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JACKSONVILLE, FL. – September 9, 2023 – MMA legends and former UFC Heavyweight Champions Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos (22-10) and Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (24-10) went head-to-head in the main event of Jorge Masvidal’s Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA event Friday night from VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. In a duel between two extremely experienced mixed martial artists, Dos Santos was able to do enough to best Werdum by split decision.


“I’m feeling awesome tonight,” exclaimed Dos Santos in victory. “I feel like it was an amazing fight.”


Near the end of the first round, Dos Santos cut Werdum over his right eye, causing it to bleed considerably. The second round featured a lot of stand-up action with Werdum attempting to lure Dos Santos to the canvas in the later stages of the round.


The third and final round saw Dos Santos use his punching prowess to nearly shut Werdum’s left eye, making it very difficult for Werdum to see and defend himself.


In the end, judge Barry Luxenberg scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Werdum, while judges Troy Wincapaw and Daniel Torres both had it 30-27 for Dos Santos.


“This was my first time fighting bare knuckle and I loved it,” continued Dos Santos. “It was amazing. I feel good. My hands are feeling a little sore, but that’s okay. I’m fighting someone that everyone knows was really well prepared. Everybody knows the legend that he is and I should avoid that ground game. You guys want me to go to the ground with that guy? No way! It’s jabs, crosses and hooks.”


With the win tonight, Dos Santos is now in line to face the winner of Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA’s next main event, which will see heavyweight brawlers Alan Belcher and Roy “Big Country” Nelson meet in an explosive clash on Saturday, October 28 from Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Miss. Additional details on that event to come.


The co-main event featured Joel “King Bau” Bauman (9-3) stopping Maki “Coconut Bombs” Pitolo (15-11) by technical knockout. As Bauman pummeled Pitolo with unanswered blows, referee Larry Folsom intervened and called a stop to the action at 2:36 of the second frame.


The featured bout of the evening showcased a fight between a pair of 135-pounders that appeared closer than the scorecards indicated. Joshua “Wide Open” Weems (12-3) topped Irwin “Beast” Rivera (12-7) by unanimous decision with judges Barry Luxenberg, Solimar Miranda and Daniel Torres all seeing the bout the same, 30-27 in favor of Weems.


In a featherweight attraction, Ago “The Bosnian Dragon” Huskic (9-5) defeated Brandon “Killer B” Davis (14-12) by unanimous decision. Judges Solimar Miranda, Daniel Torres and Troy Wicapaw all scored it 29-28 in favor of Huskic.


Anthony “The Assassin” Njokuani (17-13) scored a unanimous decision win over Brandon “The Human Highlight Reel” Jenkins (16-11) in a 165-pound matchup. Judges Daniel Torres and Troy Wincapaw both turned in scores of 29-28 and judge Barry Luxenberg saw it 30-27.


In a crowd-thrilling catchweight contest, Joey” El Cazador” Ruquet (10-4) beat Joe “The Party” Penafiel (11-7) by technical knockout. Ruquet cut Penafiel badly, knocked him to the canvas against the cage and rushed him with a flurry of punches that proved too much for Penafiel, causing referee Andrew Glenn to end the fight at the 3:01 mark of round two.


Jhonasky “La Maquina” Sojo (14-4) defeated Tyler “Zombie” Hill (11-8) by technical knockout in a catchweight scrap. Referee Larry Folsom stopped the fight 4:52 into the first stanza.


Jacksonville native and all-around sensational athlete, Reggie “Black Dragon” Northrup (2-0), defeated Cody “The Reason” Herbert (3-4) by unanimous decision. Judges Solimar Miranda and Daniel Torres both scored the contest 30-27, with judge Troy Wincapaw scoring it 30-26, all in favor of Northrup.


Shahzaib “King” Rind (1-0) made his professional MMA debut in style, defeating Carlos “Diamante” Guerra (7-8) by technical stoppage. Due to a series of unanswered blows, referee Andrew Glenn halted the catchweight bout action at the 2:40 mark in round one.


In the opening bout of the evening, featherweight Juan “Wild Child” Alvarez (2-0) stopped Christopher Wingate (1-2) with a heel hook submission just 13 seconds into the opening round.