LAS VEGAS – Josh Burkman‘s (26-9) comeback is real. “The People’s Warrior” earned his fifth straight victory with a shocking first-round technical-submission win over onetime UFC title challenger Jon Fitch (24-6-1).
The rematch served as the main event of Friday’s World Series of Fighting 3 event, which took place at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and aired on NBC Sports Network.
Burkman attacked from the opening bell, rocking Fitch with an early flurry and sending his opponent to the floor. From there, he pounded away before locking in a guillotine choke and falling to his back. Burkman arched his back and squeezed, letting up only when he felt Fitch go limp – and well before Steve Mazzagatti was looking to call off the fight.
With the 41-second win, Burkman earns revenge for a 2006 loss to Fitch and is now an impressive 8-1 in his past nine fights. The lone loss in that stretch came to current UFC contender Jordan Mein. Meanwhile, Fitch falls to 1-3-1 in his past five fights.
In the night’s co-feature, welterweight Steve Carl (20-3) earned his seventh straight win with an impressive first-round finish of Tyson Steele (10-2).
Steele rattled off kicks to open the bout, pushing back a smiling Carl with side kicks and occasionally chopping the leg. However, just as he seemed to be controlling the pace, Steele made a critical error and missed on a driving takedown and exposed his back in the process. Carl capitalized on the opening and transitioned immediately to the back, where he locked in a rear-naked choke. The hold was tight from the moment it came in, and a disgusted Steele was forced to tap, despite his opponent failing to secure his hooks before attempting the squeeze just 92 seconds into the fight.
“You could tell he wasn’t too comfortable with me on the feet,” Carl said after the win. “It was just too easy.”
Volkmann outlasts Beerbohm, Gaethje stops Cobb
In a lightweight matchup that failed to live up to some of its promised potential, Jacob Volkmann (16-4) grinded out a decision win over grappling specialist Lyle Beerbohm (21-3).
Beerbohm moved quickly forward to open the fight, but he struggled against the cage as he looked for an early takedown. Instead, it was Volkmann who controlled the positioning and eventually moved to his opponent’s back in a scramble. “Fancy Pants” found a way to pull free, but he struggled to mount any offense in the remainder of the frame.
Beerbohm found things equally difficult in the second frame, as he tried to push in from the outside and work form the clinch. However, Volkmann refused to hit the floor and stood toe to toe in the dirty boxing exchanges.
In the final frame, Volkmann was more aggressive in working to a dominant position, moving to the back in an early scramble. However, once he was there, he could do little with the position and settled for a few short punches from back control. When the bell sounded, the winner was clear, but the bout failed to entertain. Beerbohm took the result with scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
In the night’s first main-card contest, lightweight Justin Gaethje (9-0) remained undefeated with a gutsy third-round stop of Brian Cobb (20-8).
Gaethje looked confident in the early going, as he looked to defend the takedown and strike on his feet. But Cobb was able to secure the back during a scramble in the latter stages of the frame, and he finished the round while striking in the dominant position.
Gaethje was crisp to open the second, and a right hand caught Cobb’s attention. While he appeared to tire as the fight wore on, he shucked off each Cobb takedown attempt while delivering cutting kicks to the leg and a few well-placed right hands.
The pair continued to trade on the feet in the final round, but Gaethje’s continued leg kicks saw Cobb repeatedly buckle from the force. As Gaethje stalked and slapped away at the limb, referee Steve Mazagatti stepped in to call off the fight as Cobb tapped to the strikes.
Lauzon impresses on prelims, Beebe takes controversial win
In the night’s final preliminary bout, Jerrod Sanders (13-1) ran his win streak to 11 fights with a convincing, albeit somewhat slow-paced win over Jeff Smith (10-2). Sanders outwrestled his opponent en route to the win, though he struggled to do any real damage from top position. Still, it was enough to earn him the fight 30-27 on all three judges’ cards.
Fighting for the first time in 18 months, two-time UFC veteran Dan Lauzon (17-4) simply overpowered John Gunderson (34-15-2) throughout their 15-minute contest. Utilizing a brutal barrage of flying knees, elbows and punches, Lauzon controlled the fight from the opening bell. To his credit, Gunderson refused to halt in the face of the assault, but at the final bell, the winner was clear, and Lauzon took the contest with scores of 30-27 from all three judges.
In one of the night’s most entertaining contests, scrappy bantamweights Carson Beebe (14-2) and Joe Murphy (6-1) went back and forth on the floor throughout their 15-minute contest. While Murphy pulled off a number of impressive sweeps throughout the floor, he was never quite able to capitalize on top position, and judges awarded Beebe a controversial decision win, 29-28 on all three cards.
In middleweight action Bulgarian wrestler Krasimir Mladenov (10-0) kept his perfect career mark by grinding out a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Blackzilian Kendrick Miree (5-1).
In the night’s first contest, featherweight Xtreme Couture’s Brenson Hansen (5-1) outworked Wand Fight Team’s Josh Montalvo (0-1) for a unanimous-decision win, taking the fight with scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
MAIN CARD RESULTS
- Josh Burkman def. Jon Fitch via technical submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 0:41
- Steve Carl def. Tyson Steele via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:32
- Jacob Volkmann def. Lyle Beerbohm via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Justin Gaethje def. Brian Cobb via TKO (leg kicks) – Round 3, 2:19
PRELIMINARY CARD RESULTS
- Jerrod Sanders def. Jeff Smith via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Dan Lauzon def. John Gunderson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Carson Beebe def. Joe Murphy via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Krasimir Mladenov def. Kendrick Miree via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Branson Hansen def. Josh Montalvo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
For more on World Series of Fighting 3, check out the MMA Events section of the site.
(Pictured: Josh Burkman)