Despite being laden with shows from both the UFC and Bellator, this weekend nevertheless also saw plenty of action from big-show veterans on the regional circuit, including a perhaps premature stoppage win for former Top 10 light-heavyweight Luiz Cane. We begin, though, with a well-traveled WEC veteran...
On Friday, in the main event of Front Street Fights 5, submission artist Bendy Casimir (21-12-2, 0-2 WEC) took to the ring against Jesse Brock (20-8, 1-1 Bellator) for a shot at his first consecutive victory in over five years. Casimir made a surge up the featherweight ranks between 2007 and 2009 thanks to a lengthy win streak punctuated by victories over Andre Winner and Anton Kuivanen. However, his subsequent, unsuccessful run in the WEC would land the French fighter in an unprecedented slump, as he lost six in a row before taking his leave from the sport in 2010. He made his return in January, when a second-round TKO put him back on the winning track, but his recent fight with Brock would see him promptly slip back off of it, with the WEC veteran dropping a unanimous decision. Casimir falls to 1-4 in his last five, with all losses by unanimous decision. Brock has won four straight since a loss to Caol Uno last year.
And on Saturday, TUF 16 winner Colton Smith squared off with Marcus Andrusia (6-10, 0-1 Bellator) for the headlining bout at Rocks Xtreme MMA 14. Smith, who went 1-3 in the UFC, opened up the round by trying a few kicks on for size but, with Andrusia backed up against the cage, he found the takedown irresistible. Smith fairly landed in mount, and though Andrusia seemed for a moment poised to escape to his feet, Smith maintained control, eventually transitioning to the back and flattening Andrusia out. From there, a volley of punches prompted the referee to halt the fight. The victory makes for Smith's second in a row, and his first by TKO as a professional. He improves to 5-4-0 overall.
Smith vs. Andrusia can be seen here. Action starts at 9:55.
Meanwhile, in Russia, at Octagon Fighting Sensation 4, Akop Stepanyan (18-7, 1-4 Bellator) survived a minor scare early in the opening frame to finish Mohamed Hassan Badawy (9-3-0) in Round 2. Badawy eagerly dove for the takedown throughout their bout, but came closest to victory when an unexpected, short left saw Stepanyan buckle at the knees. The Bellator veteran quickly regained his composure, though, and went on to ably outstrike his opponent. Following a botched takedown attempt in Round 2, an exhausted Badawy could only turtle up as Stepanyan made with the ground-and-pound. With the referee stoppage, Stepanyan finds himself on a five-fight winning streak, four of which have come by (T)KO.
Watch Stepanyan vs. Badawy, as seen from the stands, here.
And in Japan, Daisuke Nakamura (28-17-1, 2-2 Dream, 0-1 Strikeforce, 2-1 PRIDE) dropped his second bout in a row, this time to journeyman Yuki Okano (10-7-1) at DEEP 72 Impact. The loss came in the form of a unanimous decision. Nakamura hasn't been finished since submitting to a leg scissor choke from Naoyuki Kotani five years ago.
Up in Finland, at Cage 30, Anton Kuivanen (22-8, 1-2 UFC) improved to 5-2 in his post-Octagon career with a unanimous decision victory over English talent Sean Carter (10-2-0). Kuivanen has won two straight while Carter sees his recent win streak halted at three.
A little jog down the coast, in Malmo, Sweden, "The Brazilian Swede" David Bielkheden (21-12, 1-2 UFC, 0-1 PRIDE) fought Cody McKenzie (15-8, 3-4 UFC) at Superior Challenge 12. The welterweight affair would go the distance, with Bielkheden being awarded the judges' verdict. This makes for Bielkheden's fourth victory in a row; he's beaten two UFC veterans in that span, having notched a win over Besam Yousef last year. McKenzie, who last February lost by disqualification following an egregious butting of heads, has dropped his last four.
And finally, on Sunday, Shooto Brasil put on its 54th show, which hosted Luiz Cane (16-6-1NC, 4-5 UFC) in a fight with relative novice Felipe Silva (2-2-0). The fight unfolded more or less predictably, with Cane flooring Silva before delivering fight-ending punches on the ground within the bout's opening minute. Cane moves to 4-1 since the 2012 loss to Chris Camozzi that saw him released from the UFC.
The finishing sequence between Cane and Silva, in .gif form, can be seen here. Silva protests the stoppage, and I have to agree that it seems a bit early.
Also on the card was Ronys Torres (29-5, 0-2 UFC, 0-1 WSOF) who topped Benito Tavares (5-3-0) by unanimous decision. Torres is 4-0 since a split-decision loss to Brian Cobb at WSOF 1 in 2012; he's 15-2 since his last appearance in the UFC. His opponents' records have actually been pretty respectable, and he'd likely be an asset to Bellator or one of the more prominent regional promotions like Titan FC or the RFA.