Kenny Garner knocked out Pat Bennett to cap off an entertaining night of fights in Costa Mesa, Calif., at M-1 Challenge 26: Bennett vs. Garner 2.
Garner overwhelmed Bennett on the feet and landed a left hook that sealed the deal in the rematch between the two heavy hitters.
The heavyweights started out intense, swinging for the fences wildly, attempting to finish the fight with a quick knockout. Garner threw some heavy left and right hooks and landed some, but it clearly used up a lot of his gas tank. Bennett landed some shots of his own, but spent the majority of the opening round covering up. Just before the end of the round, Bennett scored a takedown, landing in his opponent’s guard, and remained there for the rest of the round.
The second round began with Garner throwing heavy leather again, ending up in a clinch in the corner where he landed some mean body punches. After separating with a quick knee to Bennett’s head, Garner saw an opening and landed a left hook, dropping his opponent to end the fight.
The referee stepped in at 1:15 of the second round.
After the bout, Garner reflected on the win and talked about getting another shot at the M-1 heavyweight title against champion Guram Gugenishvili.
“He got a nice little punch, congratulations, he’s been working a little bit,” Garner said about the man he just defeated. “So now, I’m coming to get my belt.”
Garner previously fought Gugennishvili in St. Petersburg, Russia, last October, but fell short to the Georgian heavyweight courtesy of a guillotine submission in the second round of the title fight.
When asked how things will be different for him a second time around, Garner put it simply.
“I’m going to beat your brains out like a professional.”
Arthur Guseinov had a highlight reel first-round knockout of Tyson Jeffries in their co-main event bout.
After getting mounted on the ground early in fight, Guseinov recovered from being kneed while in a front headlock and landed a picture-perfect spinning backfist that knocked Jeffries out cold. The referee stepped in at 1:32 of the first round after Jeffries fell back and was obviously in no condition to provide any intelligent defense.
The knockout of Jeffries was one of the most impressive in all of MMA so far this year, let alone the M-1 Challenge card on Friday night. After the fight, Guseinov talked about the knockout, claiming that the strike was something that was worked on in training.
“Yes, I trained for that, I was prepared for that,” Guseinov said in his post-fight interview.
Mairbek Taisumov stopped Josh Bacallao with a heavy punch in the first round of their M-1 Challenge affair.
The two started out intense with Taisumov showing the power in his low kicks. The two scrambled to the floor before getting back up to a standing fight, but Taisumov planted his feet and threw a laser right hand that connected, sending Bacallao falling back. Taisumov chased his opponent to the ground, landing one more punch for good measure before the referee put a stop to the fight at 2:01 of the opening round.
Daniel Weichel put on a striking clinic with a decision win over Beau Baker in their main card bout.
Weichel looked a lot quicker than Baker from the get-go. His Thai clinch was strong, scoring a lot of points from that position with knees at close range to top off an impressive first-round drubbing on the feet. The second round had more of the same with Weichel out-pointing Baker at every avenue. Baker looked uncomfortable standing, leaving himself open and even getting caught with a powerful right hand at one point in the second round. The final round had Weichel continuing his domination against the much slower Baker, bloodying up his foe en route to a unanimous decision win with the judges scoring it 30-27, 30-27 and 30-25.
Eddie Arizmendi scored a knockout over Jason Norwood in the second round of their middleweight fight to open up the M-1 Challenge Showtime broadcast.
Arizmendi won the first round, keeping the fight standing while Norwood, a wrestler, worked vigorously to bring down his opponent. After getting rocked with an uppercut early in the second round, Norwood did well to recover, scoring a takedown. A vicious left hook by Arizmendi, however, sent him crashing to the mat, forcing referee John McCarthy to stop the fight just before the end of round two at 4:55.
On the undercard, Max Martyniouk defeated Mike De Robles via TKO, while Diman Morris won a split decision over Brandon Michaels.
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