In the second round of their featherweight showcase on Friday at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, unbeaten Xtreme Couture representative Brahyan Zurcher submitted David Evans and secured a Professional Fighters League contract during Week 6 of the PFL Challenger Series. Evans (5-2, 0-1 PFL) exited the game 1:37 into Round 2, losing his first career match through submission.
With kicks, power punches, and a takedown late in the first round, Zurcher (5-0, 3-0 PFL) tore at his opponent’s body and lead leg. He moved from half guard to side control and then eventually moved to the back, where he eventually secured his position with a body triangle just before the clock ran out. Early in the middle of the round, Zurcher secured another takedown before climbing to the back and snaking his arms into position for the last crank.
Three of the five people that the 26-year-old Zurcher has defeated have been submitted.
Meanwhile, in their featherweight matchup, Nathan Kelly of SBG Ireland defeated Zachary Hicks with an arm-triangle choke in the opening frame. 2:30 into Round 1, Kelly (7-2, 2-0 PFL) called it a night after an almost faultless performance.
Hicks (8-5, 0-1 PFL) was never taken into consideration. A little more than 90 seconds into the fight, Kelly executed a takedown from the clinch and quickly advanced to full mount. He didn’t spend any time after that in pressing towards the goal. Kelly bit down on the arm-triangle, strengthened his grip, and coerced the tapout.
The 25-year-old Kelly has racked up seven straight wins.
In another fight, James Gonzalez, a past champion of both the Ring of Combat and the Cage Fury Fighting Championships, knocked out Vikas Singh Ruhil in the opening frame of their featherweight contest. With his three-fight winning streak over, Ruhil (12-7, 0-1 PFL) was knocked out at 4:20 in the first round.
During a succession of kicks to the body and legs, Gonzalez (10-5, 1-0 PFL) had the upper hand. Late in the opening round, Ruhil pushed him up against the fence and let free with punches, but he also left himself vulnerable to a counterattack. With a clubbing right hand, Gonzalez knocked him to the ground. He then jumped into full mount and ramped up the ground and pound until referee Josh Rutgers had had enough.
Gonzalez, who is 33 years old, has triumphed in four of his last five fights.
Lastly, in a three-round featherweight contest against Ago Huskic, Tropa Thai prospect Gabriel Braga maintained his unblemished professional record by winning by unanimous decision. With scores of 30-25, 30-27, and 29-28, all three judges agreed with Braga (9-0, 1-0 PFL).
Huskic, 28, was competitive but outmatched (8-6, 0-1 PFL). In addition to performing takedowns in each of the three rounds, Braga frequently ascended to full mount and racked up ground and pound points. His strongest performance came in Round 1, when he moved to the back, took control of the situation with a body triangle, and almost finished the fight with a rear-naked choke. Braga had set the stage for what was to come even though a finish didn’t materialise.
Huskic is currently in the midst of a four-fight losing streak.