Legacy Fighting Alliance was back again this week, live on AXS TV and The Fight Network with LFA 15: Odoms vs. Vanderaa. The event went down at the Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma, with a heavyweight showdown in the main event. Better yet, the bout between Richard Odoms and Jared Vanderaa would crown LFA’s inaugural heavyweight champion.
The co-main event of the evening was a middleweight bout featuring Cortez Coleman and Chris Harris. “The Crazy Cowboy,” Coleman (13-7) debuted in LFC last November after a lengthy Bellator MMA run and a brief stop in the regionals. On Friday, he’d be making his LFA debut against Harris (8-1), a fellow Bellator MMA vet who suffered his first career loss in January when he dropped a unanimous decision to Jordan Young at Bellator 171.
Starting off the LFA 15 card were middleweights Chibwikem Onyenegecha and Stephen Skoch. With under two minutes to go in the first, Onyenegecha unloaded a series of knees and punches, with the final knee of the sequence dropping Skoch. The ref waved the action off at 3:40 of round number one, and we had a finish to open the main card. Great offense by Onyenegecha!
Later on in the card, lightweight Dan Moret beat the buzzer, securing an arm triangle to finish Derrick Adkins at 4:59 of the third and final round of their bout. In the very next fight, youngster Braden Smith survived an early knockdown to secure a D’Arce choke in the first round. After the bout, Smith clearly wasn’t happy with getting dropped. “I’m too pretty to get hit. I’m not satisfied” he said post-fight.
In the co-main event of the evening, middleweights Harris and Coleman put on an exciting three rounds. They would finish the fight standing and trading, much to the delight of the crowd. Ultimately, however, it was a one-sided performance for the debuting Harris, who utilized kicks to set up his combinations and easily took the bout on all three judge’s scorecards.
In the main event, with the inaugural heavyweight title on the line, Vanderaa checked an Odoms leg kick early. Odoms would try to press the action against the cage, but Vanderaa was able to reverse. Odoms would later connect with a big knee and follow-up punches in the clinch; Vanderaa would turn things around and land a knee and some shots to the body of his own. By round’s end, however, both men were looking tired.
Round two saw the action pressed up against the wall early, but back in the center of the cage, Odoms led with his jab while Vanderaa countered. After another bit of stalling up against the cage, Odoms connected with a solid punch in the middle. However, it seemed like after every stage, the pair wound up alongside the fence once more, fighting for position. Odoms then connected with another big knee in the Thai clinch with just over ninety seconds to go. Vanderaa, though, proved to have a solid chin. Later, he’d connect with a head kick as well. Vanderaa was bloodied by the end of the frame, but it would go to the third.
There was lots of clinch work and dirty boxing early in the third round, but with just over three minutes left and the fighters in a lull, the ref broke up the action and had the fighters reset. Odoms then pushed Vanderaa back against the fence, and a battle for control followed. Both men were slick with sweat and tired out at this point, but there were two rounds to go.
Round four saw Odoms find a home for his jab early, then launch an impressive spinning back kick that missed, but looked fantastic. While the action would slow a little after that, Odom would seem the fresh of the two fighters. However, with over a minute left in the fourth, Vanderaa earned the takedown, moved to full mount and began dropping bombs. He then took the back, and looked for the rear-naked choke. Odoms, however, escaped, and found himself on top as the seconds wore down.
Odoms connected with two big shots against the cage early in the fifth round, but again, Vanderaa was able to withstand the attack. Then out of nowhere, Odoms locked in a kimura, wrenching Vanderaa to the ground with the hold, badly damaging the arm of Vanderaa and earning the tap. The 42-year old Odoms is now the first LFA heavyweight champion!
LFA 15: Odoms vs. Vanderaa Results
Richard Odoms def. Jared Vanderaa by submission (kimura), Round 5, 2:45 for the inaugural LFA heavyweight championship
Chris Harris def. Cortez Coleman by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Braden Smith def. Manny Meraz by submission (D’Arce choke), Round 1, 2:11
Dan Moret def. Derrick Adkins by submission (arm triangle), Round 3, 4:59
Tyler Shinn def. Kendall Carnahan by split decision
Justin Rader def. Emmanuel Rivera by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Chibwikem Onyenegecha def. Stephen Skoch by TKO, Round 1, 3:40
Eddie Brown def. Diego Pichilingue by Submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2, 2:24
Tyler Lee def. Richard Lasher by Submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 2:43
Taylor Wilson def. Matthew Coe by unanimous decision