Welcome to MMA Outposts, the first of a hopefully weekly look at the most important, intriguing or bizarre fights happening this coming weekend from every corner of the globe. The focus here is on the regional scene and as such the UFC, WSOF, Bellator and ONE FC are excluded.
United Combat League: Mayhem - Rob Morrow (18-17-1) vs Miodrag Petkovic (32-22-1)
For a long time there was an almost inescapable fact for Europe's Heavyweights, and that was that at some point you were going to have to face Miodrag Petkovic. With wins over the likes of Travis Fulton, Dave Dalgliesh, Tim Hague, Konstantin Gluhov and James Thompson, Petkovic has little else to prove on the regional circuit but at 45 he is still wrapping his hands. 2-9 in his last 11 it seems an odd time to begin competing exclusively in the States but 'Pele' still has the fire and Rob Morrow will want to extinguish it for the biggest win of his career. 7-2-1 in his last 10 'The Detroyer' is looking to pull away from the .500 precipice and assert dominance in the Mid West.
WEF 3: Force of Nomads – Bakyt Bekboev (1-0) vs Nodar Kudukhashvili (8-1)
It's very rare that a fight involving a 1-0 fighter is of any great interest but this one is for the MMA hipsters. Russian fighters are so last season, Central Asia is the new ex-USSR hotspot. With professional shows now popping up all over the region Bakyt Bekboev can pull some focus on to Kyrgyzstan with an upset of M-1 and Ring of Combat veteran Kudukhashvili. The Georgian went the distance with TUF terroriser Uriah Hall but cannot sleep on the Kyrgyz grappler who placed 3rd in the NAGA No-Gi Advanced Light Heavyweight tournament last year and specialises in leg locks.
GWFC 2 – Josh Hill (10-1) vs Josh Rettinghouse (10-3)
Gosh Josh is this an intriguing match up of Marlon Moraes cast offs. Both men come in to this on the back of decision losses to WSOF Bantamweight Champion Moraes but clearly neither wanted to breeze past a nobody when they returned to action. Hill is almost certainly the best Canadian bantamweight not called Mitch Gagnon and Rettinghouse is a dangerous finisher who boasts 5 first round victories and a slick submission game. This one is fascinatingly poised as both men look to avoid back to back defeats for the first time in their careers.
Venator FC: Guerrieri Italiani Finals– Cristian Binda (9-9) vs Masakazu Imanari (30-14-2)
Even at the age of 39 feared leg lock specialist Masakazu Imanari is a crowd pleaser who puts asses in seats. It's seemingly somewhat of a coup then that the still infant Italian promotion Venator FC has tempted him to fight on European soil for the first time in over 7 years. When the veteran submission stylist touches down in Northern Italy he will face fellow Cage Rage alumni Cristian Binda who is building up a head of steam on the slowly emerging Italian scene after many years out gunned in the UK. Crafty veterans have been Binda's downfall on his UK outings with losses to Ashleigh Grimshaw, Danny Batten, Paul McVeigh and Brad Pickett but the ship has been righted in recent years and he will have to work hard to keep it that way against the Japanese legend.
Absolute Championship Berkut 19 – Adam Zając (8-1-1) vs Anatoly Tokov (19-1)
Polish and Russian MMA are both red hot right now with both nations exporting fighters to the major promotions regularly. When Zając and Tokov meet in the ACB Middleweight tournament semi finals it will be a meeting of two of those nations best prospects. The more experienced Tokov is an M-1 veteran who will be looking to further stand out from the masses of legitimate Russian rough diamonds where as with a win Zając could expect a perhaps overdue call from KSW to compete in their talent rich 185lb division. Tokov boasts a 78% finishing rate and if he hits 20-1 it will be a come and get me to the likes of Bellator, ONE and WSOF.
Also worth noting
-Martin Mollinedo (15-6) takes on Sidney Oliveira (16-7) in the increasingly competitive Peruvian MMA scene at Peru FC 21
-In a region still home to some seriously questionable matchmaking (looking at you Twins MMA) the consistently intriguing Final Fight Championship throws together two finish loving welterweights in Josip Artukovic (10-4) and undefeated Vladislav Kanchev (5-0-2)
-Respected Florida Lightweight Frank Carrillo (9-4) will look to stretch his win streak to 4 and remind Bellator what they are missing as he takes on Jungle Fight veteran Rafael Alves (12-6)
-Main eventing Mexico's Xtreme Kombat 30 is a rematch of Costa Rican stand out Alejando Solano (23-12) and Brazilian finishing machine Iuri Silva (13-4, 100% finish ratio)
-Decorated wrestling convert Saba Bolaghi (4-0-1) faces the stiffest test of his young career in French hot prospect Teddy Violet (8-1) at Cage Run in Germany