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Park-Willis is main event on LFA card

Clovis’ Harvey Park is scheduled to headline a Legacy Fighting Alliance card at Route 66 Casino Hotel on Jan. 25, the MMA promotional organization announced Wednesday.

Park (10-2), a lightweight (155 pounds), is matched against Jaleel Willis (9-1) of Memphis, Tenn., in the main event.

A bantamweight fight between New Mexicans Damacio Page (20-10) and Abel Cullum (21-7) of Tucumcari is also scheduled.

This will be the LFA’s first card in New Mexico, though the two organizations that merged to form the LFA in 2016 have been here before.

The Legacy Fighting Championship promoted a card headlined by Albuquerque’s Holly Holm at Route 66 in April 2014. That September, the Resurrection Fighting Alliance staged a card at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Cullum defeated Ulysses Gomez on the undercard.

The following month, the LFC returned with a show at Route 66 headlined by Los Lunas heavyweight Cody East.

Park, a Curry County Sheriff’s deputy, is no stranger to northern New Mexico. He made his pro debut on a King of the Cage card at the Crowne Plaza in 2014, has fought twice on Jackson’s MMA Series cards at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino in Pojoaque and twice on Jackson-Wink Fight Night cards at Isleta Resort & Casino, winning all five of those fights.

He’s 1-1 in LFA competition, having lost to Austin Hubbard by unanimous decision in May and defeated Leville Simpson by the same route in November. Park got considerable attention after the Simpson fight, having fought the last two rounds with a bone protruding from the fractured ring finger on his right hand.

Cullum will seek to bounce back from a loss by lopsided, unanimous decision to Rio Rancho’s Steve Garcia on a Nov. 29 Jackson-Wink Fight Night card. Page has not fought since Dec. 1, 2017, when the former UFC fighter defeated Jesús Urbina by first-round submission (rear naked choke) on a Jackson-Wink Fight Night card.

Several other New Mexico fighters are expected to fight on the LFA undercard.

RANKINGS SHUFFLE: Albuquerque’s Nicco Montaño, the first UFC women’s flyweight champion, has been dropped from the UFC rankings.

Montaño (4-2) won the 125-pound title by defeating Roxanne Modaferri in the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter 26 finale. She was scheduled to defend against Valentina Shevchenko in Dallas on Sept. 8 but the previous day was ruled unable to compete for medical reasons. She was immediately stripped of the title.

On Dec. 8 in Toronto, Shevchenko defeated Joanna Jedrzejzcyk by unanimous decision for the UFC flyweight title.

Tom Vaughn, who coaches Montaño at Albuquerque’s FIT-NHB gym, said he’s unconcerned about his fighter having been dropped from the rankings.

“It is pretty much standard when someone has been inactive for a year,” Vaughn told the Journal via email. “Nicco’s rise was meteoric and she needed time to digest all that happened.

“Moving forward the focus is getting her natural weight down a little lower so the cut to 125 (pounds) isn’t so rough. … We are not worried and we are not in a rush.”

Meanwhile, Holm has been dropped from the No. 1 to the No. 2 spot as a contender for champion Amanda Nunes’ UFC bantamweight title — replaced at the top by the Netherlands’ Germaine de Randamie.

Holm (12-4) last fought in June, defeating Australia’s Megan Anderson by unanimous decision in a featherweight fight on UFC 225 in Chicago. She underwent minor knee surgery in September.

Albuquerque’s Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s agent, said he has been told she was dropped below de Randamie because of inactivity at bantamweight. The former UFC bantamweight champion has not fought at the 135-pound limit since June 2017, when she defeated Bethe Correia by third-round knockout in Singapore. But, asked via social media if that was a concern, Fresquez replied, “Not at all.”

Though it’s not official, Fresquez said Holm is likely to return to the Octagon March 2 on UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nev.

De Randamie, who defeated Holm by unanimous (though controversial) decision in a UFC featherweight title fight in February 2017, returned from a 20-month layoff with a victory by unanimous decision over Raquel Pennington in November.

Nunes is scheduled to challenge fellow Brazilian Cristian “Cyborg” Justino for the featherweight title on UFC 232 — a card headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Albuquerque’s Jon Jones and Sweden’s Alexander Gustafsson.

Albuquerque welterweight Carlos Condit (30-12) is scheduled to face Michael Chiesa (14-4) on the Jones-Gustafsson card.

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