Fitial KO’d in 1st round
Kelvin “The Big Hit” Fitial was knocked out with just 12 seconds left in the first round by Rakim Cleveland in their pro heavyweight title bout in B2 Fighting Series 132 last Saturday, Aug. 21, in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.
According to www.mmafighting.com, Cleveland won the vacant heavyweight title with a “thudding first-round head kick knockout of Fitial.”
Saipan Tribune reached out to Fitial after his shocking loss to Cleveland and he assured everyone back home that he’s alright. “I’m good brother,” was his terse reply.
As per www.mmafighting.com, Cleveland unleashed the nasty left high kick as Fitial attempted to walk him down, landing clean on Fitial’s head and generating a loud smack.
“The KO blow left Fitial out cold and gave Cleveland plenty of time to celebrate, which he did with a body-shaking dance,” the mixed martial arts website was quoted as reporting.
In a YouTube upload of the fight, the Fitial-Cleveland bout started out as a stand-up fight before Cleveland managed to wrestle Fitial to the ground. The next minute or so saw Cleveland dominate with a ground-and-pound game by punishing Fitial with a number of elbow blows. While Cleveland clearly had control of the fight, announcers still gave kudos to Fitial’s “island warrior” mentality for not giving up.
At this time, blood was already visibly dripping from Fitial’s nose but he still managed to escape being pinned on the canvas by Cleveland and then tried to engage him with several punches. He shadowed Cleveland into one of the corners and that’s when the latter unleased that devastating kick that knocked out Fitial.
The referee immediately stopped the fight after seeing Fitial drop like a sack of rice and it would take a few minutes before the Marianas fighter regained consciousness. Upon seeing his downed opponent, Cleveland knelt beside him and appeared to have prayed and when he saw Fitial wake up, he came up to him to make sure he was really OK.
The KO victory was the third straight win for Cleveland, who improved to a professional MMA win-loss record of 22-13 with 1 no-contest.
“It’s been a solid turnaround for the 11-year veteran who went a disappointing 1-4 in two seasons with the Professional Fighters League, failing to advance to the playoffs each time and twice ending up on the wrong end of a Vinny Magalhaes highlight-reel submission,” www.mmafighting.com added.
The 6’3” Cleveland hails from Dayton, Texas and came into the fight weighing 205 lbs. He represented Des Moines MMA Academy/Glory MMA & Fitness.
The 37-year-old Fitial came into the fight weighing 253 lbs and it was the second straight knockout loss of Fitial. Before the Cleveland fight, he last fought professionally in March 2019 in Hex Fight Series 18 in Melbourne, Australia where he was knocked out in the opening round by Australia’s Benjamin Sosoli.
He specifically flew to the U.S. mainland for training camp under Raymond Diaz and fought under the Blue Blood Muay Thai/Four Seasons Martial Arts Gym.
Next up for Fitial is the pro heavyweight fight against Chandler Cole in Showcase MMA’s Checkmate set for Sept. 3 at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport, Tennessee.
Fighting out of Wise County Combat Club, the 5’10” Cole is currently the No. 1 ranked professional MMA heavyweight in Tennessee and sixth ranked in the U.S. Southeast. In the country, he is the 28th ranked pro heavyweight in the sport of MMA.