Even though the UFC sets up their first event of the year this Sunday, the rest of the MMA world doesn’t wait.
Unfortunately, not all of the offerings are of the truly sporting variety. Former DEEP, RINGS and UFC fighter Brad Kohler has an event headlined by a man fighting a woman this Friday. Dubbed “Gender Wars,” the event will be live from Russia and features a fitness trainer named Tess Barrall fighting a man named Trent. Neither has any professional fighting experience, and the winner is advertised to get a million dollar purse. Furthermore, there appears to be no live audience for the fight, nor is there an actual cage. Billed as “backyard rules,” it’s not entirely clear what other deviations from the unified rules will be made here.
To add to the event, MMA veteran Wes Sims (24-15-1 draw) will be fighting the world-travelled Travis Wiuff (75-21), and Shannon Ritch (56-86) continues his knack for finding himself in these... unorthodox events as he faces professional wrestler Jerry Mires. Mires is known mostly for his work on the Ohio area regional circuit where he performs under the moniker J-Rocc, and has a fan in UFC fighter Jessica Eye. Also, Sims is allegedly to be cornered by UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman. Should you choose to satisfy that particular itch, this event will stream live via online PPV starting at 1:00pm EST at Inplayer.com.
LFA hosts its first event of the year with a card headlined by Curtis Millender (13-3) facing Nick Barnes (12-2). Barnes started out in Gladiator Challenge before moving on to XFS and Bellator before finally settling in in LFA (then known as RFA). His two losses are to Ultimate Fighter winner Jesse Taylor and Brian Camozzi, and he has wins over James Terry and Chad Curry. This event also features Cuban Olympian Maikel Perez (4-1, 3 submissions) facing former Ultimate Fighter contestant Charlie Alaniz (11-2) at flyweight. LFA 30 takes place at the Costa Mesa Hall at OC Fair & Event Center at 9:00pm EST, live on AXS TV.
Utah graces us with SteelFist Fight Night 55, headlined by Troy Dennison (8-4) vs Clay Collard (14-7) in a lightweight title fight. You may remember Collard when he was known as “Cassius“ Clay Collard, the former UFC fighter that fought Alex White, Gabriel Benitez and a young whippersnapper named Max Holloway (I liked that kid, he had moxie - he was going places). After a loss to Tiago Trator in September of 2015, this will be the first fight for the Pit Elevated Fight Team product. As for Dennison, all but one of his wins is by finish. That card begins at midnight EST, and has three other title fights on it as well.
Saturday brings us action from Sofia, Bulgaria, as Spartacus Fighting Championship features former UFC fighter Cristina Stanciu (5-3) faces former TUF contestant and Dutch kickboxer Mellony Geugjes. Stanciu started off her career undefeated until arriving in the UFC, where she suffered back to back losses to Maryna Moroz and Courtney Casey. She also suffered a submission loss her first fight last month after being released from the organization at Ladies Fight Night 7 against Magdalena Šormová. Geugjes has losses to Dora Perjes and current UFC fighter Montana De La Rosa, and suffered a submission loss on The Ultimate Fighter against Amanda Bobby Cooper. This card is headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Englishmen Josh “Demolition” Demmel (8-1) and James Thompson (20-17). The Colossus is currently on a three-fight losing skid against Bobby Lashley, Tsuyoshi Kosaka and Phil de Fries. Spartacus Fighting Championship starts at 11:00am EST on Saturday.
ACB puts on a mammoth card with 21 fights on Saturday, also starting at 11:00am. Former Jungle Fight lightweight champion Rander Junior (11-2) faces Yusup Umarov (9-4) in the main event. The co-main event is a feature bout between Magomed Raisov (5-1) and former Strikeforce and UFC fighter Pat Healy (31-23). Abdul-Rakhman Makhazhiev (5-4) fights Damien Lapilus (16-8-1 draw), brother of UFC veteran Taylor Lapilus.
Also on Saturday, former UFC fighter Matt Dwyer faces Chris Anderson for the middleweight title at BFL 53 in British Columbia. Meanwhile, former King of the Cage women’s flyweight champion Andy Nguyen (5-5) attempts to bounce back from her October loss in RIZIN at the hands of phenom Rena Kubota when she faces Winnipeg’s own Katie Saull (1-2) at King of the Cage: Mercenaries 2.