Last weekend offered a nice selection of fights, with some big-show alumni establishing promising win streaks and others serving as fodder for up-and-coming talent.
Things kicked off Friday with Russia’s Tech-Krep FC: Ermak PRIME Challenge, where, in the main event, 24-year-old heavyweight Denis Goltsov (14-4-0) looked to add “The Chief” Peter Graham (10-8, 1-2 Bellator, 0-2 Sengoku) to his list of victims. Graham, a kickboxer, started out his MMA career at a dispiriting 1-5 but would go on to beat his next seven opponents (including Aleksander Emelianenko). The surge landed him in Bellator, but he was released following losses to Cheick Kongo and Siala Siliga. As for Goltsov, he hasn’t lost in nearly three years and was riding an eight-fight win streak into Friday’s bout. He’d quickly made it nine in a row, submitting Graham via kimura in Round 2. Graham, who is challenging for Karol Bedorf’s KSW title next month, falls to 1-1 since his last appearance in Bellator. As for Goltsov, he’s surely on both Dana White and Scott Coker’s radars.
Meanwhile, in the main event of Florida’s Fight Time 24, Jeff Monson (55-21-1, 4-3 UFC, 1-0 PRIDE, 0-1 Strikeforce) squared off with D.J. Linderman (18-9, 1-1 Bellator, 0-1 WSOF). The fight was for the promotion’s heavyweight title and would run into the fifth round, at which point the heavy-handed Linderman forced the referee to save an exhausted Monson from further punishment. Linderman’s won two straight after a four-fight slump. Monson sees a recent win streak halted at five.
And in the night’s co-main event, former M-1 heavyweight champ Kenny Garner improved to 16-8-0 following his second-round TKO of William Hoffmann (5-2-0). Garner is 2-0 for the year. A bout with Linderman, whom Garner was scheduled to fight last September, seems a strong possibility.
And at Legacy FC 41, former UFC featherweight Daniel Pineda (21-11, 3-4 UFC) stepped in as a late replacement for Anthony Njokuani, signing on to fight Jonny Carson (11-6, 0-1 Bellator, 0-1 Strikeforce) with just days to prepare. Pineda would make the most of the situation: Carson stunned him early in the fight, but Pineda’s tenacity and aggressive jiu-jitsu game would win out, with “The Pit” ultimately locking up a cringe-inducing kimura in Round 3. Pineda is now 3-0 since his release from the UFC a year ago, with all of those wins coming by way of submission.
Watch Pineda vs. Carson here. Action starts at 2:30.
Moving into Saturday, we have Nebraska’s Victory FC 45, which hosted a bout between between Ryan Jensen (21-8, 2-6 UFC, 1-0 Bellator, 0-1 Strikeforce) and Matt Jones (7-9, 0-4 Bellator). Jensen, a potent finisher who has earned all of his victories by either (T)KO or submission, made short work of Jones, putting him away with strikes in Round 1. He remains undefeated at 6-0 since the 2011 submission loss to Jason MacDonald that saw him released from the UFC.
And on Sunday in Tokyo, former DEEP lightweight champion Daisuke Nakamura (28-16-1, 2-1 PRIDE, 2-2 Dream, 0-1 Strikeforce) found himself upset by Eiji Ishikawa (27-20-3, 0-1 Dream), losing by unanimous decision in the co-main event of TTF Challenge 4. Nakamura is 1-3-1 since 2013, a slump which began with the loss of his lightweight title to Satoru Kitaoka.
That same day, weirdo of note Masakazu Imanari (30-14-2, 0-2 PRIDE, 4-3 Dream) faced Daisuke Maku (10-6-1) in the main event of DEEP: Hachioji Chojin Matsuri. Imanari did what he does best, submitting Maku in the first (albeit by an armbar rather than the usual ankle lock). He’s 2-0 for the year.
Finally, Dennis Hallman (53-17-2-1NC, 4-5 UFC, 2-0 Strikeforce, 2-1 IFL) traveled to South Korea’s Top FC 6 in search of his first win since 2013. Standing in his way was Dongi Yang (12-3, 1-3 UFC), who was making his return to the ring after nearly two years away from competition. Yang, making up for lost time, took only three and a half minutes to finish Hallman, sprawling on the American before forcing him to pull guard, at which point Yang’s high-pressure ground-and-pound eventually forced the referee stoppage. Yang moves to 2-0 since his release from the UFC in 2012. For Hallman, this latest defeat makes for an unprecedented third straight loss.
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