If you’re a fan of first-round finishes, BFL 56 did not disappoint.
Out of the eight MMA bouts on the card, not a single fight reached the judges scorecards, with six of the eight matches ending in the first round.
In the main event of the evening, and a rematch from BFL 47, Dejan Kajic (now 9-7-2, 1 NC) became the new BFL middleweight champion after knocking out Chris Anderson (now 6-2) in the first round.
“It felt great. We stayed in my world, which is boxing,” said Kajic in an interview.
“This was the third time I’ve fought for a title, so I guess it was three times a charm.”
This will be the first time, in his professional career, Kajic has been in the position of title defender, and while he said he’s normally not one to call people out, there’s a specific opponent he has his sights set on for a potential matchup for the new 175-pound BFL title.
Back on Aug. 25, 2017, Kajic defeated Tim Welch, in convincing fashion, at Intense Championship Fighting 28. Two weeks ago, Kajic said he heard Welch on a podcast talking about their fight, in which Welch made some comments that sparked the potential rematch conversation.
“He said some ridiculous things like I got lucky and that he almost finished me in the second round. That really rubbed me the wrong way because obviously that was one of the easiest fights I’ve ever had,” said Kajic.
“I would love to rematch him in my hometown after I drove 17 hours to his hometown in Montana to fight him the first time.”
Same Matchup, Different Result
In the co-main event and featherweight title bout, Nick Ghaeni (now 3-3) and Gagan Gill (now 2-0) met for the second time after first meeting as amateurs back in 2014.
This time around, it would be Gill who came out on top with a second-round submission to cap off a dominating performance.
“I knew he was trying to get an early knockout because I knew he couldn’t go five rounds,” said Gill in an interview.
“I was just staying calm, staying relaxed, picking my shots, and being smart. I knew I was going to put him away; it was just a matter of time.”
After putting together an impressive 8-2 record as an amateur, Gill is continuing that success into the pro ranks, already adding a championship belt to his collection.
While he’s happy with becoming the BFL featherweight champion, Gill said there’s plenty more to come in his young career.
“This is just the beginning for me; I’m only 23 years old,” said Gill
“I’m willing to fight anyone at 145 pounds. I think I’m the best, so I’m ready to defend my title.”
Top Contender Status
Also in the middleweight division, Jared Revel cemented himself as a top contender to be the next challenger for Kajic’s newly-won middleweight strap.
Revel (now 7-2) used his strong ground game against Nick Coughran (now 3-7) to lock in a rear-naked choke at 3:49 of the first round, propelling him to his sixth win in his last seven fights.
“Overall, I executed what I’m good at and got the win, which is the most important thing,” said Revel in an interview.
“I don’t think I’m as satisfied as I’d like to be. I guess I had a different vision of how the fight would go, but I have to look at the fact I executed, I finished, and did what I needed to do.”
While Revel is next in line to challenge Kajic for the middleweight title, he said he’s not sure where he’ll stand going forward, in regards to weight classes.
He said with all the talk of BFL potentially moving to same-day weigh-ins, and fighters competing closer to their walking-around weight, the middleweight title might not be an option.
“Obviously I have lots of respect for Kajic, I think he’s a great fighter and it would be an honour to fight him,” said Revel.
“I want to challenge myself, and I want to fight the best.”
In other championship action, Josh Morgan (now 3-2) won the BFL amateur heavyweight title, submitting Terrence Spina (now 3-1) in the third round.
Micah Brakefield, Craig Maclean, Howie Tan, Jesse Bull, Parrish Shipley, Victor Dodge, Jason Giroux, and Raphael Ouellet were all also victorious on the evening.