Brave CF 29 results: Azamat Murzakanov runs through competition to win KHK open weight title

BAHRAIN – A new open weight champion was crowned at Brave CF 29 as Russia’s Azamat Murzakanov took out Mohammad Fakhreddine in the first round Friday.

Brave CF made its annual trip to Bahrain, holding its biggest event of the year at Khalifa Sports City Arena, where, for the first time in the organization’s history, a KHK open weight champion was crowned.

In the semifinals, Murzakanov used his grappling to control kickboxer Guto Inocente over the course of two rounds to cruise to the finals.

On the other side of the bracket, Fakhreddine set a brutal pace from the start, taking out Kleber Raimundo in Round 2 with brutal ground-and-pound.

That set up the final between Murzakanov and Fakhreddine in the final fight of the evening. After pressuring forward, Murzakanov was able to drop Fakhreddine, swarming him with a flurry of punches. Fakhreddine made his way back to his feet before Murzakanov landed a takedown.

Murzakanov continued to press forward, as he was able to land a beautiful left uppercut, knocking Fakhreddine out and winning the open weight title, as well as $100,000.

The night was filled with high-paced action and devastating knockouts, with numerous contenders emerging from each division.

Hometown hero Kooheji prevails

The pride of Bahrain, Hamza Kooheji put on a fine showing in front of his home crowd.

He used his pressure and wrestling, landing numerous takedowns on Nahuel Gandolfi to control the fight. Gandolfi was active from bottom, throwing multiple submissions, but Kooheji was able to brush them all off.

Kooheji continued to land heavy ground-and-pound on top. In Round 3, he got the crucifix and rained down elbows until the referee was forced to stop the fight.

Santiago edges past Gaziev

Luan Santiago had one of the more refined and patient performances of his career as he got back to the win column.

Santiago threw an array of kicks – from leg kicks, to body kicks, to head kicks – and continuously switched stances. Gadzhimusa Gaziev was content to sit back and counter by coming over the top every time. It was a close first round, but Santiago might have taken it based on activity.

Round 2 was more of the same, with Santiago continuing to fight long with a karate-like side stance and his hands down. Gaziev kept trying to make Santiago pay when he lunged in, with big swings on the counter, but wasn’t able to land anything significant. Santiago was starting to figure out his timing and took the second round, as well.

In Round 3, a bloodied Gaziev came out with a sense of urgency, trying to pressure Santiago. He continued to stalk Santiago, throwing a flurry of punches but Santiago was able to escape any real damage. Gaziev shot for the takedown, but Santiago stuffed it as the two fighters clinched against the cage. The third round likely went to Gaziev, but two of the judges scored the fight in favor of Santiago, who earned the split decision win.

Kutateladze nails perfectly timed counter left finish

This one didn’t last long as expected, with both fighters coming out aggressively. Felipe Silva was able to stumble Guram Kutateladze with a big right but rushed in recklessly, and got caught with a perfectly timed counter left, dropping him as Kutateladze was able to follow up with ground-and-pound, taking Silva out in under a minute. The All Stars Gym Sweden fighter extended his winning streak to eight.

Still undefeated, Topuria scores big knockout finish

Steven Goncalves landed a kick that stumbled Ilia Topuria and followed it with a punch that briefly dropped him, but Topuria was able to duck under a rushing Goncalves and land a takedown. As Goncalves made his way back up, Topuria latched onto his neck, securing an anaconda choke that appeared to be deep, but Goncalves managed to escape. Topuria landed another takedown as Goncalves was able to work his way back up again.

After a few exchanges on the feet, Topuria eventually backed Goncalves up to the cage and landed a huge overhand right, knocking him out in Round 1. The 22-year-old Spanish prospect remained undefeated.

Official Brave CF 29 results:

  • Azamat Murzakanov def. Mohammad Fakhreddine via knockout (uppercut) – Round 1, 3:47 – to win the KHK open weight world title
  • Hamza Kooheji def. Nahuel Gandolfi via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 1:44
  • Dumar Roa def. Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady via knockout (knee) –Round 1, 2:29
  • Luan Santiago def. Gadzhimusa Gaziev via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Guram Kutateladze def. Felipe Silva via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:44
  • Luana Pinheiro def. Helen Harper via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:00
  • Matis Zaharovs def. Hussein Ayad via TKO (leg kick) – Round 1, 1:18
  • Ilia Topuria def. Steven Goncalves via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:42
  • Amir Albazi def. Ryan Curtis via submission (key lock) – Round 1, 2:25
  • Ali Qaisi def. Jeremy Pacatiw via unanimous decision
  • Kasum Kasumov def. Rany Saadeh via submission (Von Flue choke) – Round 2, 3:18
  • Tae Hyun Kim def. Erick da Silva via unanimous decision
  • Azamat Murzakanov def. Guto Inocente via unanimous decision after two rounds, to advance to the open weight world championship final
  • Mohammad Fakhredine def. Kleber Raimundo via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:09 to advance to the open weight world championship final

Oh Georgia! Ilia Topuria and Guram Kutateladze score big knockouts at Brave CF 29

MANAMA, Bahrain – It was a successful night in the office for Georgian MMA thanks to first-round knockouts for prospects Ilia Topuria and Guram Kutatladze.

Training out of Spain, 22-year-old Georgian prospect Topuria (8-0 MMA, 2-0 BCF) remained unbeaten when he took out Steven Goncalves in the first round with a big overhand right at Brave CF 29. After being stumbled by a head kick, Topuria was able to show off a bit of his ground game by ducking under for the takedown and latching onto an anaconda choke. Once both fighters made it to their feet, Topuira was able to land the one-punch knockout, adding yet another finish to his resume.

Lightweight Kutateladze (11-2 MMA, 2-0 BCF) trains out of All Stars Gym in Sweden with the likes of Alexander Gustafsson and Ilir Latifi. Hailing from Georgia, Kutateladze engaged in 44 seconds of pure violence with Felipe Silva. He was backed up against the cage and briefly dropped, but in the midst of the flurry was able to land a beautifully timed counter left hook to take out Silva for his eighth straight win.

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Rich Franklin says not getting to fight Michael Bisping, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira two of his biggest MMA regrets

UFC Hall of Famer and former middleweight champion Rich Franklin has fought a who’s-who in MMA.

But despite being satisfied with his star-studded resume, Franklin (29-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) said if there were two fighters he could have competed against, it would be fellow former UFC 185-pound champ Michael Bisping and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

Franklin, who now works as an executive with ONE Championship, was scheduled to fight at UFC 133 in 2011, but Nogueira was forced off the card due to injury and the fight was scrapped.

“There’s some fun people – there’s some people that would have been a fun matchup, for sure,” Franklin told MMA Junkie. “I think Bisping and I would put on a really entertaining match. There was talk about that for some time. I was, at one point in time, matched up with Nogueira and he got injured. I think that would have been a fun fight to watch, as well.”

But few have accumulated the fight resume of Franklin, who’s been in there with the likes former UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva, former UFC light heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort and an array of other legends and champions.

“When you look at my career, from the moment I stepped into the big stage there in the UFC, my first match in the UFC was Evan Tanner,” Franklin said. “He was 8-1 at the time and his only loss was to Tito Ortiz. So from the moment I stepped into the big league, I was really swimming with the sharks.”

Franklin was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame this past July. Throughout his UFC career, only two of his fights weren’t part of pay-per-view events.

“After I won the title, from that moment on, this sport in particular, you don’t get any tomato cans,” Franklin said. “Everybody that you’re matched up against in mixed martial arts is the No. 1 contender every single time. And even after I lost my title, I still maintained main event status all the way till the end of my career. I was always fighting either top-five guys or former champions from the UFC or some other organization. My entire career was swimming with the sharks.”

Jared Cannonier open to fighting Darren Till, believes he’s one good win away from title shot

Jared Cannonier has emerged as a top middleweight contender, and thinks he’s one impressive win away from a UFC title shot.

Speaking to Helen Yee, Cannonier (13-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) said he’s open to face Darren Till (18-2-1 MMA, 6-2-1 UFC), who recently made good on his middleweight debut, defeating Kelvin Gastelum by split decision at UFC 244.

“I’ll fight him,” Cannonier said. “I’ll fight Darren – that’s a good fight. He just beat Kelvin. He’s ranked No. 5. I think I’ll fight pretty much everybody. I think a win over anybody in the top five, an impressive win over anybody in the top five – an impressive, dominant win over anybody in the top five – constitutes a title shot.

“He looked good. He looks very smart – intelligent fighter. He just shut Kelvin down at every turn. Any type of game plan Kelvin tried to implement, Darren Till shut it down and came out victorious.”

Cannonier, who was serving as a standby alternate for the Till vs. Gastelum fight, has won three straight since dropping down to 185 pounds. He took out former dual WSOF champion David Branch, former UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva, and notched a “Performance of the Night” over Jack Hermansson in his most recent outing in September.

He knows his position in the talent-filled middleweight division, which is why he wants to make sure he takes the right fight moving forward. With UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya rumored to take on Yoel Romero next, Cannonier thinks he needs one more impressive showing to be next in line for a title shot.

“I’ll take a fight as long as it gets me a title shot,” Cannonier said. “I don’t want to say I won’t take a fight. I used to say I’ll take any fight. But at this point in my career, I have to be smart. I can’t just take any fight, so I have to listen to my managers and my coaches in that regard and take the best fight. So hopefully the UFC gives me the right fight. I’m thinking anybody in front of me – anybody who gets me a title shot.”

Anthony Smith: Dominick Reyes is an easier fight for Jon Jones than Corey Anderson

Anthony Smith thinks Jon Jones actually picked the easier opponent in Dominick Reyes.

UFC light heavyweight champion Jones tweeted that he picked Reyes over Corey Anderson because he believes he’s the more dangerous fighter, but Smith said he thinks Anderson presents more problems overall.

“I honestly think Jon probably chose the easier opponent between Corey Anderson and Dominick Reyes,” Smith said on UFC Unfiltered. “I think that Reyes is absolutely more dangerous, as far as explosiveness and size and his length. I think he may give Jon some problems on his feet a little bit and Jon will have to dodge some bullets. But look at everybody Jon’s beat – they’re one-dimensional, and that’s what Jon wants.”

The undefeated Reyes (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), is coming off a first-round knockout over Chris Weidman at UFC on ESPN 6 in Boston. Anderson (13-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) is coming off a first-round finish of his own, taking out top prospect Johnny Walker at UFC 244.

Both were in the running for a title shot, but Jones ultimately chose Reyes. However, Smith said that Reyes’ split decision win over Volkan Oezdemir in March exposed some holes in his game that he can see Jones exploiting in the fight.

“Like we’ve seen in the Volkan Oezdemir fight, Dominick Reyes isn’t necessarily dominant on the ground and his takedown defense isn’t that great,” Smith said. “Even though he was able to stuff some of Weidman’s (takedowns) … he did have some improvements there, but Volkan Oezdemir took him down several times and Jon Jones is a much better wrestler than Volkan Oezdemir, that’s for sure.”

In Anderson, Smith sees a more skilled fighter overall who could present more issues to Jones, considering his wrestling ability.

“I think Corey is more well-rounded,” Smith said. “He’s got fundamental boxing. His kicking game isn’t super high level, but he keeps his hands in the right spot. He moves his head well. His wrestling is good. His takedown defense is really good. His top pressure is good. His cardio is phenomenal. Corey presents a lot more problems than Dominick Reyes does, so I do think that Jon picked the easier fight.”

Michael Page draws newcomer Giovanni Melillo as Derek Anderson’s replacement for Bellator Europe 6 main event

Michael Page will go from facing a veteran to a newcomer.

Bellator officials announced Friday that Giovanni Melillo (13-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) will step in for Derek Anderson (16-3 MMA, 7-3 BMMA) to take on Page (15-1 MMA, 10-1 BMMA) in the Bellator Europe 6 main event.

Bellator Europe 6 takes place Nov. 23 at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London. The event will simulcast on tape delay in the U.S. on Paramount and DAZN. The Bellator Europe 6 portion of the card will stream live in the U.S. on MMA Junkie.

After Anderson was forced to withdraw due to injury, a replacement opponent was quickly found. The 34-year-old Melillo, from Italy, gets his biggest career opportunity. The Cage Warriors and ACB veteran is coming off a unanimous decision win over Will Chope at Fight Clubbing 24 in May.

Page was able to rebound from his first pro loss to current Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima with a flying knee knockout win over Richard Kiely at Bellator 227.

The Bellator Europe 6 lineup now includes:

  • Michael Page vs. Giovanni Melillo
  • Fabian Edwards vs. Mike Shipman
  • Terry Brazier vs. Soren Bak
  • Denise Kielholtz vs. Sabriye Sengul
  • Kent Kauppinen vs. Andy Manzolo
  • Kevin Fryer vs. George Tokkos
  • Charlie Leary vs. Tim Wilde
  • Damian Frankiewicz vs. Aiden Lee
  • Daniel Crawford vs. Robert Whiteford
  • Alfie Davis vs. Myles Price
  • Walter Gahadza vs. Lewis Long
  • Tom Green vs. Akonne Wanliss
  • ‘Super’ Shane Campbell vs. Raphael Uchegbu
  • Chris Bungard vs. Mario Saeed
  • Harry Hardwick vs. Nathan Rose
  • Tom Mearns vs. Jeremy Petley
  • Pietro Penini vs. Charlie Ward

Ariane Lipski gets new opponent for UFC Sao Paulo after Veronica Macedo forced to withdraw

Newcomer Isabella de Padua will step in on just a day’s notice to take on Ariane Lipski at UFC on ESPN+ 22 in Sao Paulo.

UFC on ESPN+ 22 takes place Saturday at Ginásio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo. The card streams on ESPN+.

According to French website La Sueur, Lipski’s (11-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) original opponent Veronica Macedo (6-3-1 MMA, 1-3 UFC), was forced to withdraw due to severe headaches. The Brazilian athletic commission did not clear her to fight. The news of de Padua (5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) stepping in was first reported by MMA Fighting.

Brazil’s de Padua has won five straight fights, with her most recent win coming by second-round TKO due to a doctor’s stoppage at SFT 17 in October.

After dropping her first two UFC bouts to Joanne Calderwood and Molly McCann, Lipski will look to notch her first promotional win. De Padua will be her third different opponent for UFC Sao Paulo.

With the change, the UFC on ESPN+ 22 lineup now includes:

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Ronaldo Souza
  • Paul Craig vs. Mauricio Rua
  • Jared Gordon vs. Charles Oliveira
  • Antonio Arroyo vs. Andre Muniz
  • Markus Perez vs. Wellington Turman

PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+, 5 p.m. ET)

  • James Krause vs. Sergio Moraes
  • Eduardo Garagorri vs. Ricardo Ramos
  • Bobby Green vs. Francisco Trinaldo
  • Warlley Alves vs. Randy Brown
  • Renan Barao vs. Douglas de Andrade
  • Isabella de Padua vs. Ariane Lipski
  • Tracy Cortez vs. Vanessa Melo