Johns manhandled CES MMA veteran Richie Santiago to a unanimous decision in their three-round encounter at 135 pounds, as the reigning Legacy Fighting Alliance bantamweight champion kept his undefeated record intact on Episode 2, Season 3 of Dana White’s Contender Series. The unbeaten Johns (8-0) swept the cards with 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 scores.
Santiago (7-2) lacked the physical tools he needed to contend with the Fortis MMA brute. Johns paired power punching combinations with thudding takedowns and the occasional bid for a submission. He floored Santiago with a clean two-punch volley in the second round and drove him back to the canvas with knees and punches in the third before uncorking a burst of hammerfists.
Meanwhile, Baeza cruised to a unanimous verdict over Victor Reyna in a three-round welterweight clash. An undefeated MMA Masters standout, Baeza (6-0) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks from all three judges.
Reyna (10-4) did not enjoy the experience. Baeza floored him with a searing right hand in the first round, followed it with ground-and-pound and advanced to the back before hunting the rear-naked choke. Though he could not find the finish, the tone was set. He knocked down Reyna twice in the middle stanza and flirted with an anaconda choke in the third.
Meanwhile, current Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Kyle Daukaus kept his perfect professional record intact with a lopsided unanimous decision over Michael Lombardo in a three-round middleweight pairing. All three cageside judges scored it for Daukaus (6-0): 30-25, 30-26 and 29-27.
Lombardo (4-2) was on his heels from the outset. Daukaus applied relentless pressure on the American Top Team, cracked him with punches and knees from the clinch, mixed in takedowns and threatened with various submissions. Daukaus, 26, nearly closed the deal on multiple occasions and had his counterpart teetering on the brink with a palm-to-palm rear-naked choke when the final bell sounded.
Elsewhere, repeated takedowns and a punishing clinch carried Top Notch MMA prospect Justin Gonzales to a one-sided unanimous decision over Zach Zane in a three-round featherweight tilt. All three judges struck 30-26 scorecards for the undefeated Gonzales (7-0).
Zane (10-7) was not ready for primetime. Gonzales recorded a dozen takedowns, battered the Hawaiian with ground-and-pound and appeared close to cinching a rear-naked choke in the second round. Zane survived but offered little else. Gonzales delivered knees and punches from the clinch in Round 3, dragged the Black House export to the mat with surprising ease and continued to pile up points.
In other action, the American Kickboxing Academy’s Tony Johnson (7-2) took a unanimous decision from Alton Cunningham (4-2) in a three-round light heavyweight clash, drawing 29-28 marks from all three judges.