A long weekend with a ton of great fights and compelling curiosities is upon us. There’s no UFC this weekend but there’s plenty to enjoy aside from Bellator 201 (a.k.a. Rise of the Prospects). Let’s get into it right away.
Thursday morning we have XFN: Back To The O2 Arena. Don’t get too excited, this isn’t the O2 in London. This is the one in Prague, headlined by mythical Czech wrestling champion Karlos Vemola (20-5) as he faces Patrik Kincl (19-8). This will be Vemola’s third fight of the year, and it’s only June. Vemola’s gone 11-1 since leaving the UFC, with his lone loss in that stretch being an a submission loss to Jack Hermansson in 2015.
Former M-1 featherweight champion Ivan Buchinger (33-6) battles Jaroslav Pokorny (14-6). This is Buchinger’s first fight outside of M-1 since 2013. Latvian heavyweight Konstantin Gluhov (33-17) will test the up and coming former KSW fighter, Polish prospect Jedrzej Mackowiak (6-2).
No streaming information is available, but the internet is your friend.
Friday morning greets us with ONE Championship returning to Myanmar for Spirit of a Warrior (seriously, they’re gonna run out of names like this).
National favorite Aung La Nsang (22-10) defends his middleweight title against Japanese veteran Ken Hasegawa (16-2, draw) Aung currently holds the middleweight and light-heavyweight belts, and has one of the most vicious squeezes in the game right now. Hasegawa is a case of what our own Zane Simon calls “getting into shape by fighting“. Ken started his career at heavyweight and openweight, which was basically super-heavyweight or 265+. He’s still got heavy hands, and occasionally hunts for submissions like he did against Ryuta Sakurai here.
Brazilian Leandro Issa (15-6) will also be in action against Roman Alvarez (8-1). Alvarez is pretty vicious, with lots of frenetic energy in his fights. Issa went 2-3 in his UFC run with wins over Ulka Sasaki and Jumabieke Tuerxun, and sharpened his striking arsenal substantially.
Another Brazilian makes a return as Rafael Nunes (11-1) is set to fight Tetsuya Yamada (25-6, 2 draws). Nunes took an extended hiatus due to injuries and personal matters after his lone submission loss to Koji Ando in 2014, returning earlier this year to defeat Eric Kelly by submission this past January. Yamada also had a submission win against Kelly in May, bouncing back from a loss to Saygid Arslanaliev.
ONE Championship: Spirit of a Warrior streams live and free on Friday morning at 7:00am EST via the ONE app (and YouTube).
LFA rolls back through Arizona for LFA 44: Frincu vs Aguilera, live from the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix.
Former WSOF fighter Matthew Frincu (12-3) has a welterweight showdown with Christian Aguilera (11-4). Aguilera’s won three straight, all of them via strikes. That last one was a lovely walk-off as well. Frincu’s made a home for himself in LFA, going 3-1 with his only loss in their organization at the hands of current UFC fighter Curtis Millender. He’s still improving with great power shots, good cardio and excellent fight IQ.
Another former WSOF fighter takes the stage when Joey Miolla (9-3) competes against Arizona’s own Glen Baker (4-2), and Hawaiian sensation Keoni Diggs (4-0) tries to stay undefeated against Andy Varela (3-1). Other fights include Kevin Natividad (5-1) vs Tyler Bialecki (8-7) and Kamuela Kirk (7-2) vs Boimah Karmo (4-3).
LFA 44: Frincu vs Aguilera takes place Friday night starting at 9:00pm EST, only on AXS TV.
Titan also makes a comeback, with two title fights at the top. Raush Manfio (11-2) looks to make his second lightweight title defense a success when he faces Sidney Outlaw (9-3). A former Ultimate Fighter Brazil contestant, Manfio’s got a bunch of finishes via KO/TKO on his record. A good example is the finish against Chazz Walton last year.
Outlaw is on a four-fight win streak, and the most notable name on his record is a split decision loss against current UFC fighter Gregor Gillespie. A tremendous athlete and an ever-improving striker, Outlaw’s becoming a more complete fighter with each outing. So yes, this fight should be high-level action between two fighters almost at their peak.
Welterweight gold is also on the line when Jose Caceres (14-7) tries to make his first title defense count when he tries to fend off undefeated Slovenian Uros Jurisic (7-0). Jurisic lost by decision in the opening round of The Ultimate Fighter against Luiz Firmino during the American Top Team vs Blackzilians season. He’s also a prime-level athlete that only has one of his wins go to decision while on a three-win streak. Caceres has losses to Niko Price and Colby Covington, but has 12(!!) of his 14 wins via choke. Caceres has been tremendous fun to watch, making this another great matchup for the weekend.
Other possible bangers on this card include Rafael Alves (16-9) vs Bebit Nazarov (15-2), Edir Terry (6-2) vs Arnold Berdon (6-2), also known as the husband of UFC fighter Rachael Ostovich.
Titan FC 50: Manfio vs Outlaw will stream live starting at 8:00pm EST, exclusively via UFC Fight Pass.