On a night that began filled with uncertainty, Unified MMA 41 delivered on all fronts.
Just hours before the scheduled main event between Shane Campbell (now 20-8) and Michael Hill was set to take place, the promotion received word Hill would no longer be competing. The reason for his withdrawal has still yet to be disclosed.
In came Matt Krayco (now 8-9-1) to save the main event. Krayco was originally set to face Cole Campbell last night, but made the move to take on Shane in the main event on just three hours notice.
Shane had nothing but respect for Krayco for giving him the opportunity to still compete, and went on to win a dominant unanimous decision along with the Unified MMA welterweight title.
“I have no clue what happened to Michael Hill, I didn’t really get an explanation. I seen that he was posting videos of him riding go-karts or some s**t at the f**king amusement park. I don’t know, I don’t care, the guy’s a bum. I think I stared at him too hard at the weigh-ins, I’m not too sure, but f**k that guy. For someone to show up, do weigh-ins, then back out after, I got no respect for that,” said Shane in an interview with MMA Empire.
“Massive respect for Matt Krayco for stepping up on only three hours notice. I told him in the cage he gets a rematch whenever he wants.”
Shane has now won three straight and eight of his last 10 fights.
Coming into the fight, he had his sights set on a return to the UFC with a win. And while that is very much still possible, he feels a stoppage win over Krayco would’ve helped the process.
“If I had a highlight reel finish I think it was a guaranteed call up,” said Shane.
“I have to go back and look at my performance. I’m never satisfied with my performance, but that’s the reason why I’m still in this sport and still pushing forward. I would’ve liked to have got the finish, but I did get a couple 50-43 scores from the judges, which is quite impressive.”
In the co-main event, Christian Larsen (now 6-2) successfully defended his Unified MMA heavyweight title by defeating Grayson Wells (now 5-4).
Fans received the fast finish they were all expecting in this contest, only not in the manner most were anticipating as Larsen locked in an arm triangle choke to secure the win.
“We kind of figured Grayson may come at me ready to throw and go to work on the ground, so it worked right into our game plan,” said Larsen in his post-fight interview.
Prior to this contest, Larsen had challenged Caio Machado for the his BFL heavyweight title back in June, a bout he would go on to drop.
Larsen said he was not happy with his performance that night and wants the opportunity for a rematch with Machado next.
“I want to run it back with Machado. I didn’t like my performance in the last fight,” said Larsen.
“He’s a guy I can beat. He did a good job, but he defended his belt, now come and try and take mine.”
In his first fight since May 2018, Behrang Yousefi (now 9-7) earned a second round submission win over Tim Smith (now 14-12).
Admitting to not feeling 100 per cent mentally leading into the fight, Yousefi said the end result was better than he anticipated.
“The fight went not the way I expected. I thought I’d be in for absolute hell the entire time with no victory in sight. I’ve not been this nervous for a match in a long f**king time, but that’s a reflection of my state of mind as a fighter, which really shows the fire is out for me as well,” said Yousefi in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I’ve lost the will to hurt my fellow man. And when you can no longer morally justify fighting somebody to improve your life, you shouldn’t do it. This game’s not for the faint of heart. Quite frankly, being where I am in life, I can’t justify hurting someone in any sense just to collect a pay cheque. I don’t want my advances in life to come at the expense of my fellow man.”
Looking ahead, Yousefi said he’s hoping to start passing on his knowledge to the younger athletes in the sport and help build the next generation of talent.
“I’m just going to continue doing what I have done the whole time, just showing up to class a few times, help other people advance, teach people what I know so they get better and prepare the next generation for their journey,” said Yousefi.
Chris Chapman, Jett Grande, Phil Engeroff, John Moore and Tony Rojas were also victorious on the night, while Tim Smith announced his retirement following his loss to Yousefi.