High Fives: A Grand Prix, Heel Hook Savant and Successful Title Defense

By Guy Portman Feb 25, 2019
UFC Fight Night 145 and Bellator 217 were not the only shows of significance to take place during the weekend of Feb. 22-24. One Championship “Call to Greatness” in Singapore hosted two of the organization’s lightweight grand prix quarterfinals, as well as a matchup featuring a veteran submission legend. There was a middleweight title fight and an entertaining back-and-forth featherweight clash at Legacy Fighting Alliance 61 in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Both events were staged on Friday.



TRIUMPHANT TARZAN … “Call to Greatness” was headlined by One Championship’s lightweight grand prix quarterfinal pairing of Costa Rica’s Ariel Sexton and Singapore’s Amir Khan. In the third round, Sexton secured back mount position. From there, he delivered left hooks to his hapless rival’s head before transitioning to a fight-ending rear-naked choke that left Khan no choice but to submit. The official time was 1:33 of Round 3. In advancing to the semifinals, “Tarzan” upped his record to 13-4. Khan dropped to 11-5.



HEAVY HANDS … Russia’s Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev met New Zealand’s Ev Ting in the other One Championship lightweight grand prix quarterfinal. The contest was in its infancy when Arslanaliev threw a left hook, connected flush to the side of Ting’s head and sent him crashing to the canvas. Although Ting clambered back to all fours, a flurry of brutal right uppercuts from the Russian rendered him unable to continue, and the referee called a halt to the beatdown a mere 25 seconds into the first frame. In claiming the victory, Arslanaliev, now 7-1, punched his ticket to the semifinals, where he will meet the aforementioned Sexton. The loss saw Ting dip to 16-6.



HEEL HOOK MAESTRO … The One Championship card also featured a bantamweight pairing that slotted Japan’s Masakazu Imanari opposite South Korea’s Won Il Kwon. The fight was nearing the one-minute mark when the Japanese pugilist shot in and wrapped up his opponent’s left leg. From there, Imanari rolled himself around, at the same time setting up his trademark heel hook and forcing Kwon to the mat. The South Korean initially fought off the submission, but Imanari kept tightening the painful hold until Kwon was forced to tap 53 seconds into Round 1. In emerging triumphant with the 12th heel hook win of his career, the 43-year-old Imanari moved to 38-18-2. Meanwhile, Kwon slipped to 3-1.



TITLE FIGHT … In the LFA 61 main event, Brendan Allen met Moses Murrietta for the promotion’s middleweight belt. This was Allen’s first defense of his Legacy Fighting Alliance title, and he proved to be utterly dominant. On the feet, Murrietta had no answer for the champion’s punching combinations, which were interspersed with sporadic kicks. It was the same story on the mat. There, Allen easily controlled his adversary while landing some heavy ground-and-pound. After five rounds, the judges all sided with Allen. He upped his record to 11-3, while the overmatched Murrietta slid to 8-2.



COMPETITIVE CONFRONTATIONNate Jennerman was pitted against Ken Beverly in a featherweight showcase at LFA 61. In the first round, Jennerman dropped his opponent with a crushing right that saw Beverly fall to one knee. Yet, the tough Kentuckian survived. Later, Beverly had two points deducted for repeated punches to the back of his rival’s head. After 15 minutes of competitive back-and-forth action, Jennerman was declared the victor by majority decision and improved to 13-4. In defeat, Beverly dipped to 5-4.

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