Lights Out Xtreme Fighting returned to the Burbank Marriott Convention Center in Burbank on Friday night for LXF 4. Three titles were on the line, and five undercard fights rounded out the card.
Before the doors opened, I met LXF broadcaster, Manouk Akopyan, who was able to help me get an interview with former San Diego Charger and LXF co-founder Shawne Merriman. You can read that interview by clicking on this link. Thanks, Manouk! After the interview, I went to check out the venue for a bit before I met up with my good friend and the Ariel Helwani of the SoCal MMA scene Adam Woods and his crew. We hung around before the event started in the hallway near the fighter check-in and dressing rooms and talked about MMA and pro wrestling.
As we were waiting around, the defending LXF Heavyweight Champion Jay Silva arrived with a large encourage and with his daughter in his arms. The security lady at the fighter check-in table wouldn’t let him or his crew through because they were finished with fighter check-ins. Silva played up the whole thing in comical fashion, joking that if the situation wasn’t rectified in two minutes, he’d be leaving. Silva was eventually allowed to the dressing room, but a situation with his cornermen had to be straightened out. By now, it was time for the first fight. There looked to have been 500-600 people in attendance going in and out of the building that night.
Once again, LXF’s undercard was very fan-friendly. Four of the five non-title fights on LXF 4 had a finish, with only one non-title fight, Liudvik Sholinian vs. Yuuma Horiuchi, going to a decision in favor of Sholinian. The biggest factor of the fight to me was Sholinian getting the better of Horiuchi in the grappling exchanges. While Horiuchi had a good showing in the second round, most of the fight was dictated by Sholinian’s grappling. Whether it was pressing Horiuchi against the cage with clinch work, or it was on the ground, Sholinian had a very strong showing in this. While he did get a split decision victory, I thought Sholinian’s victory was a well-earned one as I had him winning all three rounds.
In the only fight in LXF’s amateur “D-League” division on LXF 4 saw former NFL player Chris McCain defeat Anthony Taufi to improve his amateur MMA record to 3-0. Despite a literal slip by McCain, which he used to get top position on the ground, he was in control of the fight in the first. The second round saw McCain maintain top position again early in the round before the fight was stood up. Shortly after, McCain was able to catch Taufi with a guillotine choke for the win after Taufi attempted a takedown on McCain.
The only other submission of the night came when Zack Kraschinsky submitted Christian Bizarretty with a Rear Naked Choke. Kraschinsky, who was making his professional MMA debut, was a huge crowd favorite heading into the bout, Before his fight began, loud “ZACK! ZACK! ZACK!” chants rang out like it was Bayside High School in 1990. It didn’t take him long to make his supporters happy, as Kraschinsky got the fight to the ground early with a few takedowns and put Bizarretty away in the first round with that RNC.
The first TKO finish of the night took place when local favorite Brian Del Rosario stopped Dean Hancock in the first round of their bout. Both guys were throwing strikes with bad intentions early in this, but Del Rosario was able to get the better of Hancock. Del Rosario dropped Hancock twice in this short bout and landed some really hard shots as well. The first knockdown Del Rosario scored came after he caught Hancock with a counter lead left hook as Hancock went for a leg kick. Hancock tried to recover but was put down with a knee to the body and one to the head from Del Rosario during a scramble, followed by ground strikes before the referee stopped the fight.
If you’re a fan of great back-and-forth action, the final non-title bout of LXF 4 is for you. “The Alpha Ginger” Hunter Carlyle vs. Jean-Paul Bosnoyan fight might’ve been my favorite non-title fight of the card. Bosnoyan scored a knockdown early in the fight when he landed a counter-punch after catching a body kick attempt from Hunter/Spike/Whatever He Wants To Be Called Is Cool With Me Carlyle. It looked as if Bosnoyan was getting the better of Carlyle at one point, but the Alpha Ginger was able to hang in there and dropped Bosnoyan with a hook to the chin and finished him off with some ground strikes.
The Title Fights
In the first of the three title fights on LXF 4, the vacant LXF Super Lightweight Championship was up for grabs in a bout between Arut Pogosjan defeated Joshua Jones. After a brief feeling-out process, Pogosjan dropped Jones with a counter lead hook. Jones would try to grab one of Pogosjan’s legs in an attempt to take him down after this. Jones then had Pogosjan pressed against the cage as he was looking for a takedown, but Pogosjan finished Jones with some elbows reminiscent of Travis Browne’s elbows against Josh Barnett at UFC 168.
The main event of LXF 4 saw the defending LXF Heavyweight Champion Jay Silva put his title on the line against Michael Quintero. This was a fun back-and-forth fight that saw both guys throwing heavy strikes and scoring takedowns. Both guys really fought hard, and I felt like this could’ve gone either way heading into the third round. I had Quintero as the winner of the first round, while Silva won the second round in my eyes.
The third and final round saw Quintero get the fight to the ground a few times. He was able to take the back of Silva and began fishing for a rear naked choke in the closing moments of the fight. Quintero then transitioned to an armbar attempt that Silva was able to escape. This was a huge moment for Quintero and it won him the round in my eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two judges who scored the fight in his favor saw things the same way I did.
While Quintero won the fight and heavyweight title, he didn’t leave the Burbank Marriott unscathed. In a post-event interview with Adam Woods, Quintero mentioned that he had been contemplating pulling out of the fight a few days before due to an injury but decided to go on with the bout. He also stated that he ended up with 17 stitches in his head after the fight. Despite that, he was still happy to have walked away as the champion that night.
My personal pick for the best fight of the night was the co-main event for the LXF Bantamweight Championship between Albert Morales and Ryan Lilley. Leading up to the fight, I was looking forward to this more than the other bouts on the card. I’ve been familiar with both fighters since their amateur days, and they’ve been developing into really fun competitors to watch on the professional level. This fight was an example of why that is.
Both guys came out very composed in the first round. They were tactical early on with their attacks and chose their shots wisely in the first round. As the fight progressed, Morales began to land some shots before Lilley was able to stun him with a punch of his own. Morales was able to weather the storm though and landed some nice knee strikes from the clinch. While I thought this was a close round, I had it scored for Morales.
Heading into the second round, both fighters looked to pick up where they left off. The action came to a brief pause though after Morales accidentally kicked Lilley in the ding-ding. The break didn’t last long, and both guys went back to trading strikes again. As the round progressed, Morales landed some nice shots and began using flying knee attacks to fluster Lilley. Lilley kept fighting back though and caught Morales with a nice punch. The action continued to go back-and-forth, and Morales scored a takedown at the end of the second round to possibly win it in the judges’ eyes.
Between rounds, the doctor at cageside was checking on the eye of Ryan Lilley. After the start of the third round, the referee called for a timeout to have the doctor check Lilley again before the doctor stopped the fight. People weren’t happy about it, but it was the right call. I headed to the back to get a look at the eye of Ryan Lilley, and it didn’t look pretty. It looked to have been almost swollen shut and was completely blackened. If Morales landed a few more strikes to it, it could’ve gotten worse.
While the ending to the fight was lackluster, it was still a really fun scrap. Both guys fought hard, and I’d really to see them run this back. For now, though, this was a big win for Morales. The former UFC and Bellator competitor has built some momentum having gone 3-1 this year. If he can string together two or three more wins, there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be back fighting in a major promotion by late 2020 or 2021.
After the event, I got to witness Morales and Lilley have a moment together as Morales was about to be interviewed by Adam Woods. The two fighters hugged and shared some laughs when they talked about their fight. Despite having lost the fight, Ryan Lilley was still in good spirits that night.
It’s no secret that I’m a big supporter of Lights Out Xtreme Fighting. They’re doing a tremendous job at building up the local MMA scene and giving great local talent a solid platform to showcase their skills. The matchmaking in LXF always makes for fun fights, and this card was another example of that.
Morales vs. Lilley was my pick as the best fight of the card. I really hope they have a rematch because those two can really put on a show. Hunter/Spike Carlyle’s TKO win over Jean-Paul Bosnoyan was one of the better finishes on the card, along with Brian Del Rosario’s TKO victory against Dean Hancock. The main event of Jay Silva vs. Michael Quintero was also a pretty fun fight, and Zack Kraschinsky’s submission victory over Christian Bizarretty was another highlight on the card.
Overall, LXF 4 is worth checking out when it airs on your regional Fox Sports network. Keep an eye out for airdates and all that. Also, be sure to check out LXF live when they hold their next event. If you’re a fan of MMA, you won’t regret giving them a shot Follow LXF on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, check out their website, and stay tuned to SCU for information on future events.