Saturday’s fight between Michael Bisping and Anderson Silva might have left a bad taste in your mouth, but there’s nothing like more fight results to cleanse the palate. February continues to be a strong month for UFC vets, with former UFC talent, including TUF contestants, going 6-0 in regional shows. This includes, of course, long-time Top 10 middleweight Yushin Okami.
This past weekend marked the first time that Okami (31-10, 13-5 UFC, 1-2 WSOF, 2-0 PRIDE) has fought outside a major organization in nearly a decade. Okami made his return in the co-main event of Tokyo’s DEEP 75 Impact, where he faced 20-year JMMA veteran Ryuta Sakurai (24-22-6, 0-3 PRIDE). Okami, known for his stifling top-control game, scored a rare finish in Round 3, pummeling Sakurai with ground-and-pound to the point that Sakurai’s corner threw in the towel. This marks the first time in nearly six years that Sakurai has been TKO’d. Sakurai has lost five straight. Okami, meanwhile, has his hand raised for the first time since 2014.
The main event saw fan-favorite Ikuhisa Minowa (63-41-8, 10-8 PRIDE, 8-5 Dream) once again come up short, this time by unanimous decision against Yuya Shirai (26-14-2, 0-1 Dream). It has now been four years since Minowa has beaten an opponent with a winning record–Bor Bratovz, then 6-2-0, at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012. He is 6-7 since then. Shirai has won two straight.
Also on the card, Takafumi Otsuka (20-13-2, 0-4 Dream) took a unanimous decision over Daisuke Endo (14-9-2). Otsuka is undefeated in his last three.
And at Tachi Palace Fights 26, former Bellator strawweight champion Zoila Frausto (13-5, 6-1 Bellator, 1-1 Strikeforce) picked up a much-needed win, claiming a unanimous decision over Corina Herrera (2-2-0). It’s Frausto’s first victory since 2012, when she out-dueled Casey Noland (at the time 4-5-0).
Fellow Bellator alum Cleber Luciano (12-6, 3-1 Bellator) was not so lucky, falling to strikes from Danny Navarro (15-6, 0-1 Bellator). The end came in Round 2, halting Luciano’s recent win-streak at four. Navarro has won two straight, including a victory over UFC vet Cain Carrizosa, who also fought on the card.
Carrizosa (7-3, 0-2 UFC 1-0 Bellator) took a unanimous decision over Ray Cervera (9-5-0), ending a three-fight slump and improving to 1-1 in his post-UFC career.
And fighting at British Challenge 14 out of Essex, England, TUF 17’s Luke Barnatt (10-3, 3-3 UFC) continued his run of post-UFC success, flooring Charles Andrade (29-27-0) with punches in the opening seconds of Round 3. Barnatt, the newly minted middleweight champion of Italian promotion Venator FC, is 2-0 since the loss to Mark Munoz that saw him out of the UFC. He is scheduled to defend his aforementioned title against the infamous Jason “Mayhem” Miller later this year.
Watch Barnatt vs. Andrade here.
Later that night, John Maguire (21-8, 2-3 UFC) earned a unanimous decision from the judge’s in his co-main event contest with Aymard Guih (9-6-1). Maguire is 3-2 since his last major appearance–a decision loss to Mitch Clarke at UFC 161.
And in Moscow, at Fight Nights Global 44, former Bellator lightweight title challenger Alexander Sarnavskiy (32-4, 5-3 Bellator) suffered a rare loss as he dropped a unanimous decision to Murad Machaev (19-1, 1-1 Bellator). This is the first time Sarnavskiy has been defeated outside of Bellator; he’s 2-1 since last fighting for the promotion. Machaev–who’s last defeat came at the hands of Marcin Held in Bellator (as was the case for Sarnavskiy), is on a ten-fight tear.
TUF 21’s Jason Jackson (5-2, 1-1 TUF) took his first bout since his time on the show, knocking out Victor Moreno (37-23, 1-1 Bellator) in Round 1 at Victory FC 48 and becoming the organization’s welterweight champion in the process.
Fellow TUF 21 alum and Blackhouse teammate Felipe Portela (10-2, 1-1 TUF) also had a good weekend, finishing Jesse Grun (3-2-0) with strikes in Round 4 to become the Valor Fights welterweight champion. He’s 2-0 since the TUF competition.
At BAMMA Badbeat 18 in California, Chris Saunders (15-7, 0-1 UFC, 0-1 Bellator) defended his lightweight title and extended his win-streak to four with a unanimous-decision-worthy effort against Darren Smith, Jr. (8-6, 0-1 Bellator). Saunders is 6-2 since an appearance in Bellator
And at BAMMA 24 in Dublin, Ireland, Chris Fields (11-7-1, 0-1 TUF) pulled himself out of a two-fight skid with a submission win against Dan Konecke (3-7-1).
Frank Trevino (13-2, 1-2 UFC) returned to the ring for his first post-UFC fight, picking up a split-decision win over J.J. Ambrose (24-7, 1-2 Bellator, 0-1 Affliction). Trevino, who was last seen on the wrong end of a Sage Northcutt, also had to serve a brief suspension due to marijuana metabolites.
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