A week packed with UFC events has been accompanied by a hefty dose of big-name action on the regional circuit, with talent hailing from Strikeforce, Bellator, PRIDE, Dream, and of course the inimitable Octagon all fighting their way up the comeback trail.
Things got started this week in Minnesota where, in the main event of Friday's Legacy FC 43, powerhouse Brock Larson (41-10, 3-3 UFC, 4-1 WEC) faced Derrick Krantz (17-8, 1-1 Bellator) for the promotion's vacant welterweight title. Krantz has limited big-show experience but has nevertheless faced his share of serious opposition, including Dustin Poirier, Jorge Patino, and Sean Spencer, though he's typically lost to such competition. He's bucking that trend recently, however, his fight with Larson included: in the third of five scheduled rounds, as the two flurried on each other, a left hook from Krantz found Larson's chin, dropping the local favorite for good. Krantz has now won three straight, all against former UFC fighters (he's also claimed first-round stoppages against Daniel Roberts and Kyle Bradley). Larson, meanwhile, sees a developing win-streak go up in smoke. He falls to 2-1 for the year.
In the night's co-main event, Larson's fellow former UFC welterweight Jacob Volkmann (18-6, 1-1 WSOF, 6-4 UFC, 1-0 Bellator) had a better go of it, making relatively short work of opponent Zak Ottow (9-3-0), submitting him with a buzzer-beating d'arce choke in Round 1. The out-spoken Volkmann, who rather alienated himself from fans on account of his decision-heavy performances as well as his politically-charged post-fight interviews, moves to 3-3 since he was released from the UFC in 2013.
Highlights from Legacy FC 43 are here. Volkmann, followed by Larson, starts at 1:30.
Over in Australia, at Melbourne's Hex Fight Series 3, former Dream fighter Rodolfo Marques Diniz (19-4-1, 1-1 Dream) kept his win-streak alive with a first-round rear-naked choke of Shantaram Maharaj (9-7-0). The Brazilian Diniz, who for the last two years has fought exclusively on the Australian circuit, is unbeaten in three.
And on Saturday, Titan FC put on its huge 34th event. Bloody Elbow's Karim Zidan has complete coverage of that night here. The main event was host to Pat Healy's title-winning TKO of Marcus Edwards (10-4-0). That victory moves Healy to 3-0 since the unfortunate UFC run that saw Healy lose four in a row after a career-defining victory over Jim Miller (and its associated cash bonuses) was overturned following a positive test for marijuana. Healy's overall record stands at 29-20-1, 1NC.
And in Atlantic City, at CFFC 50, two-time Ultimate Fighter hopeful Tim Williams (10-3-0) looked to avenge his submission loss to champion Anthony Smith (22-11, 2-0 Bellator, 0-1 UFC, 2-2 Strikeforce) from earlier this year. Unfortunately for Williams, Smith would reassert his claim to the CFFC middleweight title, and in shorter time, to boot. A minute into Round 1, Smith landed a knee that left the referee no choice but to call off the fight. It's the first time Williams has lost consecutive bouts, and it's also the first TKO loss he's suffered not due to an injury.
Across the country, at MMA Summer Showdown 2 in Washington state, Dennis Hallman (53-18-2-1NC, 4-5 UFC, 2-0 Strikeforce, 2-1 IFL) continued the search for his first victory of the last two years. With the good will of Dana White, Hallman departed the UFC in 2012 following a series of injuries, weight-troubles, and personal challenges. He rattled off two victories immediately after but has fallen into a slump since. Last Saturday, Hallman entered the ring against Albert Tadevosyan (6-0-1) with three losses hanging over his head, the last two by TKO. He'd find no relief against the 23-year-old Tadevosyan, who put Hallman away with strikes in the first half of Round 1. Hallman remains in the longest losing streak of his career.
Finally, on Monday in Tokyo, former Top 10 lightweight Satoru Kitaoka (37-13-9, 5-3 Sengoku, 1-2 Dream) successfully defended his title from Yuki Okano (10-8-1) in the main event of DEEP Cage Impact 15. Kitaoka finished Okano with a second-round guillotine choke, making for his first stoppage victory in two years. He's won five straight.
In the co-main event, Keita Nakamura (30-6-2-1NC, 1-0 Dream, 3-0 Sengoku, 0-3 UFC) dispatched welterweight champion Yuta Watanabe (19-6-4) in the opening round of their bout, capturing the title by way of rear-naked choke in the match's opening minute. Watanabe sees his win streak halted at seven. Nakamura is enjoying his own win streak of four.
Also on the card, a bout between Tatsuya Mizuno (13-10-1, 2-2 Dream) and Young Choi (19-10-3) was ruled a draw following an accidental headbutt. A middleweight, Mizuno has somehow found himself standing across from both Sergei Kharitonov and Mirko Filipovic during his fighting career. Those fights unfolded with what cruel fortune you'd expect. He's nevertheless probably a better fighter than his numbers show, as he also holds stoppage victories over Melvin Manhoef, Ilir Latifi, and Trevor Prangley.
And earlier in the night, Michihiro Omigawa (15-14-1, 4-1 Sengoku, 2-1 Dream, 1-6 UFC, 0-1 PRIDE) faced journeyman Kosuke Umeda (13-16-3). In 2007, Omigawa made for an unexpected signing to the UFC, given his 4-4 mark at the time. However, following that predictably brief, unsuccessful run in the Octagon, Omigawa made an unexpected assault on the featherweight ranks, besting the likes of Hiroyuki Takaya, Marlon Sandro, and Hatsu Hioki. A subsequent return to the UFC seemed far more promising but would wind up yielding disappointing results. Omigawa regained some traction this weekend, however, submitting Umeda in a little over a minute with a guillotine choke. With this latest victory, Omigawa wins consecutive bouts for the first time in over five years.