Faria (18-5-1) cruised to a unanimous decision triumph (50-45, 49-46, 49-45) over her Brazilian rival in the Titan Fighting Championship 41 headliner at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla., on Friday night to claim the promotion’s inaugural women’s bantamweight crown. The two had plenty of history coming into the matchup: Faria submitted Damm (23-13) with an armbar in their previous meeting in July 2013, while Damm defeated Faria via second-round TKO in their initial encounter in 2009.
Faria was never really threatened this time, as she controlled virtually all facets of the fight. The Sao Paulo native landed takedowns in the first and fourth rounds and dominated striking exchanges at distance the rest of the time. While Damm’s emotions ran high both before and during the bout, her only offense of note came in the form of a pair of standing guillotine attempts, both of which Faria was able to escape without serious issue.
Meanwhile, Andre Harrison keeps rolling along, but his fifth featherweight title defense was no walk in the park. Harrison held off a game Alexandre Bezerra in the evening’s co-main event, taking a unanimous verdict over the Bellator MMA veteran. All three cageside judges’ scorecards favored “The Bull”: 49-46, 48-47, 49-46.
Harrison (14-0) bloodied Bezerra’s nose thanks to a steady diet of crisp jabs and hard right hands, but he was unable to keep his adversary grounded for any length of time after landing takedowns in the bout’s first 15 minutes. “Popo” mounted his most significant offense in round four after he took the champion’s back with approximately two minutes remaining in the frame. From there, Bezerra (19-5) hammered away with ground-and-pound from the mounted position before transitioning to a tight armbar. Harrison managed to wrest his limb free and then survived a triangle choke before the horn sounded.
That effort appeared to empty Bezerra’s gas tank, however, and Harrison capitalized in round five. The Bellmore Kickboxing product tagged Bezerra with clean punching combinations for much of the frame, putting his fading foe on wobbly legs on several occasions. Although he was unable to secure a finish, Harrison’s surge down the stretch helped seal the victory.
“I knew it was 2-2 or somewhere along those lines going into the fifth, so I just needed to win the fifth,” Harrison said.
Elsewhere, Jason Jackson captured a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Rodrigo Cavalheiro Correia in a featured welterweight bout. Two cageside judges scored the contest 30-27, while a third saw it 29-28, all in favor of the Blackzilians representative.
Jackson’s best moment came in round one, when he caught a kick from Correia and floored his foe with a counter overhand right. The former Victory FC titlist pounced for the finish with punches and hammerfists on the mat, but Correia (18-6) was able to survive. After a close second stanza, Jackson (6-2) likely sealed his victory with a pair of takedowns in the final frame.
Earlier, Robert Turnquest shook off a difficult start and rallied for a third-round submission victory over Taylor Krahl in a 175-pound catch-weight clash. A rear-naked choke brought a halt to the contest 1:47 into the third frame and snapped a four-fight winning streak for Krahl (7-4).
Krahl appeared to be ahead on the scorecards after two periods, as he took Turnquest (6-2) down and mounted him in round one and spent much of the second frame threatening with a triangle choke from his back while punishing his foe with elbows. Turnquest wasted little time taking Krahl down in round three, and when his opponent attempted to roll out of danger, “TQ” took his back and gradually tightened the fight-ending hold to earn the tapout.
In other action: Martin Brown (10-2) earned a technical knockout triumph over Brock Weaver (7-4) 21 seconds into the second stanza of their 160-pound catch-weight clash; Raush Manfio (8-1) defeated Demarques Jackson (5-1) via technical knockout 1:42 into the third frame of their lightweight encounter; Caio Uruguai Rocha (6-0) earned a tapout via rear-naked choke from Ramon Martinez (7-2) at the 3:20 mark of round three in a featherweight affair; C.J. Hamilton (9-4) took a split verdict (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) over Jay Pressley in a 130-pound catch-weight tilt and Steve Mowry (1-0) submitted Marino Eatman (3-1) with a triangle choke 2:49 into round three of their heavyweight bout.