Two of the featherweight division's more entertaining combatants will duke it out at The Pearl at the Palms this Saturday (March 28, 2015) as WBC champion Jhonny Gonzalez takes on prospect Gary Russell, Jr.
MMA Mania will have LIVE coverage of the event, starting with the Showtime broadcast at 10:00 PM EST.
Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KO), a veteran of almost sixteen years, shocked the world in August of 2013, laying out -1350 favorite and pound-for-pound ranked Abner Mares with a tremendous left hook, lifting the WBC title from him in a single round. He's fought twice since, most recently putting away fellow Mexican veteran Jorge Arce last October.
Russell (25-1, 14 KO), long touted for his exceptional hand speed, got his first crack at a world title against two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko last June. Despite it being just Lomachenko's third pro fight, the Ukrainian ran roughshod over his fellow prospect, seemingly justifying the complaints that Russell had not been seriously tested. He's since re-entered the win column by taking a decision over Christopher Martin in December.
In the co-feature, unbeaten super welterweight Jermell Charlo (25-0, 11 KO) will take on former title challenger Vanes Martirosyan (35-1, 21 KO), who fell short in his bid for the vacant WBO crown against Demetrius Andrade in 2013.
Quick results and round-by-round coverage below.
Featherweight Championship: Gary Russell, Jr. def. Jhonny Gonzalez by TKO at 0:37 of Round Four
Super Welterweight: Jermell Charlo def. Vanes Martirosyan by unanimous decision (97-93, 96-94 x2)
Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Gary Russell, Jr.
Round one: Russell firing his jab early. Lead right uppercut from the American. One minute in. More jabs from Russell. Russell knocks Gonzalez back with a left hand. Body shot from the American. One minute to go. Gonzalez beginning to jab. Russell connects with a left, then one to the body. Straight left lands for him. Gonzalez 3-2 blocked. Bell, 10-9 Russell.
Round two: Russell very active, Gonzalez much less so. More jabs from the American. Left hook lands for Gonzalez. One minute in. Russell going high and low, eats a right hand. Russell connects with a counter left, then digs to the body when Gonzalez gets close. One minute to go. Clinch. Straight left from Russell, then a good body shot. Bell, 20-18 Russell.
Round three: Russell connects with a lead left. Gonzalez showing the left hook, not landing. Russell to the body. 1-2 from Russell, then a 3-2 that begins with the body. Russell to the body, then a right hook. Another right hook. Gonzalez to the body. One minute in. Gonzalez 1-2 blocked. Gonzalez looking for the right hand. Russell with a lead hook. One minute to go. Russell continuing to jab well. Body shot lands for him. Counter 2-3 by Russell takes Gonzalez's legs out from under him. He falls awkwardly to the canvas, but manages to make it to his feet. 30-26 Russell.
Round four: Russell very aggressive early. Gonzalez firing back, but falls to the canvas once again from a clipping left hand. He's back up in time, but he's very wobbly. Russell unloads on him and scores the third knockdown of the fight, which is enough to move the ref into action. Impressive performance from Russell.
Final result: Russell def. Gonzalez by TKO
Jermell Charlo vs. Vanes Matirosyan
Round one: Both men take center ring to begin. Jabs coming out early. Vanes rushes in, Charlo clinches. One minute in. Charlo sticks a right to the body, Vanes answers in kind and takes a left hook. Combination from Vanes hits glove, Charlo connects with a 3-2 in turn. One minute to go. Charlo looking for the check hook. 1-1-2 lands for him. Vanes to the body, then a blocked overhand right. Clinch. Vanes moves him tot he ropes and tries to unload, but can't connect before the bell. 10-9 Charlo.
Round two: Vanes connects with a right to the body and left hook upstairs. Another right downstairs after some protracted jabbing. 1-1-2 connects for the American. One minute in. Body shot from Matirosyan, Charlo claims it went low. Ref doesn't buy it. Counter right connects for Vanes, then another to the body. Charlo mostly limited to jabbing this round. One minute to go. Clinch. Another good right to the gut. 1-2 for Charlo into the clinch. Three-piece combo by Matirosyan. He manages to stick one more right to the body to end the round. 19-19.
Round three: Vanes to the body, Charlo with a check hook. 1-2 by the American met by a right up top. Nice 1-2 into the clinch. One minute in. Counter 1-2 by Vanes, then a swatting left hook. Charlo's jab working well. Good exchange inside, Charlo lands the better shots. One minute to go. Body shots by Vanes, overhand right by Charlo. Right downstairs by Vanes. Charlo connects with a lead right and a left hook, prompting Vanes to chase him until the bell. 29-28 Charlo.
Round four: Clinch early. Again, prompted by Charlo. Good jab and uppercut from Charlo. Jab exchanges. One minute in. 1-2 connects for the American. Vanes with that right to the gut. Another good 1-2 from Charlo. One minute to go. Vanes looking to jump in, so far not committing. Once more to the body, then a 1-2 of his own. One more to the body before the bell. 38-38.
Round five: Counter uppercut by Vanes prompts a clinch. Charlo comes up short with an uppercut. First minute populated by jabs. One minute in. Good left hook by Charlo. 1-2 from Vanes blocked. Jabbing seems to favor Charlo. Vanes connects with a cross around the guard, after which they swing in close. One minute to go. Vanes hops in with a left hook. Charlo avoids a four-punch combo. Vanes lands a counter right and a right to the gut to end the round. 48-47 Matirosyan.
Round six: Both connect with stiff lefts early. Charlo connects with a glancing left hook. 1-2 lands for him. Their feet get tangled up, causing a slip. Clinch. One minute in. 1-2-3 from Charlo jacks Vanes' jaw. Vanes to the body. Check hook by Charlo. Charlo straight right, Matirosyan left hook. Vanes to the body once more. One minute to go. Exchange, clinch. Charlo ducks some wild punches. Vanes on the attack, can't land. 57-57.
Round seven: Once again, both men jabbing early. Lead right from Vanes lands. Charlo still looking for that check hook, lands a 1-2-3. Another combo lands. Vanes lands a counter right, eats a counter hook. One minute in. Matirosyan drills the body. Clahs of heads indicated by Matirosyan. Charlo with a left hook after avoiding an uppercut. One minute to go. Matirosyan counter right. Another. 1-2 by Charlo, who then avoids a combo. Vanes to the body and head, both land. 67-66 Charlo.
Round eight: Lead hook from Charlo, then a counter right. Heavy right hand met by a stiff jab. Clash of heads once again and this one opens Matirosyan up. Doctor clears him to continue and Vanes comes out aggressively. Quick exchange, then a clinch. Again. One minute in. Vanes lands a straight right. Combination by Vanes just misses. Charlo right hand. Vanes to the body. Charlo looking for the big right hand. One minute to go. Vanes lead right, Charlo 1-2 in response. Good 1-2 from the Armenian. Counter right connects. 3-2 by Charlo before round's end. 76-76.
Round nine: Jabs early. Overhand by Charlo, then a clinch. One minute in. Vanes straight right, Charlo left hook. Vanes lands a pair of body shots that the ref calls low. Slow round. One minute to go. Nice 1-2 from Charlo. Vanes to the body, Charlo claims it's low. 2-3 from Matirosyan. Charlo lands a check hook before the bell. 86-86.
Round ten: Clinch to start. Both men whiffing early. Vanes lands a left at the end of a four-punch combo. One minute in. Charlo counter right, then another. Vanes to the body. Good cross by Charlo, clinch. One minute to go. Counter right by Matirosyan. Clinch. 1-2 lands for him. Clinch. Matirosyan on the advance, can't land clean before the bell. 96-95 Matirosyan.
Final result: Charlo def. Matirosyan by unanimous decision