David Michaud has put himself on an upward trajectory.
The MMA Lab export took care of Christian Aguilera with first-round punches in the Legacy Fighting Alliance 59 headliner on Friday at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix. Aguilera (11-6, 2-2 LFA) succumbed to blows 4:14 into Round 1, suffering his second straight defeat.
Michaud (14-4, 2-1 LFA) successfully navigated the potential hazards against an opponent with five sub-minute finishes on his resume. Late in the first round, he threw punches off of an attempted judo throw and floored Aguilera with an overhand right behind the ear. Michaud pounced, pressed his advantage and set up a guard pass with ground-and-pound elbows. Soon after, he climbed to the mounted crucifix position and prompted the stoppage with a volley of unanswered punches.
The 30-year-old Michaud has pieced together a three-fight winning streak since his technical knockout loss to Ciro Rodrigues in August 2017.
In the co-main event, Jared Gooden laid claim to a one-sided unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Steven Newell at a 180-pound catchweight. All three cageside judges scored it for Gooden (12-2, 1-0 LFA): 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27.
Newell (9-1, 0-1 LFA) absorbed quite a beating. Gooden connected with repeated low kicks, turning the outside of his adversary’s lead leg a grotesque shade of grape-popsicle purple. Newell answered with takedowns in all three rounds but failed to consolidate them with damage, positional control or submission attempts. On the feet, he became more and more of a stationary target. Gooden cut off his bid for another takedown late in the third round, as he slammed one elbow after another into the side of Newell’s head, carving out a gash in his scalp and drenching the canvas with blood.
The Atlanta-based Gooden, 25, has won five fights in a row.
Meanwhile, former King of the Cage champion Daniel Madrid dispatched Seth Baczynski with a guillotine choke in the first round of their middleweight showcase. Baczynski (21-14, 0-1 LFA) conceded defeat 2:54 into Round 1, as “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 alum was submitted for the first time in more than a decade.
Madrid (15-6, 1-1 LFA) withstood his experienced counterpart’s initial rush, which included wild punching combinations and an outside trip takedown. He clipped Baczynski with a pair of right uppercuts and then caught the guillotine when the Power MMA rep ducked in on an ill-advised defensive takedown. It soon became apparent there was no escape.
The 34-year-old Madrid has rattled off eight wins across his last 10 appearances.
In other action, Kevin Natividad (8-1, 3-1 LFA) eked out a split decision -- 28-29, 29-27, 29-28 -- over Andrew Perez (11-6, 0-1 LFA) in a three-round bantamweight battle; Kyler Phillips (6-1, 2-0 LFA) knocked out Emeka Ifekandu (5-3, 3-1 LFA) with a head kick 2:30 into the first round of their bantamweight confrontation; Hunter Azure (4-0, 2-0 LFA) cut down Jaime Hernandez (0-2, 0-2 LFA) with a body kick and follow-up punches 2:15 into the first round of their bantamweight tilt; Justin Hughes (4-4, 1-0 LFA) took a split decision -- 30-27, 29-28, 28-29 -- from Reyes Cortez Jr. (3-1, 0-1 LFA) in a three-round bantamweight affair; and Jered Gwerder (2-0, 1-0 LFA) put away Anthony Rozema (4-4, 0-2 LFA) with punches 70 seconds into the first round of their middleweight pairing.