Montreal’s La Tohu once again played home to another outing from Canada’s premier mixed martial arts organization TKO MMA Friday evening. The event, TKO40: Denouemont was the final show before CEO Stephane Patry starts dishing out the gold in December at TKO41: Night of Champions (that’s our unofficial name for it anyway) where damn-near every division will see an inaugural champion crowned.
In the meantime, we were treated to a somewhat up-and-down night of fights. The preliminary card had some great finishes, while the main card couldn’t quite match the excitement there were still some strong performances and a pair of split decisions in the top two fights. Kevin Lee even joined on commentary at one point, and to his credit, he was actually pretty damn good. Except for the PSG shirt, boo!
Marc-Andre Barriault defeated Todd Stoute by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- The Main Event saw TKO41’s confirmed Middleweight title challenger Marc-Andre “PowerBar” Barriault square off with the (finally, after two previous attempts) debuting Todd “Black Hulk” Stoute. Both men said they were expecting a slug-fest before the fight, and that’s mostly what we got in the main event, with some grappling scrambles thrown in for good measure. Although the actual in-cage weight of the fighters wasn’t too drastically different, the natural size of Stoute seemed to give Barriault trouble. Each round was close, with Barriault doing just a bit more to earn a split decision victory.
Joao Luiz Nogueira defeated Alex Morgan by Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- TKO made mention of Nogueira being a member of the famous Nogueira family, and he certainly fought like one in his organizational debut. While not the smoothest fighter, Nogueira proved to be exactly the crafty veteran he was billed as coming into the fight. Not even the acclaimed Firas Zahabi could help Alex Morgan in this fight. For his part, Morgan seemed stumped by the style of Nogueira. The threat of the takedown and jiu-jitsu was very real, which likely caused Morgan to hesitate throwing his punches and kicks. It wasn’t the most exciting fight, but Nogueira is certainly going to be a tough test for any of the other Featherweights. Take notice.
Strahinja Gavrilovic defeated Maiquel Falcao by TKO (Doctor Stoppage) 5:00 R2
- Falcao was also making his debut tonight, and missed weight. Not a good look. Gavrilovic looks insane in his pre-fight speech. The first round saw Falcao expend a ton of energy looking for takedowns, eventually tiring himself out in the process. The second round was an all-out-brawl, with Gavrilovic throwing a ton of nasty forward elbows, including a back-to-back combo that saw one split the guard — and the forehead — of Falcao. The doctor checked the cut during the round, let it continue, and eventually with Falcao’s face covered in blood, decided the cut was too severe and called off the fight. Exciting while it lasted, and another good win for The Werewolf. Scary dude.
Adam Dyczka defeated Ricardeau Francois by TKO (Punches) 4:11 R1
- Francois was having his first fight since 2011, a loss to top Canadian prospect Misha Cirkunov. He’s a giant of a man at 6’7. Dyczka, the “KungFu Panda” comes out to huge cheers from the crowd. There was no glove touch at the start of the fight, and right off the hop there’s a mouthguard lost. Panda had some trouble solving the huge range of Francois, but eventually used some vicious leg kicks to set up his hands. Francois lost his mouthguard a second time, and after being in no rush to pick it up, decided to touch gloves afterwards. Following the touch, Panda turned it up and finished things off, as Francois was completely worn out. Big win for the Panda, not the best opponent for Francois to draw after such a lengthy layoff.
Yancine Bandoui defeated Leonardo Xavier by Unanimous Decision
- There’s not a whole lot to say about this one. The fight wasn’t all that interesting, so let’s talk about what was apparently said in the pre-fight segment. According to some folks on Twitter (the best sources, of course) Bandoui implied that Xavier was some sort of “pussy that was going to be raped” or something to that nature. While I’m not the type to be easily offended, maybe just dial it back a little bit there, Bandoui. It looks even worse when you don’t back up the big talk, particularly when the biggest moment in the fight was you being rocked. Anyway, Bandoui did end up picking up the win in a close fight.
Atsushi Fujino defeated Louis Jourdain by Technical Submission (Rear Naked Choke) 3:07 R2
- This was an exciting fight. Jourdain was coming in off a victory over Tony Laramie and was looking to build some momentum following a loss to Tyler Wilson. Jourdain was having some success in the first round with his striking, while Fujino looked for takedowns, finally managing to take Jourdain down, getting his back, and even had him mounted at one point. The second round had more kickboxing, and even Jourdain landing a takedown of his own. Suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, Fujino was on Jourdain’s back with a deep rear naked choke in. Jourdain did his best to defend it, and was choked out in the process of doing so. Referee Jason Herzog stepped in instantly, hats off to him for the perfect timing. Jourdain seemed incredibly disappointed after the fight which is understandable, but there was no shame in losing to a very talented fighter in Fujino. To his credit, Fujino apologized for the boring fight (it wasn’t) and begged the crowd to embrace him. Keep putting on those performances, and they will.
Michael Dufort defeated Robert Seres by Submission (Guillotine) 2:20 R1
- Dufort was another guy making his TKO debut, but clearly had made a name for himself with the local crowd as loud “Dufort! Dufort!” chants are heard. Like Maiquel Falcao earlier, Dufort missed weight, coming in at 177.8 lbs and enjoying a 10 lbs. advantage over his opponent. Seres started off the fight holding onto a guillotine for a long while. The tables quickly turned, and Dufort wrapped up his own guillotine, and managed to get the finish. Afterwards, Robin Black pointed out on commentary the big weight disparity, and mentioned that a rematched at the proper weight seemed fair. I’m inclined to agree, but the crowd went nuts for Dufort anyway.
Keith Lee defeated Eric Daigneault by TKO (Retirement) 5:00 R1
- This was an important fight for Lee. There’s been a lot of hype, but he’s looked inconsistent over his first two fights, having gone 1-1 in the process. A win here brings his record to 2-1, and the move up from flyweight to bantamweight seems like a good choice. While the size advtange for Lee was huge at 125 lbs., he looked much more suited at 135 lbs. Daigneault seemed to tire quickly in this fight, and was leaving his mouth wide open. The fight got wild, the first round finished with Lee battering Daigneault from a stack guard. That was enough for Daigneault, who didn’t come out of his corner at the end of the round. Lee wanted some hype for his 3 TKO fights afterwards, and he deserves it.
- Tyler Wilson got submitted in 48-seconds by the debuting Frederik Dupras. Not the way things were planned for Wilson, and I’m sure he’ll want to get back in the cage as quick as he can for some redemption. Big win for Dupras.
- James Mancini defeated Stevie Yhap by an uneventful decision. Mancini really seemed to be on a different level from Yhap — who fought extremely defensive — and probably could/should have finished the fight.
- David Daigneault beat Alex Paul up pretty fast, 54 seconds to be exact. The finish saw Paul’s mouthguard go flying while Daigneault was teeing off on him. Paul complained about the stoppage, but it wasn’t bad. Good job to the ref. Paul is not pleased during the official announcement, yelling “fuck!” and “shit!” over-and-over.
- Matar Lo blasted Maxime Soucy with a huge left head kick in just over 4-minutes into the first round. Big win for the lanky Lo, as he’s starting to pick up some momentum now with 2-straight wins.
- Chris O’Kill-McMullen was constantly pawing with his lead hand, and eye-poked Alex Beaule at least once because of it. This fight makes me glad for the rule change making this illegal, this sport is brutal enough, we don’t need peoples eyes being poked out too. Clearly it was getting risky for O’Kill-McMullen, as he switched to trying to grab the wrist of Beaule instead. For his efforts, Beaule ended up blasting him, recovering from the eye poke to pick up the second round KO win.
Fight of the Night: Maiquel Falcao vs. Strahinja Gavrilovic
Knockout of the Night: Matar Lo
Submission of the Night: Atsushi Fujino