Stellar Fights, Delawares premier MMA promotion, returns with a stacked card from top to bottom with some of the regions top amateur talent. Stellar Fights 43 returns to Harrington, Delaware at the Delaware State Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall for a night of fights that won’t soon be forgotten.
Headlined by two Baltimore natives, Brandon Johnson (Baltimore Martial Arts) will be taking on Stephan Burden (American Muay Thai) looking to bring two gold belts back to “Charm City”. Their bout will be co-promoted with the WKA national tournament as they will be vying for the Stellar Fights Lightweight title as well as the WKA national lightweight title, for an opportunity to fight at the WKA world tournament later in the year. However, upon weighing in, Brandon Johnson made the agreed upon lightweight limit. Stephan Burden, however, missed weight by 4 pounds so this bout will only prove to be championship worthy if Brandon Johnson wins the bout. With so much at stake with this bout and the drama behind it, fans can expect early fireworks with the potential of an early stoppage.
In the Co-Main event of the evening Tyler Hiob (Method MMA) will be facing Lumison Jean (Infinity MMA) for the WKA national featherweight title. These two heavy handed featherweights always come to the cage with brutal intentions and looking for the quick finish so this is another bout that most fans don’t see going the distance. Hiob is known for his aggressive style, whereas Jean is the counter/precision striker. Who’s style will win?
Bout 1: 135lbs MMA) Kyle Hannigan vs Edgar Cordova
Round 1: Both fighters start the contest exchanging jabs with Cordova committing first to a straight right, working the underhook where he looks for the takedown. Cordova secures a heavy slam that Hannigan pops up from abruptly. Cordova secures the guillotine and looks for the early finish but he lets go to shoot for the double leg takedown. Hannigan secures his own takedown and follows Cordova to the floor. Cordova brushes it off and both fighters return to their feet to exchange heavy striking to close the round.
Round 2: Cordova presses forward quickly and clinches Hannigan against the cage. Hannigan scores short knees on the inside and circles out as the fighters exchange straight punches. Hannigan secures a takedown and gets ahold of Cordovas neck for the guillotine. Cordova works out and the fighters continue to work on the ground as Hannigan sets up the beautiful rear naked choke that Cordova works to escape but its locked in too quickly and Cordova is abruptly forced to tap.
Winner: Kyle Hannigan by Rear naked choke 2:07 of round 2
Bout 2: 160 lbs NOGI grappling) Ryan “Korean Thunder” Cafaro vs Sean Ashley
Round 1: Ashley sits in waiting for Cafaro to make his move. Carfaro takes a leg and somersaults over Ashley to advance position. Both grapplers exchanged positions as quick as a tornado running through the land of Oz. From spectacular wall walks that defied gravity to back and forth exchanges, and impressive explosions from both grapplers. It was a fun contest as long as it lasted with Sean Ashley looking for the triangle but secures the arm at 4:11 in to force the tap from Cafaro.
Winner: Sean Ashley at 4:11 into the first round via armbar
Bout 3: 155lbs MMA) Luke Staley vs Yohanes Rezene
Round 1: Staley begins the bout firing some leg kick that Rezene walks through with his hands open and wide in a traditional karate stance. Rezene fires two head kicks that find their mark, with the last one being amidst a takedown from Staley. With both fighters on the ground, Rezene fires some peppering hammer fists but makes his way back to his feet to continue the bout standing. Staley is attempting to close the distance but finding it difficult with Rezene’s length at the sound of the opening bell.
Round 2: Staley looks for the leg kick early with Rezene timing his counter strikes. In a back and forth round, both fighters spent their fair time trading punches-center cage, but the majority of this round took place on the bottom where Staley was grinding his opponent with heavy ground and pound until the round bell closed.
Round 3: Staley fires with an overhand right and follows with a leg kick that puts Rezene on his bottom. Staley follows up with heavy strikes coming forward and has Rezene dazed, but in the blink of an eye Rezene changes the pace of the fight with a straight right that had Staley backing up and Rezene coming forward. The bout hit the mat and Rezene followed with some ground and pound to soften Staley up and went in for the kill as he sunk his arms under the neck and it was a wrap as Staley was forced to tap.
Winner: Yohanes Rezene via Rear Naked Choke at 2:14
Bout 4: 140lbs MMA) Roe-Mar Blacknail vs Wesley Russum
Round 1: Russum comes forward quickly and gets the heavy slam early and follows with vicious ground and pound. Blacknail gives his back up and Russum secures the rear naked choke and forces the tap with a quickness in the opening stanza.
Winner via Rear Naked Choke: Wesley Russum at 56 seconds into round 1.
Bout 5: Heavyweight WKA National Championship)
Chris “The Wolf” Jackowski vs Gregg White
Round 1: White lands a right hand early that cuts his opponent and White times Jackowski’s attempted kicks up the middle, catching them, then firing bombs. Jackowski presses White to the cage and starts firing knees at will while White looks for the reversal. Jackowski separates with 10 seconds left to let a punch flurry fly to beat the clock which draws the round to a close.
Round 2: White begins the round with heavy punches and Jackowski isn’t up for the exchange as he looks for the takedown early and lifts White clear off his feet and dumps him on his behind. White gets back to his feet and the fighters exchange heavy leather in the center of the cage, but the action has started to slow, with the fighters picking their shots more consciously. Jackowski presses White against the cage with White getting the quick reversal. White then switches levels with 10 seconds left in the round to make the last second impression with the judges, scoring an easy takedown.
Round 3: White comes forward with several leading kicks and gets the takedown quickly. Jackowski utilizes the takedown to secure an arm while looking for a kimura that White sits comfortable in-looking for his time to explode and pop out. White sees his opportunity and pops up to stand, ending the round throwing several jabs at the closing seconds.
Round 4: White marches forward abruptly but is met in the middle with Jackowski clinching and pushing the contest to the cage. White circles out and both fighters reset to the center of the cage. White shoots to press Jackowski against the cage but doesn’t do anything to advance position. Jackowski locks up the neck and looks for the guillotine attempt several times, which White fended off until the bell.
Round 5: White throws several leg kicks with vicious intent and fires a brutal 1-2-3 combination that lands flush. Jackowski shoots under and gets a heavy slam, which lands him into side control. In a scramble, White gives his back up and Jackowski looks to secure the neck. White begins to scramble so Jackowski gives up on the choke and peppers some ground and pound until he finds the open neck again. Both fighters work until the final bell in an amazing heavyweight title fight!
Winner via Unanimous decision and new WKA Heavyweight National Champion: Chris Jackowski
Bout 6: 158lbs MMA) “Grandiose” Brent Douglass vs Thomas “The Hitman” Homier
Round 1: Homier leads with a head kick but misses as he follows with a strong double leg that secures Douglass against the cage. Douglass peppers with some shots but Homier takes his time to methodically advance position from full guard to half guard. Douglass works his way to his feet but Homier drags him to the floor efficiently, landing on top, where he postures up to score punches as the round draws to a close.
Round 2: Douglass lands a hard straight right that staggers Homier enough for him to switch levels and shoot for the takedown. Homier postures up and starts peppering punches to the body and head consistently. Douglass scrambles, but it opens Douglass up for some heavy ground and pound from Homier to close the round.
Round 3: Homier scores a takedown early and rides the wave with vicious ground and pound, transitioning from full guard, to half guard, to full mount where he tees off with brutal strikes from the top until Douglass gives up his back and Homier snatches the neck up for the rear naked finish that Douglass couldn’t fight his way through.
Winner via Rear Naked Choke at 2:48 into round 3 and new WKA National MMA Lightweight Champion: Thomas Homier
Bout 7: 175lbs Glory Rules) Rosendo Leyva vs Bryce Garlpay
Round 1: Leyva comes out quickly and ferociously as he walks down Garlpay and starts throwing caution the wind with heavy leather mixed in with kicks to the mid section. Garlpay stays calm and counters when he sees fit and fires accurate, precise punches that are accumulating and taking their toll, in this opening round. Leyva is pressing forward like a man possessed, landing some with Garlpay evading some and firing his own counter strikes in a back and forth battle that could have been scored for anyone as it was sheer brute force meets technique.
Round 2: Leyva has a similar game plan as the first round and fires very heavily and very early in the round. Garlpay is able to thwart any immediate damage off as he withstands the storm and picks up the slack with his precise counters. As the round continued transitioning later Leyva showed signs of exhaustion, which was Garlpay’s green light to turn the heat up and take control of the second half of the round.
Round 3: Garlpay presses forward early with pin point accuracy from the opening of the round. He leads with his jab, leaving his jabbing hand out to decipher when his proper time to continue the punishment- to land a perfectly timed right hand. Garlpay continues this game plan throughout the final round while Leyva made attempts to fire back, but with his gas tank almost empty, you can see the toll these precise strikes are taking on Leyva. Garlpay is landing vicious knees after his punch combinations, following inside and even landing an axe kick that dropped Leyva (ref ruled a slip). It was a round that Garlpay dictated, but Leyva never backed down, and stayed consistent firing heavy shots in return to stay active until the end.
Winner via Unanimous Decision: Rosendo Leyva
Bout 8: 135lbs MMA WKA/Bantamweight/Stellar Fights Bantamweight Championship Hiroshi Hayashi vs (CH) Matt Hicks
Round 1: Hicks leads with a headkick that Hayashi shrugs off and the fighters meet center cage and begins trading heavy leather. Hicks closes the distance and gets Hayashi against the cage where he looks for the takedown but clears some space to land a right hand that drops Hayashi in his tracks. Hicks follows with nasty ground and pound that takes its toll on Hayashi as he gives his back to Hicks for the rear naked attempt. Hayashi fights it off and looks for a vicious right to land but Hicks makes him miss and scores the takedown in the closing seconds as hicks looks to secure a banana split.
Round 2: Hicks comes forward quickly with a series of punches that backs up Hayashi and Hicks marches forward fo find the opening to secure a takedown. Hicks continues the punishment with heavy ground and pound as he pins Hayashi’s arm down, leaving Hayashi defenseless as the champ fired away on a helpless Hayashi. Hayashi gets loose, scrambles and looks to secure a triangle choke of his own that Hicks fights off, and Hayashi turns into a close but missed armbar attempt. Hicks continues the onslaught with peppering ground and pound and transitions to Hayashi’s back to close the round with Hayashi’s neck in his clutches.
Round 3: Hicks picks up where he left off and secures the takedown quick and peppers his shots until he finds an arm triangle set up. He lets go to posture up and starts raining down brutal ground and pound consistently and effectively to wear down the Tokyo native to the point where he was just covering up, prompting the referee to call a halt to the contest.
Winner via TKO (ground and pound) at 2:48 of round 3 and still Stellar Fights Bantamweight Champion and new WKA National MMA Bantamweight Champion: Matt Hicks
Bout 9: 165lbs Glory Rules) Adam “Conrad” Miller vs Eric Brown
Round 1: Brown uses his length early in the fight, firing from the outside and picking his shots. Miller has an unorthodox karate/traditional kickboxing style and is light on his feet with his strikes. He makes his way in and out like a thief in the night when he sets up and commits to his striking. Brown takes some of his own and gives his own in a back and forth opening round. Miller closes with a lead head kick that lands shin to chin and drops Brown for the 8 count. In zombie-like fashion, Brown stands on his feet as if nothing happened and the round comes to a close.
Round 2: Miller continues with his flashy offense and it looks like Brown is still hurt from the previous rounds’. Miller carries forward closing the distance and throwing thunderous body punches as Brown is covered up to absorb the damage and wait for the opportune time to come forward. Brown opens up and charges forward with his open 1-2 combination following with a leg kick and just like that he’s back in this contest and these fighters are back to exchanging heavy leather in the center of the cage.
Round 3: Brown carries forward, knowing he has to make up on the score cards. He fires hard right hands to the head and switches levels to the body often in a round that Brown is starting to take control of. Brown continues the onslaught with Miller taking more punishment than the previous rounds. Miller stood his ground and dipped his way through Browns onslaught and fired back when the time presented itself until the final bell sounded.
Winner via Unanimous Decision: Adam Miller.
CO-MAIN EVENT: 145lbs MMA WKA National Featherweight Championship
Tyler Hiob vs Lumison Jean
Round 1: Hiob charges forward quickly leading with a headkick that he narrowly misses. Hiob has a lanky style where he is charging/running into his shots, adding that much more force when he lands cleanly. Jean stays evasive and picks his one-two combos carefully, when presented. Hiob closes the distance and secures a heavy takedown. Jean bounces back to his feet and Hiob continues to utilize his slippery footwork to keep Jean guessing which angle Hiob will be attacking from. Jean does a good job staying out of any immediate harm, but he was on the receiving end of most of the damage in this opening round.
Round 2: Hiob closes the distance early, pinning Jean against the cage and firing short knees to Jeans midsection and inside thighs. Hiob drags Jean to the floor into full mount as he peppers Jean to soften him up. Jean takes the damage and explodes out of nowhere and escapes out of the back door to his feet and both fighters reset. Hiob throws 3 consecutive head kicks that Jean narrowly evades but throws nothing in return when opportunity presented itself, as the round draws to a close.
Round 3: Hiob wastes no time, firing kicks to the midsection and Jean finally pops a single jab. Hiob continues to press forward with leg kicks and kicks to the midsection of Jean as Jean shows minimal effort to throw or defend. Jean will throw the occasional counter right hand, but nothing that has showed any effectiveness against Hiob as Hiob is on total cruise control in this one sided affair. Hiob stays on his opponent and secures standing guillotine that he uses to drag his opponent to the mat. Hiob stays on the guillotine until he forces the tap in this WKA national featherweight championship contest, and a new champion is crowned.
Winner via guillotine at 2:43 into round 3 and new WKA MMA Featherweight Champion: Tyler Hiob
MAIN EVENT: 155lbs MMA) WKA National Lightweight/Stellar Fights Lightweight Championship
Brandon “The Flash” Johnson vs. Stephan Burden
Round 1: Both fighters come out quickly, firing their respective flashy kicks to establish early impressions. Burden snapping front kicks with Johnson throwing ruthless axe kicks and side kicks. Both fighters find their pace and start trading punch combinations until Burden lands a vicious flying kick to Johnsons midsection that backs Johnson up. Johnson fires back with a punch barrage that backs up Burden, but gets clipped by a short right from Burden. Both fighters stay lively throwing punch combos with nasty intentions to close the opening stanza.
Round 2: Johnson starts the round pawing his jab and firing with several side kicks that find their mark. Burden throws a headkick that is blocked and Johnson blitzes forward with lightning fast punch combinations. Burden rushes forward with a punch combination of his own, landing a right hand into a head kick. Johnson wastes no time firing back with his own 3 piece punch combination in a back and forth war of a main event.
Round 3: Burden throws a leg kick with Johnson throwing a punch combination down the middle. Both fighters are just as fresh as they were in the first round and throwing with equal ill will. Both competitors are answering the others initial blast combinations and returning the favor in a tit for tat, back and forth battle. This bout is proving to be a judges nightmare, it is so evenly matched.
Round 4: Starting where they left off, both fighters start the round as if its the beginning of the fight. Johnson is landing effective sidekicks as well as his punch combinations while Burden counters efficiently. Johnson clips Burden with a short punch that drops Burden as he scrambles back to his feet, with Johnson charging in for the kill. Burden is able to avoid any major damage and circles out to the center of the cage where both fighters reset. Johnson starts taking the offense as he’s engaging first with Burden returning fire as the round draws to a close.
Round 5: Johnson persists with the pressure as he circles the cage and blitzes in and out after he lands. Burden is beginning to slow down and return with less volume as the round carries on. However Burden is managing to stay active in the exchanges, nevertheless. Johnson continues his onslaught and Burden now seems focused on slowing Johnson down throwing leg kicks. Johnson takes minimal damage and blitzes through his opponents offense to commit to his heavy combinations-that have taken their toll in this Stellar Fights epic war of a main event.
Winner via Split decision: Stephan Burden