Cage Fury Fighting Championships has a new lightweight champion after Cedric Gunnison narrowly defeated former champ Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov after four closely-contested rounds at CFFC 117.
Gunnison and Kamchybekov faced off for the vacant undisputed title in the main event at the 2300 in Philadelphia, where the pair battled all the way to the final bell in an attempt to capture lightweight gold.
In an evenly-contested opening round, Gunnison started arguably the faster and looked to catch Kamchybekov napping early as he briefly took the former champion’s back. But Kamchybekov quickly spotted the danger and managed to rotate himself out of trouble. The bout then started to settle into a pattern, with both men looking to score with strikes, Kamchybekov utilizing his hands, while Gunnison preferring to deploy the feet.
The second round saw the first glimpse of Kamchybekov’s striking power as he dropped Gunnison with a ramrod jab, but Gunnison was unfazed and immediately looked to turn the situation to his favor by searching for a leglock. The action soon returned to the feet, with Kamchybekov looking to work the jab, while Gunnison replied with a steady stream of leg kicks. It looked like the former champ found the breakthrough as he connected with a series of big punches on “The Gun Man,” but Gunnison weathered the storm and returned to his leg kicks once again before the round came to a close.
After a tough round in the second, Gunnison bounced back well in the third, using his leg kicks to control Kamchybekov for much of the stanza. Gunnison effectively mixed his targets from the calf to the thigh to consistently score on the former champion, who started to show signs of pained movement after a constant barrage of kicks.
Gunnison looked noticeably the more confident fighter in the fourth, as he continued his chopping leg kicks, and nearly surprised Kamchybekov by switching one up to the head. By this point in the fight, Kamchybekov was struggling with distance and looked unable to step into optimum boxing range, with Gunnison’s kicks keeping him at bay.
After four rounds, the fight was scored even, meaning a fifth, deciding round would be contested. And, with the title there to be taken by either man, Gunnison edged the action over the final five minutes to take the round, take the win, and capture the vacant 155-pound strap with the scorecards reading 48-47, 47-48, 49-46.
It meant that Gunnison captured the CFFC lightweight title to join an impressive list of former titleholders, including Jim Miller, Charlie Brenneman, Paul Felder, Darrell Horcher, and Nikolas Motta, all of whom made it to the big stage with the UFC.
Velasco completes first title defense
In the co-main event, heavyweight champion Greg Velasco defended his title with a second-round TKO finish of the previously undefeated Ronald Coleman.
Things were far from plain sailing for Velasco as, after a stop-start opening round, Coleman appeared to be on top as he used his wrestling skills to take Velasco to the mat before going to work from top position.
But, despite getting into full mount twice during the course of the bout, Coleman was unable to make any serious headway and, as the challenger began to tire mid-way through the round, Velasco looked to work his way out of trouble.
Slowly and methodically, the champion worked out of bottom position and ended up on the challenger’s back, raining down punches to Coleman’s head. With Coleman exhausted and unable to defend himself intelligently, referee Dan Miragliotta waved off the action with 49 seconds remaining in the second round.
It meant Velasco claimed the second-round TKO victory as he defended the heavyweight title for the first time and extended his unbeaten pro record to 6-0 in the process.
The rest of the main card in Philadelphia served up a feast of finishes, with former NextGen light heavyweight champion Luke Fernandez making an explosive start to his pro career with a first-round knockout of Derik Overstreet, while featherweight Anthony Dilemme and bantamweight Christian McAuley also added impressive first-round knockouts to their respective resumes.
The night’s other main card bout saw Ryan Cafaro return from a year away due to ACL surgery to claim a third-round guillotine choke submission win over 24-fight veteran Jeremiah Labiano, before calling for a shot at the CFFC featherweight title.
CFFC 117: Official results
- Cedric Gunnison def. Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)
- Greg Velasco def. Ronald Coleman via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:11
- Luke Fernandez def. Derik Overstreet via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 3:54
- Ryan Cafaro def. Jeremiah Labiano via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3, 2:22
- Anthony Dilemme def. Isa Dalipaj via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:04
- Christian McAuley def. Hector Iglesias via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:20
- Xhelal Lleshi def. Guilherme Crossi via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:19
- CJ Fragola def. Zayne Havener via unanimous decision
- Taylor Samarco def. Jonna Wood via unanimous decision
- Nick Carelli def. James Miller via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:41