At the FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma, reigning featherweight champion Kevin Aguilar would defend his 145lb title against Justin Rader at LFA 18. The Louisianan entered the contest as a slight favourite following his win over Damon Jackson at LFA 4 in February.
Rader enjoyed success early on when he worked with his kicks. The challenger then landed a kick to the head of the champion before receiving a counter jab that floored the 30-year-old. Rader continued to use kicks to his advantage, not allowing Aguilar to get on the inside.
However, with just a short amount of time left in the round, Rader went for a single leg takedown, leading to Aguilar landing numerous punches to the head of he Oklahoman. Rader spent the remnants of the opening round escaping the chase of the resurgent champion.
The same theme repeated for rounds two and three as Rader worked with the kicks but was exposed every time he went for a takedown with Aguilar again landing with success on each takedown attempt. In the fourth, Rader finally found success with his own takedowns but it was short-lived as the fight went back to the feet before Aguilar landed a huge kick to the body of “Darth”.
In the fifth and final round, after taking heavy punishment, Rader landed another takedown but was unable to sustain the pressure. The remainder of the fight was on the stand-up where Aguilar continued to dominate the exchanges and cruised to a unanimous decision.
In the co-main event of the night, fellow Louisianan Brendan Allen faced one of his toughest tests to date when he pitted his wits against Chris Harris, and after a decision loss to recent UFC debutant and former LFA middleweight champion Eryk Anders, Allen was keen to prove a point.
In the second round, Allen came out firing, looking for the finish but Harris was returning heat in spades. Allen showed off his impressive ground game however as when the fight hit the ground, he locked in a triangle choke at the second time of asking and got back to winning ways.
UFC veteran Chris Kelades had been inactive since 2016 with just one win, a 2015 victory over Chris Beal, in the past two and a half years. He was released by the UFC after a unanimous decision loss to Sergio Pettis at UFC 197 and would look to change these fortunes against opponent Tyler Shinn.
Though not too easy on the eye, Kelades grinded his way to victory, averting immediate danger and spending the remainder of the fight in control, working some effective ground and pound on his way to a unanimous decision victory.
LFA 18 Results
Featherweight Title Bout: Kevin Aguilar def. Justin Rader via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Middleweight Bout: Brendan Allen def. Chris Harris via submission (triangle choke) – (Round 2 -1:22)
Bantamweight Bout: Chris Kelades def. Tyler Shinn via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Welterweight Bout: Chauncey Foxworth def. Braden Smith via TKO (punches) – (Round 3 – 4:31)
Lightweight Bout: Daryl Wilson def. Jarrod Card via KO (punches) – (Round 1 – 1:04)
Lightweight Bout: Derrick Adkins def. Kyle Driscoll via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Lightweight Bout: Jose Martinez def. James Warren via TKO (Doctor’s stoppage) – (Round 3)