After just over a year away from fighting, Leomana Martinez needed just over five minutes to remind everyone why he’s the Fury Fighting Championship 135-pound champ -- and perhaps the hottest prospect in Texas.
In his first defense of the belt he won at Fury FC 27 last November, “Manaboi” took on undefeated challenger David Rivera. Martinez faced some adversity early in the fight, as he grabbed a guillotine and jumped guard off of an early takedown attempt by Rivera, only to have Rivera escape the choke, setting up in Martinez’s guard at the base of the cage. For the next minute or so, Rivera looked to advance position as Martinez bided his time, then kicked out and returned to his feet.
Moments later, Rivera turned away after an exchange, gesturing to indicate that a kick had landed low, but referee Patrick Patlan was close at hand and apparently did not see anything that merited a break, and Rivera turned back just in time to eat a three-piece combo that dropped him. Rivera regained his feet and survived the round, but when the second frame began, Martinez picked up right where he left off. He countered a left high kick attempt with a one-two that sent Rivera reeling into the fence and after appearing to consider a flying knee, instead squared up and threw a flurry of punches, punctuated by a brutal left hook that dropped Rivera to the ground, bent backward over his own left leg. The end came officially at 51 seconds of Round 2.
With the sensational finish, Martinez extends his winning streak to five and his professional record to 6-1, with all six wins coming by knockout inside of two rounds. While the crowd’s chants of “UFC!” in the aftermath rang a bit premature, it may be only a matter of time before the 23-year-old knockout artist garners national or international attention. Meanwhile, the loss leaves Rivera at 3-1 and still very much a person of interest in the Fury FC bantamweight division.
Echavarry Mauls Taylor
Up until the main event title fight, the theme of Fury FC 39 could be summed up as “the future is now,” as several of the promotion's brightest amateur stars -- including two former champions -- made the jump to professional status. Of those up-and-coming prospects, Gabriel Echavarry made one of the biggest first impressions.
In the co-main event, former Fury Amateur Series featherweight champ Echavarry buried fellow pro debutant Jonathan Taylor with first-round punches. Echavarry’s first hard strike was a spinning back kick to the midsection that sent Taylor flying and may have influenced his decision to pull guard immediately thereafter. Taylor would fare little better on the ground, however, and after Echavarry landed a takedown of his own, he trapped Taylor against the fence and finished the fight with a series of piston-like punches to the head from guard. Referee J.J. Ferraro moved in to save Taylor at 2:53 of Round 1, marking a successful pro turn for Echavarry after an amateur campaign that saw him go 5-1-1.
Peet Outlasts Anaya
Daniel Peet joined the crop of Fury Amateur Series mainstays who made a successful jump to the professional ranks at Fury FC 39, taking a unanimous decision over Eduardo Anaya in a bantamweight scrap characterized by lengthy positional battles in the clinch and on the ground. After appearing to win the first two rounds on the strength of his cage pressure, takedowns and positional grappling, the protégé of UFC welterweight Alex Morono would survive a scare in the third, as Anaya sprawled on a double-leg attempt and snared him in a brabo choke. For a tense 60 seconds, Anaya attempted to finish the choke, but Peet defended himself ably and eventually escaped to his feet in time for the final bell.
All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Peet, who goes to 1-0, while Anaya falls to 1-1 after his own successful pro debut in June.
Moran Dominates Gabriel
Making his professional debut after a 4-0 amateur campaign that saw him win the Fury Amateur Series bantamweight title, Paris Moran (1-0) dominated Daniel Gabriel (0-1) for a little over a round and a half before sealing the deal with a one-punch knockout.
The fight looked close to a finish in the first round, as Moran grounded Gabriel multiple times, passed his guard and hammered him with punches from side control and knee-on-belly positions before knocking him down with a head kick late in the round. The second stanza was similarly one-sided, as Moran once again took Gabriel down with relative ease, passed to dominant positions and pounded him with strikes. Midway through the round, Moran let his foe up, whereupon he walked Gabriel down against the fence and launched a sizzling straight left from southpaw stance. Gabriel was flattened instantly, as referee J.J. Ferraro jumped in to stop the fight at 3:00 of Round 2.
Coria Pummels Hendricks
21-year-old Alden Coria stayed perfect in his young pro career, beating up late replacement Eric Hendricks for three punishing rounds in their 130-pound catchweight contest. Coria dominated in all phases, hammering Hendricks on the feet, landing multiple takedowns and applying ground strikes. Hendricks impressed by his sheer gameness -- the fight could have been stopped at least once -- but had little to offer in return. Coria prevailed by scorecards of 30-27 (twice) and 30-25 to move to 2-0 as a pro, after a 5-0 amateur campaign, and remains one of Texas’ most intriguing prospects in his weight range.
Patterson Manhandles, Pounds Out Wiltz
Mikey Patterson (3-2 amateur) made a successful pro debut, using a variety of trips, throws and high-amplitude slams to keep Dominic Wiltz (3-0 amateur) off balance and on the ground, where Patterson applied ground-and-pound and threatened with a heel hook late in the first round. The second round offered more of the same, as “The Doctor” again grounded Wiltz, eventually took mount and pelted him with punches until the referee was forced to intervene at 2:26. The emphatic win announces the 26-year-old Patterson, who challenged unsuccessfully for the Fury Amateur Series welterweight title in his last amateur bout in June, as a new arrival to watch in the Fury welterweight division.
Prelims: Williams Retains Middleweight Title
In the all-amateur prelims, Tyson Williams (5-0 amateur) defended his Fury Amateur Series middleweight title, throttling Melvin Washington (10-9 amateur) with a rear-naked choke in the first round; Isaac Moreno (4-0 amateur) punished Benjamen Gomez (2-3 amateur) with kicks before finishing him off with second-round punches in their welterweight matchup; featherweight Michael Aswell (3-1 amateur) used pressure against the cage and several authoritative slam takedowns to secure a unanimous decision over Cristian Lopez (0-4 amateur); Hector Saenz (1-0 amateur) made an impressive amateur debut, sparking Anthony Martinez (0-1 amateur) with a flurry of punches just 22 seconds into their lightweight bout; bantamweight Anthony Toro (2-0 amateur) defeated Cameron Smotherman (1-1 amateur) by split decision; and Justice Torres (3-2 amateur) blitzed Brandon Cancino (3-1 amateur) with a straight left and follow-up ground strikes for a 62-second TKO in the featherweight opener.