Call it a comeback, at least for one night.
Drew Fickett, who around 2005 was considered one of the best welterweights in the world, entered the limelight for the first time in years and submitted three opponents Friday night to win the inaugural Shine Fights Lightweight Grand Prix tournament at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla.
The evening was a significant turnaround for Fickett, who entered the pay-per-view event losing five of his last six and eight of his last 11. And Fickett took full advantage of his opportunity to impress, finishing quickly in his trio of tourney bouts.
In his first fight, Fickett submitted Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett with a standing guillotine choke and then in the semifinals, tapped out Dennis Bermudez with a rear-naked choke.
Fickett was fresh, needing only five minutes and 36 seconds of ring time to dispatch of Bennett and Bermudez to advance to the finals against Carlo Prater. However, it was a completely different story for Prater, who went the distance in two fights for a total of 23 minutes of action.
In a rematch from 2004, which coincidentally was also part of a one-night tournament, Fickett advanced through a basic progression by scoring a takedown and softening up Prater from mount to set up the tapout-inducing rear-naked choke.
"He gave up his back and I'm really good with back," Fickett said. "So once you give up your back, you might as well tap out before something bad happens."
Since Fickett won his semifinals bout in just 122 seconds, Prater had even less time to recover from his two previous fights. No additional bouts were scheduled for what could have been a rest period, only a short drum act inside the ring. Despite entering the fight at a disadvantage, Prater kept his post-fight interview positive.
"Drew is a true champion," Prater expressed, emotionally after the fight. "He's extremely strong."
"I'm back," Fickett said. "155-pounders look out!"
1. Drew Fickett def. Charles Bennett via submission (guillotine) - Round 1, 3:34
2. Dennis Bermudez def. Shannon Gugerty via unanimous decision after two rounds
3. Kyle Baker def. James Warfield via split decision after three rounds (OT)
4. Rich Crunkilton def. Carlo Prater via split decision after three rounds (OT)
5. Drew Fickett def. Dennis Bermudez via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1,
6. Carlo Prater def. Charlie Brown via majority decision after two rounds
7. Drew Fickett def. Carlo Prater via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 2:02
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