Former UFC star Roger Huerta snapped a four-year losing streak today in Dubai, with a first round TKO stoppage over Christian Holley. Huerta got the fight to the ground early and transitioned to the back of Holley, where he threw punches until the referee was forced to stop the fight.
“El Matador” had not fought in over two years. Post-fight, Huerta admitted that he very nearly walked away from the sport of MMA for good, though he credits his teammates to getting him back into competition.
“I owe it to them,” he said.
“I almost hung it up. I almost retired I almost didn’t want to do it. “
New champions at featherweight and welterweight
Later in the ONE FC 19 card, Jadamba Narantungalag stole the featherweight title from Koji Oishi via unanimous decision. Narantungalag was the more active fighter and, save for a scare in the third round where he was stunned by strikes, he managed to control the pace and do the most damage over five rounds.
Nobutatsu Suzuki lost his welterweight ONE FC title in just a minute and a half to former Olympic wrestler and Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren in the co-main event. Askren stormed across the cage at the bell, took the Karate fighter down with ease and then unleashed dozens of unanswered strikes to the downed Japanese champ until the referee halted the bout.
It just may have been one of the most dominating and one-sided major title fights in MMA history. Askren continued his brash trash talk even after the fight ended when explaining his strategy.
“Walk across the cage grab a man, throw him on the ground and keep on punching him until the ref stops it,” Askren said, bluntly.
Aoki dominates, defends
In the night’s main event, Shinya Aoki won with almost just as much ease. Though the defending lightweight champion went in against a strong wrestler in challenger Kamal Shalorus, the Japanese submission specialist went right for the take down at the start and soon secured a take down.
From there, Aoki took the mount, and then back of Shalorus, before sinking in a rear naked choke. Veteran referee Yuji Shimada missed or ignored Shalorus’ tap out but, seconds later, recognized his second signal of submission and stopped the fight.