VISALIA, Calif. -- Emanuel Newton (Pictures) returned to action after a year-long layoff with a dominant submission victory over B.J. Lacy in the main event at Pure Combat “Hardcore” on Friday at the Visalia Convention Center.
Newton’s wrestling made the difference. Lacy never got his striking game going, as his motivated foe closed the gap throughout the fight and slammed him repeatedly to the canvas. Newton (9-3-1) locked in an armbar near the end of round one, but it came too late and Lacy was saved by the bell.
Lacy (10-9-1) landed a nice straight right to open the second round, but his offensive attack ended there. Newton took the fight to the mat and forced a tapout with a rear naked choke 46 seconds into round two, as he delivered his seventh consecutive victory dating back to August 2005.
In the second of three featured bouts, undefeated John Hackleman protégé Scott Lighty (Pictures) protected his perfect record but did not look impressive in the process, as he secured a unanimous decision against Kawika Morton.
Morton gassed early but somehow managed to stay competitive in the fight against Lighty (3-0), an unbeaten former K-1 kickboxer who trains alongside former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell (Pictures). Lighty punished Morton (3-3) early and often with brutal striking combinations capped by flying knees to his face. Still, Morton would not go down.
Wilting to fatigue, Morton left himself open throughout the fight. The longer the bout went, the slower his feet moved. It opened opportunities for Lighty to rush in and finish, but he never capitalized. Liddell screamed wildly from Lighty’s corner, urging the young striker to attack. By then, Lighty did not seem to have much left in the tank, either.
Morton’s chin and heart withstood his opponent’s onslaught. Exhausted and bruised, he still managed takedowns throughout the fight and even had Lighty in trouble with some submission attempts. At the end of the three-round affair, judges scored it 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28, all in Lighty’s favor.
Local favorite and UFC veteran Jason Von Flue (Pictures) finally got back in the win column, as he submitted Hawaiian slugger Bryson Kamaka (Pictures) and snapped a four-fight losing streak.
Von Flue seemed gunshy and shaky at first, and Kamaka took advantage of his tentative approach. Midway through round one, Kamaka dropped Von Flue (13-10-1) with a straight right and followed it with a monster right hand that landed cleanly on the downed fighter’s jaw. However, when Kamaka (6-13) went for the kill and followed his opponent to the mat, Von Flue caught him in a kneebar and forced the tapout 2:43 into the opening round.
In an entertaining undercard matchup, Jesse Bowen (Pictures) earned a unanimous decision against Mike Craddock, as the judges scored it 30-27 in his favor.
Meanwhile, Visalia, Calif.’s own Josh Herrick remained undefeated, as he bested Raul Rodriguez (Pictures) by unanimous decision. Herrick (3-0) showed strong wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills in shutting down Rodriguez’s dynamic striking game.
Elsewhere, Adam Antolin -- a protégé of Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le (Pictures) -- wowed onlookers with a submission victory against the game Benny Flores.
Antolin (2-0) locked in a fight-ending armbar 39 seconds into round two, as he won for the second time in as many bouts.
Gigo Jara (Pictures), the younger brother of Pure Combat middleweight champion Jaime Jara (Pictures), surprised the crowd with a dominating performance against the Hackleman-trained Cruz Gomez (Pictures). All three judges scored it 30-27 in Jara’s favor.
In other preliminary action, Steven Urias and Oscar Martinez passed their respective tests, as they finished their opponents inside two minutes -- Urias (1-0) by rear naked choke, Martinez (1-1) by TKO. Houston Smith (Pictures) rounded out the undercard with a unanimous decision win over Joe George.