Four first-round finishes highlight opener of #3Shows30Days on UFC FIGHT PASS®
Highly regarded prospect Raufeon Stots lived up to the hype as he dominated throughout and took a clear-cut unanimous decision over veteran Jeff “Big Frog” Curran in the main event of Victory Fighting Championship’s VFC 53 on Wednesday night.
The bout topped the six-fight main card that aired live on UFC FIGHT PASS® from a sold-out Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo, Iowa.
Stots (7-0) got out of the blocks in a hurry, landing a hard kick in the opening moments that hurt Curran’s left leg. It was a prelude of things to come from Stots as he peppered Curran over three rounds with kicks to his legs and body plus a pair of grazing head kicks that kept the 55-fight veteran from engaging. Stots, who was the aggressor all through the bout, took the judges’ scorecards 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28, and further brightened his future.
The Houston, Texas, product could find himself as the next logical contender for the VFC bantamweight belt or he could be headed to the UFC.
“I hope this gets me to the next stop, to be in the UFC,” said Stots during his post-fight interview.
“I’m putting in the work to get there. I train with the best guys in the world and I have the best coaches. I think I’m ready. I’ve done what I need to do to get there.”
Curran (37-18-1), who has fought for numerous high-profile promotions including the UFC, WEC, Pride and Shooto Americas, called a halt to a career that began in 1998.
“100% I’m done. I shouldn’t be sad about this. I love fighting more than anything,” said the 39-year-old, who unretired in 2015 after a nearly two-year layoff.
In the co-main event, the “Battle of Waterloo” was a one-sided affair between home-town rivals Mike Plazola and Nick Bartels.
With Bartels (5-2) looking to get to his feet after a scramble, Plazola (13-5) darted behind and locked in a rear-naked choke that forced a tapout only 1:53 into the first round.
Fan favorites had a tough go of it the rest of the way at VFC 53.
In a catchweight battle, Rakim “The Boogeyman” Cleveland (16-8) landed two hard kicks to the body of Calley Kruger, forcing him to the deck. After a hard punch to the ribs deepened the damage, Kruger (6-4) turtled up and then verbally submitted as Cleveland rained down punches. Referee Eric Carr heeded Kruger’s call at 1:37 of the first round.
Chris “The Dynamite Kid” Dunn (13-8) of Des Moines, Iowa, needed only 46 seconds to dispatch Waterloo’s Adem Mujakic (9-10) in their featherweight tussle. Dunn dropped Mujakic with a right hand, belted him with another as he got up, and then blasted three follow-up punches into his foe before referee Rob Hinds dove in to bring the fight to a halt.
Zach Rosol looked to be on the verge of victory against Kyle Noblitt, but things changed very quickly in their heavyweight tilt. Rosol engineered a ferocious slam takedown in the opening seconds then had Noblitt in a guillotine choke and even stuck him with a stiff right hand. Yet Noblitt (4-0) brought the fight to a stunning halt when he trapped Rosol (3-2) with a kneebar and coaxed the submission tapout at 2:51 of the first round, much to the dismay of Rosol’s large contingent of fans.
The VFC 53 main card opened with Waterloo’s Clarence Jordan (8-3) pulling out a split-decision verdict over Milwaukee’s R’Mandel Cameron (5-3) in their welterweight clash.
Other VFC 53 results (amateur prelims):
Isaac Doolittle def. John Simon – unanimous decision
PJ Rashed def. Mason Roberts – KO (head kick), Round 1
Adnan Mujakic def. Levi Kilroy – KO (punch), Round 1
Derek Newson def. Jeremy Smith – TKO (punches), Round 1
Victory Fighting Championship’s #3Shows30Days campaign continues on December 9th in Omaha, Nebraska, before wrapping up on December 23rd in Topeka, Kansas.
VFC 54 features a pair of title fights including the much-anticipated welterweight rematch between Maki “Coconut Bombz” Pitolo and Kassius “Kayne” Holdorf. The other title bout pits reigning bantamweight champion Rob Emerson moving up to featherweight to take on Ryan Roberts.
VFC 54 and VFC 55 will air live on UFC FIGHT PASS®. UFC FIGHT PASS is available on: personal computers, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV, LG Smart TV, Sony TVs with Android TV and Roku devices.
Ticket information for all three events is available at www.victoryfighter.com.
About Victory Fighting Championship
Victory Fighting Championship is the premier mixed martial arts organization in the Midwest. Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Victory has provided its’ thousands of fans with high-quality, competitive, and entertaining fights since 2002. A catalyst for success, Victory has launched the careers of numerous elite fighters such as UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, Spencer Fisher, Jorge Gurgel, Josh Neer, Kevin Burns, Jake Ellenberger, Jason Brilz, Anthony Smith, Justin Salas, Nick Mamalis, Rob Kimmons, Chris Camozzi, John Halverson, Abe Wagner and Travis Browne. These Victory fighters have made their way to the largest, most competitive stages across the United States including the bright lights of the UFC. As an institution that continues to grow, thrive and gain strong, consistent momentum, Victory Fighting Championship presents fights at the region’s top venues and in front of the best crowds. Bright Lights, Big Fights. For more information, visit victoryfighter.com and follow Victory Fighting Championship at Facebook.com/victoryfighting, Twitter and Instagram @victoryfighting, and YouTube.com/victoryfighting.
UFC® is a premium global sports brand and the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. Headquartered in Las Vegas with offices in London, Toronto, Sao Paulo and Singapore, UFC produces more than 40 live events annually that consistently sell out some of the most prestigious arenas around the globe. UFC programming is broadcast in over 156 countries and territories to more than 1.1 billion TV households worldwide in 29 different languages. UFC FIGHT PASS®, a digital subscription service, delivers exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand and original content to fans around the world. For more information, visit UFC.com and follow UFC at Facebook.com/UFC, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram: @UFC.