Legend FC 10: Yusuke Kawanago celebrates after defending his featherweight title -- Photo by Anton Tabuena
This past Friday was Legend Fighting Championship's 10th event which was held in their home-base of Hong Kong. BloodyElbow.com was in attendance at the Asia World Expo to witness an absolutely crazy night of action packed fights as the card delivered with very fun and exciting bouts from top to bottom.
During the main event, another Chinese fighter was crowned, as Liu Wenbo defeated popular Korean brawler, 'Hungry' Yang Hae Jun to win the vacant Legend FC Middleweight title. To the delight of the crowd, the fight was mostly a stand up battle which went back and forth for 15 minutes. Yang landed dozens of excellent body shots and dirty boxing in the clinch, but it was Wenbo who did a better job of utilizing his large size and reach advantage, eventually winning him a well earned decision to take the belt.
The other title fight on the card saw Yusuke Kawanago defend his featherweight title by edging Australian Rob Lisita behind a steady diet of perfectly timed power strikes. Despite giving up a few takedowns on the fight, for the most part, it was Kawanago landing the crisper and more accurate strikes, including several hard flying knees every time Lisita tried to shoot in. The highly regarded Australian fighter showed a lot of grit and toughness, but it eventually wasn't enough to earn him the nod.
Those two title fights were very fun and competitive bouts, although that being said, it doesn't even compare to the all out war that happened between New Zealand's Luke Jumeau and China's Alex Niu. That preliminary bout was a fast paced, brutal, and intense brawl that stole the show and would probably go down as one of the most entertaining fights the promotion has ever had. After a few brief moments on the opening round, both guys landed hard and suddenly looked to have decided to thrown their gameplans out of the window. They connected early and often, each taking the best shots they could muster with neither guy backing down. It may not have been the best strategy, but if was definitely a brutal ballet of violence which went on for 15-minutes. By the end of the fight, Alex Niu had both eyes almost swollen shut, as Luke had landed the more damaging shots to eventually win the decision. I don't think anyone in the arena cared about the scores though - they were both winners that night.
Much more results, thoughts and analysis after the jump. Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena
Here are some quick hits and thoughts on the card:
- The regular attendees at Legend FC kept on raving about how it was by far 'the best and most fun' Legend show ever put on. This was the first event I attended in person, so it may not be fair to compare what I saw on online streams, but it is very easy to see where they're coming from as there were several "Fight of the Night" worthy bouts that truly delivered.
- Unfortunately, the prelims weren't streamed live like what they did for past shows, so unless you were in the arena, you have missed several very entertaining bouts, including that instant classic in Alex Niu vs. Luke Jumeau. It's a shame that the option of watching it live wasn't there, but hopefully the vids are uploaded soon for you folks to enjoy.
- Rob Hill, who went in dressed up in a Ryu (Street Fighter) outfit, faced off against former King of Pancrase, Koji Oishi. It ended up as one of the bloodiest bouts I've seen live, as the Japanese fighter landed hard shots that busted Hill open in his forehead and looked to have broken his nose as well. Both parts were bleeding profusely and for several minutes, the Aussie was fighting with a crimson mask and was literally spitting and spraying blood out of his nose and mouth every few seconds. It was eventually stopped by the doctor on the third round.
Pictures to come soon after I get to post my photo gallery from the event.
- Speaking of, am I the only one who thinks that (pre-bloodymask) Rob Hill looks like a taller, less butt-chinned, Urijah Faber in person?
- Anyway, moving on, one of China's top prospects in Ji Xian (10-2) continued his mean streak and is looking like he could be a real force at bantamweight if he can manage his weight properly. As with all of his wins so far, the China Top Team product quickly submitted Ruel Catalan, and this one didn't even go past a minute. The guy has a lot of potential, and hopefully he gets a step up in competition next.
- Former Shooto Rookie Champion Yusuke Kasuya (7-1-1) went back to his winning ways after submitting Kiwi prospect, Jacques Marsters in the first round. His only loss was from Rob Hill, when he pulled off a miracle come from behind submission finish at Legend FC 8. It's really interesting to see how far this 22-year-old fighter can go in his career.
- Sam Chan vs. Kai Kara-France was also one of the more exciting bouts that night. The fight only lasted a little over 3 minutes, but it already had a lot of back and forth drama as Sam Chan looked to have a very tight triangle attempt. It looked secured and he was trying to finish for well over a minute, until his opponent managed to escape. After a quick scramble, Kai eventually locked in a guillotine choke to come from behind and win the fight with a slick submission of his own.
- Legend FC 10, as mentioned earlier, was the first event I've watched live from the promotion, and I have to say, the production value was top notch. The timing was good, and I did enjoy how they had this unique look and aspect, especially having that -- for lack of a better term -- 'Chinese' feel to it.
- I think I've said this in the past, but while I do prefer cages for MMA, I really like the Legend FC ring. It's miles better than the traditional boxing ring because it's bigger, wider, and has a platform around it that prevents people from stumbling to the ground. In my opinion the thicker ropes and taller turnbuckles/corners make it better than most of the MMA rings as well.
- I'm not sure if some people enjoyed it, but they did have that really weird 'half-time event' where this woman comes out with body armor and a grinder. She then danced around for several minutes with sparks flying all over. It was more weird than entertaining, but to each his own I guess?
- As always, I will have a photo gallery from the event soon, so stay tuned for that. Speaking of photos, apparently Legend FC has the biggest (and arguably goofiest?) photographer's pass I've seen.
- Lastly, after speaking with a few people this past weekend, I found out about two more established stars from the Asian MMA scene that the UFC are really interested in picking up. I still can't mention who they are as nothing has been finalized, but I do hope they do clear any hurdles they may have to make it happen.
Legend FC 10 Results:
- Liu Wenbo wins by Unanimous Decision at 5:00 of Round 3 [Middleweight Championship]
- Yusuke Kawanago wins by Unanimous Decision at 5:00 of Round 3 [Featherweight Championship]
- Brandon Ropati wins by Submission (Armbar) at 3:09 of Round 1
- Koji Oishi wins by Technical Knockout (Doctor Stoppage) at 1:26 of Round 3
- Ji Xian wins by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:00 of Round 1
- Luke Jumeau wins by Unanimous Decision at 5:00 of Round 3 [Fight of the Night]
- Yusuke Kasuya wins by Submission (Armbar) at 4:54 of Round 1 [Submission of the Night]
- Choi Yeong Gwang wins by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:31 of Round 1
- Kai Kara-France wins by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 3:21 of Round 1
- Ev Ting wins by Unanimous Decision at 5:00 of Round 3
Bonus video: Highlights from key bouts on Legend FC's first 9 shows: