LAGUNA PUEBLO – Someone had to stop the slaughter, but no one had. Finally, Holly Holm took the matter into her own hands.
Albuquerque’s Holm defeated a dazed and bloodied Juliana Werner on Friday night, stopping the Brazilian by fifth-round TKO (strikes on the ground) in the main event of a MMA card at Route 66 Casino Hotel.
With the victory, Holm (7-0) became the first-ever Legacy Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight champion.
The card was televised nationally on AXS-TV.
“I really don’t know how to put all this into words,” Holm said afterward. “It’s pretty overwhelming.”
Holm, by far the stronger fighter, dominated Werner from the start. The Brazilian was limited to the occasional weak punch or telegraphed kick, though she did manage to bloody Holm’s nose – hardly a fair exchange for the blood that flooded from Werner’s nose and flowed down her chin.
The end came mercifully, sort of, when Holm dropped Werner (7-4) with a powerful left-footed kick to the head. Holm pounced with heavy blows on the ground before referee Raul Porrata stopped the onslaught with 1:50 gone in the fifth and final round.
Mike Winkeljohn, Holm’s trainer, stopped short of calling Holm’s performance her best in MMA thus far.
“I think she showed a lot of things that people hadn’t seen so far,” he said. “She can still do better things, but she did very well tonight.
“I think she could have finished her a little earlier. … But she did great. She dominated the girl everywhere.”
In a featured flyweight fight, Ray Borg overwhelmed fellow Albuquerquean Nick Urso, showering hi
s opponent with punches on the ground before applying the decisive rear naked choke at 4:01 of the second round.
Borg (6-0) trains at FIT-NHB, Urso (7-2) at Jackson-Winkeljohn.
After a competitive first round – Borg might have won it by nearly securing a rear naked choke just before the bell – Borg imposed his will in the second.
“I feel like my cardio (was decisive),” Borg said. “I give it up to my strength and conditioning coach, Jon Judy. (Urso) was huffing and puffing the whole fight, and I was barely even breathing.”
Borg said it was a victory for FIT-NHB, as well as for him.
“That’s what won me the fight,” he said. “It wasn’t me, it was the people behind me.”
Borg said he’d been asked by the AXS-TV crew before the fight how he expected to finish it.
“I said, ‘Second-round, rear naked choke, baby,’ ” Borg said.
In a co-main event, Brazil’s Flavio Alvaro spoiled Albuquerquean Donald Sanchez’s debut with Jackson-Winkeljohn, taking a unanimous decision.
All three judges scored it 29-28 for Alvaro (47-10), who took Sanchez to the ground repeatedly. Sanchez (29-14) appeared to have the advantage in stand-up, but it wasn’t enough to sway the judges.
In other pro fights:
- Rio Rancho bantamweight Adrian Cruz fought to a draw with Mexico’s Henry Briones, who trains at Jackson-Winkeljohn.
- Welterweight Martin Sano Jr. (4-0) of Stockton, Calif., defeated Albuquerque’s Clint Roberts (4-2) via second-round submission (rear naked choke).
Sano and Roberts were engaged in a close fight, when Sano suddenly went deep with the choke. It was over in seconds thereafter.
Welterweight Kumaru Usman (4-1) of Delray Beach, Fla., stopped Albuquerque’s Lenny Lovato (8-3) via third-round TKO (strikes on the ground).
Los Lunas flyweight Gene Perez (4-6) defeated Albuquerque’s Mikey Lovato (10-4), Lenny’s cousin, by split decision.
On the amateur card, much-touted Jackson-Winkeljohn welterweight protégé Mike Benefiel debuted with a victory by unanimous decision over Artesia’s Jose Cueto (3-1).
A near sellout crowd approaching 3,000 attended the card, said Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s promoter.
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