Much like his nickname, “Hurricane Ike,” Isaac Villanueva just seems to be picking up speed and getting more dangerous as he rolls along.
In his first defense of the Fury Fighting Championship light heavyweight title he won in August, Villanueva (16-9) took down Rashad Coulter with a relentless yet patient assault at Fury FC 40. Less than 30 seconds in, Villanueva rocked Coulter badly with a left hook. Villanueva pounced and flurried against the fence, shucked off a double-leg attempt from his dazed opponent and continued to tee off. Coulter appeared to regain his composure several times, but Villanueva never gave him space to truly recover, let alone mount any offense of his own, and when Coulter wilted under a salvo of punches halfway into the round, referee Joe Soliz intervened to stave off further punishment. The TKO came officially at 3:14 of Round 1.
Villanueva’s first successful title defense is also his fourth straight first-round knockout, the last two of which have come over UFC veterans in Coulter and Roger Narvaez. In his post-fight interviews, Villanueva lobbied for a spot on the UFC’s upcoming pay-per-view in Houston, but whether or not that materializes, he remains emphatically the top 205-pounder in Fury.
Morris Mauls Simpson But Forfeits Belt
The vacant Fury FC lightweight title will stay that way for the time being, as Will Morris thoroughly dominated Le'ville Simpson after missing the championship limit by over six pounds.
The co-main event, intended to award the belt stripped from Victor Martinez this fall, instead became a catchweight affair. Controversy on the scale aside, it was all Morris once the cage door shut, as “The Blue Chip” showed ample hand speed and power in addition to a visible differential in size. Ninety seconds into the fight, Morris dropped Simpson with a hard straight right, then swarmed for the finish. After softening him up with ground-and-pound, Morris elected to go for the choke, and the dazed and overwhelmed Simpson tapped out at 2:31 of the first round. The win brings Morris’ professional record to 5-1 and gets him back on track after being handed his first career loss by Joe Schilling a year ago; Simpson drops to 8-5.
Ontiveros Snipes Luiz
Charlie Ontiveros notched his second highlight-reel finish of 2019, as he delivered a one-punch knockout of Washington Luiz in their welterweight showcase. The first 90 seconds of the fight featured tense exchanges of single shots, as the two southpaw muay Thai stylists felt each other out. Luiz appeared to be having some difficulty with Ontiveros’ superior reach and hand speed, when it was all rendered meaningless. Ontiveros caught an incoming Luiz with a picture-perfect right hook to the jaw. Luiz went down in a daze as “The American Bad Boy” walked off with his arms raised and referee Joe Soliz dove in for the stoppage at 1:45. The knockout leaves the 26-year-old Ontiveros at 11-6 overall, 2-0 since returning from a nearly two-year hiatus in August; Luiz goes to 5-5.
Macario Slips By Richardson
In a back-and-forth lightweight bout, Gabriel Macario did enough to sway at least two of the judges, taking a split decision over Shakeem Richardson (29-28, 29-28, 28-29). The first round was definitely the Brazilian’s, as he stumbled Richardson with several clean punches and was generally the more active, aggressive fighter. The second and third were much more closely contested, but Richardson began landing with greater volume and power, and by the end of the fight, Macario’s face was noticeably swollen and lacerated. The razor-thin decision brings Macario’s professional record to 6-3, while Richardson falls to 3-5.
Del Valle Bloodies, Armbars Sanchez
Yadier Del Valle (2-0) handed Alonso Sanchez (3-1) his first loss while staying undefeated in his own professional career to date, getting the better of a frenetic one-round featherweight scrap. “The Cuban Problem” struck early, stumbling Sanchez with a stiff left jab to the body. Sanchez returned fire, but an elbow from Del Valle opened a cut on Sanchez’s face that began bleeding badly. As Del Valle continued to tag him with strikes, Sanchez shot successfully for a takedown. As Sanchez looked to advance position on top, however, Del Valle threw his legs up and snared him in a textbook armbar. Sanchez attempted to slam himself free, but Del Valle calmly adjusted his grip, went belly down, and left Sanchez no option but to ask out of the fight at 4:27.
Ageless Vasquez Throttles McElroy
At age 46, and over three years removed from his last professional appearance, Leroy Vasquez didn’t miss a beat in his return, dominating Christopher McElroy on the ground on his way to a first-round submission in their lightweight matchup. Giving up an almost comical amount of height and reach to the 6-foot-1 McElroy, Vasquez negated those advantages by running the taller man to the canvas off of a missed head kick. From there, it was largely academic, as the Paradigm Training Center coach had his way with McElroy. Vasquez advanced to full mount and dropped punches until McElroy turned his back, at which point Vasquez slapped on a rear-naked choke that had the younger man tapping in seconds. The end came at 3:13 of the first round, bringing Vasquez’ career tally to 3-0; McElroy falls to 0-1.
Storm Blows Away Hatcher
Sebastian Storm (2-0) continued to announce his presence as a threat in the Fury heavyweight division, as he knocked out James Hatcher (0-1) just 23 seconds into Round 2 of the main card opener. Storm was the sharper striker throughout, disrupting Hatcher’s rhythm with a variety of quick push kicks and outside low kicks to the legs, punctuated with punching combinations. A spinning backfist by Storm appeared to rock Hatcher near the end of the first round, and after the break, he picked up where he left off. A stiff left jab stumbled Hatcher, followed by an overhand right that sent him reeling. Storm pounced, running Hatcher into the fence and teeing off with punches until Hatcher went down, prompting referee Jeff Rexroad to intervene and award Storm the TKO win.
In the all-amateur prelims, Micah White (1-0) needed only 48 seconds to put away Isaiah Sanmiguel (0-1) with a rear-naked choke in their flyweight encounter; Zach Lowery (1-0) defeated Jareth Sanchez (0-1) via scarf hold in 2 minutes, 38 seconds in a lightweight matchup; lightweight Joel Barrientos (1-0) submitted Arlton Ardrey (1-1) via rear-naked choke with just eight seconds left in a wild scrap; Treyvon Coker floored Nathan Power with a huge right hand in a battle of debuting welterweights; in bantamweight action, Jacob Miller (1-0) took out Americo Garcia (0-1) with punches from mount in the second round; Alvaro Hurtado (2-0) grounded and pummeled Jessie Henry (0-3) in all three rounds on his way to unanimous 30-27 scorecards in their middleweight bout; and in the welterweight opener, Tomas Cantu (1-1) stopped Andrew Walls (0-1) with ground punches at 1:48 of Round 2.