Welcome once again to MMA Outposts, your weekly look at the weekend ahead in regional MMA. Here is your preview of the most exciting, intriguing and/or bizarre fights coming your way this weekend from around the globe The focus as ever is on the minor leagues and thus the UFC, WsoF, Bellator and ONE FC are excluded.
Thunder Fight 4: Celso Venicius (5-0) vs Jorge Patino (37-15-2)
The very promising Thunder Fight serves up another card offering that exciting mix of no hopers, last hopers, up and comers and journeyman you only find in the minor leagues. Competing for the vacant 155lb title are three time World Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion Celso Venicius and 20 year veteran Jorge Patino. Slow and steady has been the mantra for Venicius piecing together an unblemished record over the last 4 years. He now faces the biggest challenge of his career in a man who has seen and done it all. Patino is a former UFC title challenger who has fought in Pride, Cage Rage, Strikeforce, Mecca Vale Tudo, Jungle Fight, the UFC, the WSoF, Legacy FC and cut his teeth in brutal one night tournaments a generation ago. A respected black belt in his own right Patino is at 42 still a worthy adversary for any lightweight outside the UFC and a serious cap in the feather of any man who can defeat him.
NLFC 2: Lew Polley (12-6) vs Matt Kovacs (11-13)
Lew Polley's nickname is 'The Titan', talented as he is 'The Bridge Burner' might be more apt. The outspoken Polley has a history of seemingly sabotaging himself; whether weighing in 32lbs heavy for a light heavyweight bout for WSOF, proclaiming ONE FC to sooner or later break the UFC's global stranglehold on MMA or becoming the first assistant coach to be kicked off TUF by his own head coach, The Titan has not made himself easy to root for. That outspoken nature combined with a violent collection of finishes do however make him an attractive option for smaller shows. 0-2 in his last 2 and with 4 cancelled bouts since his last win the frustration to show off his true potential must be getting to Polley who has the chance to let his fighting do the talking against Washington journeyman Matt 'The Attack' Kovacs.
PLMMA 56: Nikos Sokolis (11-2) vs Antoni Chmielewski (29-12)
There is a certain amount of irony that the emerging Greek domestic scene has been largely ignored when every other gym and league is called Sparta this, 300 that, Trojan this etc. Amongst the absolute novices and Greek-American imports Nikos Sokolis has been slowly building his reputation as the top domestic talent. Nitro has only lost twice with both occasions being on foreign soil, a record of travelling poorly he will want to shed in Poland. Looking to send Sokolis home 0-3 abroad is grizzled Polish mainstay Chmielewski. The Poland Top Team rep is riding a 3 fight win streak with all coming by way of first round submission. This is a step up for Sokolis but Chmielewski cannot sleep on the Greek especially with middleweight gold on the line.
Jungle Fight 78: Diogo Calvalcanti (8-1) vs Ciro Rodrigues (17-6)
Perhaps only King of the Cage can boast to have hosted a longer list of future UFC talent than Brazil's Jungle Fight. The quantity and quality of fighters to have passed through it's doors is astounding but right now Wallid Ismail's promotion is finding itself in a familiar position, in need of new stars. Exporting fighters is great until the cupboard is bare. Hoping to fill one of those voids and claim the lightweight title are equal opportunities finisher Calvalcanti and durable knock out artist Rodrigues. A win is all that matters to both men but adding your name to the list of previous champions like Trator dos Santos, Ivan Jorge, Adriano Martins and Francisco Trinaldo is a big bonus and as near as you can get to being rubber stamped big show ready.
Odyssey Fights Round 1: Steve Montgomery (8-2) vs Anthony Lemon (3-9)
Steve Montgomery made no secret of his desire to fight quickly and squeeze on to the TUF: Blackzillians vs ATT finale in July following his medical dismissal from a failed weight cut. The Creepy Weasel was scheduled to compete in May but an event cancellation severely hindered his chances of persuading the UFC top brass that he was worthy of a spot on the card. A quick win could send Montgomery's career in two different directions here – into the arms of the UFC on a 6 fight win streak with TUF and Fight Master veteran written on his CV or continuing to toil away on the regional scene in a rumoured bout with Ax Men star Brad Taylor (3-2). There are two men in this fight of course but it's hard to look past the fact Lemon is on a 7 fight losing streak and has some enormous holes in his submission defence.
Also worth noting...
-Austrian pioneer Philipp Schranz (15-7) maybe 35 but is still game and a vital figure on the Austrian scene, he headlines Austrian FC's debut show against Italian Damiano Bertoli (5-1)
-Long time strawweight stand out Rambaa Somdet (12-3) will have his hands full against Masyoshi Kato (8-6-1) at Shooto Grapplingman 15
-Paraguay's Alvaro Correa (7-0) has obliterated anyone put in front of him thus far in his career, he aims to take Bruno Lopes' (5-0) welterweight title at Jungle Fight 78
-Paddy Pimblett (8-1) looks to attract bigger fish in the post-Cage Warriors UK pond by taking out seemingly nomadic Miguel Haro (8-5) at FCC 13
-TJ O'Brien (20-7) looks to get his 6'2" frame down to featherweight to take on surging MCC champion Eric Howser (8-2) at MCC 59