At 39 years old, Paul Buentello (33-15) is now riding a four-fight win streak. Fighting at 205 pounds for the first time in his career, “The Headhunter” earned a second-round TKO of fellow UFC veteran James McSweeney (11-11).
The fight served as the main event of Friday’s Legacy Fighting Championship 22 card, which took place at Civic Center Exhibit Hall in Lubbock, Texas, and aired on AXS TV.
While the two were expected to stand and bang, McSweeney drove in for an early takedown and immediately passed the legs into mount. As Buentello rolled, McSweeney took the back and went to work on a rear-naked choke that just wouldn’t come. He transitioned to the armbar, but when that missed, too, Buentello seized the opportunity, taking top position and delivering ground and pound blows.
McSweeney eventually scrambled up, and the pair traded on the feet to close an entertaining opening frame.
McSweeney looked to strike in the second, and he chopped the legs early in the round. But just as he seemed to be gaining control, a tired takedown attempt saw him topple to the canvas, and Buentello again seized the opportunity, leaping forward with a crushing right to the body that forced McSweeney to double over in pain, ending the fight at the 2:44 mark of the round.
Davila outlasts Young, Cerda stops Pacurariu
In the night’s co-feature, Eric “Bighead” Davila (21-12) brought his hometown crowd to its feet, surviving an early knockdown to earn a hard-fought, split-decision win over Artenas “The Machine Gun” Young (9-6).
Young looked as if he might end the fight in the first, landing a crisp left hand that sent Davila crashing to the floor. Young pounced for the finish, but the always durable “Bighead” somehow survived the onslaught and even offered his own offense to close the round.
Young’s reach continued to prove an asset in the second, and his left hand busted up his opponent’s eye with precision strikes. But Davila never backed down, walking forward throughout the round in a fearless effort to attack.
A Young low blow and Davila eye poke marred the action in the third, but the effort from both men was still commendable. With toe-to-toe strikes until the very end, the crowd was on their feet to the end, and Davila was awarded a razor-thin split-decision win.
While his effort certainly deserved credit, Davila’s performance came with an asterisk, as he missed weight for the welterweight matchup by seven pounds.
Featherweight slugger George Pacurariu (5-2) looked to follow up his highlight-reel April finish with a similar performance, but 23-year-old Aaron Cerda (7-3) had different plans.
While it was Pacurariu in control early, Cerda started his attack in earnest in the second frame and began to seize the momentum. After winding up in top position during a third-round scramble, Cerda laced in several elbows what cut Pacurariu wide open and left blood gushing out. When doctors came in to take a look at the wound at the 2:11 mark of the final round, they elected to wave off the fight, earning Cerda a TKO win.
In a rousing bantamweight matchup, two-time UFC veteran Joseph Sandoval (7-4) snapped a devastating four-fight losing streak by scoring a second-round TKO stoppage of Jonathan Lopez (4-2).
The high-paced contest was competitive in the early going, but Lopez began to slow as the fight wore on. In contrast, Sandoval seemed energized as he looked to return to the win column. With Lopez fading, Sandoval took the action to the floor and unleashed a dizzying barrage of powerful knees to the body and rapid-fire punches to the face. Lopez was given every opportunity to recover, but Sandoval refused to slow the attack, and the bout was waved off with 42 seconds left in the second round.
In early flyweight action, Gino Davila (3-2) outlasted a scrappy Jon Voth (2-2) to score a unanimous-decision win. Taken down repeatedly, Voth worked hard from his back to reverse the momentum of the contest, but Davila repeatedly worked himself to top position en route to claiming a clean sweep on all three judges’ cards.
And in the night’s first contest, lightweight Anselmo Luna (8-4) snapped a two-fight losing streak by scoring a unanimous-decision win over Justin Reiswerg (5-3).
Legacy FC 22 main card results include:
- Paul Buentello def. James McSweeney via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:44
- Eric Davila vs. Artenas Young split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Aaron Cerda def. George Pacurariu via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 3, 2:11
- Joseph Sandoval def. Jonathan Lopez via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:18
- Gino Davila def. Jon Voth via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Anselmo Luna def. Justin Reiswerg via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
For more on Legacy FC 22, check out the MMA Events section of the site.
(Pictured: Paul Buentello)