EFL 7 Recap: Lafleur Captures Amateur Lightweight Title
One short week after Quebec amateur MMA looked to be facing new challenges to its murky legal status, the EFL promotion returned Saturday for its seventh event, seemingly marking a return to business as usual. Fresh and rugged-faced young men adorned by all manner of upper body tattoos were back in action east of Montreal, battling over a new set of titles.
Absent the amateur star power of its last event, attendance dropped to 480 for the Sainte-Julie based promotion, down from 920 in August. Regardless, fans were treated to a quick night of slobberknockers, submissions, knockouts and closely-contested decisions.
In the main event, Tristar’s Patrick Lafleur (23-7) captured the amateur EFL Lightweight title, dropping previously undefeated challenger Julian Balenzano (6-1) mid-way through the second round. The technical knockout came after a close first round where Lafleur looked more aggressive on the feet. The action stayed standing in the second with Lafleur landing a few clean punches before finishing with a short left hook as Balenzano rushed in. As Lafleur dove in to pound out his downed opponent, referee Yannick Loof jumped in to stop the fight. Post-win, Lafleur, 28 and one of Quebec’s most experienced amateurs, stated he was looking to take a two more fights before hopefully going pro in 2013.
In the evening’s co-main event, Timmins, Ontario’s Jamie Poulin (4-1) submitted Mathieu Boisvert (12-7) to earn the amateur EFL Bantamweight title. After trading takedowns to open, Boisvert took Poulin to the ground for a second time. With Boisvert in his guard, Poulin twisted out and took his opponent’s leg, soon sinking in a knee bar and forcing the tap. With the win, Poulin avenged a decision loss his twin brother Matthew suffered against Boisvert in February.
In other action, Jason Fontaine evened his record at 4-4 by grappling his way to a majority decision, Tristar’s Peter Grajcar improved to 3-0-1 in closely-fought split decision, Alex Carron landed a stunning one-punch KO late in the first round, Nathan Boulet utilized a muay thai base to outstrike his way to a clear decision, Jean-Claude Blanchette earned an uneventful split decision, Jason Caissy slickly transitioned into a late first-round arm bar submission, and Eric Hebert thoroughly outboxed his opponent for a unanimous decision. In the evening’s opener, Jerome di Gregorio aggressively ground-and-pounded his way to a third-round TKO finish.
While aware of an amateur event cancellation the previous week in Shawinigan, Federation Quebecois de Boxe Mixte Amateur (FQBM) officials present at the event were unable to provide any concrete clarification as to the cause.
The promoters announced the cancellation on Facebook (in French) on October 26, one day before the event was set to take place, citing “legal constraints related to the FQBM, a Quebec government investigation into security in amateur MMA, and dubious practices of certain promoters,” adding they wished to “avoid adverse consequences for the organization, the fighters, and spectators.”
No further information has since emerged.
Despite its long existence, the FQBM does not have official legal recognition from the Quebec government. Amateur MMA events in Quebec have nevertheless occurred under the Federation’s auspices, mostly without issue, for over a decade.
Saturday’s fights took place in a cage under (FQBM) amateur rules – fighters wear 12 ounce gloves and shin pads. Elbow and knee strikes, as well as submissions involving twisting (e.g. heel hooks) are prohibited.
155lbs – Patrick Lafleur (Tristar) def. Julian Balenzano (Siam MMA) via TKO (punch) at 1:32 of Round 2.
140lbs – Jamie Poulin (Total Martial Arts) submits Mathieu Boisvert (FC St-Jean) via knee-bar at 2:21 of Round 1.
170lbs – Jason Fontaine (Pro Star MMA) def. Patrick Sauriol (Team R-Way) via majority decision.
175lbs – Peter Grajcar (Tristar) def. Jonathan Blanchette (Team Venom) via split decision.
170lbs – Alex Caron (Pro Star MMA) def. Matt Bernat (Total Martial Arts) via KO (punch) at 1:57 of Round 1.
150lbs – Nathan Boulet (Total Martial Arts) def. Jonathan Gonçalves (H2O MMA) via unanimous decision.
180lbs – Jean-Claude Blanchette (Team Venom) def. Benoit Richer Jr. (Pro Star MMA) via split decision.
160lbs – Jason Caissy (Academie SGS) submits Alexandre Lavoie (Team Venom) via arm-bar at 1:56 of Round 1.
175lbs – David Langelier (Pro Star MMA) def. Eric Hebert (Siam MMA) via unanimous decision.
160lbs – Jerome Di Gregorio (H2O MMA) def. Justin Drainville (Total Martial Arts) via TKO (punches) at 0:57 of Round 3.