After last weekend’s assault on the combat sport senses, things have slowed down on the domestic front. With a major UFC PPV this weekend and Bellator cooling down before their historic doubleheader next week, the rest of the MMA world keeps moving. All things point to people like me losing their mind by year’s end, with organizations everywhere setting up their biggest events and lots of things to pay attention to.
The good thing is that there’s a lot of meat on these bones. This week, it’s a lot of prospects to watch for. That’s always a great thing. Let’s get started.
While I wish ONE Championship would stick to either Friday or Saturday, they’ve got some great stuff for this week. Agilan Thani (8-2) fights on his home soil against Kiamrian Abbasov (19-4) at middleweight. Thani’s won most of his fights by rear naked choke, pouncing on opportunities to put opponents to sleep. Kiamrian started out in the Kyrgyzstan regional scene before moving on to Tech-Krep and had a cup of coffee in ACB. Finishing most of his bouts via strikes, Abbasov has quietly assembled a nice record, albeit one without major names but consistent talent nonetheless.
Shooto and VTJ veteran Daichi Takenaka (11-0, 1 draw) fights American Kevin Chung (5-0), while another hometown favorite in Gianni Subba (9-3) takes on Chinese prospect Hao Bin Ma (12-4).
Brazilian Alex Silva (7-2) faces another very dangerous Shoto and VTJ vet in Yosuke Saruta, while former middleweight champion Vitaly Bigdash (9-2) tries to get back on the winning path at light heavyweight against Yuki Niimura (12-4).
Women’s strawweight will also get some shine, with Mei Yamaguchi (17-11, 1 draw) taking on Filipino talent Jomary Torres (4-1). Yamaguchi had two certified bangers against Angela Lee, and could put on another blistering performance.
One Championship: Dreams of Champions does not have any championship fights on it. Still looks like a fun time. This event begins Friday morning at 7:00am EST, streaming live and free through their app, as well as their YouTube channel.
TKO 45 graces us this Friday evening with a featherweight title fight between Charles Jourdain (7-1) and Alex Morgan (9-3). Jourdain has finished in all his wins, and his lone loss was a decision. Morgan’s a ferocious fighter out of Tristar, with a fun style and great fight IQ.
Former Ultimate Fighter contestant and World Series of Fighting title challenger Josh Hill (16-2) faces former UFC fighter Taylor Lapilus (13-3). Hill had a great run in WSOF, and his only two losses were to Marlon Moraes. He gave Marlon a very tough time in some competitive fights, and has continued to succeed on the Canadian circuit. Lapilus left the UFC after going 1-3, and remains a slick striker with an overlooked submission game. This might be one of the sleeper fights of the entire weekend, anywhere.
Clever and relentless as a striker, Jade Wong (2-0) will see action once again in TKO’s cage. This time, she’s up against Marilyn Micallef (also 2-0), who has won both her professional fights by submission.
TKO 45: Jourdain vs Morgan takes place Friday night, starting at 6:30pm. This event will be streaming live via UFC Fight Pass.
LFA also returns with their final event of the year headlined by a lightweight title fight between Austin Hubbard (9-2) faces Brazil’s Killys Mota (11-0) for the vacant belt. Mota has only one decision win, with wins over Akihiro Gono and LFA’s Bobby Lee, who’s in the co-main slot.
So now that we brought him up, Lee (9-2) will be facing Titan and Atlas vet Demarques Jackson (9-2), who is looking to make this his third consecutive win.
Alton Cunningham (6-1) returns to LFA after an unsuccessful bid on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, and hopes to earn another electrifying finish. He’ll be in a striker battle against Erick Murray (4-1), who has an extensive amateur record, much like Cunningham. Murray’s big on ground strikes and TKO finishes from top position.
LFA 56: Hubbard vs Mota starts at 9:00pm EST, on their usual home, AXS TV.
Combate Americas brings their second annual one-night tournament to Fresno, CA, with the featherweights getting all the love. Just like last year, the first fight is a five minute single round. Semifinals and finals are three rounds, three minutes each. No elbows will be allowed in the quarterfinals or semifinals, but will be allowed in the finals.
Prelim action features former Tachi Palace fighter Evan Solorio (4-2) against the debuting Jimmy Molina. Alternates for the tournament will be decided with matchups between Rudy Morales (5-7) and Spain’s Vicente Marquez (5-5). Puerto Rican Michael Irizarry (9-2) takes on Pablo Sabori (8-5), friend and teammate of bantamweight champion Jose Alday.
As for the actual tournament field, it’s a fun batch. Spain’s Daniel Requeijo (14-6 )subs in at the last minute for Zebenzui Ruiz, who had visa troubles. He’ll be facing former Bellator fighter and Chilean pioneer Pablo Villaseca (13-4).
Group B will have rangy Alejandro Flores (13-1) against Colombia’s John Bedoya (6-0). Andres Quintana (15-2) walks in with two big pocketfuls of swagger against Peruvian Marlon Gonzales (14-3, 2 draws).
Combate 27: Copa Combate 2018 takes place Friday night, starting at 9:00pm EST. Prelims stream live and free on their Facebook page, while the main card will be on Univision and an English stream on DAZN.
Unified MMA sets up three title fights for a 10-fight card. Former UFC fighter Dominique Steele (17-11) challenges for the middleweight belt against Teddy Ash (12-3). Ash won the belt against former WEC and UFC fighter Seth Baczynski back in September by TKO, and has most of his wins by first round finish. Steele is still a very athletic wrestler with a ton of strength and aggression.
The featherweight title will be contended between another certified finisher, Craig Shintani (7-2) and Clay Dixon (5-1). Tristar’s Jamie Siraj (5-2) fights against clinical submission artist Michael Hay (5-1) for the Bantamweight belt.
Unified MMA 35: Enoch streams live starting at 9:00pm, live via FITE.tv for $19.99.