When Ben Egli clinched the FFC Welterweight Championship at FFC 31 in October 2018, he quickly became a man with a target on his back.
The welterweight division globally began to circle around Egli, sensing a path to gold at 170-pounds. Call outs began on social media platforms from USA to Europe and the champion was happy to take on all comers.
The contender emerged from East Liverpool in Ohio in Joey Holt. A tough, durable veteran who’s sole losses came at the hands of Julian Lane and Rob Hanna over five years ago. Since tasting defeat, Holt had torn through the welterweight scene, racking up six wins with five of those coming inside the distance.
Joey Holt warmed up in the Fight Dome earlier in the evening, where his game plan was clear… to take the centre of the ring and throw hands early. When he returned hours later, to a capacity crowd… he did exactly that and floored the champion in the early moments of the opening round.
Ben Egli looked to be down and out, hitting the canvas hard and with punches raining down from the challenger… it seemed a new king would be crowned. The Oregon-born man managed to make his way back to his feet and survive the round, despite still looking rocky on his feet.
After regaining his composure in-between rounds, Egli’s corner told him to take the fight to ‘his home’ – his formidable jiu-jitsu background. The champion took Holt to the mat and threatened early with a tight-looking choke that the Ohio man managed to survive.
Egli could sense the submission was coming, and after persisting and remaining patient, sunk in a beautiful guillotine choke at the midway point of the second round. The emotion hit Egli just as hard as Holt did, bringing the champion visible euphoria and a sense of relief.
The guillotine marked the tenth submission victory of Egli’s fourteen fight professional career. With the first defence of his welterweight crown under his belt, the champion will look towards his next challenge in the Fight Dome.