It was a glorious night for Gulf Coast combat sports as mixed martial arts returned to Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, for Bayou Fighting Championship 37, Saturday, May 18th, from the Ponchatoula Rec Center. The action-packed fight card featured 11 bouts, including not only an amateur Featherweight title match, but also a professional Heavyweight title fight that ended with a frightening first-round knockout.
Fighters represented several Gulf Coast gyms, including Gladiators Lafayette/Crowley/Youngsville, T-Webb MMA, Gracie United, Vida BJJ, SoulFighters, Blacklist, Performance Evolution, and Gracie Barra Westchase. Follow along as I give fight results and recap all of the action from Bayou Fighting Championship 37.
Cody Stewart vs. Ali Bacqueri
The opening round remained a stand up, and Stewart used pressure to keep Bacqueri against the cage. Bacqueri threw leg kicks late in the round, but ate a huge punch that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Bacqueri’s corner must have seen something they liked with his kicks, because he came out with several of them to begin the 2nd round. Bacqueri opened up some combinations mid-round, and Stewart began to show signs of Bacqueri’s striking on his face, with a battered and bloodied nose. Bacqueri secured a takedown to end the round, and it was clearly his. I had it 19/19 going into the 3rd, but judges could had easily given the first to Bacqueri, and Stewart might have had a reason to feel pressured for the finish in the final round.
Bacqueri came out with the sense of urgency that Stewart should have had to open the 3rd, advancing forward and throwing volume. Stewart locked Bacqueri against the cage about mid-way through, and later in the round he secured a takedown.
Victor: Ali Bacqueri, unanimous decision
Tyler Miller vs. Tristen Coon
Miller went immediately for a takedown, and found himself in danger of a guillotine choke from Coon. Coon went to the ground, but was unable to ever really get the choke tight enough to secure the tap. The fighters remained in this position for the remainder of the round, and Miller did try to sneak in a Von Flue choke at one point, but to no avail. I gave Coon the round, but had to question the strength left in his biceps going into the next rounds having held on to a failed choke for nearly 3 minutes.
Miller secured the takedown early in the 2nd and got into mount. Coon controlled posture initially, but Miller was able to posture up and throw a barrage of punches until the TKO was called, 1:35 seconds in.
Victor: Tyler Miller, 2nd-round TKO, 1:35
Chris Crosby vs. Seneca Joseph
Action started hot with heavy punches as both fighters worked to find their ranges. Joseph caught Crosby with a well-timed punch that dropped Crosby to the canvas, and Joseph pursued, finding himself in Crosby’s guard. Joseph tried standing, and Crosby quickly capitalized on the mistake, seizing Joseph’s leg and locking up the heel hook for a quick and wise tap.
Victor: Chris Crosby, 1st-round submission, heel hook, 2:23
Cody Verret vs. Donziel Marshall
Fighters came out exchanging powerful head kicks, but Marshall struck gold first, dropping Verret to the mat. Marshall pursued, and quickly secured mount. Verret gave up his back after eating several punches from the bottom, and Marshall sunk in his hooks and locked up the rear naked choke.
Victor: Donziel Marshall, 1st-round submission, rear naked choke, 1:01
Wladimir Naranjo vs. Larry Bradford
The Ecuadorian Naranjo got a takedown early, and although he couldn’t do much damage from the top, he did score points. Both fighters began finding their ranges mid-way through, but it was a head kick from Naranjo that was the defining moment of the opening round, stunning Bradford and sending him into retreat. Naranjo got Bradford in the clinch and was busy doing work form there until the horn blew.
Naranjo opened up the 2nd round with more high kicks, but they made him vulnerable to Bradford’s level change. Bradford secured a takedown and found himself in half guard. Naranjo controlled posture and kept Bradford close. Bradford attempted keylock, but it was quickly subdued. There wasn’t much damage delivered from the top, but the round had to go to Bradford, and it was most likely 19/19 going into the final round.
Fighters exchanged punches to begin the 3rd, and Naranjo threw some heavy body kicks. Bradford got an early takedown, but Naranjo was quick to his feet. Naranjo returned the favor later in the round, and managed to land a few heavy punches from the top. As the final horn blew, Naranjo was seconds away from securing a keylock of his own.
Victor: Wladimir Naranjo, unanimous decision
Darrence Brooks vs. Justin Lamperez
Brooks came out and connected with a combination, throwing punches in bunches, sending Lamperez back into the cage. But, Lamperez recovered and got a takedown. He couldn’t capitalize much on the position, but Lamperez did secure a second takedown later in the round, and as the horn blew, it looked like he had done enough to win the round.
Lamperez must have liked what he saw in the 1st, because he went straight for the takedown to open the 2nd round. He remained in Brooks’ half guard for the majority of the round, and even though he didn’t deliver much damage from the top, Lamaperez was in the dominant position and scoring points. I had it 20/18 Lamperez going into the final round.
Fighters exchanged blows until an inadvertant knee struck Lamperez in the groin. Brooks was given a warning, and action was back underway. After some brief exchanges, Lamperez shot for and secured another takedown. Lamperez landed on top, and Brooks scrambled, but the round ended with Brooks in turtle position and Lamperez landing punches.
Victor: Justin Lamperez, unanimous decision
Michael Alford vs. Derrick Rawls
The fight opened with a takedown from Rawls, and a tight and quick scramble. Alford returned the favor with a huge slam, dropping Rawls hard on the canvas. Fighters were up quickly, but Rawls ate a huge left on his way to his feet. Alford got another takedown later in the round, but Rawls put him in danger of a triangle from his back, and they remained in this position until the horn blew.
Action really turned up as the 2nd round began, and Rawls delivered heavy punches that seemingly stunned Alford. Alford went down, and as the fight went to the ground, Alford recovered and managed to take Rawls’ back. Alford worked on a rear naked choke, but couldn’t get in tight enough for the tap. It was a close round, and Alford very well may had stolen it in the end.
Fighters worked to reestablish their ranges to begin the 3rd, but Alford found his first with a heavy right. Alford then got a takedown, and spent the majority of the round on Rawls’ back, trying to work in a rear naked choke that was always just out of reach.
Victor: Derrick Rawls, split decision
Amateur Featherweight title: Nakia Brown vs. Johnny Smith
The undefeated Nakia Brown was dropped early in the opening round, and Smith pursued, but could not generate much offense from the top. When the fighters returned to their feet, there were several big exchanges, and Brown connected as he often does with a head kick. However, he slipped on the attempt and Smith followed him to the mat. Brown reversed position, but found himself in danger of a triangle choke and remained there until the horn blew.
Fighters worked to establish range to begin the 2nd, but Smith closed the distance and pressed Brown into the cage. From there, he took Brown down and maintained suffocating pressure from the top, working his way to mount. Brown had no choice but to give up his back, and Smith locked up the rear naked choke to give Brown his first taste of defeat and to become the new Bayou fighting Championship Featherweight champion.
Victor: Johnny Smith, 2nd-round submission, rear naked choke
Abram Sellers vs. Jonathan Eiland
Sellers looked sharp in his professional debut, and he began the fight with a beautiful counter left. Overall, Sellers was very quick and crisp with his boxing, and Eiland, having just taken this fight on 2 days notice, looked to be in trouble early on, having little answer to Sellers’ combinations. However, Eiland stood tall and delivered a heavy hand, dropping Sellers to the canvas. Eiland pursued the troubled Sellers, forcing him to give up his back, and Eiland locked up the rear naked choke, advancing his professional record to 2-0.
Victor: Jonathan Eiland, 1st-round submission, rear naked choke
Co-Main Event: Michael McDonald vs. Tyler Smith
McDonald looked to establish his leg kicks early, but Smith connected with a powerful overhand right, looking to show McDonald his heavy hands. McDonald looked very patient, and he used his kicks very nicely to punish Smith any time he came in range. However, Smith landed another overhand right, this time dropping McDonald. Smith pursued, and found himself on top. McDonald recovered quickly and reversed position on the scramble. McDonald worked from the top, and eventually took Smith’s back. McDonald postured up and reigned down a plethora of heavy punches until the fight was called with merely 8 seconds remaining in the opening round.
Victor: Michael McDonald, 1st-round TKO, 4:52
Pro Heavyweight title – Main Event: Nunzio Camarata vs. Brandon Hebert
For a man that came into the fight weighing 262 pounds, Brandon Hebert moved with the quickness and urgency of a fighter half his size. As the fight began, Hebert rushed the center, and the fighters stood toe-to-toe for a brief moment before Hebert unleashed his heavy hands, dropping Camarata. Hebert stood over his downed opponent, dropping fist after fist on his troubled foe, until the referee came in only 38 seconds into the fight, calling the TKO, and declaring Brandon Hebert the new Bayou Fighting Championship Heavyweight champion.
Victor: Brandon Hebert, 1st-round KO, :38
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