As last night’s Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) 96 main event between Rakim Cleveland and Jamelle Jones was canceled, all eyes shifted toward the CFFC 97 main event between reigning champion Elise Reed (3-0) and challenger Hilarie Rose (5-2) for the strawweight title.
The fight started quickly, with Rose popping her jab before securing an arm-triangle choke on the feet and jumping guard. Reed showed her championship toughness by surviving the choke attempt. However, Rose quickly attempted more submissions, including an armbar, which she then transitioned to an inverted triangle choke from the bottom. Again, the champion survived the active and dangerous guard of Rose, eventually securing side control and attaining the back position with both hooks in, where the first round came to a close.
In the second round, the two continued exchanging on the feet, with commentator CM Punk consistently praising the speed and toughness of the reigning champion Reed. After Reed caught a kick from Rose, she began unloading punches in the clinch, eventually swarming Rose as she fell to the ground. As Reed looked to land shots on the ground, Rose attempted an armbar, which Reed escaped. She secured side control, and continued the flurry of ground elbows.
With mere seconds left in the round, referee Keith Peterson had seen enough, calling a halt to the back-and-forth bout at 4:57 of the second round and saving Rose from a salvo of vicious elbow strikes.
Not only did Reed defend her strawweight title. But she maintained her undefeated record, moving to 4-0. As far as what is next for Reed, there are certainly an array of options. It would appear that a call to the UFC is imminent, but if that is not the case, then another defense in CFFC or a transition to Invicta FC would certainly enable us to gain a more comprehensive understanding of just how elite Reed is. (Reed’s backstory and experience in MMA was covered by MMA-Prospects writer Zac Herbison ahead of her fight in December last year. It can be read here.)
In her post fight interview, she appealed to UFC president Dana White for a place on the roster: “I’ve got the belt, so someone come get it … Uncle Dana what else [do] I got to do my friend,” said Reed.
Reed also left open the possibility to fight in CFFC more, defending her belt and building up her record more.
“I’m here to take over, and if that means defending this belt until I hopefully get a call up, then that’s what I’ll do” said Reed. It should be noted that the prior CFFC Strawweight Champion, Miranda Granger, did eventually get a call to the UFC after winning the belt. Reed has now defended the belt twice.
“I loved calling your fights, but I hope I never see you here again” said commentator CM Punk, similarly appealing to the UFC for a shot at the big-show, comparing her to other CFFC products that are now in the UFC like Sean Brady and Pat Sabatini.
To win the title, Reed defeated Canadian strawweight prospect Jasmine Jasudavicius last year. Jasudavicius recently got a call to “Dana White’s Contender Series.” After tonight’s exciting main event performance, Reed is undoubtedly ready to make waves in the UFC, and it will be interesting to watch her career development moving forward. One thing is for sure – CFFC has found an exciting champion..