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Beyond the Octagon: Former UFC contender Joe Stevenson returns, TUF's Jesse Taylor faces Seth Baczynski

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A look at how MMA's big-show veterans are fairing on the world's regional circuits.

A solid batch of results for you MMA die-hards this week, with notable TUF alumni and a UFC title challenger turning in performances in smaller shows around the world. But first, let's check in with a former IFL champion.

13-year MMA veteran Matt Horwich (29-24-1, 7-4 IFL, 0-2 UFC, 0-2 Bellator) has had something of an up-and-down career. He owns victories over the likes of Thales Leites, Jake Rosholt, and Benji Radach (the last of which earned him the IFL middleweight title) but as of late he's struggled to establish lasting success. 2011 - 2012 was a particularly fallow period, with Horwich going 2-4 before drastically slowing his competition schedule; he's fought only three times in the last four years, the last time being just last week, under the banner of Fightspirit Championship in Kolpino, Russia.

Horwich faced the hard-hitting Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (29-5, 1-1 Bellator), who was fresh off a closely contested bout with Alexander Shlemenko. Fans of the champion of the multiverse will be disappointed to hear that he wound up losing, though it may be some small consolation that the loss came by unanimous decision rather than KO. In fact, Horwich has only been knocked out once in his entire career. "Suave" has now dropped three straight, while Vasilevsky successfully rebounds from his loss to Shlemenko and improves to 2-2 for the year. Horwich is scheduled to fight in Poland's PLMMA this November.

Watch Matt Horwich go shopping with Mayhem Miller at Target here.

Vasilevsky vs. Horwich here.

And in the main event of NFC 86 in Atlanta, Georgia, Dave Vitkay (18-12-1, 3-0 Bellator) took a unanimous decision over Jared Gooden (6-1-0), handing Gooden the first loss of his career and taking the organization's welterweight title in the process.

Vitkay isn't a household name by any means, but the arc of his career is something I was thinking about while dragging myself out of bed the other day. Vitkay started fighting 2002 and over the first ten years of competition went a mere 10-12-1. And then, mid-way through 2012, something changes. He upsets a 7-3 Jesse Peterson in Bellator (a fight he was likely expected to lose), and then he just keeps winning. After ten years of struggling to break .500, he's won eight in a row. What can we make of something like that?

Speaking of comebacks, TUF 2 winner Joe Stevenson (33-16, 8-8 UFC) entered the cage for the second time this year to take a unanimous decision against an over-matched Gabriel Miglioli (9-8, 0-1 Bellator). The win came in the main event of Anaheim, California's TFE: Vengeance.

Stevenson is something of a statistical outlier, making his UFC debut late into his MMA career but nevertheless rising to Top 10 status. 2010 saw a precipitous drop in his Octagon performance, however, and Stevenson was eventaully released from the organization after dropping four in a row. He'd lose two more on the regional circuit, which seemed to signal the end of his MMA career. However, with his win over Miglioli, his second of the 2016, Stevenson has now won two straight.

In the night's co-main event, Jack May (8-3, 0-2 UFC) claimed his first post-UFC victory, taking a unanimous decision over Tony Lopez (43-23, 0-1 Bellator). May is now 1-1 since being released from the UFC in 2014.

The evening also saw TUF 7 finalist Jesse Taylor (30-14, 1-1 WSOF, 0-2 Strikeforce, 0-1 UFC) take on TUF 11 alum Seth Baczynski (19-14, 6-6 UFC), who was returning to competition for the first time since being cut from the UFC last year. Like so many of the bouts this past week, this one went the distance, with Taylor earning the judges' verdict. The win halts a two-fight skid for Taylor, who is now 1-1 for the year and 3-4 since a brief turn in WSOF. For Baczynski, meanwhile, this marks his fourth loss in a row.

Other Results

ONE Championship: Unbreakable Warriors

- Gilberto Galvao (30-5-1) defeats Tatsuya Mizuno (15-12-1, 2-3 Dream) by unanimous decision. Mizuno is 1-2 for the year.

Fight Club OC

- Curtis Millender (10-3, 1-2 Bellator) defeats Ozzie Alvarez (7-4, 1-0 WSOF) by unanimous decision, improving to 2-1 since his stint in Bellator.

RMMA 37

- Jordan Plaisance (4-2) defeats Justin Patterson (7-2, 1-1 Bellator) by TKO in Round 3 of their middleweight title fight.

DEEP 77 Impact x DEEP JEWELS 13

- Takafumi Otsuka (21-13-2, 0-3 Dream) defeats Bardahl Asjabharan (1-1-) by rear-naked choke in Round 2. Otsuka is undefeated in his last four. 
- Novice Jae Woong Pyun (1-0-0) scored a major upset with his majority decision victory over submission specialist Masakazu Imanari (33-16-2, 4-3 Dream, 0-2 PRIDE). Imanari 5-2 in the last two years.

ONE Championship: Titles and Titans

- Luis Santos (63-9-1-1NC, 2-2 Bellator) defeats Igor Svirid (10-3-0) by unanimous decision. Santos is undefeated since his 2012 run in Bellator, going 9-0 (1NC) during that time.

WFC 20

- Svetlozar Savov (16-6, 0-1 WSOF) defeats Jean-Francois Lenogue (17-17-3, 0-1 PRIDE) by unanimous decision. Savov is 4-1 since his lone WSOF appearance--a submission loss to Yushin Okami.

Mr. Cage 23

- Ronys Torres (32-5, 0-1 WSOF, 0-2 UFC) defeats Silmar Nunes (28-13-0) by second-round guillotine. Torres is 7-0 since a lone appearance in WSOF, during which he dropped a decision to Brian Cobb.

Global Knockout 7

- Angel DeAnda (16-5, 0-2 WSOF) defeats Mike Jasper (10-4-0) by unanimous decision, extending his win streak to four and improving to 5-1 since his pair of fights in WSOF.