To call August 2nd’s TKO Fight Night 1 a huge success would be an understatement. Here is a brief summary of the events that took place at La Tohu in Montreal, QC, Canada.
TKO MMA President Stephane Patry put together the first-ever edition of “TKO Fight Night,” and fans were certainly spoiled with three championship bouts on the main card. A rematch between Windsor, ON native and featherweight champion TJ Laramie and Alex Morgan would be the main event of a stacked card that also featured a heavyweight bout between muay thaï phenom Cyril Gane and Bobby Sullivan as well as a flyweight championship fight pitting promising Tristar prospect James “Boom Boom” Mancini versus the reigning champ Malcolm Gordon.
To little avail, Mancini had the privilege of being cornered by some of the biggest names in MMA including internationally-renowned trainer Firas Zahabi and the legendary Georges St-Pierre. Mancini was dominating the fight in the first round with his wrestling prowess, but a flashy and determined Gordon would not allow himself to be had easily. Despite suffering a cut on his nose at the hands of his opponent, Gordon managed to wriggle free of an attempted rear naked choke and survived the first five minutes of the fight.
After trading strikes of all sorts and alternating ground control dominance, Gordon athletically submitted Mancini with an armbar at 2:02 of the second round as he retained his flyweight championship belt.
When you think of heavyweight championships, you often don’t link these types of bouts to five-round decisions. Additionally, submissions are somewhat of a rarity, as heavyweights tend to knock each other out. Gane certainly came close to prematurely ending Sullivan’s night as he landed countless punches and elbows to Sullivan’s head before submitting him in a guillotine choke at the 1:42 mark of the first round.
As surprising as that may sound in and of itself, what’s more impressive is the exceptional footwork demonstrated by a muay thaï expert in Gane (13-0-0, 8 KOs) who was faster and largely controlled the octagon. He set the pace early on with a thunderous head kick that did not seem to phase Sullivan, although the latter must’ve known that he was facing off against someone who managed his range effectiveness more aptly. At least, that was the case on Thursday night.
On his TKO MMA debut, Gane secured the heavyweight belt and is set to take on the “Kung Fu Panda” Adam Dyczka next month in what should be a barn-burner. Dyczka had opted out of this fight after reportedly suffering an injury a few weeks prior.
The excitement surrounding the second installment of Morgan vs Laramie was exceptional and while fans only got to witness one round of the bad blood between both featherweights on Thursday, the upset caused by Morgan is nothing to scoff at.
Both fighters came into this bout as promising Canadian prospects who seemed destined to climb the ranks and join the UFC in due time. Although both should eventually make it, perhaps Laramie’s first-round TKO loss at the hands of Morgan has set those plans back despite winning eight of 11 fights, with five coming via knockout and two via submission.
Nevertheless, Morgan caught Laramie with a strong right hand that dazed him, and after landing a kick and a flurry of right-hand hooks and overhands, the referee stepped in to call a stop to the fight. Strangely, up until about the 4:00 mark of the first round, it seemed that both fighters were sizing each other up and trying to understand each others’ strategies moving forward. Roughly ten seconds later, Morgan put an end to Laramie’s featherweight reign and told the crowd in his post-fight interview that he taught Laramie a lesson in staying humble in mixed martial arts.
Message received, it seems:
Stone On Sports was privileged to have covered this event and looks forward to next month’s TKO44 in Quebec City at Le Centre Videotron.
In the meantime, here are the English and French short recaps of the event: