Tyler Diamond refused to blink.
"The Ultimate Fighter 27" alum made a successful Legacy Fighting Alliance debut and did so while under heavy fire, as he walked away from his LFA 66 headliner against Jon Neal with a unanimous decision on Friday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. Scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26, all for Diamond (10-1, 1-0 LFA), who rebounded from his July 6 setback to Bryce Mitchell under the Ultimate Fighting Championship banner.
Neal (9-1, 0-1 LFA) likely raised his stock in defeat. He sat down Diamond with a left hook early in the first round, countered takedowns with elbows to the side of the head and made the Team Alpha Male product work for every inch of ground he gained. Still, his efforts fell short. Diamond floored him with a left hook late in Round 1, swarmed with punches for a potential finish and nearly closed the door with a rear-naked choke. He went on to control long stretches of the second and third rounds with strong clinch work, occasional takedowns, and continuous positional advancements.
In the catchweight co-main event, Nova Uniao standout William Macario leaned on superior hand speed and outstruck Joshua Burkman to a split decision across three rounds at 175 pounds. All three cageside judges struck 29-28 scorecards, two of them siding with Macario (10-4, 1-1 LFA).
Burkman (28-18, 0-1 LFA) countered effectively at times, held his own in the clinch and made a pass at a last-second guillotine choke, but he lacked the horsepower necessary to give his counterpart legitimate pause. Macario attacked the body with both hands, incorporated leg kicks at opportune times and connected with the cleaner, more impactful punches to the head.
Afterward, the 39-year-old Burkman removed his gloves and announced his retirement from mixed martial arts. He closes out his career on a six-fight losing streak.
Meanwhile, once-beaten Jackson-Wink MMA rep Andrew Tenneson submitted Westin Wilson with a sensational gogoplata in the first round of their featherweight showcase. Wilson (6-4, 0-2 LFA) conceded defeat 4:29 into Round 1.
Tenneson (8-1, 3-0 LFA) withstood significant adversity, as he found himself trapped in a tight guillotine choke at one point. However, he swept into top position, threatened Westin with heel hooks and ultimately achieved full mount. From there, Tenneson secured the gogoplata, rolled to his back for additional leverage and drove his shin into Westin's throat to elicit the tap.
The 33-year-old Tenneson has won five fights in a row, four of them finishes.
In other action, Emilio Trevino (4-0, 1-0 LFA) captured a unanimous decision against Joe Rodriguez in a three-round light heavyweight encounter, prompting 29-28 scores from all three judges; Fabio Serrao (9-6, 1-0 LFA) laid claim to a unanimous verdict over Bobby King (3-2, 0-1 LFA) in a three-round lightweight confrontation, earning 29-28 marks across the board; Lisa Mauldin (3-0, 1-0 LFA) eked out a split decision — 30-27, 28-29, 29-28 — over Kaytlin Neil (1-4, 0-1 LFA) in a three-round women's flyweight clash; Hunter Azure (5-0, 3-0 LFA) took a unanimous decision from L.J. Schulz (7-5, 0-1 LFA) in a three-round bantamweight affair, drawing 30-27 nods from all three judges; Kenneth Seegrist (5-7, 1-0 LFA) cut down Zac Cavender (1-1, 0-1 LFA) with a spinning backfist 48 seconds into the first round of their light heavyweight pairing; and Jered Gwerder (3-0, 2-0 LFA) knocked out Marco Sanchez (0-1, 0-1 LFA) with a head kick 1:12 into the first round of their middleweight tilt.