Nordine Oubaali easily dispatched Arthur Villanueva in his first bantamweight title defense.
On a Top Rank/MTK Global card in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Oubaali defeated Villanueva after six rounds in a fight that was streamed on ESPN+ in the United States.
Oubaali was dominating the entire fight, with his left hand constantly landing on Villanueva's right eye, causing it to swell. Villanueva was barely able to land anything significant at any point in the fight as he was being pushed around the ring by the more physically-imposing champion.
In the sixth round, The Oubaali dropped Villanueva with an uppercut followed by a right hook. Even though Villanueva got back up, Oubaali continued to relentlessly attack his opponent for the remainder of the round. Between the sixth and seventh round, Villanueva got up from his stool and bowed out of the fight, meaning Oubaali retained his title.
This was Oubaali's first title defense since winning the then-vacant belt with a win over Rau'shee Warren last January in Las Vegas. The previous titleholder, Luis Nery, was stripped of the belt for missing weight prior to a title defense against Shinsuke Yamanaka. Before Oubaali won the WBC world title, an interim belt was made, which was won by Takuma Inoue last December in Japan.
The Nur-Sultan card was headlined by a junior welterweight bout between Zhankosh Turarov and Mauro Godoy for the WBO Intercontinental title. Like Oubaali did in his fight, Turarov obliterated Godoy in quick fashion, this time in three rounds. Turarov knocked down Godoy in the third round en route to a stoppage win later in the round to claim the vacant belt. It was Turarov's second fight in the span of five weeks after a layoff of nearly two years.