Battling past early trouble and some late challenges, Bruno Souza was able to pick up a unanimous decision win over Javier Garcia to earn the vacant LFA Featherweight Championship on Friday night.
Souza’s win headlined a card that took place at The Factory at the District in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
While Souza put together a solid performance for the title, he had to battle adversity in the contest.
Garcia scored a knockdown in the second minute of action, connecting cleanly with a right cross as part of a combination of shots. He then looked for an anaconda choke on the ground, although he wasn’t able to secure it.
Souza took more control of the fight after the early scare, becoming the more aggressive fighter in later rounds. Garcia spent a large portion of the second and third rounds backing up and defending strikes that Souza was throwing.
Garcia scored a takedown in the fourth round, getting on the back of Souza halfway into the frame.
Garcia notched another takedown in the final round, although Souza was able to reverse the position and take full guard. Garcia attempted a triangle choke in the closing seconds but wasn’t able to do anything with it.
Souza was put in the title challenger position after scoring four consecutive wins in the promotion from 2019 to 2021.
The 25-year-old prospect made his case for a spot in the UFC roster following his win.
“Do you think I’m undeniable now? Sean Shelby, give me a shot. I think I deserve a shot,” said Souza, calling out a prominent UFC matchmaker.
Garcia was on a three-fight winning streak on Friday. He wasn’t the first option for the bout, as he stepped in weeks ago to replace Canaan Kawaihae.
Garcia had earned a submission win in his previous outing.
Johnson Shuts Down Camilo, Finishes Him In The Second To Defend Belt
Charles Johnson defended his interim LFA Flyweight Championship for the first time on Friday night, stopping Joao Camilo in the second round with ground and pound.
Johnson finished Camilo in the second round, getting into top position on the ground and unloading with punches until the referee stopped the fight. Like many of the positions in the fight, it went to the ground because of Camilo but was best utilized by Johnson
Johnson got ahead in the fight early, being able to stuff numerous takedown attempts from Camilo and often using the attempts to get a dominant position.
Johnson finished the first round strong, taking full mount on top and holding a guillotine choke until the round expired.
Johnson became LFA’s interim flyweight champ just last month, fighting five rounds against Yuma Horiuchi for a split decision victory.
Camilo was getting an LFA title shot after scoring a victory in Combate Global just three months ago.
Lawson Stops Garrett In Mere Seconds
Jimmy Lawson scored a quick yet brutal win over fellow heavyweight Anthony Garrett, stopping him in just 18 seconds.
Lawson immediately backed Garrett up against the cage with a quick combination of hooks in the first round. After wobbling Garrett with punches, Lawson connected with a shot that dropped him and finished the bout.
Garrett took a hard tumble on the way down, falling forwards.
Lawson was making his first appearance in over a year. His three previous pro bouts were in 2019, where he lost a decision to now-Bellator fighter Said Sowma and scored two finish victories.
Garrett was stopped in his last LFA bout was well, getting submitted by Jordan Heiderman in May.
Holmes Continues Finish Streak With Rear Naked Choke
Joseph Holmes continued his career-long streak of finish wins on Friday, securing a rear naked choke win over DeWayne Diggs in the second round of action.
The choke from Holmes capped off a controlling performance on the ground. The fight was much closer when on the feet, as the striking exchanges would be hectic at times.
Holmes is now on a five-fight winning streak, with all victories coming via stoppage. The successful run includes two LFA wins and one in the Bellator cage.
The bout on Friday was Diggs’ first appearance since 2019.
Bennett Shows Powerful Fists In Finish Win Over Undefeated Umarov
In a battle of undefeated welterweights, Benjamin Bennett earned a second-round stoppage win over Elmar Umarov.
Bennett was hurting Umarov with punches early in the second round. After stunning him, Bennett landed a two-hook combination that dropped Umarov. The referee stopped the bout shortly after.
Bennett now has three pro wins. All of his career victories have come via finish thus far.
Umarov entered Friday with a flawless record of three pro wins. He won his LFA debut earlier this year, stopping Cody King within a round.
Starks Shows Grappling Skills, Becomes First Man To Submit Mulabitinovic
William Starks became the first pro to hand Irfan Mulabitinovic a loss to open the main card, submitting him in the second round with a rear naked choke.
Starks was threatened by a guillotine choke when he went to the ground early in the fight, but he was eventually able to take the back of Mulabitinovic and land lots of strikes from the position.
Starks continued to control the fight on the ground in the second frame, eventually getting on the back of Mulabitinovic for the finish win.
The fight put Starks back into the win column after a recent loss on a UAE Warriors/EFC card. His previous win was in LFA last year, where he defeated then-undefeated Slava Borshchev.
Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 8:00PM CDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 13: Bruno Souza def. Javier Garcia via Decision, Unanimous (Vacant LFA Featherweight Championship)
Bout 12: Charles Johnson def. Joao Camilo via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 4:07) (Interim LFA Flyweight Championship)
Bout 11: Jimmy Lawson def. Anthony Garrett via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:18)
Bout 10: Joseph Holmes def. DeWayne Diggs via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 2:48)
Bout 9: Benjamin Bennett def. Elmar Umarov via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 0:58)
Bout 8: William Starks def. Irfan Mulabitinovic via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 4:16)
Bout 7: Raheam Forest def. Colin Parr via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 1:31)
Bout 6: Dan Moriarty def. Joey Scanlan via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 3:20)
Bout 5: Ira Lukowsky def. Alex Macias via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:32)
Bout 4: Aaron Lake def. Josh Sutherlin via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:09) (Amateur)
Bout 3: Mervin Miller def. Terry Copling via Decision, Split (Amateur)
Bout 2: Justin Richter def. Chris Lorenzo via Decision, Unanimous (Amateur)
Bout 1: Bill Smith def. Kendall Whited via Submission, Armbar (RD 1, 2:29) (Amateur)