September 8 was a date that MMA fans from around the country and around the world had been waiting for all summer long as TKO presented its latest event. A card that was loaded with interesting matchups delivered everything a fight fan can hope for: shattering knockouts, slick submissions and razor close decisions. Actually, the only point on which expectations were not met was answers. We were all hoping to leave La Tohu that night with a list of championship bouts slated for TKO41 but wound up with more questions raised.
In the main event of the evening, Marc-André “Powerbar” Barriault did exactly what all great champions do when opportunities are presented: he stepped up. Despite already being guaranteed a middleweight title shot in December, Barriault made the decision to go up to 205 pounds to fight Todd “The Black Hulk” Stoute. Barriault promised he could hang with one of the nation’s best light heavyweights and he delivered, grinding out a split decision victory. The turning point of the fight came in round 2 where Barriault, who had found himself on his back for most of the round, was able to reverse the position with 2 minutes remaining and do enough damage to win the round in the mind of 2 of the 3 judges.
Joao Luiz Nogueira was the victor in the first co-main event when he squeaked by fan favorite Alex Morgan via split decision. This was far and away the biggest challenge of Morgan’s young career and despite not earning the favor of the judges, he earned something that will likely prove much more valuable in the end: the experience of going 15 minutes with a cagy veteran. Nogueira earned his 25th career victory on the night and our fans look forward to seeing him in the octagon once again to take on another of TKO’s many bright young talents at 145 pounds.
The other co-main event was the slugfest everyone had hoped for as Strahinja Gavrilovic sliced up UFC veteran and former Bellator tournament champion Maiquel Falcao, forcing the referee to stop the fight on the recommendation of the doctor. Gavrilovic is evolving into a seasoned pro before our eyes and there is no telling how far this man can go. Although nothing is official as of yet, many fans are hoping to see the second chapter of the Barriault-Gavrilovic story come December 8 at TKO41.
Speaking of evolution, heavyweight Adam Dyczka continued his dominance of his division maintining his perfect record en route to his 6th career victory, his 6th knockout, over veteran Ricardeau Francois. Dyczka delivered on the promise he had made to his #1 fan, his mom, finishing the 6 foot 7 giant in the very first round.
In welterweight action, Yacine Bandoui overcame the challenge of the previously undefeated Leonardo Xavier via unanimous decision. Bandoui was very much in control of the fight until midway through the second round when Xavier complained of an eye poke and, after being given time to recover, delivered a barrage of punches that almost put Bandoui away. After surviving the flurry, Bandoui was able to remain in control until the final horn sounded.
The night also saw two new bantamweight stars born as Atsushi Fujino and Keith Lee both scored wins via submission and TKO respectively. Fujino knew to be weary of Louis Jourdain’s dangerous strikes but managed to capitalize on a positional advantage and choke out the younger Jourdain brother. As for Lee, he battered veteran Eric Daigneault for 5 minutes leading to the latter not answering the bell for the second stanza. Fujino and Lee have definitely sent a strong message to the other men in the 135 pound division with their performances.
Also on the main card, it was the battle of the guillotines as Robert Seres and Michael Dufort did battle. Dufort was unable to make weight the day prior however Seres took the fight nonetheless. Although the contest lasted all of 2:20, both men were able to showcase their signature hold although it was Dufort who sunk it in deeper, forcing Seres to tap out.
The prelims also featured some incredible action and surprises although none as big as the debuting Frederik Dupras who managed to submit the previously undefeated Tyler Wilson less than a minute into their contest. In other prelim action, James Mancini grinded out a unanimous decision over Stevie Yhap, David Daigneault TKO’d Alex Paul in under 60 seconds, Matar Lo continued his winning ways at featherweight with a spectacular knockout of Maxime Soucy and Alex Beaule overcame the challenge of Chris O’Kill-McMullen in a crazy slugfest.
205 – Marc-André Barriault (8-1) defeated Todd Soute (9-4) via split decision
145 – Joao Luiz Nogueira (25-7) beat Alex Morgan (7-4) by split decision
199* – Strahinja Gavrilovic (7-4) TKO’d Maiquel Falcao – 5:00 R2
265 – Adam Dyczka (6-0) defeated Ricardeau François (14-11) by TKO – 4:11 R1
170 – Yacine Bandoui (9-6) overcame Leonard Xavier (4-1-1) via unanimous decision
135 – Atsushi Fujino (4-0) made Louis Jourdain (4-2) pass out to his rear naked choke – 3:07 R2
155 – Michael Dufort (4-2) submitted Robert Seres (4-2) with a guillotine choke – 2:20 R1
note: Dufort does not earn points in the standings due to missing weight
135 – Keith Lee (2-1) was victorious over Eric Daigneault (2-4) by TKO – 5:00 R1
135 – Frédérik Dupras (1-0) submitted Tyler Wilson (2-1) – 0:48 R1
125 – James Mancini (3-3) defeated Stevie Yhap (2-2) by unanimous decision
170 – David Daigneault (2-0) TKO’d Alex Paul (4-2) – 0:54 R1
145 – Matar Lo (2-1) knocked out Maxime Soucy (0-1) – 4:08 R1
192* –Alex Beaulé (2-1) outgunned Chris O’Kill-McMullen – 1:47 R2
Adam DyczkaAlex MorganAlex PaulAtsushi FujinoChris O’Kill McMullenDavid DaigneaultEric DaigneaultFrederik DuprasJames ManciniJoao Luiz NogueiraLeonardo XavierLouis JourdainMaiquel FalcaoMarc-Andre BarriaultMatar LoMaxime SoucyMichael DufortRicardeau FrancoisRobert SeresStevie YhapStrahinja GavrilovicTodd Stoute