Welcome, folks, to the first BtO of 2015. There was little doing two weekends ago, but action on the regionals have begun to pick up as the year gets underway in earnest.
We head first to St. Petersburg, Russia where, on January 4th, in the main event of Warrior's Way Championship 5, Alexey Butorin kept his undefeated record intact with a rear-naked choke of Vladimir Brik (3-4-0). The end came in the opening minutes of Round 1. Butorin, who was featured in Bloody Elbow's light-heavyweight scouting report, improves his record to 9-0-0.
In lieu of fight footage, please observe this "Old Time Strong Man Show" from Sunday's event. If one of your New Year's resolutions was to watch a man inflate a hot water bottle upside-down while Russian speed metal pummels the arena, now's your chance. Why put it off until the end of the year? Might as well get a jump on it now.
And last Friday, at BAMMA Badbeat 14, bantamweight Sarah D'Alelio (8-6, 3-3 Invicta, 0-1 Strikeforce) squared off with Christina Marks (5-8-0). In 2011 D'Alelio welcomed Ronda Rousey to Strikeforce, and she holds victories over Vanessa Porto and Amanda Nunes. However, she was entering the ring on Friday with a three-fight losing streak hanging over her head. D'Alelio avoided a fourth when, in the closing minute of Round 1, she cinched up a rear-naked choke.
Also on Friday, at RFA 22, Alvin Robinson (14-9, 1-3 UFC) suffered a first-round TKO following ground-and-pound from Ricky Musgrave (14-4, 2-0 Bellator). Robinson, who won by first-round submission at RFA 20 last November, has alternated wins and losses for the last four years. Musgrave has won four straight.
And in the main event, Gilbert Smith (10-4, 0-1 UFC) took to the ring against Chidi Njokuani (12-4, 1NC) in a bout meant for the organization's vacant welterweight title. Njokuani failed to make the 170-pound limit, meaning that only Smith would be eligible for the belt. More's the pity, then, as Njokuani employed strong takedown defense and a sharp muay thai game for the better part of five rounds against hulking grappler Smith, earning him a unanimous decision victory over the TUF 17 rep. Smith is 5-2 since he received his walking papers from the UFC. Njokuani is unbeaten in his last four.
Highlights of RFA 22 can be seen here. Footage of Musgrave vs. Robsinon starts at 1:00. Recap of Njokuani vs. Smith, featuring some sweet jumping knees from Njokuani, starts at 1:42.