Welterweight fringe contender Sebastian Lujan knocked out Mark Melligen in the ninth round of a scheduled 10-round Friday Night Fights main event from San Antonio, Texas, on Friday.
The rugged two-time title challenger dropped Melligen four times en route to stopping the speedy Los Angele-based southpaw 45 seconds into the ninth round.
Melligen, a 25-year-old prospect from the Philippines, started well, out-maneuvering Lujan and beating the 31-year-old veteran to the punch with fast, accurate power shots. However, Lujan began cutting the ring off on Melligen by the end of the third round. Lujan (38-5-2, 24 knockouts), of Santa Fe, Argentina, literally mauled Melligen along the ropes in rounds four and five, smothering the more talented Filipino with awkward volleys of punches to the body and head.
Melligen (21-3, 14 KOs) fired back but Lujan made the younger man miss with savvy head movement and then mocked his inability to catch him clean or back him off.
Lujan’s swarming pressure and constant taunting took a physical and psychological toll Melligen over the second half of the bout. Lujan dropped the southpaw at the end of the sixth, seventh and eighth round. Many of the scoring blows Lujan landed appeared to be arm punches, but Melligen, who continued to punch back in spots, seemed to have the fight sucked out of him.
When a one-two combination dropped Melligen 45 seconds into the ninth round the referee waved the bout off without a count.
The impressive showing was Lujan’s 12th consecutive victory since dropping a 12-round decision to junior middleweight contender Jamie Moore in 2007. Lujan, who lost title bids to Antonio Margarito in 2005 and to Sergei Dzinziruk in 2006, might be getting close to a third title shot.
In the co-featured bout of the ESPN2 broadcast, former U.S. amateur star Mickey Bey Jr. looked sharp knocking out Alejandro Rodriguez in the fourth round of a scheduled eight-round lightweight bout.
Bey (17-0-1, 9 KOs), of Cleveland, Oh., easily out-boxed Rodriguez before landing a well-timed counter right hand that dropped the 23-year-old Mexican. Rodriguez (12-4, 6 KOs) beat the count but stumbled to his knees soon after, prompting the referee to immediately wave the bout off.