Ryan Jimmo ran his winning streak to 16 straight victories, but it wasn’t without some doubt.
“The Big Deal” retained his MFC light-heavyweight championship with a five-round decision verdict over “The African Assassin” Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in the main event of MFC 31: The Rundown held at the Mayfield Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, and emanating live on HDNet Fights.
It was a significant surprise to see Sokoudjou be able to go the distance in a five-rounder, and the native of Cameroon nearly had the fight won in the second when a knee from the clinch split Jimmo’s forehead open. However, Sokoudjou was unable to put a finishing touch on things, and the bout wore on to a conclusion.
A somewhat surprised-looking Jimmo (16-1) had his hand raised as he took all three judges’ scorecards by counts of 49-48.5, 49-48.5 and 49-48. Sokoudjou and his corner were more than stunned by the verdict with a despondent Sokoudjou leaning over the top rope with his face buried in his hands as Jimmo’s corner celebrated the outcome.
The main event paled in comparison action-wise to the rest of the main card which was chock full of big finishes.
“Ragin” Kajan Johnson (19-11-1) took a major step up in his long-driven quest towards the MFC lightweight belt as he took care of business against Richie “Hell Boy” Whitson in short order. Johnson took Whitson (11-2) down with a suplex, worked to get his back, and after a brief tussle was able to lock in a rear-naked choke that coaxed a tapout just 3:52 into the bout.
The win was Johnson’s 11th via submission and put him as a front-runner for the top contender spot for the MFC belt which will be up for grabs in January when Antonio McKee defends against Brian Cobb. The loss snapped a five-fight winning streak for Whitson.
Former U.S. Marine Adam Lynn made a triumphant organizational debut and earned the Knockout of the Night award in the process. Lynn (17-8), who fights out of San Clemente, California, picked up his sixth straight win by blasting Curtis Demarce only 1:38 into the opening round.
Lynn dropped Demarce (11-10) with an elbow and then turned his lights out with two devastating follow-up rights. A badly bloodied Demarce needed assistance to make his way back to the locker room.
The other award-winner on the night was home-town product Cody Krahn who captured the Submission of the Night with a much-needed win over Ryan Chiappe in the opening bout of the televised card.
Krahn (11-4) was coming off a loss at MFC 31 but gained a huge measure of confidence as he escaped some threatening ground-and-pound from Chiappe (8-7) before turning things around. A submission specialist holding all of his career wins by way of tapout, Krahn took advantage of a fateful positional error by Chiappe and secured a guillotine choke that forced a finish at 3:45 of Round 1. A long-awaited victory in the MFC drew a heartfelt emotional response from Krahn as his hand was raised.
The Fight of the Night went down as expected by many pundits when Mukai Maromo (6-2) and Sabah Fadai (7-2) squared-off. The talented strikers put on an electrifying battle, but it was early damage done on leg kicks by Maromo that made a monumental difference.
Maromo, who was also fighting in front of his home-town fans, continually battered Fadai’s lead leg, and alternately threw kicks to the body and head that took much of the steam out of “The Persian Warrior.” In the end the back-and-forth exchanges consistently went in Maromo’s favour and he picked up a clear-cut unanimous decision – 30-27 from all three judges. Though only two fights into his MFC experience, Maromo has gained some major momentum in the MFC’s deep lightweight ranks.
In the night’s other televised bout, hard-hitting veteran Terry Martin (22-9) got back in the win column after being quickly dispatched at MFC 29. Martin, who challenged for the MFC welterweight title back in April, looked stronger and healthier as he finished short-notice foe Allen Hope (8-9) with a TKO at 2:13 of Round 1.
Preliminary card results:
James Haddad (4-1) def. Garret Nybakken (3-3) – tapout via guillotine choke, 4:12 Round 1
Dan Ring (4-0-1) def. Neal Anderson (2-2) – unanimous decision
Dajan Kajic vs. Mike Froese – ruled no contest (Froese could not continue after accidental eye poke)