Australia’s premier MMA promotion, Cage Fighting Championships, returned to a new venue of the Sydney Olympic Park Sport’s Centre on Friday night for CFC 21: Juarez vs. Whittaker.
In the main event, CFC welterweight champion Jesse Juarez (18-8) successfully defended his title against 21-year-old Australian Robert Whittaker (9-2) via a close unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47).
The five-round fight was a good back and forth battle, but the experience of Juarez saw him get the better of the exchanges and on the ground he proved too much to handle for the rising prospect.
After a feeling out process, Juarez checked a Whittaker head kick and ended up on the ground, but after a scramble, Whittaker took side control. It was Juarez, however, who ended up on top to close out the round.
After a good tussle through the middle rounds that saw Juarez edge out both rounds, both fighters came out head hunting in round 4. Juarez shot in and secured the takedown, but Whitakker scrambled and reversed the position. Whitakker started off the final round strong, knowing he needed a dominant round to have a chance of winning the fight, but Juarez’s spoiling tactics proved to be too much as the American defended his title for the second time.
It was a good bounce back win for Juarez, who came into the fight after losing to Leandro Silva in March, which was Juarez’s first loss since defending his CFC title for the first time in August of 2011. It was also a good learning curve for Whitakker, who ended a two-fight winning streak.
Sapp rushed over at Palalei looking for a takedown, but went to the ground and that’s where it ended. Soa pushed Sapp into the corner and unloaded, throwing bombs. With Sapp looking to be out, the referee stepped in and called an end to the fight after just 12 seconds.
Palalei has now won nine of his last 10 fights with his only loss being against Daniel Cormier. The Australian heavyweight who has had one fight in the UFC will push to be given another contract, but first he will trial for a place on the Australian Wrestling team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Coming off a fight of the night loss to Dan Pauling at Fight World Cup 11, James Vainikolo was looking to get his career back on track before heading into next month’s ‘The Ultimate Fighter” tryouts and ‘The Volcano” did just that.
The stoppage came in round 3 after a flurry of punches from Vainikolo had Leven pinned against the fence. He then dropped bombs in the corner and the referee was forced to step in and stop the fight midway through the round.
The win was Vainikolo’s third in four fights. The Elite Fight Gym product will be full of confidence, as he looks the secure a place in the ‘TUF” house.
In potentially the fight of the night, Shabe Kafo submitted Khan Pham in a Flyweight contest with a “Twister” in round 2.
Kafo shot in after trading strikes and locked Pham in a guillotine. Pham pushed his arms away then took back control and latched onto Kafo’s back. Kafo looked like he may tap, but he ended up slipping out right in time for the bell. Kafo shot in again for an early takedown in round 2 and sunk in the twister to finish the fight.
The win was Kafo’s second straight submission victory. His record now sits at 6-2.
-Jesse Juarez def. Robert Whittaker via Unanimous Decision
-Soa Palelei def. Bob Sapp via TKO (Punches) at 0:12, R1
-Jeff Monson def. Jim Yorke via Unanimous Decision
-Corey Nelson def. Dan Pauling via KO (Punch) at 0:33, R1
-David Vergers def. Manuel Rodriguez via KO (Left Hook), R1
-Shabe Kafo def. Kian Pham via Submission (Twister) at 1:23, R2
-James Vainikolo def. Jon Leven via TKO (Punches), R3
-Robert Lisita def. Ryan O’Connell via Unanimous Decision
-Rami El Chaoufani def. Albert Patu via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:22, R1