Last weekend’s regional shows yielded some solid action from big-show veterans, including a couple notables from PRIDE, hard-luck prospect Mike Rhodes, and a former IFL champion.
For PRIDE fans, the highlight of the weekend was the return of the infamous Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett, who was squeezing a pro-MMA career in between run-ins with the law before main-stream poseurs like Jason Miller and War Machine made it so popular.
Bennett enjoyed a relatively successful run in King of the Cage before making his PRIDE debut against Takanori Gomi at Bushido 5 (which he lost by submission). He quickly became a fan-favorite of sorts, as much for his irreverent antics as his potent finishing power. Bennett would go 2-3 with the organization, which includes a first-round knockout of a then-undefeated Yoshiro Maeda (but which doesn’t include his backroom brawl with Chute Boxe’s Christiano Marcello, during which Marcello choked Bennett unconscious with a triangle choke, and which supposedly precipitated a later confrontation between Bennett and Wanderlei Silva). Following his run in PRIDE, Bennett would land in EliteXC, where he handed K.J. Noons the first knockout-loss of his career before submitting to the strikes of Victor Valenzuela. Increasingly inconsistent performances in the ring, combined with increasingly consistent troubles with the law, would keep him from any other major MMA appearances.
Now, having recently completed a sentence related to an aggravated battery charge, Bennett has returned to the familiar climes of King of the Cage, fighting Danny Black (7-10-0) in the main event of “Harvest of Champions.” His three years away from competition seemed to have done little to dull his power, as Bennett knocked Black out in the bout’s opening minutes. With this victory, his first since 2012, Bennett improves to 27-28-2.
Fellow PRIDE veteran Ikuhisa Minowa (63-39-8, 10-8 PRIDE, 7-4 Dream) was also in competition last weekend, submitting Tetsuo Kondo (1-5-0) with a rear-naked choke in Round 1 at ACF 14 in Osaka. Consider it a warm-up for his Road FC bout with former RUFF champion Zhao Zilong later this year.
And at Prestige FC 1, out of Saskatchewan, Canada, Mike Rhodes (8-4, 0-3 UFC) continued his climb up the comeback trail, submitting Taki Uluilakepa (5-2-0) with a third-round rear-naked choke. Rhodes was a well-regarded addition to the UFC’s welterweight ranks, but the Roufusport representative was never able to get his footing, and a submission loss to Erick Silva last year forced his release. He’s 2-0 since then, having finished both his opponents.
Also on the card was recent Invicta contender Charmaine Tweet (7-5, 1-2 Invicta) who successfully rebounded from her first-round knockout at the hands of Cristiane Justino with a TKO victory of her own against Anna Barone (2-4-0). This bout served as a rubber match for Tweet and Barone, with Tweet having won the last two contests. She’s 3-1 in the last two years.
Meanwhile, former IFL middleweight champion Matt Horwich (29-23-1, 0-2 UFC, 7-4 IFL, 0-2 Bellator) returned from a two-year hiatus to take on Jae Young Kim (21-11-0, 2NC) in South Korea for the vacant Top FC middleweight title. In the IFL, Horwich was a reliably successful member of the Seattle Tiger Sharks, most notably besting Bristol Marunde, Benji Radach, and Mike Pyle. A brief, disappointing run in the UFC would follow, and upon his subsequent return to the regionals Horwich would struggle to regain his footing; victories over Thales Leites, Jason Lambert, and Jake Rosholt were promising, but only served to punctuate frequent losing streaks. Success would continue to elude Horwich this weekend, with Kim knocking him out in the bout’s opening minute. Horwich is winless since 2012. Kim has won seven straight.
TUF 16 hopeful Eddy Ellis, husband of TUF 20’s Lisa Ellis, submitted Evgeny Lakhin (10-6-0) via second-round guillotine at Absolution Championship Berkut 24. Ellis, whose overall record now stands at 20-15-1, is 2-0 since his time on TUF, having previously edged out Jim Wallhead on the scorecards.
Jake Lindsey (10-3, 0-3 UFC) made a successful return to the regional circuit, putting the rear-naked choke to Ian Stonehouse (6-9-0) in their main event bout at VFC Fight Night 6.
Former UFC heavyweight Ednaldo Oliveira (14-3-1, 0-2 UFC) fell to 1-1 in his post-UFC career, submitting to a scarf hold arm lock (???) courtesy of Mikhail Mokhnatkin (8-1-1). The 25-year-old Mokhnatkin is undefeated since stumbling in his debut.
Eddie Mendez (8-3-1, 0-1 UFC, 1-0 Strikeforce) pulled himself out of a two-fight slump with a unanimous decision victory over Curtis Millender (8-3, 1-2 Bellator).
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