Former UFC fighter Ali AlQaisi became the new Titan FC Featherweight Champion on Friday night, fighting five rounds for a unanimous decision victory over Andrew Whitney (50-45, 49-46 & 49-46).
The fight headlined Titan FC 71, which took place at the Intercontinental Hotel & Resort in Miami, Florida, USA.
AlQaisi’s well-rounded skillset was what took him to the scorecard victory. He was able to earn controlling positions on the ground and hold his own against a fast Whitney when on the feet.
Leg kicks from AlQaisi showed to be effective, wobbling Whitney numerous times in the final round of the fight.
AlQaisi had a brief two-fight stint in the UFC last year, departing the roster after losing to Irwin Rivera and Tony Kelley. He got back into the win column two months ago, stopping Furkatbek Yokubov on a UAE Warriors card.
The title fight was Whitney’s first appearance in the cage since 2019. He took the bout on short notice, replacing Jacob Kilburn.
Whitney had lost his two previous bouts, being stopped by Steve Garcia and Jason Soares in 2019.
UFC Veteran Marquardt Secures Armbar In Return
Former UFC fighter Nate Marquardt returned from retirement on Friday with a quick stoppage win over Michael Cora.
Marquardt evaded trouble from Cora’s striking to earn the win. The veteran was dropped by strikes halfway through the round, although he was able to set up an armbar while on his back for the win.
Marquardt was appearing for the first time since 2017. A three-fight losing streak that he had late in his UFC run was snapped with the victory.
The bout was Marquardt’s first appearance outside of promotions UFC or Strikeforce since 2006.
Cora, a veteran of Titan FC, now has a negative pro record of five wins and six losses.
Kuse Extends Flawless Record In Co-Main Event
Titan FC prospect Ryan Kuse moved his undefeated record to four wins with a stoppage win over Amir Naser Kazemi in the co-main event.
The second round was a dominant showing for Kuse.
Kuse moved into full mount halfway through the second round, allowing him to unload with punches. Switching between full mount and being on the back of Kazemi, Kuse attempted submissions and threw punches until the referee eventually stopped the fight.
While Kuse didn’t do a wild amount of damage in the first round, he controlled Kazemi for the majority of those five minutes.
The fight was Kazemi’s appearance since suffering his first pro loss in 2019.
Lewis Stops Rodriguez In Grudge Match
Richie Lewis prevailed in a grudge match against Ernesto Rodriguez on Friday, stopping him in the second round with ground and pound.
The scrappy two-round fight saw Lewis do damage with striking on the ground along with control on the floor. A steady pace of strikes was what eventually caused the fight to end in the second frame.
Lewis’ grudge on Rodriguez remained following the fight. Lewis got in the face of Rodriguez and his corner immediately following the stoppage.
Rodriguez and his team were not in the cage while the official result of the fight was announced.
The fight was Rodriguez’s first pro loss through three appearances. Lewis now has two consecutive pro wins.
Garcia Uses Grappling To Defeat Miki
Adrian Garcia won a grappling-heavy three-round fight against Shojiri Miki on Friday, clearing all the judge’s scorecards for the win (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Garcia is now on a four-fight win streak in Titan FC. His two previous fights, including an appearance just last month, came via stoppage.
Miki was making his first appearance in over a year, with his prior fight being a finish loss in Shooto Japan.
Dixon Extends Undefeated Record To Open Card
Devon Dixon earned his fourth consecutive pro win on Friday, defeating Brandon Lopez via unanimous decision.
Dixon opened the fight strong, taking Lopez down and unloading with ground and pound. Lopez started to get into the fight later on with his striking, although Dixon was able to keep control of the bout.
All four of Dixon’s wins have come in his rookie year as a pro. His fight on Friday was the first time he went the distance in a fight.
Main Card (8:00PM EDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 9: Ali AlQaisi def. Andrew Whitney via Decision, Unanimous (Vacant Titan FC Featherweight Championship)
Bout 8: Ryan Kuse def. Amir Naser Kazemi via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 4:44)
Bout 7: Nate Marquardt def. Michael Cora via Submission, Armbar (RD 1, 2:39)
Bout 6: Richie Lewis def. Ernesto Rodriguez via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 2:57)
Bout 5: Adrian Garcia def. Shojin Miki via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 4: Devon Dixon def. Brandon Lopez via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 3: Chris Daniel def. Gus Villamil via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 2: John Ortiz def. Walter Gomez via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 4:34)
Bout 1: Sean Mora def. Matthew Hicks via Decision, Unanimous