LFA 123 took place in Hammond, Indiana last Friday and featured a bantamweight main event between former The Ultimate Fighter Season 29 contestant Daniel Argueta and undefeated Brazilian Mairon Santos.
Opening in southpaw, Argueta closed the distance with Santos straight away. The American ate a counter right hand coming in on Santos but was able to clinch against the cage and briefly look for a double leg before pulling Santos off the fence and throwing him to the canvas. While “A Lenda” managed to sit up and get his back on the fence, Argueta wasted no time and started unloading with right hands. Argueta offered Santos absolutely no space to try and get to his feet, taking his back with one hook in and continuing to throw strikes as the Brazilian desperately tried to defend his head. Santos got to his feet momentarily with about a minute and a half left in the round, but quickly returned to the mat and was mounted right before the bell.
The second round saw the fighters spend a few extra seconds on the feet to start, but it didn’t take long for Argueta to punch his way in and get another takedown against the cage. This time “The Determined” went straight into mount and started throwing vicious elbows down on Santos. Referee Rob Hinds was taking a close look at the action halfway through the round, but Santos was able to remain active and even managed to get Argueta in his full guard briefly before giving up his back and ending the round with the American in mount once again.
Argueta opened the final round with a hard body kick to back Santos up before securing another takedown against the fence and going straight to Santos’s back. The Brazilian continued to defend himself as he had in the previous rounds, but when it was clear he’d be unable to escape the position and with Argueta pouring on volume Rob Hinds stepped in to end it just past the halfway mark of the round.
Although Santos did well to get the fight into the third round and was still trying to defend himself even at the time of the stoppage, this fight would have been extremely lopsided for Argueta had it gone to the judges the scorecards. To Santos’s credit he was always making efforts to cover his head from Argueta’s strikes and trying escape from the bottom, but Argueta’s top pressure was just too much for the Brazilian to handle.
This was Santos’s first LFA bout after spending the majority of his career competing in Brazil, and although he suffered his first pro loss the Brazilian is only twenty-one years old. While the only real moment of success he had in this fight was the counter right he landed on Argueta’s very first takedown attempt, the Brazilian did showcase his toughness in this bout. Even with the overwhelming pressure from Argueta there was no point in the fight where Santos looked to have given up, and that bodes well for his career going forward.
Since losing to eventual season winner Ricky Turcios back on TUF, Argueta now has two stoppage wins in LFA which brings his official pro record to 7-0 with six finishes. As lopsided as this fight was, the dominance he was able to put on against another young prospect made this very much a statement win for him. He didn’t have too much difficulty getting Santos down, but the way he was able to control top position and land brutal ground and pound could be a problem for any fighter he’s able to bring to the mat.
Argueta is already on the UFC’s radar from his time on TUF, and if he keeps putting on dominant performances like this, it shouldn’t be long until he gets another call from them.