In news released earlier this week, Underground’s CEO, Mr. McKenna, announced that the promotion would be moving into new territory by eliminating their long-time 260k ID restriction. After a carefully planned breakthrough in 2016, this next step was a logical progression for an organization looking to be on top. In the first card of the year - and the first after this announcement - UGD wasted no time moving forward.
A promotional record 18,000 fans piled into Knight’s Court on Saturday night in an event that would go on to break the Event Rating, Fighter Pay and Ticket Revenue high marks for the organization. The entire card featured a number of fun back-and-forth scraps, but here’s how the main card broke down:
Main Event – Lightweight Title Fight
Philip "Lip" Gallagher v Loke "Laughing Agony" Westlund
In our main event, 2-time lightweight champion Phillip Gallagher looked to make his first successful title defence when he took on an undefeated Swedish challenger in Loke Westlund. The skills and physical attributes appeared to be pretty much even in this one, so it’s no surprise how tightly contested the fight would play out - at least for a while. Gallagher came out aggressive with punches to open the contest, eventually trapping the challenger against the cage in a tight clinch. Westlund would hold is own, however, and the champion would eventually back off but win the competitive round by repeating this strategy for the remainder of it. Westlund appeared to be gaining confidence in the opening moments of the 2nd round and opened a small cut with some sharp jab work. “Lip” would quickly regain momentum though, as he seemed to have stumbled the challenger with a jab of his own before ultimately finishing the fight a few minutes later with a beautiful uppercut and follow-up punches. After a few stumbles early in his UGD career, “Lip” has really turned things around with an impressive 4-fight run in his second run as champion.
Philip Gallagher (14-8, 7-3 UGD) defeats Loke Westlund (12-1, 1-1 UGD) via TKO (Strikes) R2 – 03:11
Co-Main Event – Light Heavyweight Division
Billy West v Sixth “Whimperer” Fist
Our co-main event saw two of the Light Heavyweight’s top contenders square off in a surprisingly quiet lead-up between two managers who have been very vocal to one another. An exciting opening exchange to start the match was finished with an already-bleeding Billy West landing a tough takedown into Sixth Fist’s half guard. From there, the American would stay active enough to avoid the standup and persisted in top position for the remainder of the round. The second round would be quite the opposite, however, as Fist stopped the takedowns and delivered a punishing boxing attack. An overhand right in the early stages of the 2nd round was the prologue in a tale of right hands for “Whimperer”. In the final minute, Fist would land a winging right hand that levelled and bloodied West before a final overhand right concluded his opponent’s night. Fist has put UGD’s 205 division on notice and will be looking at a number one contender fight in the immediate future.
Sixth Fist (14-8, 7-3 UGD) defeats Billy West (12-4, 8-3 UGD) via TKO (Strikes) R2 – 04:39
Featured Lightweight Matchup
Leif Olofson v Karter Kinshaw
A lightweight matchup with title implications would see recent champion Leif Olofson look to rebound from his first promotional loss against Boise Idaho’s Karter Kinshaw. Well, what can one really say about this fight other than “razor thin”? The Tale of the Tape, the scouting and the predictions all pointed in the direction of a fun, competitive fight, but these two made it a matter of inches. In a flowing, classical kickboxing motif, Olofson and Kinshaw showed style and persistence in a Fight of the Night performance. Kinshaw perhaps controlled the distance to a degree better, but it was Olofson who did the better work inside when the fight was moved there. In the end, the judges couldn’t agree on anything, with opposing Unanimous Decisions, zero unanimous rounds, and zero matching scorecards in a split verdict for Kinshaw. It’s a disappointing result for “The Creature”, but between you and me, he seems a bit too crazy to even care. For the Idahoan, it’s a possible ramp to a title shot and another top-level victory.
Karter Kinshaw (12-4, 2-1 UGD) defeats "The creature" Leif Olofson (14-3-1, 4-2 UGD) via Decision (Split)