This is an epic weekend of MMA action. UFC, WSOF, and Invicta all have shows that I'm not going to cover here because I'm sure that others will. Consider that pretty much every fighter on the Invicta card between 105 and 135 is positioning for a UFC contract now that they are establishing a 115lbs division. There is also a ton of quality regional MMA happening around the world.
I'm not perfect, and on such a busy weekend as this I could have missed a prospect along the way. If I've missed a fight that you know of... or someone has pulled out of a fight let me know in the comments section.
Coliseu Extreme Fight - 5 Dec - Alagoas, Maceio, Brazil
Gilbert Burns (4-0) vs. Paulo Bananada (19-8)
Burns missed the LW limit his last time out, causing this match-up to be scratched. Gilbert is a highly decorated BJJ competitor, who is tight with Vitor Belfort. He is now training with the Blackzillions in Florida. There isn't much surprise in his game, as he is trying to get a fight to the ground, and impose his grappling game.
Leandro Higo (13-2) vs. Antonio Filho (14-1)
Higo trains with the Nogueira brothers, and is ground specialist who is a very solid prospect with a future in either UFC or Bellator. He was Number 9 on the 2011 BE scouting report for Bantamweights. Only a 2012 loss to Iliarde Santos has kept him out of the big shows to this point.
CES MMA - 6 Dec - Lincoln, RI
Rob Font (7-1) vs. Matthew DiMarcantonio (4-3)
Font trains out of Team Sityodtong in Boston, and likes to keep the fight standing. He is also good at mixing in a takedown at the end of close rounds, or if his opponent is getting comfortable with his standup. Even with the takedown, he doesn't always make his opponent pay, but just uses top control to control the fight. Font's only loss is to Desmond Green, who is now fighting Bellator. Since then he has reeled off six straight wins, and picked up the CES FW title
Fresquez Productions - 6 Dec - Albuquerque, NM
Holly Holm (5-0) vs. Angela Hayes (6-6)
Holly Holm is a former boxing champion, who also has a strong kickboxing background. She has reeled off two impressive KO's since dedicating herself to MMA full time earlier this year. She trains at Jackson-Winkeljohn with some of the best in the game. He outstanding athleticism should allow her to progress quickly. Holly and her team need to polish up her takedown defense, and grappling before she steps up to the big leagues.
Legacy FC - 6 Dec - San Antonio, TX
Aguilar has won 7 of his 8 fights by stoppage, and will now get a chance to prove his abilities against recent UFC veteran Leonard Garcia. A convincing win over Garcia would almost certainly get Aguilar some calls from both UFC and Bellator. Aguilar is a very solid grappler, who can control the position on the floor while trying to open up submissions.
Thomas de Almeida (14-0) vs. George Pacurariu (5-2)
22 year old Almeida has only been out of the 1st round once in his MMA career, and that was a 2nd round TKO. The Chute Box product has outstanding KO power in both hands, and is very composed in the cage while jumping on any opening that his opponents leave.
OneFC - 6 Dec - Pasay City, Philippines
Banario will look to avenge his May TKO loss to Oishi, and reclaim his OneFC Featherweight title in this scrap. In the first fight, Banario had Oishi rocked in the first round, before getting rocked himself, and stopped in the 2nd. Honorio has a Wushu, and Sanshou martial arts base to his game.
Dae Hwan Kim (8-0-1) vs. Thanh Vu (3-2)
Kim is one of the best Korean MMA fighters out there, and will be making his OneFC debut in this fight. The move to OneFC should help him stay more active as he has had brief periods of activity in his career followed by long stretches of inactivity.
KSW 25 - 7 Dec - Wroclaw, Poland
Mamed Khalidov (27-4-2) vs. Ryuta Sakurai (24-17-6)
Khalidov could be the best fighter not currently signed with UFC, Bellator, or WSOF right now. I've left him off this report in the past, because he is more of a known commodity through his body of work that includes fights with guys like Jorge Santiago, James Irvin, Matt Lindland, Jesse Taylor, and Kendall Grove. It has also been reported that he has turned down UFC in the past because he could make more headlining KSW cards in his native Poland. Now that UFC expanding the number of shows they are going to hold in Europe, and specific plans to hold fights in Poland, it is likely that Khalidov will receive another offer from UFC if he can keep winning.
Fight Nights - 7 Dec - Moscow, Russia
Marif Piraev (7-0) vs. Benjamin Brinsa (13-0)
Brinsa was signed by UFC earlier this year, but then cut before getting a fight due to his ties to a neo-nazi group in his native Germany. This makes him almost un-employable for some organizations, and it also puts a big target on his back, as any prospect out there knows that a win over Brinsa is a ticket onto the UFC's radar. Piraev's nickname is "The Lion of Dagestan" but Brinsa is a big step up from the competition he has been fighting. Piraev comes from a Sambo background, and has spent time training with Phuket Top Team in Thailand. His full time team in Russia is also home to UFC FLW Ali Bagautinov, and Bellator HW Champ Vitaly Minakov.
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship - 7 Dec - Newcastle, England
Irishman Seery doesn't have the prettiest record, and is a little older than most guys I put on this list, but he has won 4 in a row to capture the CWFC FLW title. If he could score a victory over UFC vet Gomez, he would likely be right on the UFCs radar.
Chris Fishgold (9-0) vs. Olivier Pastor (18-14)
Fishgold is a strong grappler with seven submissions in his nine victories. Anytime Chris is standing, it is pretty much just to close the distance to score a bodylock, or shoot for a takedown. He is very good at keeping dominant position on the ground, and working to open up submissions.
Agnieszka Niedzwiedz (4-0) vs. Kerry Hughes (1-0)
Niedzwiedz is a Polish fighter looking to make a statement, ahead of UFC's 2014 plans to visit her home country. She has stopped all of her opponents to this point.
Smash Fights - 7 Dec - Curitiba, Parana, Brazil
Luis Rafael (23-0) vs. Sidemar Carlos (1-2)
Rafael who picked up his biggest win to date when he defeated Claudir Dutkevis (10-3) as part of a two win weekend in October. This weekend he stays busy in a fight that probably would not get sanctioned in a state with a strong commission. He already has another fight scheduled on December 12th. Luis has fought all of his 23 fights since June 2012.
Review from last week:
RUFF - 30 Nov - Shanghai, China
Bakbulat Magomedov (12-0) picked up a UD over Guan Wang (12-1-1). If I'm not mistaken Magomedov should now be free of his contractual obligation to RUFF, and it will be interesting to see if UFC tries to fit him into the Singapore card as originally planned (Kawajiri needs an opponent), or if he is shifted to a later card.
Show Fighting Enterprise - 30 Nov - Quito, Ecuador
Ben Reiter (12-0-1) picked up a UD over Amilcar Alves (15-5).
M-1 Global - 30 Nov - Tula, Russia
Magomed Magomedov (6-2) TKO'd Yuri Maia (12-2) in the 3rd round of their fight ending Maia's 11 fight win streak.
KOTC - 30 Nov - Orville, CA