AKA 14 Shines on UFC Fight Pass
One of the newest additions to UFC FightPass, American Kombat Alliance (AKA), held AKA 14 on Friday, April 23, 2021, inside the Bossier City Civic Center in Bossier City, Louisiana. Building off of an amazing AKA 14 card held a month prior, this 13-fight card produced from opening to close. UFC veteran Derrick Krantz took his first step toward a second UFC stint while rising superstar AJ Fletcher notched another win in hopes to get his call up to the big show. (Due to time constraints, two of the amateur title fights were made as postlims. For the sake of orderliness, they will be listed alongside the other amateur fights.)
Six Amateur Bouts (Three For Championships)
Jacob Berry vs Mekhi Durham (155lbs)
Two young lightweights took to the cage to open up AKA 14 on the AKA Facebook page. Jacob Berry pushed the pace early on Mekhi Durham eventually pressing him to the cage and launching knees. Able to break free and roll off the cage, Durham was able to start his offensive game with leg kicks. Berry, showing his boxing skills, lands a nice right hand that staggers Durham a bit. Durham attempted a takedown near the end of the round after more great striking from Berry. The round ended with Berry landing solid strikes in the stack. Coming out of the gate fast to start the second round, Berry kept the pressure on with his slick combos. Keeping the pressure on, Berry dropped Durham with his striking and continued with ground and pound until the referee stopped the bout. Jacob Berry wins via second-round TKO.
Joseph Morales vs Benton Mitchell (155lbs)
The second bout of the evening saw two more dangerous lightweights as Joseph Morales and Benton Mitchell took to the cage. Both fighters came out swinging to take the early control. Morales was able to score the takedown, but Mitchell was able to work his way to his feet and score a takedown of his own. With the majority of the bout on the mat, Morales was able to slip in a guillotine choke. Mitchell, again, worked himself free and landed shots in the stacked position.
Mitchell landed a nice body kick to start off the second round. Looking to be a battle of a solid striker vs solid ground fighter, Morales landed a nice judo toss to take the dominant position. After a brief scuffle on the ground, the fighters return to their feet. Morales put his striking game to use landing knees before they went back to the mat. Similar to the first round, the majority of this round was also spent on the mat. With about 10 seconds left, Mitchell landed a huge slam to leave the judges with a wow to end the round.
Showing the versatility of his MMA game, Mitchell came out strong with a takedown of his own. Even after the bout returned to the feet, Mitchell landed a few big knees before the fighting going to its comfort spot on the mat. Impressing with his takedown game in the third round, it was all up to the judges. Benton Mitchell wins via unanimous decision.
Reba Klimt vs Maddie Emmons (130lbs)
Putting on a huge show for the fans, Reba Klimt showcased her striking in the cage with Maddie Emmons. Both fighters came out quick with a flurry of strikes. After a failed takedown attempt by Emmons, she landed a big shot showing she has more than a grappling background. Emmons’ attempts at the takedown were futile as Klimt locked in a clinch and delivered a handful of big knees. Once the fighters released from the clinch, Klimt landed a few head kicks, but Emmons stayed on her feet showing her toughness.
With only a short amount of time to go in the round, Klimt dropped Emmons with a kick but was unable to finish the bout due to the conclusion of the first round. Shortly into the second round, Klimt went back to the head kick, dropping Emmons again. Following the kick, she followed up with a few strikes forcing the referee to stop the contest. Reba Klimt wins via second-round TKO.
Nate Blennerhassett vs Chris Williams (Middleweight AMMY Title)
You will be hard-pressed to see such a hyped-up, super-focused entrance as we saw from Chris Williams as he entered the cage for his AKA Amateur Middleweight Championship opportunity. Facing off across from Williams was a foe who previously gotten the best of him in the towering 6’6″ Nate Blennerhassett.
Trying to establish his dominant reach early, Blennerhassett used the jab but Williams was able to get in close and press Blennerhassett to the cage. After an unintentional low blow with the knee after some stalled action on the cage, Blennerhassett was able to find a home for some of his strikes with his reach. Williams began to take out his opponent’s base by launching leg and body kicks. Also showing his quick movement, Williams landed a big slam or the takedown. Blennerhassett threw up the triangle choke, but Willams was able to keep the choke loose, leading to the end of round one.
The second round was all Williams after he came out of the gate with a nice left land. After pressing Blennerhassett to the cage, Williams rolled out and landed a couple of solid strikes before unleashing more body shots and leg kicks. The two engage in a clinch in the center of the cage before moving to the cage wall as the round was nearing an end. Round three would end up being Williams’ golden round as he continued to showcase his dominant, fierce striking. With Blennerhassett “on the ropes,” Williams delivered the closing combos, leading to the stoppage and crowning of a middleweight king. Chris Williams wins via third-round TKO.
Matt Costello vs Josh Metzger (Heavyweight AMMY Title)
In the first of two postlim fights, heavyweights Matt Costello and Josh Metzger took to the cage with Metzger defending his crown. With some of the heaviest hands in the South, Metzger was looking for the knockout shot from the opening bell. Costello did a great job staying just out of harm’s way and landing his leg kicks along the way. The second round started out similar to the first with Metzger always just an inch away from the knockout shot. Costello, sticking to his apparent game plan, began to work the body of Metzger before dropping the former champion with a series of strikes. Laying on the strikes, the referee was led to stop the bout in favor of the new champion. Matt Costello wins via second-round TKO.
Don Doyle vs Michael Manno (Welterweight AMMY Title)
In one of the more exciting bouts on the card, lightweight amateur champion Don Doyle entered the cage looking to walk out as a double champion. Michael Manno, making yet another defense of his title, had other thoughts. The pre-bell trash talking was a constant throughout the five rounds of actions. Manno was the first to find a home for his strikes, but Doyle was not to be outdone in the round, scoring a big takedown. Round two saw both fighters working their combos with Manno landing a flush jab, momentarily staggering Doyle. Showing his resilience, Doyle shoots in again for another takedown. Round three began just as action-packed as the previous rounds seeing Doyle unable to land his initial takedown. With both fighters on the cage, Manno grabbed the cage to lose his position. Doyle’s striking really took a turn in the third round, landing on nearly every shot.
Continuing to build off of his previous successes, Doyle pressed Manno to the cage, wearing him out more and more. Manno was able to land a nice strike in the round, but Doyle remained calm and controlled the round. The fifth and final round saw the lightweight champion put an exclamation on his performance. After driving Manno to the cage early on, Doyle landed with a nice left hand on the break. Manno followed it with a nice “1-2” combination of his own before Doyle landed a nice cross. PUtting a staple on the round, Doyle lands the single-leg takedown and the bout is all but over. Judges crown a new welterweight champion. Don Doyle wins via unanimous decision.
Seven-Fight UFC Fight Pass Card
Justice Lamperez vs Joshua Nealy (155lbs)
Two tough as they come lightweights took to the cage to open up the UFC Fight Pass portion of the show with Gladiators Academy’s Justice Lamperez battling Joshua Nealy. Both fighters took to the center of the cage to establish their range early. Lamperez scores the first points of the contest grabbing the single-leg and getting a takedown. Shortly thereafter, Lamperez disengaged and returned the battle to the feet. While Nealy is scooting to the cage, Lamperez attacks, taking the dominant position on the mat. After a few submission attacks, Lamperez eventually flattened out Nealy, landing a few shots before the round expired.
In a round one that was all Lamperez, Nealy turned the tide in the second round after an initial trading of shots. Nealy landed the huge right-hand knockout blow to instantly lead to the referee stoppage. Joshua Nealy wins via second-round KO.
Jessie Henry vs Andrew Carrington (170lbs)
With battling gyms of Shreveport fighting for bragging rights, Jessie Henry battled Andrew Carrington in a close decision bout. It was Henry leading the way, using his range to land a nice low kick/jab combo that found its place all night. A body kick from Henry sent Carrington reeling to the cage in which Henry followed with a nice “1-2-1” combo. Round two saw Carrington turns things around a bit, landing a takedown early on in the round. After a bit of back and forth on the mat, Carrington grabs Henry’s knee but cannot lock in the submission. With about 45 seconds to go in the round, Carrington locked onto the ankle but Henry, yet again, was able to endure.
The third and final round was as close as the second with Henry working his combos early. With both fighters crashing to the mat, Henry took the dominant position, landing elbows from the mount. Henry’s ground strikes continued to find the mark with Henry pinning Carrington’s arm out of the way to make it easier to land those strikes. With about 30 seconds left, Carrington ended up in a full mount of his own, raining down elbows and closes out the round attempting the rear-naked choke. Jessie Henry wins via split decision.
Michael Walker vs Josh Snow (135lbs)
The first round of this bantamweight battle between Michael Walker and Josh Snow should the fans in attendance an array of striking. Walker began the contest by displaying his arsenal of kicks, none quite finding the mark. Snow was able to secure a takedown after a missed Walker kick. After a short time on the mat, both fighters returned to their feet, throwing heaving combos, none quite finding the mark to secure big damage. Snow lands the first big shot of the bout, sending Walker reeling to the cage. As the round came to a close, Snow launched a flying knee, just inches from its mark. Walker worked the front leg of Snow as the round ended.
Round two saw the fighters begin the round instantly exchanging strikes. Walker’s kicks start to find their mark just before Snow shoots in and gets the takedown off of a trip. After returning to their feet, Snow launches another flying knee, missing the mark again. Sticking to his game plan of kicking out Snow’s base, Walker launched more leg kicks before Snow scored yet another takedown. Continuing with their quick pace of action in round three, Walker continued his leg kicks while Snow went for his flying knee a third time, nearly missing the mark yet again. Snow gets another takedown in a close contest, keeping pressure on top of Walker after they hit the mat. As the round came to an end, Snow executed another takedown, probably sealing his victory. Joshua Snow wins via unanimous decision.
Natalya Speece vs Candace Maricle (130lbs)
It was time for the pro WMMA fighters to take to the cage and these two warriors did not disappoint. Jackson Wink-based fighter, Natalya Speece, put on a show in her battle with Candace Maricle. Both fighters came out early, unleashing their striking attacks. Maricle started out pinning Speece against the cage, but Speece was able to spin out of it and land a nice Judo-style takedown. After a brief battle for position on the mat, Speece scores another nice Judo-style takedown, eventually working her way to the mount. Forearms and elbows began to rain down from Speece. After several unanswered shots, the referee was forced to stop the action. Natalya Speece wins via first-round TKO.
Dennis Hughes Jr. vs Loren Thibodeaux (155lbs)
A true was put on between two of Louisiana’s top young professional lightweights as Dennis Hughes Jr came to enemy territory to battle the dominant Loren Thibodeaux. The fighters started out in the center of the cage with striking exchanges. Thibodeaux scored the first takedown of the contest, eventually earning some nice strikes in the stack. Returning the action to the stand-up, Hughes took the advantage, pressing Thibodeaux to the cage. Hughes took his turn with the takedown, keeping the round close. As time was getting close to expiring in the round, Thibodeaux earned another takedown followed up with some hammer shots to end the round.
Round two saw Thibodeaux pick up where he left off, landing big shots. Hughes decided to wrap up Thibodeaux on the cage and secure the takedown. This round saw a lot of back and forth in the takedown department and ground game. The final frame saw Thibodeaux display his solid striking, similar to the start of round two. A big left hook found the mark for Thibodeaux before securing the double-leg takedown. With about 10 seconds left, Thibodeaux rained in shots to secure his victory. Loren Thibodeaux wins via unanimous decision.
AJ Fletcher vs Ariel Juarez (170lbs C0-Main Event)
In search of that elusive opportunity to showcase his undeniable talent in the UFC, AJ Fletcher brought his undefeated professional record to the co-main event spot against a tough opponent in Ariel Juarez. Fletcher came out early, working his range with the high kicks. Switching to the low kicks, Fletcher eventually scored the takedown. Keeping the pressure on top tight, eventually getting the mount. In short order, Fletcher positioned himself properly, locking in the submission for the victory. AJ Fletcher wins via first-round submission.
Derrick Krantz vs Nolan Norwood (185lbs Title Main Event)
On his journey back toward the UFC, Derrick Krantz stepped into the AKA cage with a chance to add AKA middleweight gold to his resume. Standing across the cage was the always tough Nolan Norwood. The action started out with Krantz looking for the perfect shot to land. After a brief striking exchange, Krantz landed the perfect right hook that dropped Norwood, leading to a quick conclusion on the night’s main event. Derrick Krantz wins via first-round TKO.
I am a life-long MMA fan who has been a fan since UFC 1. I was born in Illinois but raised in South Louisiana, home of many great mixed martial artists. I started martial arts at the age of 4 and continued into my adult years where I served nearly 10 years in law enforcement. I feel my job is to convey the stories of the MMA fighters we enjoy to watch and share their stories with the world.
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