Prestige FC traveled to Regina, Saskatchewan for its second pro-show, Prestige FC 2: Queen City Coronation, this past weekend. 26 fighters -- some local favorites fighting in front of their hometown crowd, some stepping into enemy territory -- attempted to prove their worth as mixed martial artists and get one step closer to the big leagues in front of thousands of fans.
Headlining the highly anticipated Canadian local show was a featherweight title fight between Kurt Southern and Nick Rhoads. Southern, a Saskatchewan native, and Rhoads, a hot prospect out of Arizona, both came out swinging for the fence right from the first bell. Southern looked to have the advantage early on, showing off his Bang Muay Thai (he trains part-time with Duane Ludwig at Ludwig Martial Arts in Colorado) with a variety of kicks and fantastic movement, but Rhoads was keen on keeping the rounds close. He landed a handful of clean shots throughout the first round as well, making it a very tight first five minutes.
Southern and Rhoads already looked somewhat tired going into the second round, so a slower pace was expected. However, it was the exact same thing as round one.
Huge overhand right misses. Head kick lands. Combination lands.
And that went on for another five minutes straight.
After two rounds that could contend with high-profile UFC fights for Fight of the Year, Rhoads locked up a slick d'arce choke early in the third round, silencing the Regina crowd. Rhoads' performance was phenomenal and unexpected. He showed off his gritty, bite down on the mouthpiece type of style. He showed off his iron chin, his heart. His fight with Southern, which will go down in the Canadian MMA history books forever, was a huge leap towards fighting inside the UFC's Octagon.
Notable Invicta FC veteran Charmaine Tweet picked up a unanimous decision victory over Jessy Miele in the evening's co-main event, earning herself Prestige FC women's featherweight gold -- but it didn't come without controversy.
Tweet was not present at the official weigh-ins the day before, and afterwards weighed-in .4 of a pound overweight. The organization still allowed "Not So Sweet" to compete for the inaugural Prestige FC women's 145-pound championship, however, and she went on to dominate Miele in a five-round affair to win the belt. Her ground control and striking advantage was what sealed the deal.
Also on the 13-fight card, Keith Smetana submitted Devon Smith to likely earn a shot at Prestige FC middleweight gold against Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz, who stopped Micah Brakefield earlier in the night. Aiemann Zahabi, the younger brother of renowned TriStar head coach Firas Zahabi, picked up a stoppage over Kyle Oliveira, possibly earning him a chance to compete on the UFC Fight Night Ottawa card coming up later this year. Zahabi's win didn't quite go as planned, though. Oliveira tore a knee ligament mid-way through the first round while avoiding a kick from Zahabi, which resulted in an injury TKO win for Zahabi.
With a stacked lineup of fights featuring some of the hottest prospects, the expectations for Prestige FC 2 were rocket high. But they were exceeded by far. From top to bottom, it was a thrilling card.
Prestige FC is looking to overcome the Canadian MMA drought and make the True North the mecca of MMA again. And, despite only being on its second pro-show, Prestige FC is well on its way to doing so.