RXF 26: Highlights from Romania’s Top MMA Show

The latest edition of Romanian Xtreme Fighting may not have included the seemingly customary appearance from legendary heavyweight Alexandru Lungu, but RXF 26 still brought fight fans in Brasov, Romania plenty of intense regional action including a pair of RXF title fights and popular RXF heavyweight champ Anatoli Ciumac in the main event. If you missed this rare Tuesday MMA show then check out the results of the featured fights below, with video highlights courtesy of intrepid global MMA video guru @Jolassanda!

Main event: Anatoli Ciumac (9-10-1) vs Tony Mustard (6-2), 265 lbs

Despite his pedestrian record, Ciumac is something of a pioneering MMA legend in Romania who started out with a record of 1-7 but has amassed a stellar 8-3-1 ledger since the start of 2014, including a credible if less-than-thrilling decision win over Polish heavyweight Michal Wlazlo in his last RXF heavyweight title defense. Meanwhile, Mustard started his pro career with six straight knockouts in British minor league promotion Made 4 The Cage before losing two straight by TKO to top EFC: Africa heavyweights Andrew van Zyl and Wess Mostert. This one proved to be quick and easy for the Romanian star, who avoided Mustard’s early power, grabbed double underhooks, and successfully worked the fight to the mat. From there Ciumac landed a bit of ground-and-pound before on his already turtled-up foe before wagging his finger at him from mount and locking up an armbar to force the quick tap. Ciumac notches another win in this bout where he his RXF heavyweight title wasn’t on the line, and finally worked his once dreadful win-loss record up to the .500 mark. Sure, Ciumac is 42 years old but in the small pond that is the RXF heavyweight division he continues to prove himself to be a capable, dangerous, and charismatic all-around fighter.

Catalin Casaru (4-0) vs. Adrian Grec (7-6), RXF 155 lbs title fight

This fight was a rematch of the 2014 RXF lightweight tournament finale that crowned Casaru the promotion’s 155 pound champion when he defeated Grec by unanimous decision. The undefeated Romanian didn’t waste any time on the feet, as he tackled countryman Grec to the mat within seconds of the opening and settled into a regimen of peppering ground-and-pound from Grec’s guard. While Casaru didn’t take too many risks, he did managed to posture up from guard and land some nice punches and elbows until the fight returned to the feet at the two minute mark. With his rangy opponent worn down slightly, Casaru showed some interest in engaging on the feet before he surprised Grec with another well-timed takedown that he used to ride out position for the remainder of the round. The second round looked totally different than the grappling-heavy first, with Casaru pressing forward on the feet and landing a smattering of punches to the face and body while Grec retreated and tossed out jabs. Despite being at a six inch height disadvantage Casaru seemed content with keeping this one standing in round three, although Grec did begin to pressure more and even landed a few solid looking punches on his 5’6″ adversary.

Ciprian Maris (7-4) vs. Bogdan Barbu (2-7), RXF 135 pound title bout

The first of RXF 26’s two title bouts got off to a slow start when Bogdan Barbu (3-7) grabbed a front headlock and followed with an illegal knee to the head of barely-grounded opponent Ciprian Maris (7-5). Maris didn’t seem particularly injured but the ref chose to take a point from Barbu anyway, which set off a fire inside the Romanian who immediately charged forward with winging, wild strikes that managed to find Maris’s chin and drop him flat against the cage for the KO victory. What a win for the journeyman Barbu, who had suffered four straight losses in the Eastern Europe regionals over the past 14 months before seizing this opportunity to claim the vacant RXF 135 pound belt.


Cristian Negotia (0-0) vs. Ben Schneider (3-13), 265 lbs

Romania’s Negotia stepped into the RXF 26 cage to make his professional debut against ineffectual Welsh journemyan Ben Schneider, who came in on a three fight losing streak at middleweight and light heavyweight. Negotia showed some standup skills, parrying Schneider’s offensive attempts and lashing out with wild yet accurate punches that earned him a TKO victory just 48 seconds into the fight. Romania certainly loves their heavyweights, and with some serious work Negotia could turn out to be one of the more capable big men in the RXF ranks.

Kyle Nelson (9-1) vs. Gabriel Manuca (0-0), 155 lbs

Kyle “The Monster” Nelson came into this one ranked as the #1 featherweight in Canada by Tapology following his decision win over former TUF winner Jonathan Brookins last October, and he definitely was the most credentialed competitor to make an appearance on this entire RXF 26 card. Opposite Nelson in this 155 pound contest was debuting late notice replacement opponent Gabriel Manuca. As you might expect given the vast gap in experience (not to mention talent), Nelson had no trouble outgrappling Manuca en route to wrapping up a first round rear naked choke victory. That win makes four straight for the talented 25 year old Ontarian, who now boasts four submission finishes to go with a pair of TKOs.

RXF 26 Full Event Results:

Anatoli Ciumac (10-10-1) R1 subs Tony Mustard (6-3) by armbar, 265 lbs

Catalin Casaru (5-0) UDs Adrian Grec (7-7), 155 lbs title fight

Bogdan Barbu (3-7) R1 KOs Ciprian Maris (7-5), 135 lbs title fight

Sergiu Breb (9-4) R1 TKOs Kalman Kovacs (2-9), 185 lbs

Ioan Vranceanu (7-8) R1 TKOs Simeon Atanasov (0-1), 145 lbs

Cristian Negotia (1-0) R1 TKOs Ben Schneider (3-14), 265 lbs

Nicu Negumereanu (3-0) R2 subs Constantin Padure (0-1) by armbar, 265 lbs

Kyle Nelson (10-1) R1 subs Gabriel Manuca (0-1) by RNC, 155 lbs

Gabe Sagman (4-1) R1 subs Dusa Cozmin (0-1) by arm triangle, 125 lbs

Daniel Stinghe (5-4) R2 TKOs Simone Verlingieri (0-1), 170 lbs


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