FRESNO, Calif. -- Experience only goes so far.
Matt Major defeated UFC veteran Shonie Carter (Pictures) by unanimous decision in the main event at Cage Combat Fighting Championships 8 “Rumble in the Park,” as he outclassed a man with 14 times as many professional fights on Saturday at the Woodward Park Amphitheatre.
The contest was essentially a 15-minute kickboxing match with a lot of clinching. Major (4-1) landed repeated high kicks but did little visible damage to his durable opponent. Carter attempted the only takedowns of the fight, and Major thwarted them easily. Both men relied heavily on kicks, and for once, Carter’s strikes were not as flashy as his foe’s.
Carter (44-18-7) fought southpaw and revealed after the match the he believed he had broken his wrist in the first round. He staggered Major with a straight right hand in the first but did not threaten the prospect again.
“I didn’t know where the hell I was,” Major said. “He really had me in trouble.”
In the end, Major stayed busy enough to clinch the unanimous decision and pass one of the toughest tests of his young career. Judges scored it 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
In the co-main event, local hero Casey Olson (Pictures) dominated and outmatched Aaron Miller (Pictures), as he locked in an arm triangle for the tapout 4:30 into round one. Olson (9-2) has rattled off three consecutive victories, two of them by submission, since his knockout loss to World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Olaf Alfonso (Pictures) in February.
Olson came out looking to strike, but when Miller (5-4) clinched, he grabbed a double leg and slammed his opponent to the canvas. Once the action went to the mat, Olson controlled Miller with superior wrestling. He cinched the fight-ending arm triangle so quickly that many in the capacity crowd did not even know why Miller tapped.
Two titles were on the line at CCFC 8.
Rolando Velasco (Pictures) retained his bantamweight crown, as he survived some harrowing moments early and fought David Espinosa (Pictures) to a draw. Espinosa almost put the champion away in the first round, as he dropped Velasco several times with hard shots to the side of the head. Velasco (5-0-1) -- who entered the match unbeaten and untied -- survived the onslaught, but it was an obvious 10-8 round for the challenger.
Noticeably fatigued after beating the champion from one side of the cage to the other, Espinosa (5-2-1) mounted little offense in the final two rounds. Velasco controlled the rest of the fight from Espinosa’s guard, as he peppered the fatigued challenger with punches. All three judges scored the bout 28-28.
CCFC heavyweight kingpin Buddy Roberts (Pictures) had no such trouble defending his belt.
A product of Ken Shamrock (Pictures)’s Lion’s Den, Roberts needed only 27 seconds to defeat Rafael Real (Pictures), as he locked in a rear naked choke for the tapout. Roberts (6-1) wasted no time, dropping Real (5-10) with an early straight right. Roberts then secured back control, softened up Real with punches and ended the fight with the choke. Roberts has won four fights in a row, the last three by rear naked choke submission.
Meanwhile, undefeated Ky Hollenbeck impressed again, as he submitted Bobby Cearly in the first round. Fending off Cearly’s aggressive attack from his back, Hollenbeck (3-0) landed a picture-perfect upkick that wobbled his opponent enough to set up an armbar 2:04 into round one.
In other action, Jesse Bowen (Pictures) -- who had fought and won eight days prior to the CCFC event -- notched his second win of the month, as he submitted Elvis Franco (Pictures) with a first-round triangle choke. Franco (1-2-1) refused to tap out and fought the triangle for some time, but Bowen (4-3) squeezed tighter and tighter and left his opponent with no other alternative. The end came 91 seconds into round one.
The show’s quickest finish belonged to Moses Lira, who knocked out the debuting Pete Sierra in just eight seconds. Lira (1-1) floored Sierra with a three-punch combination and then put him out with three devastating shots on the ground.
Elsewhere, middleweight Ted Van Roll struck Jose Diaz (Pictures) into submission 2:07 into round one. Diaz was outmatched and tapped quickly after Van Roll (2-0) delivered a series of brutal body blows.
Finally, Andy Miranda opened the show with a vicious nine-second knockout of Francisco Loredo (Pictures). Medical officials rushed in to the cage in the aftermath, immobilizing Loredo’s neck and supplying him with oxygen. Loredo (2-5) -- who has lost three straight matches -- lifted his arms to the crowd as he was carried out of the cage on a stretcher. Miranda improved to 3-1.