Now that we’re out of the early year rut, the MMA sphere begins to move in earnest with some organizations known for providing promising prospects warming everything up.
LFA begins 2019 with a good set of prospects getting work in early, with LFA 57: Zalal vs Mariscal. A handful of Factory X fighters are on this card as it takes place in Broomfield, CO, and that means that a lot of sharp and brutal striking is on the menu. Youssef Zalal (6-0) has five out his six wins coming by way of submission, with a measured striking game. Jose Mariscal (8-3) is making his LFA debut with back to back wins in his pocket, having a very complete game and closing his defensive gaps as he develops. Either one of these guys could be fighting for a title very soon at featherweight, or perhaps even moving up to a larger organization entirely.
Brazilian middleweight Lucas Rota (12-7) and Josh Cavan (15-7) will clash, and there’s a welterweight bout between Austin Jones (6-4) and the undefeated Calen Born (6-0).
Also on the card will be Pauline Macias (1-0 pro) in her second pro fight. A longtime Judoka and real-life stuntwoman that has moved to MMA and friend of Ronda Rousey, she’ll be looking to make her mark in the sport. As an aside, she won her last amateur fight due to her opponent vomiting. No, really.
LFA 57 takes place at their new start time of 10:00pm EST on their usual home, AXS TV
ONE Championship returns with a strong lineup to begin the year. The men’s flyweight title will be defended by champion Joshua Pacio (16-2) defending his belt against Japanese threat and former Shooto champion Yosuke Saruta (18-8, 3 draws). Pacio made some waves last year when he busted out what has since been dubbed the Passion Lock, an inverted kimura from rearmount. He’s also got that dynamite finish against Roy Doliguez in late 2017, and is a certified finisher.
Saruta just notched a decision win against Brazilian Alex Silva, who has become something of a fixture for ONE. He’s ruthless with his attacks when he smells blood, and is very well-rounded.
Kotetsu Boku (26-12, 2 draws) faces Brazilian lightweight Bruno Pucci (6-3), Japanese welterweight Koji Ando (12-7, 2 draws), and lightweight Christian Lee (10-3) will aim for another impressive outing as he takes on Filipino standout, Team Lakay’s Edward Kelly (11-5) in the co-main event..
ONE Championship: Eternal Glory starts on Saturday morning at 7:00am EST in the U.S., airing live from Jakarta, Indonesia.
CES has a display of some of the toughest guys and gals in the northeast with two title fights on the line. Submission ace Nate Andrews (14-1) defends his title once again against Bryce Logan (9-3). Despite having nine submission wins out of his fourteen career victories, Andrews is still very adept on his feet and is a joy to watch when he gets a good read on his opponent. Logan is a Victory and RFA/LFA vet with a complete skillset and an ability to outwork opponents and land good counters.
Tony Gravely (16-5) claimed the then-vacant bantamweight belt in devastating fashion with his slam + punches knockout of Kody Nordby. Now he defends that same title against Kris Moutinho (7-2), a great athlete coming up in the ranks.
Former UFC fighter Eric Spicely (10-4) faces Leo Pla (12-7) at middleweight, while another former UFC fighter, Tateki Matsuda (13-9) faces Josh Ricci (4-1) at flyweight.
CES 54: Andrews vs Logan starts on Saturday afternoon at 3:00pm EST. This event will stream live on UFC Fight Pass.