Official Results: Jackson def. Souza via Split Decision (48-47) (46-49) (48-47). pic.twitter.com/Vbg9qseSiO— AXS TV Fights (@AXSTVFights) July 13, 2019
Despite several shake-ups to the main card after Junior Marques was denied entry into the United States, Legacy Fighting Alliance delivered a decision-filled event and crowned a new champion in Atlanta.
The main event of LFA 71 was a welterweight title clash between Jason Jackson and Hemerson de Souza. The first round was largely spent against the cage as Jackson (10-3) eventually took the Brazilian down but was unable to mount any significant offense. Round 2 started with fireworks as Souza (7-5) was floored by a punch from the Jamaican fighter, but neither combatant put the other in danger after that. Souza turned the tides of the fight in the third frame as he started delivering leg kicks and landing his left hook. He eventually took “The Ass-Kicking Machine” down and decisively won his first round of the championship bout.
Round 4 was a much more competitive, but Souza landed the more damaging strikes and potentially evened it up going into the final five minutes. Both fighters traded takedowns in the closely-contested final frame but neither came close to finishing the battle. In the end, Jackson did just enough to eke out a split decision (48-47, 46-49, 48-47) to become the new LFA welterweight champion.
In the co-main event, Hugh Pulley made his case for the next welterweight title shot with a win over Demarques Jackson. The back-and-forth bout saw Jackson (10-4) threaten early after taking the back of his opponent but couldn’t finish the resilient Pulley (8-4) in the first. However, Pulley did much better in the last two rounds as he was able to take down his opponent. The fight ended dramatically as Jackson took Pulley’s back and almost secured a rear-naked choke in the final seconds. In the end, Pulley was rewarded with a split decision win (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Ary Farias was just too much for Devante Sewell in their bantamweight encounter. The two got into it at the weigh-ins the day prior, but Farias (8-2) wound up effortlessly choking out Sewell (7-4) at the very end of the first round. The rear-naked choke left the American unconscious with just two seconds to spare.
The grappling skills of Gregory Rodrigues were on display in his middleweight bout against Tanner Saraceno. “Robocop” quickly took down Saraceno (7-4) and siezed his back. This set the pace of the bout as Rodrigues (6-2) soundly outgrappled the former “WWE Tough Enough” cast member for all three rounds. The judges scored it 30-25 (twice) and 30-27 in the Brazilian’s favor.
Pedro Paulino Vinagre was a last-minute replacement against Tyler Ray and is no longer undefeated as a result. Ray (5-1) was the naturally bigger fighter and controlled the pace against the Brazilian. Vinagre (7-1) was penalized a point for grabbing the cage to stop a takedown and didn’t have enough power to hurt his opponent on the feet. The result was a lopsided 30-26 decision win for the American on all three scorecards.
Both Zach Fears and Robert Hale opted to scrap it out on the feet in their 160-pound catchweight bout. Hale (7-4) was the more aggressive fighter as Fears (10-5) struggled to land anything of significance. After three rounds of action, all of the judges had Hale winning the fight via tallies of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28.
Opening up the main card was a 160-pound catchweight bout between Yemi Oduwole and Christopher Brown. The striking of Brown (3-1) wound up being too much for Oduwole (5-2) as he rocked him with a head kick and finished him off with a knee at 1:38 of the second.
In preliminary action, Clay Harvison (14-8) defeated lightweight prospect Michael Barnett (7-2) by unanimous decision; middleweight Impa Kasanganay (5-0) kept his undefeated record in tact as he was awarded a split decision over Devorious Tubbs (4-4); and in the opening bout of the night, Leivon Lewis (3-0) was able to outwork Johnathan Jackson (3-2) and earn a dominant unanimous decision with two 30-27 scorecards and a 30-25 verdict in his favor.