LEMOORE, CA – He didn’t receive a free pass to victory, but Hermes Franca was successful in defending his WEC Lightweight Championship last night at World Extreme Cagefighting 24. Fellow Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans Justin Eilers and Justin Levens were also victorious.
Through the first five minutes of the fight, you would have thought that Franca was surely going to lose his belt. His opponent, Nathan Diaz, used his size and reach advantage to full effect throughout the majority of the first round, keeping Franca at bay with his lengthy punches. Unfortunately for Diaz, he wasn’t able to inflict much damage on the champion, but easily won the first round.
Franca’s cornermen must have lit a fire under him during the rest period as he came out looking like a completely different fighter. He dropped Diaz to the canvas with a looping overhand right. Settling into Diaz’ guard, Franca snatched the arm bar as Diaz tried to reverse position. Locked on fast and tight, Diaz had no choice but to tap out to the excruciating pain as Franca retained his belt.
Both Eilers and Levens dispatched their opponents partway through the opening round. Eilers retained his WEC North American title and continued his winning streak, now at five fights in a row, in front of a crowd that included UFC executives Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta. For his efforts, Levens ended a three-fight skid as he looks to get back on track.
John Polakowski defended Olaf Alfonso’s takedowns en route to a split decision to take the rubber match between the two fighters. Polakowski now sports a record of 2-1 in mixed martial arts competition, all three fights being against Alfonso, so maybe now he will be able to move on and add a little variety to his list of opponents.
Hermes Franca def. Nathan Diaz, Armbar, 2:46 of RD 2
Terry Martin def. Keith Berry, TKO (Ref Stoppage), 2:52 of RD 1
John Polakowski def. Olaf Alfonso, Split Decision
Justin Eilers def. Josh Diekman, TKO (Ref Stoppage), 2:29 of RD 1
Poppies Martinez def. Robert Breslin, Guillotine, 0:52 of RD 1
Glover Teixeira def. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, KO, 1:49 of RD 1
Justin Levens def. Justin Hawes, KO, 1:28 of RD 1
David Terrel def. Mike Moreno, Unanimous Decision
Patrick Kaase def. Jarrod Kwitty, TKO (Ref stoppage), 2:30 of RD 2