Part two of this week's regional coverage begins with last Friday's CES 27, which hosted a few former hopefuls from The Ultimate Fighter.
In the main event, champion Chuck O'Neil (15-6, 0-1 UFC, 1-0 Bellator) made short work of challenger Manny Walo (7-2-1) knocking him out with a counter-right in the opening seconds of their welterweight contest. O'Neil, who lost to eventual season-winner Tony Ferguson in the TUF 13 semi-finals, is 7-2 since his lone appearance in the UFC. That stretch includes a split-decision over Marcus Davis and a second-round armbar of fellow UFC castaway Ricardo Funch. His KO of Walo is his fourth win in a row. Walo, meanwhile, loses a fight for the first time since his the unanimous decision loss that opened his pro career.
In the co-main event, Julian Lane (9-3-1, 1-0 Bellator) looked to defend his lightweight title for the first time against upstart Lucas Cruz (7-3-0).
Lane appeared on the sixteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter (Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson), in which he lost an opening-round contest to Bristol Marunde by unanimous decision. His impassioned pleas of "Let me bang, bro!" remain one of the few takeaways from that generally panned season. After the airing of that season, Lane would enter a 1-3-1 slump, including losses to recent UFC acquisitions George Sullivan and Paul Felder. He's turned things around since, though, and was riding a three-fight win streak into his title defense on Friday. After five narrow rounds, he'd notch his fourth straight, taking a split-decision from Cruz.
TUF 16 was well-represented on the card, with season semi-finalist Jon Manley (9-2, 0-1 UFC) also emerging victorious, though not without undergoing some fire. Opponent Brett Oteri (12-6, 0-1 Bellator) nearly put Manley away late in the first, staggering him with punches along the fence before completing a rather inexplicable takedown. The mat time allowed Manley to recover and, in Round 2, he'd go on to lock up a fight-ending americana.
Highlights to the tune of Michael Schiavello's sweet, sweet voice can be seen here.
Down the coast, in the main event of Florida Championship Fighting, Clayton McKinney (5-3-0) submitted to an arm-triangle choke from Reggie Pena (12-6, 1-0 WSOF) in Round 1. McKinney brawled his way into the house for TUF 11: Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz, but was somewhat predictably submitted by season favorite Kyle Noke in the show's round of 16. He's 1-1 in the five years since his appearance on the show.
And in the main even of Hard Knocks 41 in Alberta, Canada, Rodney Wallace (22-10-1, 0-3 UFC, 1-1 Bellator) looked to make it two in a row against Misha Cirkunov (8-2-0). Those hopes would quickly go up in smoke, though, with Crikunov landing a fight-ending kick to the head two minutes into Round 1. Wallace is now 3-3 since 2013. Cirkunov has won three straight, all in the first round.
Watch a clip of the knockout here.
Further down the card, Bendy Casimir (20-11-12, 0-2 WEC) made a successful return to MMA following a four-year hiatus from competition, knocking out Curtis Demarce (13-12-0) with a spinning back-fist early in Round 2. The victory, Casimir's first since 2009, snaps a six-fight losing streak.
Check out the finish here.
And on Saturday, in the main event of Pancrase 264, Nam Phan (21-14, 2-6 UFC) and Takumi Nakayama (19-15-6) vied for the promotion's vacant featherweight title. Phan, would successfully rebound from a November TKO from Mike Richman, taking the title by split-decision. Phan is 3-1 since his release from the UFC last March.
In the evening's co-main event, Will Chope (22-7, 0-1 UFC) made it three in a row with a third-round rear-naked choke of Satoshi Inaba (14-9-3). Chope is 3-1 since the UFC release that followed revelations of domestic violence charges.
Also on the card, Akitoshi Tamura (18-16-2, 1-2 WEC, 1-1 Sengoku) dropped a split-decision to Guy Delumeau (20-9-3). Tamura is 2-3 since 2013. Delumeau has won two in a row.
And on Sunday, at Road FC 21 in Seoul, South Korea, former One FC bantamweight champion Soo Chul Kim (10-5, 2-3 One FC) looked to continue his climb back up the rankings with a win over Wagner Campos (12-7, 0-1 UFC).
Kim opened his career with an uninspiring 4-4 mark, but seemed to hit his stride in 2012 when upset wins over One FC favorites Kevin Belingon and Leandro Issa found him with the organization's championship belt around his waist. He would end up losing the belt to current reigning champion Bibiano Fernandes, but win two straight after. On Sunday, Kim would make it three in a row.
Campos tried to stymie the hyper-aggressive Kim with clinch-work and takedowns early on, but Kim would remain undeterred; mid-way through the first, after backing Campos up with kicks to the body, Kim landed a flying knee, sending the UFC vet crumbling to the mat. Follow-up punches to his turtled opponent sealed the TKO victory for Kim.
It is Kim's third win in a row over a UFC veteran. The others were a submission of Issei Tamura and a TKO of Motonobu Tezuka. All came in the first.
Kim vs. Campos can be seen here.