Legacy Fighting Alliance returned to Vail, Colorado for LFA 65, live on AXS TV. With the elevation at over 8,000 feet high, this event demanded fighters come conditioned beyond standard expectations. Even those hailing from surrounding areas like the mile-high city of Denver understand that several thousand feet higher makes a difference.
LFA is known for finding the strongest up and coming regional talent, looking to transition to the biggest stages the sport has to offer. This event did not disappoint. Multiple split decisions, TKOs, submissions and a knockout made for a great night in Vail and for viewers watching from home.
LFA 65 Main Event – Flyweight Pro
Brandon Royval (12-4) defeats Joby Sanchez (8-4) via first round Armbar
This one-round of fighting was a face-paced flurry of striking and grappling reversals. Royval came in with a high-pressured refusal to back up or lose ground. Sanchez was able to get Royval to his knees the front headlock position which he used to transition to a darce choke attempt. Royval survived the submission transitioning to an armbar and securing the finish.
Co-Main Event – Featherweight Pro
Joanderson Brito (10-2-1) defeats Jose Mariscal (9-3) via first round Knockout
Fireworks from the word “fight.” These are the kind of fights people pay to see. Both fighters came out hell-bent to finish. Brito did just that, dropping Mariscal less than one action-packed minutes into round one.
Matt Jones (7-3) defeats Youssef Zalal (6-1) via Split Decision
145 pounds fighters are fairly light and these two are exceptionally fast, not to mention evenly matched. Both took the first minute to feel out the long-range before Zalal stepped in with an overhand left to close the distance, pressuring Jones to the cage. Jones was able to reverse and control the cagework most of the round, though securing a takedown would prove difficult.
Jones secured a takedown early in round two, but Zalal used a keylock control from bottom to keep Jones from making any progress. Cage work was the theme for this bout, with these two jockeying for position continually. Another scramble on the cage put Zalal on his back, but he looked again to that same control system to successfully avoid damage. Despite how draining cagework can be, neither fighter seemed overly fatigued.
Zalal came out like a man on a mission in round three. A failed takedown attempt transitioned into a front headlock, then to the back. Zalal seemed to know that had some control time to make up for. Jones recovered and they went back to the cage for more knees and takedown attempts. Despite Jones in top position, Zalal remained dangerous even off his back.
Female Strawweight Pro
Pauline Macias (2-0) defeats Sarah Shell (1-1) via Unanimous Decision
It didn’t take many strikes from both girls to close the distance. Macias had an early attempt at a takedown off the wall, which Shell was able to avoid leaving Macias holding an arm-in guillotine for a decent amount of time before they made space. Macias landed her next two takedowns but was unable to do damage from the positions.
An early takedown in round two landed Macias int he guard of Shell. Shell seemed to be setting up a submission, but not with any sense of urgency. Shell was able to prevent heavy ground and pound, but without any offense, would remain in an unfavorable position most of the round.
The third round showed off a little more of the striking for these two strawweights. Shell was able to land when she stayed long, but chose to throw only one strike at a time. Macias looked to change levels and set up ways to get inside and land on the taller fighter. Macias secured another takedown at the end of the round. Shell finally seemed to sense the urgency and the round ended with Shell mid-attempt on an armbar from the bottom.
Adam Stroup (13-5) defeated Hayward Charles (16-12) via Unanimous Decision
Charles, who is a black belt, made it obvious within the first minute of the fight, that he would prefer to grapple. He tried to set up takedowns with outside punches. But once the distance was closed, chose to pull guard, which is an unusual move in a professional MMA fight. Stroup didn’t seem to feel threatened at all in the guard of Charles and took the opportunity to throw long-range strikes before returning to his feet. Stroup looked to be the vastly more technical striker, though Charles was unafraid to try some creative spinning moves. Stroup dropped Charles but kept his distance to avoid the grappling war. The referee was taking a close look at the ground and pound when time ran out in the round.
Desperate to get the fight the ground in the second round, Charles shot in pressuring Stroup to the cage. Once Stroup made space Charles was in trouble. Charles was dropped multiple times and forced back to his feet to strike when Stroup adamantly refused to engage on the ground. The barrage of elbows and knees that followed made fans cringe. Despite the head trauma, Charles was able to continue and land a takedown, finishing round two mounted.
As a Vail, Colorado-native, cardio was not a problem for Charles who continued to come forward in round three, pressuring Stroup to the cage. The offense from Stroup was noticeably less aggressive in the last round as he struggled to make space. Stroup was able to reverse a takedown in progress, landing in the guard of Charles. He finished the round landing strikes from that position.
Adam Martinez (5-2) defeated Cory Galloway (11-9) via third round Guillotine Choke
Martinez came out using leg kisks as a range finder. Those kicks were quickly countered with a right hand from Galloway, wobbling Martinez twice in round one. Both times Martinez recovered, looking for the takedown. Galloway continued to dominate the striking throughout round one, until the last few seconds during which Martinez began to find his range.
Martinez came out in round two making a much stronger commitment to his punches. Galloway maintained his long range but was unable to defend a hard-fought takedown. He survived the rear naked choke attempt from Martinez and recovered with a striking barrage against the cage. Martinez made space and drove Galloway across the cage to secure a dramatic blast double to end the round.
After having some success getting to the ground in round two, Martinez immediately looked for the takedown, pressuring Galloway to the cage. He was denied and then wobbled again with strikes from Galloway. Refusing to go down, Martinez returned fire, dropping Galloway to the ground and following up to initiate the ground battle. The guillotine choke from Martinez followed shortly.
Dan Argueta defeated Max Rojas via first round TKO
Female Bantamweight Amateur
Carmen Sage defeated Tayler Sprowl via split decision
165 Catchweight Amateur
Anthony Pinedo defeated Matt Powers via third round TKO
150 Catchweight Amateur
Jota Ninomiya defeated Daniel Nieto via second round TKO
Bryanna “Pink Ranger” Fissori is a professional female fighter based in Denver, Colorado. Fissori has been working as a professional journalist for well over a decade in a number of industries as a general reporter and legal analyst. Along with a mean left hook, she also has a law degree. Fissori trains out of Elevation Fight Team and has competed for top-level promotions such as Bellator MMA and PANCRASE MMA in bantam and featherweight divisions.