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Gunderson submits Sharp in MMA Xplosion main event


Allison Duck

John Gunderson battles it out with Steve Sharp at MMA Xplosion at the M Resort.

MMA Xplosion @ M Resort

Odiz Ruiz delivers a knee to opponent Mike Dizak during MMA Xplosion at the M Resort. Launch slideshow »

Fight results

John Gunderson def. Steve Sharp via submission (kimura) round 3, 3:17.

Dave Hulett def. Blas Avena via TKO round 1, 3:08.

Angelo Antuna def. Josh Powell via KO round 1, 0:11.

Kelly Gray def. Josh Burns via TKO round 1, 3:09.

Odis Ruiz def. Mike Dizak via KO round 3, 0:26.

Javier Torres def. Weston Duschen via TKO round 3, 1:13.

Matt Conte def. Joe Angelo via TKO round 2, 2:01.

Casey Johnson def. Elijah Mohammad via unanimous decision.

Chris Engle def. Dustin Chaviler via submission (armbar) Round 1, 1:21.

Alex Anagostis def. Jonathon Robinson via unanimous decision.

With all of the knockouts and submissions at the first-ever mixed martial arts event at The M Resort, promotion company MMA Xplosion could have forgone hiring judges.

Only two of the ten fights on Saturday night went to decisions and none of the main card bouts went the distance.

In the main event, IFL veteran John Gunderson (22-6) became the first MMA Xplosion lightweight champion, following his submission victory over Steve Sharp.

But Sharp (24-11) was the aggressor for the majority of the fight, winning the opening round with his relentless striking.

“He was throwing so many elbows, and they were powerful,” Gunderson said.

Sharp continued to let the elbows fly in the second round, even after Gunderson had taken the fight to the ground.

But going into the third round, Gunderson had a renewed sense of urgency.

“I knew that if he landed a good elbow it would cut me and that would be the end for me,” Gunderson said. “So I felt like I just had to go out there and take it from him.”

Gunderson wrestled his way to a series of submission attempts in the third, before sinking in a kimura lock three minutes and 17 seconds into the round.

“Coming into this fight, I knew that if I lost it would be from the kimura,” Sharp said. “That kid has a strong, strong kimura and he’s good at it.”

The submission, however, was a rather tame ending compared to some of the wild knockouts during the evening.

After being out of MMA for two years with a back injury, Angelo Antuna’s return to the ring lasted only 11 seconds. Antuna (5-1) knocked out Josh Powell (3-4) with a quick, three-strike combo immediately after the fight’s opening bell.

Antuna was happy with his long-awaited return, despite its brevity. “I would rather make them all that short and go home early,” he said.

But it was Odis Ruiz (1-0) who stole the show with an arsenal of what announcer Joey Varner referred to as “Hail Mary” moves.

Ruiz employed several flying knees and Superman punches in his match against Mike Dizak (2-3). But it was a well-timed spinning-backfist 26 seconds into the third round that proved to be the match winner.

“At first, I was trying to let him punish me and get him confident so he can get closer to me,” said Ruiz, who gave up free shots throughout the fight.

“The more confident he got, the more his hands started dropping,” Ruiz said. “All I needed was to bait him in. I turned my back and just backhanded him.”

The blow landed square on Dizak’s jaw, giving Ruiz a knockout in his pro debut.

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