Weekend Rundown: Rivera Ends Cullum’s KOTC Reign


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Once beaten Team Tiger Schulmann standout Jimmie Rivera defeated Abel Cullum by split decision to win the King of the Cage flyweight championship at KOTC “No Mercy” on Friday at the MGM Grand Casino at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Conn. Two of the three cage-side judges scored it 49-46 for Rivera; a third cast a dissenting vote, 48-47 for Cullum.

The loss was Cullum’s first in nine KOTC appearances. He had held the promotion’s 135-pound crown for more than two years.

Rivera outworked the champion in the clinch, counterpunched effectively and scored with timely takedowns in the third and fourth rounds. Cullum, perhaps sensing his title was slipping from his grip, picked up his pace in round four with punches to the head and kicks to the body. Still, he could not get Rivera to the floor, where the tide might have swung more dramatically in his favor, and by the end of the 25-minute encounter, the challenger had done enough to sway two of the three judges.

Meanwhile, KOTC bantamweight champion Donald Sanchez retained his title with a first-round rear-naked choke submission against Pat McGreal. The end came 2:27 into round one, as Sanchez locked in a standing choke, followed McGreal to the ground and waited for the tapout.

Other winners at “No Mercy” were the undefeated Myles Jury (first-round neck crank submission against Sam Oropeza), Ring of Combat veteran Jesus Martinez (unanimous decision over Chip Moraza-Pollard) and Noah Weisman (unanimous decision against Sean Wilmot).

Magno Almeida submitted World Extreme Cagefighting castaway Mike Campbell with a first-round rear-naked choke in the Classic Entertainment and Sports “First Blood” main event on Friday at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I. Campbell waved the white flag 4:03 into round one. “First Blood” was the first sanctioned mixed martial arts event held in the state of Rhode Island.

Almeida dragged Campbell to the floor, secured a body triangle and survived an attempted spike from the Team Sityodtong representative. The 25-year-old Brazilian tried three times to lock in the choke before cinching the fight ending hold with less than a minute left in the first period.

Unbeaten as a professional, Almeida has delivered submissions in six of his seven victories, the last three of them inside one round. The defeat snapped a two-fight winning streak for Campbell, who had beaten recent UFC signee Yves Edwards by unanimous decision under the Moosin MMA banner in May.

Other winners at “First Blood” included World Championship Fighting veteran Parker Porter (first-round rear-naked choke submission over Lee Beane), “Pistol” Pete Jeffrey (third-round guillotine choke submission against Saul Almeida) and Luis Felix (first-round guillotine choke submission over Joe Dechaves).

International Fight League veteran Eduardo Pamplona posted his eighth consecutive victory, as he defeated UFC exile Edilberto de Oliveira at Jungle Fight 22 on Saturday at the Geraldo Jose de Almeida Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil … Adrenaline MMA veteran Sasuke Zapata submitted Richie McCloskey with a second-round armbar under the Atlas Fights banner on Thursday at the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, Miss. McCloskey surrendered 3:32 into round two … Pride Fighting Championships veteran Shungo Oyama choked Brian Gassaway unconscious with a first-round triangle choke at Martial Combat 10 on Thursday in Sentosa, Singapore. Oyama, who holds victories against Renzo Gracie and former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton, has not won back-to-back bouts since 2005 … Undefeated Brazilian Carlos Augusto Inocente Filho needed less than a minute to dispatch his latest foe, as he knocked out Gustavo Moia with a knee 40 seconds into round one of their matchup at Shooto Brazil 18 on Friday at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil. Filho has finished all five of his opponents, three of them in the first round.

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