Titan FC 74 brought fireworks and early finishes in an eventful Friday night in downtown Miami, Florida.
In a total of seven bouts, five ended before the four-minute mark in the very first round. Some notable performance included a nine-second knockout courtesy of Makoa Cooper (1-0), a Uly Diaz (2-0) submission victory and an absolute war between Adrian Garcia (7-1) and Gaston Manzur (11-8). After quite a few changes to the card last minute, the night turned out to be filled with high level action and flashy finishes.
Ryan Kuse (6-0) def. Jamal Johnson (3-7) by TKO at 3:49 of Round 1
As the bell rang for the headliner, a short feel-out process occurred as Kuse backed Johnson up looking to find his range. Johnson threw heavy blows early in hopes of catching Kuse, but few found the mark. At the 3:20 mark, Kuse timed a double leg perfectly and took Johnson for a ride. Johnson countered in the air and locked up guillotine choke with his back on the cage. Kuse defended well and got his opponent to the ground. Following an armbar attempt, a triangle choke attempt and a few solid scrambles from Johnson, Kuse found himself in 3/4 mount and eventually took Johnson’s back. From this point on, it was the patented Ryan Kuse ground and pound which caused the ref to contemplate a stoppage. Just moments later and a continuous shower of strikes from Kuse, who was on the back on Johnson and had him flattened out, referee Alan Abeles had seen enough and stopped the action.
Uly Diaz (2-0) def. Lazaro Perez (0-2) via Submission (Guillotine choke) at 1:56 of Round 1
In the co-main event, two heavy hitters met at 190lbs in the Titan FC cage. Following the glove touch, Perez came out swinging, landing a low kick and a two-punch combination, which seemed to catch the attention of Diaz. Then, Diaz checked a low kick and came back with a body shot followed by a few heavy blows of his own backing up Perez. The two clinched, Perez looked for an outside trip, but was unsuccessful. Diaz fired some solid knees to the body in the clinch and the two broke as Perez landed a solid shot on the way out. Diaz then fired back, scoring a few more of his own and initiating another clinch. Following the break, Diaz returned fire with a perfectly placed left hand that stunned Perez and followed up with a big right forcing Perez to change levels. Diaz caught the neck on the way in and eventually dragged Perez down looking to sink in a choke. As they got to the ground, Diaz still with a tight squeeze on the neck, Perez landed in his guard was stuck in a deep submission. At just under the two-minute mark, Perez had enough and was forced to tap, initiating the loudest roar of the night from the Titan FC fans at the Hyatt Regency in Miami. Tenured combat sports veteran and Miami legend, Uly Diaz earned his first ever submission win at Titan FC 74.
Adrian Garcia (7-1) def. Gaston Manzur (11-8) via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
In what was undoubtedly the fight of the night, Miami's, Adrian Garcia, and Chile's, Gaston Manzur, went to war. In the first, the pair traded feints and jabs feeling each other out. After a low kick backed Garcia up to the cage, Manzur shot in looking for his first takedown of the fight. Garcia defended the first shot well, but Manzur switched to a single dragging his opponent to the mat and landing in half guard. Garcia remained activate on his back despite Manzur being in his guard controlling the fight. Garcia ended up finding his way back to his feet just over halfway through the first and stepped on the gas. He landed several heavy low kicks and a couple solid combos however, Manzur answered back forcing him back to the cage initiating a clinch. From the clinch he scored another takedown, this time finding his way to Garcia's back then ending up in full mount. Garcia eventually got control of Mannzur's leg to get back in half guard. Following a pass to side control, Garcia exploded out and got back to his feet. Finishing the round in the clinch, it seemed the two takedowns from Manzur won him the first round.
As the bell rang to kick off the second round, Garcia found his range as he started picking his shots and land at a high rate. At the three-minute, Garcia seemed to be the fresher fighter and delivered more damage. With that being said, Manzur never took a step back and always tried to remain in control of the cage. As Manzur walked through several strikes in order to land his own, he eventually shot his first and second takedown attempts of the round coming up a tad bit short on both. After being unable to get the second takedown, he pulled guard dragging Garcia to the ground with him. Garcia, wise to not stay in Manzur's closed guard, stood up relatively quickly. The two traded blows for the rest of the round and Garcia seemed to get the better of the two cutting Manzur under his right eye. After two, the Goat Shed member appeared to even the score going in the third.
When round three got underway, the two met directly on the It's a 10 hair care logo and traded. Following several peppering jabs via Adria Garcia, Manzur return with a heavy right hand of his own. Just over a minute into the first, Manzur shot for another takedown, this time a deep single. Garcia defended with a kimura attempt in hopes of rolling on top and ended up in a crafty scramble with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Garcia found his way on top and stood back up immediately waving on Manzur to do the same. After a solid minute of standing and trading, Manzur went back to the wrestling, but was stuffed. Garcia, continuing to edge out Manzur on the feet, maintained his diligence despite the relentless pressure and durability of Manzur. Late in the round Manzur lands a heavy spinning backfist that even Garcia seemed to appreciate, considering the glove touch attempt following. As the 45-second mark struck, the two made their way back to the It's a 10 hair care logo and traded heavy shots bringing the crowd to their feet. From the clap of the 10-second mark, Garcia walked down Manzur, as the Chilean threw looping hooks, landing straight shots of his own. As the final bell rang, the crowd gave the two warriors a standing ovation.
In a bout in which both men showed their grit, durability and high IQ, neither should be disappointed with their performance. In the end, all three judges scored the last two rounds in favor of Garcia giving him the victory and clawing his way one step closer to the Titan FC flyweight strap.
Makoa Cooper (1-0) def. Ratavious Thrasher (0-1) via Knockout at :09 of Round 1
Makoa Cooper made the walk to the cage with multiple time world champion, and older brother, Ray Cooper III in his corner. However, he made it known that the Cooper family has another member to keep an eye on. After a short exchange early, Cooper landed a picture perfect straight right landing on the button and dropping Thrasher. After a follow up shot, referee, Marcos Perez, had seen enough and stopped the bout just nine-seconds into the fight. With a performance like that, Makoa Cooper is a force to be reckoned with at welterweight and is a name to keep an eye on for the future.
Gus Villamil (4-2) def. Chris Johnson (8-14) via TKO (Injury) at :52 of Round 1
In Gus Villamil’s long awaited return to the cage, his victory didn’t come in the fashion he’d hoped for however, a wins a win. From the opening bell, Villamil found his range early landing a solid right hook and a body kick. Just over 10 seconds into the fight, Villamil secured a tight body lock on Johnson, and used an outside trip to bring him down. Johnson squirmed his way up the cage as Villamil held onto the body looking to finish the takedown and settle in on the ground. As Villamil ended up getting the takedown, he held the body lock and isolated the far side wrist of Johnson in hopes of landing ground and pound. Just seconds before Villamil could posture up and rain down heavy strikes, Johnson notified referee, Alan Abeles, that he hurt his ribs and Abeles jumped in and stopped the fight. As Villamil instantly seemed disappointed in the ending, he showed early that he had an advantage on the feet and in the grappling department and ultimately was happy to get back in the win column.
Lazaro Dayron (3-0) def. Malek Mahmoud (1-3) via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
As the main card kicked off, Lazaro Dayron and Malek Mahmoud met in the middle of the cage. After a sizable feeling out process and forward pressure from Dayron, he scored his first takedown on his first attempt halfway through the opening round. Just 30-seconds later, Dayron secures another takedown, this time finding his way to the back of Mahmoud with both hooks in. From that point on, the Cuban wrestler landed ground and pound and wore on Mahmoud using his patented power grappling. As the first came to a close, it was clear the Goat Shed's, Dayron, got the better of the two.
In the second, Mahmoud used his jab to attempt to back Dayron up. Dayron kept his composure, landed low kicks and eventually got back to his wrestling. With that being said, Mahmoud held his own on the feet trading blows with his opponent and even landing a perfectly timed flying knee. However, Dayron caught the knee on the way down and scored another takedown. At the three-minute mark, Dayron started raining down blows from top and wore on Mahmoud. After, Mahmoud got back to his feet twice late in the round, Dayron scored his third and fourth takedowns in the last minute and a half of round 2. Following two relatively dominant rounds from Dayron, it was safe to say he was running away with this bout.
As the last bell rang, Mahmoud kicked off pushing the pace once again. Dayron circled out and landed several jabs and low kicks keeping his distance. Just over the three-minute mark in the third, Dayron caught another kick from Mahmoud and took him down for the fifth time. In half guard, the two traded a couple elbows a piece until Dayron isolated an arm in attempt to get a crucifix. From this moment on, Dayron rode the back of Mahmoud peppering him with strikes looking for the finish. In the end, it was all Lazaro Dayron as he took a convincing unanimous decision victory home.
Yoanse Mejias (2-0) def. Ryan McIntosh (19-38) via TKO at :29 of Round 1
In the night’s opener, it was all Yoanse “Bones” Mejias from the jump. The grappler secured an early takedown and used that trademarked Goat Shed “smesh grappling” to his advantage. Mejias landed heavy ground and pound which caused damage early. Just under the 30-second mark, McIntosh had enough and tapped due to strikes however, the referee jumped in determining the result to be a TKO.