Crystal Vanessa Demopoulos exploited the narrowest opening.
The Black House rep laid claim to the inaugural Legacy Fighting Alliance women’s strawweight championship and did so in spectacular fashion, as she choked Sam Hughes unconscious with an inverted triangle in the fourth round of their LFA 85 headliner on Friday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Demopoulos (5-1, 4-1 LFA) cut off blood flow to the brain 2:21 into Round 4.
Hughes (4-1, 1-1 LFA) built a commanding lead across three-plus rounds with volume punching, leg kicks and merciless pressure. She also benefitted from a foul at the end of Round 2, where Demopoulos connected with an upkick that resulted in her being deducted a point. It mattered not. Bleeding from her nose and mouth, Demopoulos remained true to her submission grappling roots in the fourth round, as she fished for a heel hook, then made the smooth transition to an inverted triangle. She tightened her squeeze on the neck, Hughes trying in vain to escape before losing consciousness.
Demopoulos, 31, has posted four straight wins and now reigns atop the LFA’s 115-pound weight class.
In the bantamweight co-main event, surging Arizona Combat Sports standout Kevin Natividad put away Bellator MMA and World Series of Fighting alum Kyle Estrada with second-round punches. Natividad (9-1, 4-1 LFA) sewed up his fifth consecutive win 1:37 into Round 2.
Estrada (10-6, 1-3 LFA) did some damage before he bowed out, particularly with kicks to the lower leg. Natividad showed no signs of weakness, even as a hematoma grew on his lead leg. He backed up Estrada with a double jab and hook to the body in the second round, then cut loose with a devastating right hook that hit its intended target. “The Hoosier” hit the deck, where Natividad met him with another plunging right hand before referee Vance Swerdan could secure the scene.
Meanwhile, unbeaten Syndicate MMA representative Jordan Leavitt submitted Leivon Lewis with an anaconda choke in the second round of their lightweight feature. Leavitt (6-0, 1-0 LFA) drew the curtain 2:01 into Round 2, as he executed his fourth successful submission in six career appearances.
Lewis (3-1, 1-1 LFA) controlled much of the first round, where he held his own in the grappling exchanges and zeroed in on his opponent with close-range knees to the body and standing elbows. Early in the middle stanza, Leavitt swept the Jackson-Wink MMA product, clamped down on a front headlock and cinched the anaconda choke for the finish.
In other action, Kings MMA’s Leandro Gomes (6-1, 3-0 LFA) took a unanimous decision from Jacob Thrall (6-3, 1-1 LFA) in a three-round featherweight affair, drawing 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 marks from the judges; Arizona Combat Sports prospect Christian Natividad (1-0, 1-0 LFA) dazzled in his professional debut, as he knocked out Michael Aquila (1-2, 0-2 LFA) with punches 2:48 into the first round of their bantamweight pairing; and Dana White’s Contender Series alum Mitchell Sipe (5-2, 0-1 LFA) cut down Darion Abbey (1-2, 0-1 LFA) with a knee strike and follow-up punches 1:37 into the first round of their heavyweight tilt.
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