Serhiy Sidey defends bantamweight title, Austin Russell overcomes major adversity to remain undefeated at BFL 70

The bantamweight division was on full display Friday night at BFL 70.

In the main event, Serhiy Sidey (now 6-1) successfully defended his BFL bantamweight title for the first time, finishing Ali Wasuk (now 4-2) with a body shot followed by punches in the fourth round.

Sidey said the fight played out as he expected and that his confidence grew even more after the first round.

“When that first round ended and I kind of felt his power and technique on the fence and in the wrestling it just really certified the thoughts I had in my head and all the training I’ve done. I just knew after that first round I’m 100 per cent better than this guy on the wall and in the wrestling,” said Sidey in an interview with MMA Empire.

“It just reassured me all the stuff I’ve been doing over the last few years has paid off. After that first round I sat down and told my corner I’m going to beat this guy at his own game.”

Sidey has now won two straight bouts, both of which were finishes, and has further cemented his champion status with the defence.

While he’s hoping an opportunity to earn a UFC contract is coming his way next, Sidey said he’s more than happy to continue defending his title against whoever BFL puts in front of him.

“I would love to get on Contender Series if they give me the call; I’ll definitely be ready for that. That would be my ideal option, but if that’s not a thing yet I’ll just keep defending the belt until I get the call,” said Sidey.

“My goal is to be in the UFC. I’m very happy that I’m the BFL champion, but I have to get to the UFC. I want to be the champion there.”

In the co-main event and potential number-one-contender bout, Austin Russell (now 3-0) delivered another impressive performance on the BFL stage, defeating Gio Platon (2-2) via majority decision.

The victory, however, didn’t come without some pre-fight adversity for Russell as he said he wasn’t pleased with how the events played out on fight day.

“Let’s just address that Gio missed weight not once but twice. That already just through a huge wrench in everything. Due to that, I didn’t even get a chance to get a decent warmup in, let alone get my hands wrapped. It was a gong show from the start,” said Russell in an interview with MMA Empire.

Platon missed the bantamweight mark on weigh-in day, but Russell said an agreement was reached that Platon needed to weigh in at 148 pounds or less on fight day in order for the fight to go on. Platon ended up missing that mark by over four pounds.

“I felt it was kind of unprofessional on him and a little bit on the promotion for kind of putting that pressure on me to make that call whether to continue this fight. Everything was all done last minute, so I made a quick judgement call right there that we’re going to take this fight even though he missed weight. I’m a fighter, that’s what you have to do, and I just had to fight. I just went out there with all heart and, luckily, I was able to come away with the win,” said Russell.

In addition to the pre-fight adversity, Russell also pushed through multiple illegal shots from Platon throughout the fight, one of which was missed by the official. After the final illegal shot in the third round, Platon had two points deducted by the official.

“In the first round when he was attacking that rear-naked choke he was definitely eye-gouging me. I even have the scar on my eye, a little blood clot above my eye. If that’s not evidence of an eye gouge then I don’t know what is,” said Russell.

With all the adversity, both pre-fight and in-fight, he had to overcome, Russell said it makes the victory feel even better.

“It makes me feel on top of the world. It just summarizes everything. I had to battle through adversity. I killed my body to make weight; I almost wanted to quit too, so I know what he (Platon) was going through. He just showed he was mentally weak and my coach said we can use that to our advantage. If we get into deep waters I don’t think he’s going to be ready to hang, and I think that showed.”

In other action on the card Bryce Gougeon, Jayden Martin, Dylan Schellenberg, Maxime Soucy, Oguzhan Yalcin, Varun Sunder Rajan, Sina Maani, Brad Hildenbrandt, and Dillon Foerster all came way with victories.

Fight recap brought to you by Eastside Fitness.