On Saturday, April 30, 2016, Titan FC headed to the Miccosuke Casino in Miami, Fla. for a welterweight title fight between veteran Steve Carl (22-4) and undefeated prospect Belal Muhammad (8-0). Carl is the former WSOF welterweight champion, a contestant on season 21 of The Ultimate Fighter, and a two-time welterweight tournament competitor for Bellator MMA (nee Bellator FC). Muhammad made his third appearance for the Florida-based promotion, winning his last two by unanimous decision, however this will be his first five round fight. Titan FC 38 is available on UFC Fight Pass and aired at 4 p.m EST/7 p.m PST.

In the co-main event Jason Novelli (11-1) took on Yosdenis Cedeno (10-5) in a welterweight bout. Novelli is on a four-fight win streak, which includes a pair of unanimous decision earned inside the Titan FC cage. He is a Pacific Northwest fighter and made his east coast debut. Cedeno by contrast made his first appearance since being released by the UFC, where he  went 1-3 in lightweight bouts. This will be Cedeno’s first fight at 170 lbs.

Also featured on the the card: Pedro Nobre (17-2-2) vs. Side Bice (5-0), Jack May (7-2) vs. Chase Sherman (7-1), Bruce Lutchmedial (4-1) vs. Pablo Alfonso (9-6), Peter Petties (3-0) vs. Caio Rocha (4-0), Reynaldo Reyzinho (8-8) vs. Jose Torres (1-0) and Cory Tait (8-3) vs. Andrew Whitney (12-4).

MAIN/CO-MAIN EVENT SUMMARY

Jason Novelli (11-1) vs. Yosdenis Cedeno (10-5)

Round 1: Novelli comes out with a very tactical, skilled striker approach. He uses his footwork early to set up leg kicks, but Cedeno is able to avoid letting him get close. Cedeno looking for one-off power shots, but isn’t doing much to set them up and is telegraphing every movement heavily. Novelli playing it smart not trying to force Cedeno to engage with reckless behavior. Cedeno again tries to throw hard, but only hits the air. A short flurry with 2:10 remaining misses every shot. Novelli continues to land the leg kicks. A wild kick by Cedeno doesn’t land as promised, and Novelli gets his first good shots in what looked like a straight right and left hook before the face off continues. Neither fighting has made any indication about wanting to take this fight to the ground, or clinch at all. Cedeno starts throwing more wild kicks, but lands with nothing and eats more leg kicks. Cedeno lands his first significant strike of the night with a right hand at the close of the round which seemed to rock Novelli. He is unable to capitalize as the bell sounds shortly after they begin to engage. 10-9 Novelli.

Round 2: Both fighters come out ready to engage, and Cedeno is starting to move forward with his combos better, but Novelli slips and counters with a one-two that lands flush. Novelli gets his first real chance to showcase his striking as Cedeno comes into range more. Cedeno is doing a better job of mixing up his attacks and setting them up, but it does little to change the tide as most continue to miss, and Novelli is able to land more as well. Cedeno gets a right hand in, and Novelli starts to show some fatigue for the first time in the fight. His footwork is able to keep him from taking damage, but his volume definitely has slowed as we enter the halfway point. It doesn’t take him long to recover, as he floors Cedeno with a big right hand, follows him to the ground and takes his back as the end up against the cage. With over a minute left they roll towards the middle, and Novelli scrambles to maintain his position and land a few shots in the process. He gets both hooks in with 0:30 left, but his hands are tied up to get the choke. He is able to slip into mount and land a couple shots before the bell. 10-9 Novelli.

Round 3: The last stanza begins, and both fighters waste no time engaging in the middle of the cage. The aggression pays off for Cedeno, who lands a big right hand that wobbles Novelli, but he doesn’t followup and Novelli finds his legs. He recovers quickly, as he lands his own big right shortly after, but Cedeno is unphased. Novelli is more more active in this round, but starts to pace him self and use his footwork better to avoid damage. Novelli is still moving forward much more, but being more cautious in his attacks, with Cedeno swinging for the fences with single shots. A cut opens up over Cedeno’s left eye, and Noveli starts to dial in on the area, throwing more jabs. Cedeno stays on the defense, unable to control the center of the cage, and constantly seeming to keep from having his back against the cage, for each time he does Novelli comes in with a barage, such as a flying knee with a minute left. Novelli spends the last minute of the fight stalking Cedeno, but not over engaging. That is until Cedeno comes in hot and heavy, hurting Novelli with 0:10 left. Noticing the knockdown didn’t happen, he goes for the takedown but runs out of town to finish it against the cage. 10-9 Cedeno, but close.

The official decision is 29-28 Novelli, 29-28 Cedeno, 29-29 for a split-draw.

Steve Carl (22-4) vs. Belal Muhammad (8-0)

Round 1: Muhamed did a good job controlling the cetner of the cage and distance, making it hard for Carl to take it down to the mat, where he would like to work his ground game. His striking more wild, and it costs him in the exchanges. 10-9 Muhammad.

Round 2: Carl comes out fresh and much more ready to put effort into his striking. It starts to cost him two minutes in, as Muhammad still wins most the exchanges and starts to turn the tide and keep Carl with his back towards the cage.  Carl nearly gets a takedown, but ensues to take more damage for the remainder of the round. He throws less, lands nothing, and is able to clinch finally, however there are only moments left and nothing significant comes of it as the bell sounds. 10-9 Muhammad.

Round 3: This round begins the way most of the fight has gone, with Carl unable to land or get the fight to the ground and Muhammad landing at will. Carl starts to increase the pressure and tries to get Muhammad to brawl, but just as he does a low blow to Muhammad puts a pause in the action. Muhammad takes little time to recover, and Carl again tries to get a brawl going, possibly with the hopes of finding and opening for a takedown. Muhammad again finds his rhythm and uses great movement to land without taking any in return. The last minute of the round is the most exciting, and Carl against the cage and seeming to come back, but Muhammad withstanding the momentary flurring and going for the finish, but then confusion with the bell ensues and the ref neither stops the fight nor hears the bell to end the round. 10-8 Muhammad.

Round 4: This fight starts to show just how tough Steve Carl. With no viable way of winning this fight, he continues to take massive punishment while not stopping from attempting to engage, however far flung they may be. Many corners would have thrown in the towel well before the fight had less than a minute to go, and many refs would have done the same, but this one ends with less than a minute left in the round. Referee stoppage for Muhammat at 4:07.

FULL RESULTS

Welterweight – Belal Muhammad defeats Steve Carl via TKO (strikes) at 4 minutes, 7 seconds of Round 4 for the inaugural Titan FC Welterweight Championship
Lightweight – Jason Novelli and Yosdenis Cedeno split-draw (29-28, 28-29, 29-29)
^Flyweight – Pedro Nobre defeats Sid Bice via split-decision
Heavyweight – Chase Sherman defeats Jack May via TKO (injury) at 56 seconds of Round 1
140-lbs Catchweight – Bruce Lutchmedial defeats Pablo Alfonso via unanimous decision
Featherweight – Caio Rocha defeats Peter Petties via split-decision
Bantamweight – Jose Torres defeats Reynaldo Reyzinho via unanimous decision
*Bantamweight – Andrew Whitney defeats Cory Tait via unanimous decision

^Nobre missed weight by three pounds
*Whitney missed weight by two pounds