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Beyond the Octagon: UFC and PRIDE vets, plus crime-fighter Phoenix Jones

Your weekly look at what big-show veterans and notable journeymen are up to on the regional circuit.

Riki Fukuda (right) versus Costa Phillipou in their 2012 bout
Riki Fukuda (right) versus Costa Phillipou in their 2012 bout
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Ben Fodor, brother to Strikeforce and UFC veteran Caros Fodor, has likely made more headlines than anyone else fighting this weekend, despite having yet to make a major promotional debut. A costumed-crime-fighter alter-ego will do that for a guy.

When not foiling bus robberies or blasting ne'er-do-wells with pepper spray in the guise of costumed vigilante Phoenix Jones, Fodor has been plugging away on the regionals, making a pretty successful start to his welterweight career. This Saturday, in the co-main event of Battle at the Bay VIII, Fodor--who beat Cody McKenzie back when they were both still fighting amateur--improved to 5-0-0 with a split-decision victory over Justin Larsson (9-8-0). Fodor is 3-0 so far this year.

Big weekend for sibling fighters, as Ryan Healy (25-13-1, 0-1 Bellator, 0-1 Strikeforce), brother of former UFC lightweight Pat Healy, also fought last Saturday. He took on Aaron Hedrick (9-6-0) in the main even of WFC 25, coming away with a second round TKO victory. Healy, who has wins over Brad Blackburn and Paul Kelly, is now 2-0 for the year.

Earlier in the evening, Ian Loveland (17-10, 1-2 UFC, 1-2 IFL) scored a TKO victory of his own, this one coming in the first round against Gabriel Solorio (10-7, 1-0 WSOF). It was Loveland's first fight in nearly two years, and he's now 3-1 since his UFC release (with that one loss being to current UFC prospect Kyoji Horiguchi).

Also on the card, D.J. Linderman (15-9, 0-1 WSOF, 1-1 Bellator) fell to Chris De La Rocha (3-0-0) via strikes in the first. Linderman has been a strong if inconsistent journeyman, taking wins over Devin Cole, Mario Rinaldi, Mike Hayes, and Michal Kita. The last year, however, has not been kind to Linderman--the loss to De La Rocha is his fourth in a row, and second by TKO.

And finally, at Road FC 16, Riki Fukuda (21-7-0) squared off with Dong Sik Yoon (7-8-0), with Fukuda taking the win via first round TKO.

Fukuda was cut from the UFC in early 2013 after a 2-3 run with the organization, which included what is widely considered to be a bogus unanimous decision loss to Nick Ring. He is 2-0 since his release. As for Yoon, he made himself something of a cult favorite when, after a disastrous 0-4 start to his career (in PRIDE, of course, against the likes of Quinton Jackson and Kazushi Sakuraba), the Korean judoka rattled off four straight wins, three in a row by armbar (against the favored Melvin Manhoef, Zelg Galesic, and Fabio Silva). Following a 2009 split-decision victory versus Tarec Saffiedine (Saffiedine's last before moving on to Strikeforce and the UFC), Yoon spent nearly three years away from MMA competition. Since his return in 2013, he's 2-1. Sik Yoon by Dongbar, guys. Sik Yoon by Dongbar 4 Life.

And earlier in the evening, Daiju Takase (12-13-2, 5-4 PRIDE, 0-3 UFC) emerged victorious over Hee Seung Kim (6-3-0). The win came via TKO in the closing minute of Round 1. If the name Takase rings a bell, it's probably thanks to a 2003 triangle choke of Anderson Silva at PRIDE 26. Takase's win that night made him the first to ever submit Silva, one of only two such losses that the future UFC champion would ever receive (the second came by Ryo Chonan, via flying heel hook). Now in the twilight years of a career that stretches back to 1998's PRIDE 3, Takase is enjoying a personal best unbeaten streak, having gone 5-0-1 since 2009.

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