Round 3.
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>