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Early adversity did nothing to divert Louis Smolka from his objective.
The Team Oyama export overcame an inauspicious start and continued to establish himself as a viable player in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s bantamweight division, as he put away “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” finalist Jose Alberto Quinonez with punches in the second round of their featured UFC on ESPN 19 prelim on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Smolka (17-7, 8-7 UFC) drew the curtain 2:15 into Round 2.
Quinonez (8-5, 5-4 UFC) pestered the Hawaiian with low leg kicks for much of the first round, mixed in a few overhand rights and benefitted from an inadvertent clash of heads that cut the former Pacific Xtreme Combat champion near his right eye. Smolka pressed the issue at the start of Round 2, executed a head-and-arm throw and climbed immediately to full mount. A sustained barrage of punches prompted Quinonez to surrender his back, at which point more unanswered blows fell and brought the match to a close.
Smolka, 29, has rattled off six wins across his past eight outings.
Undefeated Topuria Folds Jackson
Ilia Topuria kept his perfect professional record intact and did so in overwhelming fashion, as the onetime Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder buried Fortis MMA mainstay Damon Jackson with punches in the first round of their featherweight pairing. Jackson (18-4-1, 1-2-1 UFC) melted 2:38 into Round 1.
Topuria (10-0, 2-0 UFC) ravaged the Texan’s body with punches from both hands and never allowed him to change course. Jackson retreated to the fence under heavy fire midway through the first round, at which point he was met with a right uppercut that touched off the fight-ending volley. A savage left hook to the body came next followed by a chopping right hand behind the ear that folded Jackson at the base of the cage and necessitated the stoppage.
The loss was Jackson’s first since May 23, 2019.
Collier Outduels Reeling Villante
Former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Jake Collier rebounded from a 45-second knockout defeat to Tom Aspinall with a unanimous decision over Gian Villante in a three-round heavyweight tilt. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Collier (12-5, 4-4 UFC), who has alternated wins and losses in each of his last eight appearances.
Villante (17-13, 7-10 UFC) piled up considerable damage on his counterpart’s face with overhand rights and effective counters, but his approach lacked urgency. Collier was far busier, kept a steady pace and maintained his aggression throughout the 15-minute affair. He attacked the legs and body with powerful kicks, stepped into his jabs and staggered Villante more than once with sweeping left hooks upstairs.
Once one of the sport’s brightest prospects, Villante finds himself on a three-fight losing streak for the first time in his career.