JJ Okanovich handed Anthony Romero his first pro loss on Sunday evening, defeating him in a close split decision after three rounds of action. The fight headlined Fury FC 50, which took place at the Bayou City Event Center in Houston, Texas, USA.
The fight saw Romero have a strong start, with Okanovich having the better rounds later on.
Romero’s sole knockdown in the fight came early, as he dropped Okanovich in the second minute with a right cross. Okanovich made the best of the position on the ground, throwing Romero and taking his back for a rear naked choke attempt late in the round.
Okanovich stunned Romero in the second round, scoring with a left hook that wobbled him. The striking of Okanovich was somewhat stopped in the round, as Romero closed the distance with takedown attempts.
Continuing to stop takedown attempts, Okanovich continued to control the fight on the feet in the final round. Okanovich secured a takedown in the final minute of the fight, although Romero left the position and almost immediately and returned to the feet.
Okanovich, a four-fight Bellator vet, was returning to action after losing a fight to Lucas Clay in LFA early this year.
Romero entered the bout with a nine-fight undefeated record. His record includes a win on the 2020 season of “Dana White’s Contender Series” and a victory in LFA late last year.
Both fighters were making their Fury FC debut.
Vera Santos Picks Up Win In Return
Carlos Vera Santos had a successful return to the cage in the co-main event, defeating using wrestling and grappling skills to defeat Cody Freeman via unanimous decision.
Vera Santos scored a takedown and advanced to full mount in the first round. Freeman controlled most of the second round, coming forward with punches and clinch positions.
Vera Santos got a takedown partway through the third round, catching a leg kick to get Freeman to the ground.
Vera Santos was making his first appearance since early 2020, where he lost to Levi Mowles on an Atlas Fights card.
Freeman came into the show on a two-fight winning streak that he attained in the first half of 2021.
Butler Earns First-Round Choke
Jesse Butler had a quick submission win on the main card, taking the back of Dimitre Ivy for a first-round rear naked choke. The choke advanced his win streak to three consecutive on the regional scene.
Butler scored a takedown on Ivy early and was able to get the choke in minutes later.
Ivy was coming off a submission win he earned just two months back.
Aliev Wins Fury FC Debut, Gets Long-Awaited Win
Huseyn Aliev picked up his first pro win since 2017 at the event, defeating Cameron Graves via unanimous decision after three rounds.
The three-round battle saw Aliev succeed with his wrestling, while striking was the greatest strength that Graves had.
Aliev was making his Fury FC debut. The Azerbaijan-born fighter had been winless through his previous three bouts, losing two via submission and going to a draw in the other.
Graves was stopped by now-UFC fighter Fernando Padilla earlier this year.
Moran Scores Big Win In Current Rise
Paris Moran continued his win streak on Sunday with a high-profile victory over Nate Smith.
Moran’s win came from his ability to out-land Smith on the feet. Moran landed the better shots throughout, often being able to avoid what Smith came forward with.
Moran is now on a four-fight winning streak over the past year in Fury FC.
Smith was coming off losses in two big fights on the regional scene. His two more recent bouts were an appearance on the 2020 season of “Dana White’s Contender Series” and a loss to Victor Altamirano in an LFA title fight.
Smotherman Battles Back From Knockdown, Finishes Fight Within Round With Punches
Cameron Smotherman won in a striking shootout against Dylan King, finishing him late in the first round with a walk-off win.
Smotherman connected with an overhand right in the final minute of the round, knocking out King and ending the bout.
Minutes before his win, Smotherman was also in trouble with strikes. He was dropped in the first minute of the fight, getting knocked down by an overhand right from King.
Smotherman started to take control of the fight in the final minute as he rocked King with shots. Marching forward to a visibly hurt King, Smotherman eventually scored the fight-ending strike.
The fight put Smotherman back into the win column. The busy rookie has scored three wins and two losses since turning pro in March.
King was coming back after earning his first pro victory in March.
Doctor Stoppage Hands Aswell Win Following Dominant Performance
Constant forward pressure through two rounds allowed Michael Aswell to earn a victory over Zachariah Thorne on Sunday.
Damage surrounding the eyes of Thorne caused a doctor to end the bout in-between the second and third rounds.
Aswell made the battle a one-sided contest, advancing with quick flurries of punches through 10 minutes.
The win for Aswell was his second as a pro.
Aswell went the distance in his pro debut earlier this year, defeating Jordan Plutin at Fury FC 46. Being from Texas, he had the hometown crowd behind him on Sunday.
The bout was Thorne’s first appearance in the promotion. He needed less than a minute to get his first pro win last year, defeating Roark Hodson.
Annaya Scores First-Round Submission, Hands Jimenez First Pro Loss
Eduardo Annaya made a comeback in the opening fight of the main card, overcoming early challenges from Carlos Jimenez to secure a submission victory.
Annaya caught Jimenez in the final minute of the first round with a triangle choke. This came minutes after he was in trouble on the feet, as an aggressive Jimenez came forward with strikes at the start of the fight.
The quick start from Jimenez slowed down quickly. The aggressive style was what won Jimenez his pro debut in May, stopping Cameron Smotherman in just 13 seconds with punches.
Annaya now has an even record of two wins and two losses. His previous bout was in late 2020, where he took his second consecutive loss via unanimous decision.
Main Card (5:30PM EDT / 4:30PM CDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 14: JJ Okanovich def. Anthony Romero via Decision, Split
Bout 13: Carlos Vera Santos def. Cody Freeman via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 12: Jesse Butler def. Dimitre Ivy via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 1:53)
Bout 11: Huseyn Aliev def. Cameron Graves via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 10: Paris Moran def. Nate Smith via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 9: Cameron Smotherman def. Dylan King via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 4:14)
Bout 8: Michael Aswell def. Zachariah Thorne via TKO, Doctor Stoppage (RD 2, 5:00)
Bout 7: Eduardo Annaya def. Carlos Jimenez via Submission, Triangle Choke (RD 1, 4:47)
Bout 6: Jake Williams def. Elvin Tapong via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 5: Hope Holmes def. Whitney Ontiveros via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1)
Bout 4: Hector Saenz def. Chance Norman via TKO, Strikes (RD 1)
Bout 3: Elvin Stephens def. Raymond Cardenas via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 3)
Bout 2: Jorge Cruz def. Hugo Zuniga via TKO, Doctor Stoppage (RD 3)
Bout 1: Allen Reyes def. Cris San Nicolas via Decision, Unanimous