URCC 77: Raw Fury commenced at Cove Manila on Saturday in the Philippines with three titles on the line. It was an exceptional evening for the Filipino faithful in that all three local champions walked away with their belts.
In the main event, double division champion Chris Hofmann returned after almost two years away from the cage and successfully defended his middleweight crown with ease against Musa Conteh.
The first half of the opening round was played in the clinch with Conteh trying to bully his smaller opponent. However, Hofmann showed exceptional strength for his size which made for a very even battle.
After the ref separated them, Hofmann decided to be more aggressive in his attacks. Although an unintentional low blow stopped the action for a few minutes, the 29-year-old champ dropped Conteh with a flurry of punches not too long after.
All kinds of trouble
In all kinds of trouble, Conteh covered up against the fence and rode out the round while taking non-stop punishment for the final thirty seconds.
To start the second frame, Hofmann initiated the clinch after dancing around on the feet and dragged Conteh to the canvas. For the next two minutes, Conteh tried to escape and even attempted a kimura from the bottom but the relentless pressure by Hofmann was too much and the fight was stopped with him wailing down strikes into his adversaries face.
This victory extends Hofmann’s (8-1) win streak to eight with a total of three URCC middleweight title defenses during that run. Meanwhile, Conteh (2-3) loses his second straight and drops his stock in the regional scene around Asia.
The co-headliner between featherweight titleholder Mark Striegl and Shunichi Shimizu ended abruptly due to an unfortunate strike to the lower region despite starting off as a competitive back and forth clash.
Streigl charged out the gate with aggression by pressing the action. This actually backfired when Shimizu caught his opponent coming in with a right hook and collapsed him.
The 30-year-old Filipino immediately grabbed for the legs and took the fight to the mat. He slid into side control instantly and began to work his top-heavy ground game. Striegl went from a headlock position to mount but Shimizu was able to reverse the position and land on top.
During a scramble, the UFC veteran pulled guard and threw up a triangle choke. Even though the submission was locked in deep, Streigl patiently escaped and got into side control once again before the round concluded.
The second round was playing out on the feet until Streigl threw a left kick and accidentally kneed Shimizu in the groin. In spite of being given the customary five minutes to recover, the Shimizu was unable to feel his legs and the fight was called a no contest by the officials.
Striegl (18-2-0-1) keeps his featherweight title. Shimizu (32-22-11-1) apologized and asked for a rematch but it remains to be seen whether URCC will acquiesce to this request.
In the final title bout of the night, bantamweight champion Drex Zamboanga convincingly dominated Cho Seung-Hyun by ripping a huge cut above the right eye that would not stop leaking between rounds.
The South Korean showed a lot of confidence in pre-fight antics but it was Zamboanga who displayed it during the fight. The defending champ dropped Cho with a straight right around the midpoint of the first and then almost choked him out yet the South Korean was able to tough it out and get back to his feet.
With about thirty seconds left, Zamboanga blasted a knee in the clinch and swarmed Cho for the rest of the round. When Cho went back to his corner, his face was covered in a blanket of blood. The doctor came in and determined that he was unfit to continue and the fight was stopped.
Zamboanga (8-5) simultaneously gets back in the win column and successfully defends his title after losing three in a row outside the URCC organization in 2018. Meanwhile Cho (5-2) sees his four fight winning streak snapped.
During an intermission inside the cage, URCC announced that the promotion will host an event on June 22 in Incheon, South Korea.