Ares FC 3 took place last week in Paris, France and included several notable prospects plus two inaugural title fights for the French promotion.
The main card kicked off with two debuting light heavyweights as France’s Jacky Jeanne squared off with Morroco’s Yassine Boughanem.
The two fighters traded leg kicks to start before Boughanem very quickly took control of the cage, keeping Jeanne on the outside and using nice knees and elbows when he did close the distance. Jeanne was very much on the back foot for the majority of the round, but seemed to wake up with just over a minute left and breifly got top position in a round that still very clearly went to his Moroccan opponent. The Frenchman was much more urgent to start the second and came forward with his jab before backing Doughanem to the fence while landing combinations. Just under a minute into the round Doughanem broke away from an exchange and gestured to referee Mark Goddard that he was finished. While the victory came due to an apparent shoulder injury, the French crowd were thrilled to see Jeanne pick up the first victory of his MMA career.
Next up was a welterweight contest between Muslim Tulshaev and veteran Juan Manuel Suarez, who entered the night on an eight-fight win streak.
Chechnya’s Tulshaev came out aggressive and immediately backed Suarez into a clinch against the fence, where the two briefly battled for position before separating. Tulshaev was able to land a couple punches off the break, then closed the distance with a jumping right hand reminiscent of Anthony Pettis’s “Showtime Kick” followed by a left hook that sent Suarez to the canvas. The twenty-seven year old picked up the win just under a minute into the fight, improving his record to 9-2 and extending his win streak to five.
Following Tulshaev’s quick victory, the main card returned to the light heavyweight division with a matchup between undefeated French fighters Oumar Sy and Pailun Begai.
Although Begai had success while the fight was standing, it was Sy’s grappling that ended updominating the bout en route to a relatively lopsided unanimous decision. Begai was able to land hard kicks to the legs and body to challenge Sy at the beginning of each round, but Sy was quick to look for the takedown and control his fellow Frenchman for almost the entirety of the second and third rounds. The final scorecards were 30-27 from all three judges, and Oumar Sy added his first decision victory to a still-perfect 6-0 record.
The co-main event was very much a striker versus grappler affair for the Ares FC heavyweight title between Danilo Suzart and Benjamin Sehic.
Suzart came out swinging hard in the first round, but after an initial failed takedown Sehic was able to get the Brazilian to the canvas and keep top control for the majority of the round. While the first round pretty clearly belonged to the Bosnian, the second was very close after Sehic gave up top position chasing an armbar halfway through the round. Suzart was able to defend takedowns and win the third round fairly comfortably, but after doing the same for most of the fourth Sehic managed a late takedown and some top control before losing position against while looking for an armbar. Sehic grabbled a single-leg takedown early in the fifth and was able to ride out the round in top position against the fence, but the final scorecards saw Suzart win the Ares FC heavyweight title by majority decision (47-47, 48-47, 49-46).
Possibly the most impressive performance of the entire night came in the main event, where Abdoul “Lazy King” Abdouraguimov took on UFC veteran Godofredo Pepey with the Ares FC welterweight title on the line.
Pepey came out hard from the opening bell, sprinting across the cage to throw a knee and push Abdouraguimov into a clinch against the fence. The Brazilian tried for an outside trip but “Lazy King” reversed it and ended up in top position. Pepey tried to explode out using his legs and set up an omoplata, only for Abdouraguimov to escape and set up an inverted triangle in the ensuing scramble that forced the Brazilian to tap just over two minutes into the first round. In addition to capturing the Ares FC welterweight belt, Abdouraguimov brought his record to 14-1 (1 NC) and is earned his fourth straight first-round submission since his only career loss in 2019.
Considering how recently MMA has been legalized in France, it’s great to see Ares FC put on a fight card in the French capital that showcased impressive prospects and put on some entertaining fights. While Abdoul Abdouraguimov was the clear standout, Oumar Sy and Muslim Tulshaev also looked great in their wins and are worth keeping an eye on in the future.