Card recap: Titan FC 61 – Italian Gangster snaps up vacant bantamweight strap

TITAN has a new bantamweight champion after Danny Sabatello defeated Raymond Ramos in their headliner grudge match at Titan FC 61. Held once again in Miami, Florida, fans were treated to three first round submission finishes across six entertaining bouts, with plenty of bad blood remaining following the quick main event.

>> SCROLL down for all the results in our full card recap.

Danny Sabatello def. Raymond Ramos | Submission (rear-naked choke) 1:56 Rd 1

Danny Sabatello is the new Titan FC bantamweight champion after claiming the vacant title by way of first round submission over Raymond Ramos. It seems the ‘Italian Gangster’ can do no wrong of late, quickly making amends for his first professional loss with two impressive victories to move to 8-1.

Sabatello’s chain wrestling worked to get the fight to the mat and keep it there, with his initial double-leg entry requiring adjustments and some persistent to get the job done. The champ’s swarming pressure and aggressive transitions saw him take Ramos’ back, sinking a hook in and locking the choke under his opponents’ chin to yield the tap.

Bad blood lingered after the bout, too, as Sabatello celebrated in his usual animated fashion while Ramos refused to shake his hand in a usual showing of mutual respect. The two flapped gums as the finish was made official, and Ramos clearly was not impressed with Sabatello’s outspoken nature, especially after being called out for this fight.

Landon Quinones def. Geralbert Castillo | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 30-27, 29-28

This fight was an absolute belter. Landon Quinones got the unanimous nod over Geralbert Castillo in their three-round war, with either man going extremely close to ending the fight in Round 2.

The opening exchanges were very close, with Castillo respecting the power of his opponent and looking to clinch up after being touched within boxing range. He would successfully smother Quinones and cancel out his key asset in the first round, arguably taking the points through those five minutes.

Castillo very nearly ended it early in Round 2, winging a wild overhand onto Quinones’ chin just as the latter was looking comfortable. He may have gassed himself out looking for the finish though, swarming on the grounded Quinones but unable to prevent his recovery. Quinones would then mount his own attack, turning the tables completely with mean knees in the clinch and a big one up the middle which knocked Castillo’s mouthpiece out.

It was clear that Castillo had little left in the tank having relinquished Round 2, but Quinones would remain calm in looking to methodically dispatch of his opponent. A big moment in the final round saw Quinones again knock Castillo’s mouthpiece out with a punishing left hand, but the referee saw fit to break the action to the winner’s dismay.

It mattered little though, as Quinones maintained control of the round and remained wary his opponent’s power from range to grind out the victory, ending it on top in the final exchanges.

We had it: 29-28 Quinones – Round 1 could have gone either way, but Quinones easily took out Round 3 and edged the second despite being dropped early.

Victor Dias def. Cleveland McLean | Decision (split) 29-28, 28-29, 29-28

The win came via split decision, but there was no doubting the impressive nature of Victor Dias’ triumph over Cleveland McLean in their flyweight scrap, with the Brazilian jiu jitsu ace getting the job done despite some crisp boxing from his American opponent.

McLean, a power puncher, ripped some terrific combinations to the head and body of Dias and showcased his well-rounded game by remaining cool in a series of crises on the mat. He had his moments and constantly whipped his right hand over Dias’ guard, arguably taking out Round 1 and having the better of Round 3’s early stages.

But Dias’ smothering grappling pressure and ability to work from McLean’s back ultimately earned him the nod, with the bout very nearly finished via rear-naked choke in Round 2. Dias repeatedly looked to slip his left arm under McLean’s neck, but had his hands fought against well, while struggling to retain the body triangle to arch and exaggerate the choke.

Dias threatened the same choke late in Round 3 after McLean found himself in leg lock territory, and simply did what he needed to in order to claim points in at least two rounds. His cardio seemed sound too, not burning the arms out despite big squeezes and having his guard peppered.

We had it: 29-28 Dias – the right call, McLean clearly took Round 1, Dias dominated the second, and took out the third despite McLean’s early success on the feet.

Christian Ynastrilla def. Phillip Keller | Submission (triangle choke) 2:04 Rd 1

A near 10-pound discrepancy and cancellation rollercoasters did little to prevent Christian Ynastrilla from moving to 6-1 as a professional, after submitting 38-year-old Phillip Keller in the first round.

The bout, originally mooted as a 130-pound catchweight event had a spanner thrown in the works when Keller missed weight by 7.8 pounds, and a touch of bad blood lingered from the fact immediately after the stoppage.

The bigger, more physical Keller looked to exploit his advantage by pressuring Ynastrilla early, landing a big takedown and moving forward well. But Ynastrilla worked beautifully from his back with his legs up high in guard, and threatening to transition to a submission.

He did exactly that despite Keller’s calm defence, locking in a tight armbar which was narrowly escaped, before making the adjustment to a triangle choke to yield the tap.

Joey Y’Shua def. Ryan Schwartzberg | Submission (rear-naked choke) 4:49 Rd 1

Joey Y’Shua came out with a point to prove in his maiden professional MMA bout, and did exactly that with a submission win over fellow debutant, Ryan Schwartzberg within the first round. The 25-year-old looked comfortable in all areas of the fight and while he is a more renowned kickboxer, finished it on the ground with a slick rear-naked choke.

Y’Shua’s stand-up skills were shown early as he caught Schwartzberg with a beautiful three-piece, forcing the latter to take the fight to the ground. A beautiful sweep allowed him to get back up and throw some more diverse strikes, showing great rhythm with his kicking game in the face of Schwartzberg’s wild boxing.

An uppercut and takedown spelled the beginning of the end, as Y’Shua transitioned from side control, to mount, and onto the back. From there he would throw in a hook and slide one arm under the chin, remaining calm as Schwartzberg fought the hands to eventually put him out with an adjustment on the choke and great hip extension.

Collin Lubberts def. Irvin Jones | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 30-27, 30-27

Collin Lubberts improved to 5-1 after getting the better of Irvin Jones in their back-and-forth welterweight battle, which was fought almost exclusively on the feet. A mature, patient approach from the longer Lubberts helped to allay the threat of Jones’ boxing prowess, as the 24-year-old found his range to land the more definitive blows throughout the three rounds.

A sweet counter left hook stumbled Jones at the end of Round 1, and the same shot had Lubberts searching for a finish in the third. Both moments would end up proving the two defining factors of a closely contested fight. While Jones did his best to come out aggressively after a tight Round 2, he was beaten in the boxing exchanges by Lubberts’ cleaner shots on the inside.

We had it: 29-28 Lubberts – Round 1 and 3 clearly to Lubberts, toss a coin for the second.

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