Road FC 52 was a show to remember for many different reasons. With five out of the six main card matchups ending inside the distance, it will be hard to argue that this was not the promotion’s most entertaining event ever.

At the top, Mansour Barnaoui knocked out the competition to win the finals of the $1 Million Lightweight Tournament and Kim Min-Woo got redemption by submitting old foe Moon Jea-Hoon to capture the bantamweight title.

With a shot at winning $1 million USD on the line, Mansour Barnaoui came in and took charge in the final round to finish Shamil Zavurov with conviction.

Even though there was an emphatic ending to the main event, the first two rounds were very competitive which played out mostly on the ground.

Powerful kicks

Zavurov came out looking to strike with Barnaoui early on and was precise with his strikes. He landed powerful kicks and kept the fight at his range. Whenever Barnaoui got too close the Russian put his back on the mat and tried to build some offense.

Nothing really came of those takedowns except for scoring points on the judges scorecards. Barnaoui actually did an effective job getting out of tough spots and reversing position.

The second round was full of takedowns by Zavurov and sweeps at the opportune time for Barnaoui. Although the Frenchman was more aggressive, the round was basically a stalemate on the ground other than him trying for chokes that were far from locked in.

Increased urgency

The third round blasted off with Barnaoui showing urgency. While moving forward and pulling his opponent’s head forward, Barnaoui landed a knee that had Zavurov back peddling. During this sequence, Barnaoui flew in with a perfect flying knee that had his foe unconscious before his head even bounced off the canvas.

Zavurov (34-6-1) was out cold and the ref called the end to the action.

After almost two years, Mansour Barnaoui (18-4) wins the finals of the $1 Million Lightweight Tournament ‘Road To A-Sol’.

Leading up to the final, he choked out all the opposition and did not have much resistance. The 26-year-old Barnaoui will now challenge Kwon A-Sol for the lightweight title and the lucrative cash prize on May 18 on Jeju Island at Road FC 53.

Rubber match

In the rubber match for the bantamweight title, it was a chess match on the feet for the first few minutes. But once the fight hit the mat, Kim Min-Woo displayed beautiful technique to end the night early for Moon Jea-Hoon.

At the start, both competitors looked very eager to run at each other like two trains on the same track. The first two minutes had Kim pressing forward trying to counter and utilize the jab while Moon was more sporadic with his attacks. Nothing significant landed from either party and the action was limited.

During an exchange, Kim and Moon fell to the ground and the former landed in top position. Moon scrambled and Kim tried to slide to the back. While slipping off, he adjusted his legs and locked in a deep triangle choke. Moon struggled for a few seconds but he was stuck and had nowhere to go.

Impressive comeback

The 25-year-old Kim (9-2) comes back after almost two years away from the cage and redeems himself by winning the title that slipped out his hands against Kim Soo-Chul at Road FC 38. Moon (11-13), on the other hand, drops his third fight in a row and possibly could be looking at retirement.

In other action, Bruno Miranda (12-3) came back after being dropped twice and knocked out Hong Young-Ki (5-5) in the first and Kim Seung-Yeon (4-2) recorded the fastest knockout in promotional history by vaporizing Ki No-Joo (1-2) in seven seconds.

Road FC 52, Seoul, February 23rd
Mansour Barnaoui def. Shamil Zavurov via KO (Flying Knee) at 0:40 of Round 3 (Wins Road FC Lightweight Tournament)
Kim Min-Woo def. Moon Jea-Hoon via Submission (Triangle Choke) at 2:15 of Round 1 (Wins Vacant Road FC Bantamweight Belt)
Bruno Miranda def. Hong Young-Ki via TKO (Punches) at 2:45 of Round 1
Jang Ik-Hwan def. Jang Dae-Young via Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 3
Kim Seung-Yeon def. Ki No-Joo via KO (Punch) at 0:07 of Round 1
Michel Pereira def. Kim Dae-Sung via TKO (Knees) at 1:02 of Round 2
Yang Hae-Jun def. Lim Dong-Hwan via Submission (Armlock) at 2:40 of Round 1
Jung Sang-Jin def. Shin Seung-Min via TKO (Knee) at 1:15 of Round 2
Kim Tae-Sung def. Hong Jung-Gi via TKO (Kick) at 3:52 of Round 2
Hwang Chang-Hwan def. Lee Seong-Su via TKO (Punches) at 3:56 of Round 2
Park Su-Wan def. Lee Jeong-Hyeon via Decision (Split) at 5:00 of Round 2