Jesse Juarez bested Manuel Rodriguez at CFC 18. | Photo: Chris
SYDNEY, Australia -- Jesse
Juarez earned a unanimous verdict (50-45, 50-45, 49-47) over
Rodriguez on Friday night at Luna Park's Big Top Arena,
successfully defending his Cage Fighting Championship welterweight
crown for the first time in the headliner of CFC
It marked the first defense of the title for Juarez, who had won
the belt that was vacated by UFC fighter Brian
Ebersole, by defeating Australian Justin
Murray back in April 2010.
Rodriguez's best chance for victory came in the first round, as he
locked on a seemingly tight anaconda choke and rolled twice before
Juarez was able to loosen the hold and slide out, landing on top in
Rodriguez's half guard.
The second round started in much the same way as the first, as
Juarez secured a takedown against the cage and Rodriguez tried to
work off his back. However, he was cut off at the pass each time he
tried to improve his position.
Juarez threatened with arm-triangle chokes on top but could not
find a finish. By the start of the third round, it was plainly
obvious how this fight was heading, as the process repeated for the
remaining rounds, albeit at a slower pace than the first couple of
frames. Periods of inactivity marred the final rounds, but the
action that did occur belonged to the Bodyshop Fitness Team
product, who earned the unanimous nod.
"Manny, you're an unbelievable fighter," Juarez said following the
decision. "It took a long flight to get here two days before; sorry
about how the fight ended. I'll try to get here sooner next
Torrance, Calif.'s Juarez is now 16-7 in his
career, snapping a two-fight losing streak after losses to UFC
veteran Josh Neer and
Bellator Fighting Championships signee Douglas
Lima. Rodriguez falls to 8-2, his four-fight winning streak
McKee took it to Bradney.
Juarez's trainer, UFC veteran Antonio
McKee, earned a quick submission victory over popular
Australian striker Jai Bradney
in the first round.
Bradney was able to shut down the first couple of takedowns from
the renowned wrestling practitioner but eventually succumbed to the
third round. "Mandingo" dished out some knees to Bradney's
hamstrings while inside his guard before passing directly
into full mount.
As the clock ticked, it looked as if Bradney was going to survive
the round, but he gave up his back and McKee quickly locked in the
choke. The tap came at 4:54 of the first round.
The 41-year-old McKee's win comes after his first loss in more than
seven years, a split decision defeat to Jacob
Volkmann in the UFC in January.
One of Oceania's brightest prospects, undefeated welterweight
Whittaker remained unblemished, defeating once-beaten Corey
Nelson in an exciting 170-pound contest.
In a frantic bout, both fighters charged into the
first round with an urgency befitting of two rising prospects
looking to make a point. After exchanging on the feet, Nelson took
the opportunity of top position with open arms, attacking the PMA
product with hard punches to the body and then the head.
Whittaker is still undefeated.
Whittaker took the back seamlessly and locked in a tight rear-naked
choke that looked likely to finish it. However, the bell sounded
shortly after, giving Nelson a chance to reset.
Nelson emerged from his corner with venom, swinging hard and fast,
and Whittaker was happy to indulge him.
However, Whittaker was smart to change levels and take down his
opponent into half guard. Both fighters threw elbows from top and
bottom, until Whittaker again stepped over for armbar and sank it,
this time ending a fantastic fight that raised the crowd to its
The end came at 4:40 of the second round for the 20-year-old Menai,
Australia, native, now 7-0 in his young career.
At 205 pounds, Tasmania's Priscus
Fogagnolo bloodied Andrew
Profilli with punches and elbows from inside the guard to take
their bout at 2:26 of the second round.
A large cut on the forehead of Profilli gushed for the majority of
the fight, with referee John Sharp stopping the fight when the
damage from Fogagnolo was unrelenting. It was the first fight in
more than two years for Fogagnolo, one of Oceania's most talented
judokas, whose lone loss came in his last bout -- to UFC veteran
James Te Huna in July 2009.
Once-beaten welterweight Regan
Wilson bested Mohammed
Kandeel, catching a rear-naked choke at 3:43 of the first
Morcombe halted Josh Payne
after the first round due to a cut above Payner's eyes that
impaired his vision and stopped the contest before round two.
Minto, Australia's Kian Pham
finished late-replacement Mike Lim of
Adelaide, catching a fight-ending guillotine just 95 seconds into
their flyweight bout.
In the evening's opener, North Sydney's Jamie Rae
punched out Adam Sarkis
at 4:14 of the first round in their middleweight contest.