How about those Boston judges? Fortunately, scorecards have nothing to do with this week’s column.
“The Dongbei Tiger” Wang Guan gets us started this week with his TKO victory over novice Francisco (0-1-0) in Round 1 of their main event bout at Kingdom of Fight International Finals. At 15-1-1, Wang is easily one of the more remarkable products of the Chinese MMA scene, though he yet lacks a signature victory.
And in New Jersey, in the main event of Global Proving Ground, Sam Oropeza (13-2, 4-1 Bellator, 1-0 Strikeforce) made short work of Timothy Woods (7-5-0. 1-0 Bellator), knocking him out with a slam in the opening minute of their middleweight bout. Oropeza, who was granted a release from Bellator in hopes of getting a call up to the UFC, has now won eight in a row. All of his victories have come by submission or (T)KO.
And in Belgium, new promotion Fightor MMA hosted their inaugural event despite some major administrative shuffling–former UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo, who founded the promotion, wound up disassociating himself from the organization entirely. The event nevertheless went forward, albeit in Belgium rather than France, and it managed to showcase some notable talent despite the shake-ups.
In the main event, UFC alum and Abu Dhabi champion Dean Lister (13-7, 4-2 UFC, 1-2 PRIDE) returned to competition for a heavyweight bout with Michael Knaap (18-22-3). Lister, who hasn’t fought since 2012, and hasn’t competed regularly since 2009, made the most of his return, forcing Knaap to submit to a trademark ankle lock in Round 1.
In the co-main event, former Bellator welterweight contender Karl Amoussou (18-7-2, 5-4 Bellator, 0-1 Dream) found himself back in the win column thanks to a third-round armbar of Christos Plasaris (4-5-0). Amoussou fought his way through Bellator’s 2012 welterweight tournament, taking out Chris Lozano, David Rickels, and Bryan Baker to earn a fight with then-champion Ben Askren, which he lost by TKO) (thereby kicking off Askren’s unexpected, current string of stoppage victories). This weekend’s fight was Amoussou’s first outside Bellator in almost four years.
And earlier in the evening, Tommy Depret finished Mateusz Strzelczyk (6-4-1) in the first. Depret doesn’t have any big-show experience, but he moved the needle a bit in 2010 and 2011 when he finished UFC vets David Bielkheden and Roan Carneiro in the United Glory welterweight tournament before losing in the finals to knockout artist Siyar Bahadurzada (in what would be Bahadurzada’s last fight before being signed to the UFC). With his win this weekend, the heavy-handed Depret improves his record to 11-5-0.
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