Weekend MMA Primer: Josh Barnett, Karo Parisyan Highlight Pool of Appealing Regional Battles

DREAM.15 dominates the landscape of relevant mixed martial arts action this weekend, but HDNet isn't available everywhere and a lot of fans are unwilling to entertain the BloodyElbow.com Night Crew with their presence. If that's the case, you'll still want to keep an eye on some of the regional action taking place this weekend that could have some effects on your viewing down the road. Here's a nice, lengthy rundown of the notable bouts taking place this weekend:


Impact Fighting Championship I
Saturday, July 10, 2010 - Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Josh Barnett (25-5) vs. Geronimo dos Santos (17-7)
Karo Parisyan
(18-5) vs. Ben Mortimer (5-2)
Carlos Newton
(15-13) vs. Brian Ebersole (41-15)
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
(8-6) vs. Joaquim Ferreira (8-5)
Jeff Monson
(33-11)  vs. Ubiratan Lima Marinho (11-3)
Dylan Andrews
(11-2) vs. Steven Kennedy (3-3)
Jai Bradney
(9-3-1)  vs. Thiago Meller (15-3)

As Sherdog.com's Jordan Breen humorously reported yesterday, the Impact FC presser was quite the comic act. Josh Barnett went through his regular entertainment-driven routine, eventually calling out Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou as to why he doesn't use his God-given talent in Judo to win. Sokoudjou replied that Judo is essentially throws and he'd be submitted if he simply threw people, and Karo Parisyan rolled his eyes in disbelief at Sokoudjou's comment that there was some sort of deficiency in Judo's ground tactics in the mixed martial arts' grappling game. Ben Mortimer spilled a pitcher of water that spread like an epidemic of influenza across the floor of the presser, and "Stitch" Duran is apparently a micro-celebrity to the Brazilians on the card. Who knew!

The Australian upstart, Impact Fighting Championships, is by far the best regional card this weekend on the list of minor events. Not only will it feature former PRIDE fighter Josh Barnett, but it will also feature an eclectic mix of UFC veterans along side a bevy of up-and-coming Brazilian talent. While the event won't air live, it's worth keeping an eye on the results of this event as I believe some of these names may see their days fighting for scraps change rather quickly with some impressive wins.

The two top-flight stars of the evening, Josh Barnett and Karo Parisyan, should find themselves in the win column. Parisyan's late replacement, Ben Mortimer, may have punched someone into retirement in May, but I wouldn't hold too much faith in the Australian mixed martial arts scene producing a spoiler to Karo's return to fighting.

Geronimo Dos Santos may provide a challenge for Barnett in their main event tilt, but his hulking physique and immense strength hasn't led to a flattering career record or impressive run of recent wins. Some hardcore fans felt his stoppage win over Assuerio Silva in October may have made him a rising star to watch, but a 3-3 record in his last 6 fights hasn't inspired much confidence that he'll pull off an incredible win in Brisbane.

Carlos Newton vs. Brian Ebersole may actually be quite competitive, but there really isn't any relevancy to the bout itself. Both men are long-time veterans with Newton being highly important in the early days of the UFC while Ebersole has always fallen over the steeple when the bar was raised in terms of competition. He is, however, 13-3 with one NC in seventeen fights since 2006. He managed to take Bellator champion Hector Lombard into the fourth round in September of 2008, but he succumbed to punches from the heavy-handed Cuban national.

The only man to beat current UFC fighter Junior Dos Santos will get a chance to make a name for himself as he battles former UFC fighter Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Interestingly enough, Joaquim Ferreira hasn't had the same success as Junior as he's lost his last three encounters, a knockout loss to the surging South Korean knockout artist Hae Joon Yang, a TKO loss to Brazilian jiu-jitsu whiz Glover Teixeira, and a decision loss to another rising heavyweight prospect in Edinaldo Molusco. But as we all know, Sokoudjou has a knack for being completely useless on the ground, and Ferreira has the skills to take advantage.

Rounding out the card is a scraped together battle between Jeff Monson and Ubiratan Lima Marinho, a spotlight fight for Aussie Dylan Andrews, and a battle between lightweight prospects Jai Bradney and Thiago Meller. Monson vs. Marinho should be entertaining considering Monson's recent drop off in victorious outcomes and Marinho's massive power. Marinho definitely has more to gain, but I'm sure Monson will be searching for a win bonus regardless. Solid card of fights for fans wanting a peek at some up-and-coming talent and some older generation fighters still wanting to put on a show.


Tachi Palace Fights V: Stars & Stripes
Friday, July 9th, 2010 - Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Leemore, California

Rob McCullough (17-6) vs. Isaac de Jesus (9-1)
David Mitchell (10-0) vs. Poppies Martinez (18-6) - WW Title
War Machine (11-3) vs. John Alessio (28-13)
Cole Escovedo (16-4) vs. Michael McDonald (9-1) - BW Title
Billy Cooper (0-2) vs. David Kaplan (2-3)
Gabe Ruediger (16-5) vs. Lenny Lovato (8-0) - LW Title

If you're sitting in the Leemore area tonight with no HDNet at your disposal, there really isn't a reason to miss this highly-underrated mix of great battles. Former WEC champion "Razor" Rob McCullough will take his first bout outside of the WEC after a 2-3 stretch that saw him drop decisions to Karen Darabedyan and Donald Cerrone while succumbing to Jamie Varner back at WEC 32 to lose the title. It won't be an easy task as he battles Stockton, California-native Isaac de Jesus, who defeated Nam Phan in quick fashion in February. Jesus' lone loss came against current WEC fighter Brandon Visher, a bout he took on roughly a week notice. It should be a great back-and-forth battle as Jesus is known as a kickboxer and McCullough's Muay Thai credentials normally show up with a certain flare. Jesus could, however, be thrust into the WEC with a victory, and that may give him a little extra drive to try to finish off McCullough and move forward in his progression to the top.

David Mitchell, an undefeated middleweight prospect with an arsenal of submission knowledge, will also make an appearance on the card. He's recently defeated two solid regional competitors in Bobby Green and Tim McKenzie, and he did manage to win a highly-controversial decision over War Machine back in October. Expect him to pull off a submission here and begin seeing some interest from bigger promotions.

War Machine will get one final fight before being sent to jail for a year for his involvement in brawls in two separate San Diego bars, and it'll actually be one of the tougher fights in his career. He recently shut up Wolfslair trainer Zach Light in competition at BAMMA III in England in May via a rear naked choke in only 1:09, and surprisingly -- War Machine has made quite the name for himself as not only a porn star and short-tempered criminal, but a regional heel character who can actually fight. Alessio will provide a stiff test for his wrestling, and he's been on a roll as he's won four straight including a knockout of former UFC fighter Luigi Fioravanti.

Cole Escovedo vs. Michael MacDonald is a rematch of a Palace Fighting Championships XIII battle back in May of 2009. The win sparked a four-fight run for Escovedo with his most recent win coming against Japanese MMA veteran Yoshiro Maeda via a surprising head kick knockout. MacDonald rebounded from the loss with two straight first round stoppage victories, one of those being against recently released WEC veteran Manny Tapia.

Tachi also brought in the entertainment as "Diamond" Dave Kaplan makes an appearance, and Gabe Ruediger's quest to make his way back to the UFC continues as he battles for his sixth straight win against a very tough Greg Jackson-product in Lenny Lovato. For a regional event in California, it doesn't get any better than this card. Check it out if you have the chance.


XFC 11: The Next Generation

Friday, July 9th, 2010 - St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida - LIVE on HDNet

Micah Miller (13-4) vs. Bruce Connors (8-1)
Kim Couture (2-2) vs. Marianna Kheyfets (0-0)

Miller vs. Connors is easily the most relevant fight on the card as Miller is vying for a rebirth with the WEC, and Connors is probably looking at a potential offer with a win over Miller. Both men are submission fighters, but Miller has an experience edge along with a height and reach advantage. I expect Miller to win here, but I think he'll need a solid win against a veteran featherweight before he makes his way back to the WEC.

After Kim Couture's comical destruction at the hands of Kerry Vera, I vowed to never comment on her upcoming fights unless she actually won in impressive fashion. She has a chance tonight, but Kheyfets is an American Top Team product who apparently loves to kick box. That doesn't bode well for Couture, in my opinion.

International Fighting Championship - Extreme Challenge
Saturday, July 10, 2010 - Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, United States

Chase Gormley (7-2) vs. Mike Whitehead (24-7)
Jeremy Horn
(84-19-5) vs. Sean Salmon (18-10)

The heavyweight tilt between former UFC fighters Chase Gormley and Mike Whitehead is the only relevant battle on this card, but it has a lot of meaning for the winner. Gormley quickly exited the UFC in two quick losses to Brendan Schaub and Stefan Struve despite having quite a bit of hype surrounding him. Many fans looked at his relationship with Black House as a sure-fire sign that he had massive potential, but it hasn't translated to victory. With a recent win over Ryan Fortin at MFC 25, Gormley steps up to better competition in Mike Whitehead. I imagine Whitehead should probably come out victorious if Gormley continues to fight badly against better competitors, but Whitehead hasn't exactly been impressive, even in victory, as of late.

Gumby vs. Sean Salmon? Uhh, yeah... Horn should probably submit him.

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