LFA 98 results – Fremd advances to fight for the LFA middleweight title, Clay grinds out smart victory

Josh Fremd lands a hammerfist. Credit: LFA, UFC Fight Pass (Screengrab via Sherdog).

Legacy Fighting Alliance’s LFA 98 took place Friday, January 29th, 2021 in Park City, Kansas.

The event was headlined by middleweight standouts Josh Fremd (7-1) and Bruno Oliveira (8-3), who fought a semi-final tournament bout to decide who would advance the tournament finals and a chance at the vacant LFA middleweight title.

In the co-main, previously profiled prospect Lucas Clay (7-1) fought Dana White Contender Series alum J.J. Okanovich (7-2) in a lightweight bout.

The results of the event are as follows:

Lucas Clay (7-1) def. J.J. Okanovich (7-2)

The older J.J. Okanovich came out pressuring, putting Lucas Clay behind the black lines immediately. Clay tried to circle and control range, but Okanovich landed heavy punches early. A combination of five hooks from Okanovich sounded especially heavy, though the punches appeared to be somewhat blocked by Clay. Clay responded by circling out of the position. As Okanovich tried to follow, Clay hit him with a spinning back fist, momentarily dropping him.

From the ground, Okanovich grabbed Clay’s leg and attempted to take Clay down. Though he briefly ended up on top, Clay quickly took his back and put a body triangle around Okanovich. Clay would hold the position for most of the round, landing safe strikes to the head and body while looking for a submission. Okanovich managed to spin through and take top position in the last 30 seconds, but it was too little, too late, according to the judges; each judge scored the round 10-9 for Clay.

Clay opened round two with a takedown, putting Okanovich on his back in the first thirteen seconds. Okanovich never got up. Clay spent a couple of minutes in Okanovich’s guard, landing strikes, before passing his guard halfway through the round. Clay spent the rest of the round moving between side-control and half-guard, landing ground-and-pound and seeming to keep position with ease. Exiting the second round, every judge had the score 20-18 for Clay.

In between rounds, Okanovich’s corner stressed that he needed to keep his distance, saying multiple times “don’t get close.” Okanovich came out pressuring again, but with a larger emphasis on controlling distance. Okanovich fought off one takedown attempt from Clay, but a second attempt took him to the ground briefly, and the resulting scramble put Okanovich against the fence.

As Clay dominated the grappling, Okanovich became visibly frustrated, insulting Clay and accusing him of not wanting to fight. With Clay having one hook set in the process of taking Okanovich’s back, Okanovich began protesting to the ref, seeming to say something along the lines of, “Who would wanna watch this?” The referee rewarded Okanovich’s complaint with a separation despite Clay working to take his back.

Okanovich understood the gift that he was given. With 2:20 remaining in the fight, his urgency was obvious. Okanovich proceeded to do his best work of the fight, landing heavy punches with little answer for about forty-five seconds before Clay took him down again. Okanovich quickly scooted to the fence to return to his feet, but Clay never let up, and controlled the remainder of the fight, ending the round in mount.

The judges awarded the fight to Clay, 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28.

Josh Fremd (7-1) def. Bruno Oliveira (8-3)

Oliveira quickly pressured Fremd to the fence. Fremd seemed overwhelmed momentarily, but then began holding his own in the striking before taking Oliveira down. After over a minute of control time on the ground and against the cage, Oliveira separated and began striking from range.

Fremd seemed settled in, no longer getting backed up by Oliveira. Oliveira controlled the distance with his reach advantage and long kicks. When Oliveira attempted to pressure Fremd to the fence again, he ate a leg kick in response. Undeterred, Oliveira feinted his way into the pocket, only to be intercepted by a left hook.

Oliveira wobbled and fell, sideways, eating a couple of hammerfists before the referee stopped the fight, sending Fremd on to the finals of the LFA middleweight championship tournament.