American Kombat Alliance (AKA) ventured to Monroe, Louisiana for the first time, showcasing AKA 15 in The Hub Music Hall on Friday, May 28, 2021. The event considered of a four-fight amateur portion, which aired on the AKA Fights Facebook page. The six-fight professional portion of the card aired live on UFC Fight Pass. In the main event of the night’s action, AKA crowned a new bantamweight champion with the title current vacant. Was Cody Freeman able to become the organization’s first professional “double champ” or was the ever-dangerous opponent, Jonathan Eiland, able to win the title in his organizational debut?
Amateur Prelims Brief Review
James Webb vs Tiernan O’Donovan-(Featherweight)
The majority of this nine-minute bout was spent on the mat with James Webb in charge. Scoring an early takedown on the hometown fan-favorite, Tiernan O’Donovan, Webb kept the heavy pressure on top for the majority of the bout. With about 20 seconds left near the ends of the second and third rounds respectively, the referee stood the fighters up due to a stall in action. Neither fighter was able to pull the trigger during these resets. When it came down to the judges’ decisions, Webb easily took the unanimous decision.
Sawyer Thompson vs Elijah Powell-(Featherweight)
This fight had a good mixture of stand-up and ground action with the traveling Sawyer Thompson working his strikes early. The hometown crowd was fully behind Elijah Powell who started to find a bit of momentum with his striking as the first round came to an end. Thompson took Powell to the mat near the end of the round, though Powell was able to attempt his shot at an armbar as time expired. The second round saw most of its action on the mat after Thompson showed some early success with his striking. The leg kicks were the strikes of choice at the beginning of the third round. Thompson scored on the better end of their striking exchanges before Powell wrapped up Thompson in an attempt to score a takedown. The judges’ made their second-straight decision of the night, announcing Thompson as the winner via unanimous decision.
Daniel Cruz vs Clint Dickens-(Middleweight)
After the first couple of bouts on the night saw the featherweights take to the AKA cage, it was now time for the bigger middleweights to clash. Daniel Cruz of Arlington, Texas did not disappoint the Louisiana crowd. The hometown Clint Dickens, unfortunately, had an early night, suffering a huge knockout loss just 32 seconds into the first round. The bout started with lots of movement in the cage from both fighters. Cruz found a home for a huge right hand, which instantly called for an end to the bout. Cruz was announced the winner via first-round KO.
Murad Almas vs Jerad Redman Carranza-(Welterweight)
The wrestling game was on-point in the main event of the prelims for Murad Almas, scoring nine takedowns in the nine minutes of action against Jerard Redman Carranza. It was apparent from the jump of the first round, Almas’s plan was to utilize his strength and power to repeatedly take down Carranaza at will. He did just that, sprinkling in some big strikes along the way. Almas also kept up a very nice pace throughout the three rounds, showing very little wasted time in the cage. If Almas was not working on a takedown, he was steadily raining in shots on Carranza who had no answer all night. Back to the judges on the night and they easily selected Almas as the winner via unanimous decision.
UFC Fight Pass Pro Portion
Joe Saucedo vs Tyrek Malveaux-(Featherweight)
The UFC Fight Pass portion of the event was kicked off on a solid note with Gladiator Academy’s own Tyrek Malveaux putting on a dominant performance against Joe Saucedo. Starting out the bout working his striking game, Malveaux landed a big right hand that dropped Saucedo. Malveaux followed it up by taking Saucedo’s back on the mat and securing the rear-naked choke. Getting back in the win column, Malveaux was announced the winner via first-round submission.
Chris Miller vs Jesse Roberts-(Lightweight)
As expected, lightweights Chris “King Millie” Miller and Jesse Roberts did not disappoint when they took the center of the cage. Miller threw a variety of strikes that, if landed, could have ended the contest in a second. Roberts utilized his great movement and counter-striking to stay one step ahead in the contest. Roberts was also able to utilize his ground game, nearly at one point finishing the bout having Miller in a crucifix while raining in shots. The second round saw more of Roberts’ great counter-striking skills and ground-game offense. Miller landed a big kick in the third round.
Though Roberts had his arm up to absorb much of the kick’s momentum, it still rattled Roberts a bit. Roberts took his foot off the gas a bit in the third round knowing he had the first couple of rounds in the bag. It was a smart decision to play the third round safe as Miller has the ability to end the bout quickly with one of his unorthodox strikes. When the decision was read, Jesse Roberts moved to 2-0 in his professional career.
Craig Grove vs Jessie Henry-(Welterweight)
In a battle of surging welterweights, which of these two rising stars would etch their name near the very top of the title-contender list? As to the game plan, Jessie Henry started out the contest using his 6’6″ advantage by keeping Craig Grove on the end of his strikes. Grove was finally able to move his way in a scored a big takedown to neutralize Henry’s size advantage. The momentum shifted on the mat with Grove landing nice elbows and forearms while in charge on top. Grove was able to continue to build on his momentum in the second round, displaying more nice striking before scoring another takedown. It was only a matter of time before Grove was able to lock in the rear-naked choke and secure the second-round victory.
Tyler Jones vs Josh Lee-(Middleweight)
The day finally comes for every fighter when it is time to hang up the gloves. For hometown middleweight Josh Lee, that time came at AKA 15. A veteran of the professional ranks since 2009, Lee was able to have his farewell fight in his hometown. He did not disappoint for the fans in attendance as he was faced with a tough opponent in Tyler Jones. Lee landed a huge overhand right which eventually led to a takedown by Lee. Jones was able to flip position to take the top but Lee was ready and locked in the guillotine choke. Lee walked out of the cage for the final time as the victor.
Jamahl Tatum vs Jervon Beverly-(Heavyweight)
The heavyweights took to the AKA cage for the night’s co-main event. Both Jamahl Tatum and Jervon Beverly have KO power in their hands. With each fighter playing it safe, Tatum was scoring better among the two with his strikes finding their mark. The atmosphere was thick with anticipation as either fighter could end the night with one thunderous strike. Round two saw both fighters start to utilize their leg kicks and pick up the momentum a bit. At some point during the third frame of action, as each fighter was getting closer and closer to finding their homerun shot, Beverly sustained a gruesome broken finger resulting in the referee stopping the contest. Tatum was declared the winner but every fan in attendance would love to see this heavyweight clash ran back.
Cody Freeman vs Jonathan Eiland-(Bantamweight Title Main Event)
AKA featherweight champion Cody Freeman took to the cage for the main event in search of “double champ” status in his second AKA main event in as many outings. To earn his second title, he would have to go through one of Louisiana’s toughest bantamweight in Jonathan Eiland. After working the leg kicks to start off the contest, Freeman slipped after throwing a kick leading to Eiland immediately pouncing on top. Freeman was ready, locking in a triangle before transitioning to the armbar attempt. Freeman transitioned to the front headlock after Eiland broke free. The trouble was just beginning as Freeman locked in the gator roll, transitioning to the anaconda choke. The anaconda choke sealed the victory, and second AKA title, for Freeman in the night’s conclusion.