Who's up for some Friday night MMA? Tonight marks the 2nd Titan Fighting Championships event under the new ownership of Jeff Aronson, and they've made their way to Oklahoma for what should be an interesting night of fights. With Vinny Magalhaes recuperating after a staph infection, former Bellator LHW Raphael Davis steps in to face Jason Brilz (remember him?) in the main event.
For a smaller promotion, this card runs pretty deep in terms of familiar faces and up-and-comers, so let me give you a rundown of what to watch for this evening:
- Main Event. Jason Brilz was incredibly close to defeating Lil' Nog at UFC 114. He lost a split decision in the card's FOTN, was knocked out in his next two fights and ultimately cut. Brilz has won his last 3 on the regional circuit, so he's still got some fight in him at 39. Raphael Davis is 38, on his own three-fight winning streak, and holds submission wins over Vinny Magalhaes and Emanuel Newton.
- Co-Main Event. Dave Herman (21-6) had a horrible UFC career, and that's putting it kindly, but he can get back on track opposite Kalib Starnes (16-8-1), who left the UFC 6 years ago as a middleweight but is now a heavyweight with wins over Tim Hague an Dwayne Lewis. Herman is only 29, which at heavyweight might as well make him a teenager, so perhaps hope isn't lost yet if he can get his head on straight, but losing to Starnes here would be devastating.
- Walt Harris vs. D.J. Linderman. Harris was bounced from the UFC after an 0-2 run, which included the head kick KO loss to Nikita Krylov. Linderman is no world-beater, but he did defeat Raphael Davis when they were both in Bellator. Unfortunately for him, he's also on a losing skid after finishing 2013 with consecutive losses on the regional scene. To give you an idea of how powerful Anthony Johnson is, he is the only man to KO Linderman in 7 defeats, with everything else coming by decision or submission, so Harris should find him to be tough to crack with just a single strike.
- Brian Foster vs. Gilbert Smith. Foster is guaranteed entertainment who has unfortunately seen a chunk of his career lost to injuries and health setbacks. The UFC released him for those very reasons, which included a brain hemorrhage and a burst testicle in training. Foster is 5-1 in his last 6 and his best win to date is a guillotine choke finish of Matt Brown back in 2010 when he was still under the UFC banner. I for one am glad that he's an active fighter again and still delivering exciting performances win or lose. Gilbert Smith disappointed on TUF 17 and was cut after losing to Bubba McDaniel in the season finale. He's made the move to welterweight to take on a man who has never gone the distance in his MMA career.
- Daniel Roberts vs. Brock Jardine. At one point, "Ninja" Roberts was 3-1 in the UFC, but 3 straight losses sent him packing. He's won 2 of his 3 post-UFC fights, although his last bout was a split decision loss to Justin Baesman in Nick Diaz's War MMA promotion. Jardine was an interesting prospect who was signed by the UFC with a 9-1 record back in 2012. He couldn't get past Rick Story or Kenny Robertson and was released, and this is his new home after a 1+ year layoff. Jardine will have to be wary of Roberts' submission skills.
- Gleristone Santos' promotional debut. If that name rings a bell, you've probably read Patrick Wyman's "Searching for Future Champions" series. The Brazilian is 25-4 and is a vicious striker with plenty of fight experience at the young age of 25. He's taking on UFC veteran Alvin Robinson, who has fought the likes of Kenny Florian and Nate Diaz in his time.
The main card beings at 10:30 PM ET on CBS Sports Network, but you can catch the preliminary bouts live on CBSSports.com by clicking on this link.
Here's the full lineup:
Main Card (CBS Sports Network, 10:30 PM ET)
Preliminary Card (CBSSports.com, 8 PM ET)