There was a lot of buzz surrounding embattled former NFL star Greg Hardy's second venture into the mixed martial arts cage.
The Ultimate Fighter 26 and Bellator 189 weren’t the only MMA events that took place Friday, as American Kombat Alliance returned for its sophomore fight card: Rite of Passage 2.
The night of fights was stacked from top to bottom with some of the best amateur and professional mixed martial artists that the greater Louisiana had to offer. When the fight card was announced last month, American Kombat Alliance gained national headlines due to one of the competitors that would be featured in its headlining bout: former NFL star Greg Hardy.
In the main event of the evening, Hardy (2-0) made his second career mixed martial arts appearance, as he took on Mississippi amateur debutant Kenneth Woods (0-1).
The controversial former Carolina Panthers pro-bowler was coming off a big win in his debut last month, defeating Joe Hawkins in just 32 seconds by knockout. On Friday night, the 29-year-old picked up right where he left off. In just 96 seconds Hardy swarmed Woods, throwing a barrage of head kicks and punches. Woods tried to scramble away to regain himself, but the swarming Hardy proved to be too much.
One final kick to the head and some follow up shots were all that the referee needed to see to call off the bout.
Former Gymnast Proves To Be The Real Deal
Hardy wasn’t the only athlete making his second “crossover” outing in mixed martial arts on Friday night. A former gymnast at Baylor University, “All Hail” Hailey Cowan (2-0) battled for gold against fellow flyweight Christina Ricker (3-3).
Cowan put on a clinic, battering Ricker both on the feet and on the ground for the duration of the fight. Ricker amazingly survived despite multiple instances in which the fight seemed to be just seconds away from being stopped. Cowan, who analyst Mike “The Truth” Jackson so accurately compared to a young Holly Holm, swept all three rounds on all judges’ scorecards to win her first career MMA title.
In other action, the co-main event of the evening saw a rematch between undefeated professional lightweights Brant Moore (2-0) and Spencer Flores (1-1) leave it all in the cage, with Moore winning via first round submission. Rite of Passage 2’s main card also featured a second amateur title fight in the heavyweight between undefeated Texan Doug Franklin (3-1) and Louisiana’s own Joshua Metzger (5-1). In classic heavyweight fashion, the bout ended by knockout in the first round, with Metzger coming out victorious.
Check out the complete results for Rite of Passage 2 below:
Amateur heavyweight bout: Greg Hardy (2-0) def. Kenneth Woods (0-1) by TKO (strikes) in Round 1
Professional lightweight bout: Brant Moore (2-0) def. Spencer Flores (1-1) by submission (rear naked choke) in Round 1
Professional welterweight bout: Steven Jones (1-0) def. Raymond Knight (2-4) by knockout (head kick) in Round 1
Amateur heavyweight title bout: Joshua Metzger (5-1) def. Doug Franklin (3-1) by TKO (punches) in Round 1
Amateur women’s flyweight title bout: Hailey Cowan (2-0) def. Christina Ricker (3-3) by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Amateur welterweight bout: Josh Thompson (11-4) def. Michael Manno (3-2) by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Amateur featherweight bout: Kelby Pearah (1-0) def. John Jackson (0-1) by submission (rear-naked choke) at in Round 1
Amateur lightweight bout: Devin Cannon (9-4) def. Evan Hill (1-1) by submission (guillotine choke) in Round 2
Amateur flyweight bout: Carlos Arriola (2-0) def. Miguel Cruz (0-1) by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Amateur bantamweight bout: Jake Foster (4-4) def. Gabe Peterson (3-1) by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)