Dakota Cochrane’s career resurgence received another jolt of success on Saturday night as he scored a second-round submission win over Maki Pitolo in the main event of Victory Fighting Championship’s VFC 58: Cochrane vs. Pitolo.
The event aired live on UFC FIGHT PASS from a packed Baxter Arena in Omaha, Nebraska, and before his home-town fans, Cochrane overcame a serious threat to pick up the victory in his 21st fight since March 2014. Cochrane (29-12) has now won six of his last eight and has likely moved into position to be the next challenger to Yuri Villefort’s VFC welterweight crown.
“I think that sounds great,” said Cochrane of the potential opportunity.
The chance at a belt looked in doubt, though, as Pitolo – who lost his own title bout to former champion Kassius Holdorf in his last outing – put Cochrane in some danger in the first round with a rear-naked choke. After cracking Cochrane with a spinning back fist right off the start of Round 2, Pitolo (10-3) put another serious threat together as he went after the rear-naked choke again. Just when Cochrane appeared to be fading, he was able to escape and, in quick order, secure the guillotine. The Hawaiian nicknamed “Coconut Bombz” struggled valiantly and nearly outlasted the threat, but Cochrane coaxed the tap from his opponent with just two seconds remaining in the second round.
In the co-main event, Omaha-based stalwart Alonzo “Zo Diddy” Martinez capitalized with a big right hand that led to a guillotine choke and submission from Mike Plazola in their lightweight bout. Martinez (41-17-1) got the finish at 3:47 of Round 1, giving the 14-year veteran 12 wins in 15 appearances inside the VFC square cage. Plazola (14-7) suffered his first loss in four VFC outings.
Darrick Minner (19-6) moved closer to a showdown with VFC featherweight champion Rob Emerson as he dispatched hard-nosed veteran Will Shutt (20-22-1) at 2:48 of Round 2 with a mounted guillotine choke.
In a catchweight clash at 130 lbs., Kendrick Latchman (6-3) connected with a stinging uppercut then finished Cody Land (14-10) with a wicked right just 56 seconds into their matchup.
A furious third-round rally from Cody Galloway that saw him chase after an array of submissions plus a stint of full-mount punches helped him get past Terrence Almond via a split-decision verdict. Despite spending most the fight on his back, Galloway (10-7) was exceptionally active with submission attempts which got him the nod – 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 – over the wrestling of Almond (3-3).
Bryce Logan (7-2) used takedowns to get the better of Cody Carrillo (11-16) in their lightweight tilt with Logan taking the scorecards 30-27, 30-27, 29-28. In another lightweight bout, Troy Nawrocki (2-0) scored enough with early takedowns to stave off a third-round rally from Jaime Medina (1-2), taking the decision 29-28, 29-28, 29-27.
In the main-card opener, former VFC amateur flyweight champion Jeff “El Jefe” Molina (1-1) rendered Delfino Benitez (0-1) unconscious with a rear-naked choke as the technical submission coming at 4:43 of the first round.
Amateur Prelim Results:
Jason Simon def. Wayne Sullivan by unanimous decision to win VFC amateur middleweight title
Austin Gowan def. Mason Roberts by split decision
Jake Kocanda def. Geoff Bell via first-round submission (guillotine choke)
Dillon Cox def. Sam Vice by unanimous decision
Carlos Trinidad def. Keith Phathaem by split decision
Zach Hughes def. Dylan Pierceson via first-round TKO
Victory Fighting Championship returns on Friday, November 3rd with its first of three season-ending shows.