Looking back at LFA 36: Simon vs. Zani

The Legacy Fighting Alliance and AXS TV Fights made their way to Cabazon, CA (the home of giant roadside dinosaurs from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) on Friday for LFA 36 – Simon vs. Zani, live on AXS TV, featuring a main card full of finishes. Right now I’m going to take a look at the main card bouts that aired on AXS TV.

Professional Middleweight Bout: Taylor Johnson (MMA Record: 2-0) defeated Corey Turner (MMA Record: 1-1) via TKO (Strikes) at 0:36 of Round 1. Johnson improves to 3-0. Turner falls to 1-2.

In the opening main card bout, San Diego’s Taylor Johnson made quick work of Corey Turner, and set the tone for the night. Johnson started the fight by throwing right hands early before ending up in a clinch. Johnson would gain mount position after countering a takedown attempt from Turner, and delivered some vicious punches and elbows from the position before referee Jason Herzog stopped the fight at 0:36 of Round 1. This was a great performance by Taylor Johnson, who was coming off a 0:06 knockout win on the LFA 11 Prelims on May 5th, 2017. Johnson has now finished all three of his professional bouts by KO/TKO.

Professional Featherweight Bout: Tommy Aaron (MMA Record: 5-3) defeated Troy Guerrero (MMA Record: 5-1) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:15 of Round 1. Aaron improves to 6-3. Guerrero falls to 5-2.

Once again we get another first round finish. Only this time by way of submission. Tommy Aaron controlled the outside in the early part of the first round, and would score a takedown after setting it up with strikes. He would use it to get to side control where he maintained top position for a good amount of time. Eventually Guerrero got to his feet, but Aaron continued to control Guerrero’s back and was working to get him back to the ground.

Guerrero would end up grabbing the cage to prevent these takedown attempts. After grabbing the cage four times, referee Milan Ayers stepped in and gave Guerrero a hard warning about illegally grabbing the cage. The fight was restarted on the ground in half guard with Aaron on top. Guerrero would try to work for a Kimura from bottom, but Aaron would use that to get mount position. Aaron would then take the back of Guerrero and locked in a Rear Naked Choke to get a submission victory in the first round.

This was a great performance by Tommy Aaron. He did a good job at using his strikes to land a takedown, and his control on the ground was really good. Referee Milan Ayers also made the right call to give Aaron position after Guerrero grabbed the cage four times.

Professional Light-Heavyweight Bout: Herdem Alacabek (MMA Record: 3-0) defeated Jonathan Noriega (MMA Record: 3-0) via TKO (Strikes) at 2:19 of Round 1. Alacabek climbs to 4-0. Noriega falls to 3-1.

This was a quick, but crazy fight between two fighters with undefeated records going into this fight. Both fighters started out swinging in the opening minute of the first. Alacabek would score a takedown from a belly-to-back throw, but Noriega was quickly able to get back to his feet. The two Light-Heavyweights then started to exchange some heavy shots on each other relentlessly as the round progressed. Noriega landed some strikes in the opening minute and had some brief moments where he was in control of the fight, but Alacabek was able to weather the storm and began landing some big shots inside the clinch.

Alacabek would eventually drop Noriega with a two-knee combo, with one to the liver and one to the head of Noriega as he was starting to fall from the liver shot. After that, Alacabek followed up with some ground and pound to get a TKO victory in the first round. Alacabek had a great performance here. He did a wonderful job at working over the body and head of Noriega while in the clinch, and the knees that dropped Noriega were timed so well. Again, great clinch striking performance by Alacabek in this one.

Professional Bantamweight Bout: Andre Ewell (MMA Record: 11-4) defeated Trent Meaux (MMA Record: 6-4-1) via KO (Strikes) at 1:41 of Round 1. Ewell improves to 12-4. Meaux falls to 6-5-1.

Once again, we have a fight that ends in the first round. Andre “Afro Monkey” Ewell was stepping into this fight on short notice. Meaux started the fight off by trying to use his striking to close distance on Ewell, who had a massive height and reach advantage in this fight. The opening minute saw Meaux throwing strikes and utilizing his movement, while Ewell stayed outside and avoided the attacks. Eventually, Ewell would read Meaux’s attacks, and tagged him with some nicely timed punches. Ewell would use that to set up a nice head kick that rocked Meaux, leading to Ewell landing several strikes before finishing him with an uppercut to earn a vicious knockout win. This was a fun scrap and a great performance from the Afro Monkey. Ewell read Meaux’s game plan really well, allowing him to counter Meaux’s attacks and to get the victory.

Professional Welterweight Bout: Christian Aguilera (MMA Record: 10-4) defeated Ricardo Seixas (MMA Record: 4-0) via KO (Punch) at 1:47 of Round 2. Aguilera improves to 11-4. Seixas falls to 4-1.

This was Aguilera’s third bout in 2018 and he was looking to remain unbeaten this year. His last fight took place less than a month ago at King of the Cage in Ontario, CA on February 24th, 2018.

Both fighters came out swinging in the opening seconds of the round. Aguilera seemed to have been getting the better of the exchanges in the opening moments of the fight, but Seixas was able to hang with him, even landing some nice leg kicks. Midway into the round, Aguilera was pushed to the ground when throwing a kick to Seixas. Seixas would use that take the back of Aguilera with three minutes left int he round, and controlled him for the rest of the first. Seixas would spend that time trying to set up submissions, and landed several strikes to cut open Aguilera.

The second round would start off with both fighters exchanging punches. After a minute into the second round, Aguilera would stuff a takedown attempt from Seixas and kept things standing.. Aguilera would then land several strikes as the round progressed before landing a well placed uppercut to score an impressive and vicious knockout victory. After being controlled for most of the first round, Aguilera came back strong in the second, using some well timed strikes to win the standup exchanges and to eventually the fight.

Professional Featherweight Bout: Jamall Emmers (MMA Record: 12-3) defeated Guilherme Faria (MMA Record: 15-6) via TKO (Strikes) at 1:18 of Round 3. Emmers improves to 13-3. Faria falls to 15-7.

The streak of finishes on the main card continues. When the bell sounded for the first round, Emmers came flying out of his corner looking to score a running kick on Faria. Emmers was very energetic and used a lot of movement to start, while Faria stayed composed. Faria was able to stuff a takedown attempt from Emmers, and backed him into the cage where he landed a few heavy punches. Faria would also land some wild shots later on in the round. Despite that, Emmers dictated the pace and used his movement well to avoid Faria’s attacks and landed some strikes of his own.

The second round would see Emmers continuing to use his movement to land shots on Faria, causing Faria’s nose to bleed. Emmers kept picking apart Faria as the second round went on, utilizing his footwork and movement to land several strikes. He also did a really good job at avoiding most of Faria’s strikes, causing Faria to expend more energy. In the third round, Emmers continued to control the pace of the fight with his footwork and movement, landing several strikes on Faria before knocking him down early in the third round with a right cross, followed up with some ground and pound before referee Mike Beltran stopped the bout.

Emmers did a great job at utilizing his footwork and movement to avoid Faria’s strikes and to land his own. This seemed to have caused Faria to use more energy, which looked to have played a huge factor into Emmers’ victory.

LFA Bantamweight Championship Bout: Ricky Simon (c) (MMA Record: 11-1) defeated Vinicius Zani (MMA Record: 11-4) via TKO (Strikes) at 0:59 of Round 1. Simon improves to 11-1. Zani falls to 11-5.

We close the main card with a quick title fight as Ricky Simon was able to put Vinicius Zani away in under a minute. Both fighters landed some punches early on, but Simon was able to put Zani away after hitting him with a hook to the body, followed by a hook to the head that staggered Zani, sending him back into the cage before Simon finished him off with a few punches. Great stuff from Ricky Simon. He seems like he could do really well in the UFC’s Bantamweight Division.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a fan of MMA and didn’t get a chance to watch LFA 36, you missed out. This card was full of exciting action, plenty of highlight reel moments, and a lot of great finishes.

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