(Scott Welton, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Nate Taylor is the new AFC light heavyweight champion.
While the temperatures inside the Sikeston National Guard Armory were high, nearly 600 fight fans endured the heat and were rewarded with a full night of hot mixed martial art action during the Absolute Fighting Challenge V "Total Conflict" Saturday June 30.
Taylor, of Miletich Fighting Systems of Southeast MO in Sikeston, became the first to hold the AFC light heavyweight belt by defeating opponent Kelley Burch of Farmington Outlaws MMA by TKO in the first round of the main event.
There was a bit of controversy as some spectators believed the championship fight was stopped due to an illegal strike to the groin.
Don Davis Jr., who organized the event, confirmed that Taylor had received a warning for a low blow earlier in the round but said in the end both coaches and officials agreed the blow which led the referee to stop the match was a legal strike to the thigh.
After warming up the crowd with some a half-dozen amateur boxing matches including youth and women's fights, the mixed martial art undercard action began with a featherweight match between Bobby Aikman of Max Bishop's MMA and Scotty Mitchell of MFS of SEMO. Aikman won the match by TKO.
Heavyweights Daniel Sisco of Team Evolution and Steve Miller of MFS of SEMO faced off next with Sisco taking the win by TKO.
In the third bout, Mike Zaricor of Farmington Outlaws MMA defeated Alex Masis of Max Bishop's MMA by TKO in their lightweight match.
The fourth fight was also a lightweight match in which Matt Hardin of Baker's Karate scored a TKO on Joshua Dolan of Bloomfield for the win.
In Bout 5, another lightweight matchup, Larry Huffman of Max Bishop's MMA came out the winner by putting opponent Brandon Sisco in a "triangle choke," a technique which forces a submission by applying pressure to the neck using the legs.
Welterweights Joey Sassinger of Farmington Outlaws MMA and Travis Adams of Max Bishop's MMA met in the ring next. Sassinger was awarded the victory with a TKO.
In the seventh MMA fight of the evening, a heavyweight match, Adam Long of Farmington Outlaws MMA was declared the winner over opponent Brad Miller of MFS of SEMO by TKO.
Jason Wood of Max Bishop's MMA won his welterweight match by forcing a submission from Chris Hulsey of Baker's Karate using a guillotine choke.
Two middleweight matchups followed. In the first, Corey Fultz of Max Bishop's MMA defeated Josh Lacey of Team Shocker by using a triangle choke after weathering several vicious body slams from Lacey.
In the second middleweight match, Lance Greer of Max Bishop's MMA was awarded the win when his opponent, John Hill of MFS of SEMO, was disqualified for using an illegal technique: a knee to the head which ended the fight and took Greer several minutes to recover from.
Aaron Gilbreath of Max Bishop's MMA won his featherweight match by forcing a submission from Shannon Mouser of Sikeston using a "heel hook," a joint lock which twists the ankle or knee.
Heavyweight Dirk Miller of Max Bishop's MMA defeated Tommy Reynolds of Morley by TKO in the 12th MMA match of the night.
Super heavyweights Kyle Jones of Team Beatdown and Dustin Brown of Dexter followed with Jones scoring a win by TKO.
In the last undercard MMA fight of the night, another super heavyweight matchup, Hank Hill MFS of SEMO put Brad Ealey of Team Beatdown in a rear naked choke for the win.