Curtis Millender called upon his most trusted weapon, and it did not let him down.
Millender knocked out Bellator MMA alum Nick Barnes with a ringing head kick in the second round of their Legacy Fighting Alliance 30 headliner on Friday at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California. An unconscious Barnes (12-3) bounced off the canvas 2:51 into Round 2. No follow-up shots were required.
Barnes kept the CSW representative off-balance through the first five minutes. He staggered Millender with an overhand left, struck for a takedown and unloaded with heavy ground-and-pound. However, his efforts went for naught. Millender (14-3) countered an inside leg kick with a straight right hand in the second round and followed it with the head kick. Shin met skull, and the curtain closed.
Millender, 30, has rattled off six consecutive victories, the last two with head kick knockouts.
In the featherweight co-main event, repeated takedowns and sublime topside grappling carried Team Quest’s Talison Soares Costa to a unanimous decision over Fernando Padilla in a three-round collision at 145 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Costa (10-2): 30-26, 30-27 and 30-26.
Padilla (9-2) struggled just to survive. Costa executed takedowns in all three rounds, achieved full mount on several occasions, applied his ground-and-pound when the situation called for it and fired off a variety of submissions. The 29-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt shredded Padilla’s guard with smooth passes and smothered him from top position, seemingly one step ahead of the Mexican prospect at every turn.
The loss snapped Padilla’s four-fight winning streak.
Meanwhile, Jackson-Wink MMA prospect Jordan Wright kept his perfect professional record intact and did so in flawless fashion, as he submitted Craig Wilkerson with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their middleweight showcase. Wilkerson (7-4) conceded defeat 1:29 into Round 1, his three-fight winning streak at an end.
Wright (9-0) buzzed the tower with a right cross, backed up his counterpart with a spinning attack and uncorked a right uppercut that had him ducking for cover. He quickly wheeled to Wilkerson’s back, secured his position with a body triangle and cinched the choke, prompting the tapout after a series of adjustments.
The promising Wright has finished all nine of his opponents inside one round.
In other action, 2008 Olympian Maikel Perez Gonzalez cruised to a lopsided unanimous decision against Charlie Alaniz in a three-round flyweight affair, sweeping the scorecards with 30-25, 30-26 and 30-26 nods from the judges; Christian Aguilera knocked out Maicon Mendonca with a right hook 27 seconds into the first round of their pairing at 170 pounds; Vince Cachero claimed a unanimous decision over Nohelin Hernandez in a three-round bantamweight scrap, drawing 30-27 marks from all three judges; and Blake Troop took care of Khadzhimurat Bestaev with punches 2:11 into the first round of their encounter at 205 pounds.