It was as if Ricky Simon took offense to Vinicius Zani’s challenge.
Simon obliterated the Brazilian with first-round punches to retain his bantamweight championship in the Legacy Fighting Alliance 36 headliner on Friday at the Morongo Casino Outdoor Pavilion in Cabazon, California. Zani (11-5) bowed out 59 seconds into Round 1, his four-fight winning streak meeting a violent end.
Operating out of a Gracie Barra affiliate in Portland, Oregon, Simon (12-1) probed for weaknesses from the outset. The 25-year-old connected with a blistering left hook to the temple that sent Souza reeling backward into the cage. Simon then overwhelmed him with follow-up punches, with one final right hand turning out the lights.
Simon has gone 5-0 since being choked unconscious by Anderson dos Santos under the Titan Fighting Championship banner in March 2016.
In the featherweight co-main event, Pinnacle MMA rep Jamall Emmers disposed of Guilherme Faria de Souza with third-round punches. Souza (15-7) succumbed to blows 1:18 into Round 3, as the Brazilian muay Thai practitioner suffered his second straight defeat.
Emmers (13-3) withstood his counterpart’s initial gains, turned the tide with leg kicks and leaned on his superior conditioning. Souza faded in the second round and deteriorated further in the third. Emmers picked apart the 26-year-old with simple but effective jab-cross combinations, often punctuating them with kicks to the lower extremities. Early in the third round, he floored Souza with a straight right hand, hovered overhead and blasted away with standing-to-ground punches until referee Mike Beltran saw fit to intervene.
Emmers, 28, has rattled off four consecutive victories.
Meanwhile, King of the Cage and Cage Fury Fighting Championships veteran Christian Aguilera knocked out the previously unbeaten Ricardo Seixas in the second round of their welterweight showcase. Aguilera (11-4) drew the curtain with a crushing right uppercut 1:47 in to Round 2.
Seixas (4-1) capitalized on a mistake in the first round, where he advanced to the back after his overzealous opponent slipped on an errant kick. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt threaded his hooks and threatened with rear-naked chokes and armbars before slashing away with elbows to the side of the head. However, Seixas’ inability to find a finish proved costly. Aguilera sprawled out of a takedown in the middle stanza, cracked the Ryan Gracie protégé with power punches and unleashed a devastating uppercut that brought it to a close.
The 26-year-old Aguilera has won three fights in a row.
In other action, Andre Ewell knocked out Trent Meaux with a right uppercut 1:41 into the first round of their bantamweight confrontation; Herdem Alacabek put away Jonathan Noriega with knees and punches 2:19 into the first round of their light heavyweight scrap; Tommy Aaron submitted Troy Guerrero with a rear-naked choke 4:15 into the first round of their featherweight encounter; Taylor Johnson wiped out Corey Turner with elbows and punches 36 seconds into the first round of their middleweight pairing; Anthony Jimenez took a unanimous decision from Jeffrey Glossner in a three-round bantamweight affair, earning 30-27 scores from all three judges; and Natan Levy submitted Marcus Sims with an armbar 1:25 into the first round of their featherweight tilt.