By Peter Lim
Fighting for the first time in six years, Lou Savarese was eager to showcase a skill he could never utilize in his 53 previous fights - his kicking prowess. Savarese, 47, had practiced taekwondo as a teenager and recently began training in Muay Thai so his MMA debut was the perfect opportunity to put his legs to work.
But it was not to be. Savarese scored a first-round TKO over Timothy Papp sans a single kick at the Bayou City Events Center in Houston.
Papp, 30, was first to strike in the opening seconds of the bout with several snappy kicks to the thigh. Closing the distance, he scored a takedown by pulling Savarese's legs out from under him. Savarese managed to get back to his feet but not before narrowly escaping a guillotine choke.
Papp, 224, attempted to take Savarese to the ground again but this time he was met by a head-snapping right uppercut followed by a left hook that sent him crashing to the canvass. Visibly wobbled, Papp tried to smother Savarese in a clinch but left himself open to a series of meat-tenderizing rights that Savarese, 250, viciously ripped into his ribcage. Another right uppercut to the jaw dropped Papp for the second time and the referee waved the fight over at the 1:47 mark.
"I really wanted to kick and my coach told me to kick but I kept my control and didn't kick," Savarese said. "Another thing was, I didn't want to get taken down but I got taken down."
Savarese told The Houston Chronicle before the bout that his foray into MMA was something on his "bucket list" and "more than likely a one-and-done" but he would keep his options open. He maintained that position post fight.
In other MMA bouts:
Alex Black submitted Randy Reyes on the ground with a rear choke in the first round.
Jazmine Quezada applied a side choke to Tina Lynch on the ground forcing her to tap out in the opening round.
Working the body overtime, heavyweight Darlington Agha (9-0, 6 KOs) pounded out a unanimous six-round decision over Terell Woods (3-8, 3 KOs).
Lightweight Omer Tello (1-0, 1 KO) hurt Ronald Nowden (1-0) with a straight right to the chin before dropping and stopping him with a barrage of punches in the first round.
Super middleweight Preston Kenny (6-17, 6 KOs), stopped Wilson Rodriguez (1-2) in the first round.
And flyweights Josue Morales (0-0-1) and Richard Hernandez (0-6-1) fought to a four-round majority draw.
The card was staged by Svarese Boxing Promotions.