Undefeated top prospect Raufeon Stots and veteran Yuri Villefort both became newly crowned champions on Friday night as Victory Fighting Championship hosted VFC 56 at the Baxter Arena in Omaha, Nebraska.
Stots (8-0) outworked two-division champion Rob Emerson to steal his bantamweight title, while Villefort (10-5) capitalized on his experience and ground game to take the welterweight belt from home-town fan favorite Kassius Holdorf. The fight card aired live on UFC FIGHT PASS®.
"I believe I belong with the best in the world. I deserve to fight the best in the world. I deserve to be in the UFC," said Stots after he took a unanimous decision from Emerson (50-45, 50-45, 49-46).
The Milwaukee, Wisconsin, product continually came forward and did more with the few opportunities afforded either fighter. Stots scored a handful of meaningful takedown and got the better of the few striking exchanges. Emerson (19-12), who remains VFC's featherweight champion, saw his best chance come in the fourth when he tried to coax a kneebar but Stots was able to wiggle away.
In the co-main event, Villefort repeatedly got the fight to the mat and used brief ground-and-pound rallies to pull away from Holdorf (9-4). "Killa Kayne" was clearly the better striker but he was unable to keep Villefort from taking him down. Villefort's top game easily led him to a clear-cut unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45) which ended Holdorf's title reign in his first defense.
It was a disappointing night for another home-town fighter as Omaha's Dakota Cochrane (27-11) couldn't escape the wrestling of EJ Brooks (10-5), who wore out his foe to notch a comfortable verdict of 29-28 on all three judges' scorecards.
Another high-end VFC prospect fared well on the night as Sodiq Yussef (4-0) downed Chuka Willlis (9-4) in a featherweight bout.
Three other bouts on the main card all ended in the first round. Home-town welterweight Corey Davis (2-0) took advantage of a critical positioning mistake by Kenny Licea (4-2) to sink in a fight-ending rear-naked choke with just two seconds left in the opening frame. In a lightweight tussle, Bryce Logan (6-2) executed a vicious slam and followed with strikes which brought a verbal tapout from an injured Will Shutt (23-24-1) at 4:23 of the first. And in a bantamweight clash, Omaha's Terrence Almond (3-2) notched a victory at 1:24 of the first when Tony Ortega (3-4) tapped out due to a shoulder/collarbone injury.
The opening bout of the main card saw Bernard Thomas (4-1) squeak past Boimah Karmo (2-2) via a split decision in their welterweight matchup.
Victory Fighting Championship returns on Friday, May 5 in Topeka, Kansas, headlined by the return of heavyweight champion Daniel "Big Kansas" Gallemore as he defends his belt against Razak Al-Hassan.
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.