Luke Howard halted a two fight losing skid to score an important second round submission victory over fellow local Anthony Bynoe on Friday night.
The welterweight bout headlined the Eternal 43 card which took place at the HQ Complex in Adelaide, South Australia.
The first round was for the best part fought against the cage with Howard, who is training out of Bali MMA, pushing and grappling Bynoe against the cage. Bynoe stayed calm and when the space opened up in the final minute of the round, the Trinity MMA trained fighter flurried with punches that opened him up for a takedown.
Howard wasted no time getting the takedown in the first 15-seconds of the second round. Against the cage, Howard opened up the guard and moved to half-guard as he continued to throw short punches. Bynoe made the mistake of giving his back and it was quickly taken by Howard who attempted to lock up the rear-naked choke. Bynoe successfully defending for the majority of the round but with Howard failing with that in the final minute he smoothly transitioned to an armbar to get the tap.
The win came 4:27 into the second round as Howard moved his record to 5-3. Bynoe drops to 6-5.
“I had that rear-naked choke under the chin but Anthony to his credit used a defence that I never actually knew would work. He pressured up on the cage and took the ability away to sink the elbow behind. I knew if I stayed patient and wore the pressure down until the last 30-seconds.
“I heard my corner go, 30-seconds.. now it the time.. now is the time, so I switched to the armbar and they are my bread and butter.
Howard went on to detail a battle with mental health and how this was considered an important fight for him. Bynoe left the gloves in the cage at the conclusion of the fight, signalling his intention to retire.
In the first women’s title fight in Eternal, Casey O’Neill captured the women’s strawweight title with a decision win against Amira Hafizovic.
O’Neill overcame a slow start from which she was taken down and took some punishment in the form of ground-and-pound. O’Neill worked to her feet and her boxing started to shine through as she defended a takedown attempt before reversing the clinch against the cage. On the outside, O’Neill pressured, not giving Hafizovic room or time to set up her combinations.
O’Neill stayed on the front foot in the second round throwing punches with a large portion getting through the guard of her opponent. Hafizovic clinched against the cage but again O’Neill was able to reverse it, this time also securing the back standing. Hafizovic stayed game but her inability to take the fight to the ground proved to be her detriment as a cut opened up over her left eye.
It wasn’t as if Hafizovic’s strikes were not landing but O’Neill utilised her angles to get the better of exchanges, incorporating short elbows with punching combinations from the outside.
All three judged awarded O’Neill the win 30-27, as she started her professional career with a title victory. Prior to that she had won five straight in the amateur ranks.
Earlier on the card, Alan Hartley submitted Paul Traish with a first round triangle choke while Jesse Medina again proved not to ever count him out as he recovered from losing the two opening rounds to submit Nicko Flessas in the final minute of the bout.