Frank “The Crank” Camacho introduced himself to UFC Fight Night 111 by unleashing a solid right straight to Jingliang Li before losing the welterweight bout via unanimous decision last Saturday in Singapore.
The debuting Camacho rocked the crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang when he hit Li on the jaw at the 4:08 mark of the first round. The visibly shaken Chinese, nicknamed “The Leech,” nearly fell down the canvas before he took refuge at the corner, still wobbling after being punished by Camacho’s powerful strike. The Marianas pride then continued to be aggressive, unloading more punches on Li. Fortunately for Li he survived Camacho’s explosive start, as the China Top Team fighter used low kicks to neutralize his foe. Li also managed to take down Camacho with less than a minute left in the five-minute Round 1 to close the gap in scoring.
In the second round, Li kept throwing low kicks on Camacho and also attempted more takedowns, but the latter was able to get out of trouble and traded punches with the former. However, ducking from Li’s wayward strikes and dodging his kicks seemed to zap Camacho’s energy, giving the Chinese the opportunity to attack “The Crank” more in the third and final round.
The 29-year-old Li went on to score decisive points in the closing minutes of the third round as he hit Camacho with an upper cut and followed it up with another low kick and a strike on the latter’s chest. As one of the preliminary bouts in the event wrapped up, Li got the nod of all three judges, who scored the fight, 29-27, 28-27, and 29-27.
Despite the loss in his UFC debut, which he accepted a little over a week after Li’s original foe, Jonathan Meunier got injured, Camacho left a good impression in Singapore enough to earn him and Li a bonus of $50,000 each for delivering the Fight of the Night. The Camacho-Li brawl was one of the only three Fight of the Night duels in the event. The other two was Holly Holm’s TKO win (kick) on Bethe Correia in the main event and Ulka Sasaki’s submission win (rear naked choke) over Justin Scoggins. There were 12 bouts in last weekend’s Fight Night 111.
“It was an awesome fight. It was a good learning experience. I will definitely be back and get that W. Thank you for the love and support and for tuning in to watch me fight,” Camacho said in a video footage posted on his Facebook page.
With the defeat, Camacho fell to a 20-5 win-loss record and absorbed his first loss in his last three fights. Before heading to Singapore he won via submission against South Korea’s Gun Hwan Park in Rites of Passage 21: Throwdown last month. Camacho’s other victory (TKO) was against another Korean in Hyun Joo Kim during ROP 20: Conquer in August last year.
Li, on the other hand, improved his mark to 13-4 and extended his winning streak to three, all were made in UFC events. The Chinese came from back-to-back KO triumphs over Bobby Nash (UFC on Fox 23) in January 2017 and Anton Safir (UFC 23 Finale) in July last year.