It wasn’t the prettiest of contests, but James Nakashima (8-0) is now the LFA welterweight champion after earning a decision win over Derrick Krantz (20-10) in a 25-minute affair.
The bout served as the main event of Friday’s LFA 23, which aired on AXS TV from Bossier City Hotel Casino & Hotel in Louisiana.
The two fighters were quick to engage, with both mean throwing heavy leather to start the fight. A Krantz counter left scored a flash knockdown in the opening minute, but Nakashima popped right back to his feet. The two continued to exchange in the standup game, with both men favoring boxing attacks. Late in the frame, a Nakashima eye poke drew blood from Krantz’s left eye, and the doctor was brought in to assess the visible damage. Krantz was clearly irritated by the unintentional illegal blow but wanted to continue, and after a lengthy evaluation, he was granted his request – and without a point deduction for the infraction – and the two continued to trade, albeit at a slower pace, until the bell.
The action picked up again to start the second, with Nakashima taking the center and pushing the pace. Krantz fired back valiantly, and the two traded on the feet until the final minute, when Nakashima briefly moved inside but was unable to do anything from the clinch and had to pull away. All the while, blood continued to stream down from a nasty cut on Krantz’s left eyelid.
The two continued their exchanges in the third, until Nakashima landed a low blow – his second of the contest – and Krantz again was forced to take a rest. On the restart, Krantz seemed energized, perhaps angered, and immediately forced the issue, but Nakashima did work back to the center and settle the aggression.
Exchanges continued on the fourth, with Nakashima working to a clinch but again unable to do anything with the position. Krantz’s striking found the occasional hole, but Nakashima always seemed to snap back with a counter. Late in the frame, Nakashima finally was able to work the fight to the floor and moved to his opponent’s back, but he wasn’t able to find a submission before the bell.
In the final round, the takedown came much quicker. Krantz was just a little too tired to get back to his feet, and Nakashima was happy to hold top position and let time tick away. Nakashima did look for a few opportunities to lock in a submission or advance position, but Krantz did just enough to keep himself safe. With time winding down, Krantz was able to isolate the left arm and worked hard for a comeback win, but Nakashima pulled the limb free and finished the round, taking the fight with a bizarrely scored split-decision, 49-46, 47-48 and 50-45.
Afterward, things nearly took an ugly turn, with Krantz’s corner angered at the fouls that took place in the contest, but cooler heads prevailed, and the contestants were ushered out of the cage.
Andrea Lee shines on finish-filled main card
In the night’s co-feature, LFA women’s flyweight champion Andrea Lee (8-2) against a tough but overmatched Jamie Thorton (4-4).
The two fighters were content to kickbox in the early going, with Lee pushing forward but Thorton retreating and looking four opportunities to counter. Lee wowed with a crisp spinning backfist early, but it was attacks to the legs that really slowed her opponent. Sensing the opportunity to finish early, Lee unleashed a barrage of vicious punches and elbows in the closing seconds of the first frame, but Thorton was able to make it to the bell.
Thorton was floored again to open the second and in visible pain when Lee backed away and allowed her to slowly rise. Once Thorton was back on her feet, Lee continues to barrage of punches, elbows and knees. Thorton showed grit, absorbing the damage and looking to take the fight to the floor, but Lee reversed and worked to side control, isolating the left arm and earning a tap with a kimura at the 2:54 mark.
In a featured light heavyweight contest, Ryan Spann (11-5) rebounded from a disappointing July loss at Dana White’s Contender Series 3 with an impressive first-round finish of LeMarcus Tucker (5-3). Spann took the fight to the floor early and sliced open his opponent with elbows before moving to the back and getting a tapout via rear-naked choke at the 2:55 mark of the first frame.
The evening’s early televised action featured a trio of finishes, but none was more impressive than women’s flyweight prospect Sabina Mazo (4-0), who scored her second straight first-round knockout victory via high kick. This time around, the victim was Linsey Williams (0-2).
LFA 23 results include:
- James Nakashima def. Derrick Krantz via (split decision (49-46, 47-48, 50-45) – to claim welterweight title
- Andrea Lee def. Jamie Thorton via submission (kimura) – Round 2, 2:54 – to retain women’s flyweight title
- Ryan Spann def. LeMarcus Tucker via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:55
- Bryan Billiot def. Brandon Shavers via submission (heel hook) – Round 2, 3:07
- Sabina Mazo def. Linsey Williams via knockout (head kick) – Round 1, 4:26
- Peter Stanonik def. Kendrick Williams via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 4:18
For more on LFA 23, check out the MMA Events section of the site.
Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News
Source: MMA Junkie