Legacy Fighting Championship 21 lived up to it’s billing of the most exciting Legacy card of the year last Friday night at Houston Arena Theatre. Two new champions were crowned in Matt Hobar (bantamweight) and Bubba Bush (middleweight), but former pro boxing champion and legend Holly Holm and one of MMA’s most exciting fighters, Leonard Garcia, did well to steal the show.
-Matt Hobar def. Angel Huerta by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:05, R1
Angel Huerta came out firing in this one with some flashy striking in typical fashion but Hobar would have none of it. Hobar quickly closed distance and took Huerta to the mat and into deep water.
Hobar’s superior grappling showed has he dominated Huerta until he sunk in a rear naked choke that Huerta had no choice but to submit to. For the time being “The Chosen One” is not such as he gave up the bantemweight title to “Crowbar”.
-William Bush def. Larry Crowe by TKO (Strikes) at 2:41, R2
When two differing styles are matched in the cage, one will always tell the story. Either the striker picks the grappler apart or the grappler suffocates the striker. Well, the latter was the result of this matchup as Larry “Tae Kwon” Crowe came out poised to utilize his quick and powerful hands but it simply was not to be.
Crowe looked to keep it standing initially, hooking right followed by a straight left and circled out. As the fighters reengaged Bush shot in. But rather than sprawl, Crowe looked as if he wanted to work a guillotine submission. Instead, Bush pushed Crowe to the cage. Even after the referee broke them up, as Crowe pressed forward and Bush reached, not fully committing, for a single leg, Crowe defended it but rather than pushing off he allowed Bush to push him to the cage once again. There Bush powered him down with an inside trip straight into half-guard.
With not much work being done there by Bush, referee Kerry Hatley stood the two fighters up. Bush wasted no time as Crowe threw a hard, straight left that missed as he shot in and pushed Crowe to the cage once again leading to another takedown. What was interesting here was that Bush began to attempt a rarely used submission attempt from side-control with what some know as the “Roger (Hah-jer) Smash”, perfected by Jiu-Jitsu great Roger Gracie, in which the fighter in the top position uses leverage with the arm under the head either with a gable grip or by cupping the hand behind the deltoid/armpit and applying extreme pressure with the shoulder to the jaw and/or neck creating horrible jaw pain or blocking blood flow to the brain through the carotid artery. As interesting as it was, Crowe endured and escaped as Bush attempted to mount.
This seemed to be Crowe’s chance to turn the tide but as he pressed forward he faked a left kick and followed with a telegraphed left kick “Bubba” saw coming, caught, then used to trip him taking the fight to the ground again and the first round ended.
The second round began with and eye poke from Bush but after a short timeout it seemed to be inconsequential. As the two commenced fighting again Crowe looked to implement his striking game when, inexplicably, he half heartedly tried to clinch with Bush. He did force Bush to the fence but ended up caught in a Muay Thai clinch and got turned where Crowe lost control of the pressure and position. This was the beginning of the end as Bush locked up the over/under, tripped Crowe and almost landed in an arm triangle but quickly transitioned to a stiflingly dominate mount position. “Tae Kwon” Crowe was then overwhelmed by “Bubba’s” wrestling prowess. In the end, “The Fightin’ Texas Aggie” BTHO TKC and took the Legacy FC middleweight championship belt back to Aggieland.
After the fight Bubba told Tap Houston he credits his work with Tim Kennedy and Andrew Craig (who vacated the belt for the UFC after defeating Bush last year) for helping him get prepared after he “…lost to a tea-sip last time (Andrew Craig)”. Bush also predicts the Johnny Football will not repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner but did declare his beloved Aggies will win this year’s NCAA Football National Championship! WHOOP!
Postfight Mick Maynard confirmed that Bubba Bush will be leaving Legacy for the UFC this fall which would vacate the title once again. Perhaps Crowe follows the same path as Bush in winning the title in the future after the one he lost to left for the UFC. We shall see.
-Leonard Garcia def. Reynaldo Trujillo by KO (Strikes) at 0:24, R3
Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia is most known for his wild punching style and ultra-exciting fights. There’s probably not many other fighters who could lose four fights in a row in the UFC and get a fifth, but he did. He lost a his fifth straight and found himself in Legacy 21 Friday night. Lucky for those who attended and watched live on AXS TV because he did not disappoint!
In my preview post I told you “I’m glad I’m not Rey Trujillo!”. To Trujillo’s credit, he fought extremely tough and almost pulled off the upset when he rocked Garcia in the first round with a left hook that dropped Garcia to one knee. Trujillo definitely won the first round.
During his interview with Fred Davis on SR610, Garcia said the UFC would be watching and that surely wasn’t the first round he was looking to have. The second round he came out with the sense of urgency and took the round. To start the third, as I sat cage side, I heard Garcia tell Trujillo “Let’s make this one special.” Immediately, “The Warrior” seemed to have his spirit broken has he touched gloves and backed away from “Bad Boy”, because that’s who showed up in the third and final round – Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia.
Trujllo threw a very apprehensive, looping overhand right and Garcia pounced backing him toward the cage. As Trujillo backed away and awkwardly defended he blindly ducked a leg kick he thought was the same one he caught earlier in the fight and took Garcia down with. What actually came his way was Garcia’s shin across his forehead causing him to face plant on the mat. He bounced back up only to be meet with a borage of classic Leonard Garcia punches that come from all the way back in Plainview, TX (Garcia’s hometown) with the sole intent to cause unconsciousness. As Trujillo rolled toward the blue corner Garcia landed the mother of all hammer fists knocking him out and for a major loop!
If the UFC was watching, they may not come calling just yet, as Garcia told Tap Houston, “I came out flat in the first round and the UFC saw that for sure. My corner told me to stop being so emotional and get into it. They told me to look for his head ducking on the way up with my kicks and it landed. The win was the most important thing.” Garcia’s “short term goal” in joining Legacy FC is to be the featherweight champion and feels he’ll get that shot come September.
-Holly Holm def. Allanna Jones by KO (Head Kick) at 2:22, R2
It was stated at the beginning of this article that Leonard Garcia and Holly Holm stole the show and they did it with vicious knockouts. In women’s MMA you know you’re always gong to see very intense and very technical fighting. This was no different except to say that watching a prospect who is a former world champion in 3 different weight divisions and touted as the greatest female boxer of all time who has been training at, arguably, the best MMA gym in the world with Greg Jackson and Mike Winkleljohn at Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, NM her entire career.
This fight was a piece of MMA history because one day you’ll be watching a UFC PPV with Holly Holm squaring off against the likes of Meisha Tate and Ronda Rousey for UFC gold.
The first round was a lot of feeling each other out mostly because of an eye poke that pretty much blinded Holm the entire round causing her to shut it until the bell rang.
In the second round Holm began to pick Jones apart and it wasn’t long before she clocked Jones’ in her melon with a loud, thunderous head kick that sent Jones to the mat in a sweaty heap. Tap Houston caught up with her in the locker room afterward and when asked what the deal with a bro boxer KOing most of her MMA opponents with kicks was, she simply replied, “Hey, they work better than punches and they’re more fun.” She wasn’t ready just yet to call out any of the UFC women’s top fighters. Holm is content to patiently hone her skills and focus on a Legacy FC belt.
-Darrion Caldwell def. Gerzan Chaw by Unanimous Decision
While there were no highlight reel knockouts in this bout Gerzan Chaw fought a tough and technical fight making the heavily favored Darrion Caldwell work for his 3rd win in Legacy Fighting Championship. Caldwell was not short on creativity with his striking as, more than once, he used his feet to propel him off the cage to throw a few Anthony “Showtime” Pettis-esqe punches.
This was a hard-fought matchup in which Caldwell earned a unanimous decision after winning all three rounds 30-27.
-Jonathan Harris def. Matt Rogers by TKO (Strikes) at 0:47, R2
Leading up to this fight, with the record each of these fighters have, fans knew someone was getting finished as each have suffered consecutive knockouts. Jonathan Harris was determined that wasn’t going to happen again as he pressured Matt Rogers the entire fight.
It was obvious who wanted this more as Harris gained the dominate position over Rogers and pounded him out to get the victory via technical knockout.
–Ricky Turcios def. Colin Wright by Split Decision
–Scott Juarez def. Eric Valdez by Submission (Guillotine Choke), R3
–Chris Lopez def. Kenny Burke by Split Decision
–Eric Garcia def. Mark Garcia by Unanimous Decision
Want to see more sights from Legacy 21? Click here to view slideshow!
Britt Hoffmann, Tap Houston