So now that we’re nearing the end of 2019, things start to get busier and weirder. Of course, weird fights are the bread and butter of this feature, so that means we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
Gorilla Fighting is a thing. An actual name for a real-life organization. No, not actual gorillas, look... just go with it. They’re up for an event this Friday at noon EST, with only three fights on deck. Former Bellator talent Akop Stepanyan (25-11) is still chugging along, competing at lightweight against India’s Shahin Najafi (4-5). If that makes you somewhat wary, don’t fret. A more... fair matchup is former World Series of Fighting and PFL (he also fought for Dictator Fighting Championship - look it up!!) fighter Timur Valiev (15-2) meets Brazil’s Taigro Costa (15-5). I don’t know if his name is inspired by Tygra from the Thundercats, but it would be pretty awesome if it was.
Gorilla Fighting 22 starts Friday at noon EST.
Global Legion FC sets up shop in Miramar, FL with former UFC talent Paulo Thiago (18-10) in his first fight in over two years. His last outing was a brutal loss in KSW back in October of 2017. His return will be a tough one at 175lbs, as he meets American Top Team rep Ailton Barbosa (13-4), who hasn’t fought since October of 2016.
Danny Chavez (9-3) faces another ATT rep in Donald Bush (6-1) at featherweight.
Global Legion FC 13 starts at 7:00pm EST, no broadcast information is available.
Next up is Friday night’s Combate Americas event, in which they return to Stockton, CA. The region appears to be kind to them, and they get some fun action fights set up with each visit. This time around, Colombia’s Javier Reyes Rugeles (8-3) meets Bellator and Tachi alum Joe Neal (6-4) at featherweight in the main event. Hard-nosed Mexican Horacio Gutierrez (6-3) faces Peru’s Marlon Gonzales (15-4).
Fresh off his win over Alberto El Patrón last week, Tito Ortiz will be joining the commentary booth with Julianna Peña and Max Bretos for the English broadcast on AXS TV. Hope you’re willing to stay up late, because it starts at midnight EST this Friday night.
Australia’s Hex Fight Series returns for their 20th event, with globetrotter JJ Ambrose (33-8) riding a four-fight win streak headlining against Kitt Campbell (10-4). Campbell’s a scrappy striker that’s coming off a decision loss, but aims to impress against the experienced Ambrose.
Hex Fight Series starts at 2:00am EST Friday night into Saturday morning. The internet is your friend on this one.
ROAD FC is also on for the late night set, with a hybrid card segmented into a men’s and women’s portion. Bantamweight champ Soo Chul Kim meets Takumi Nakayama in a grappling match, while former UFC talent “Korean Bulldozer” Yui Chul Nam (19-8, 1 draw) returns after a two-year hiatus to fight Dong Guk Shin (3-1).
Japans Emi Tomimatsu (15-15) fights Yoon Ha Hong (3-5), and American Rowan Pilger (3-0) faces Japan’s Yukari Nabe (7-3). Finally, there’s an atomweight bout between Yuri Shim (5-2) and Jung Eun Park (6-6, 1 draw).
ROAD FC 57 / XX starts Friday night into Saturday morning at 2:00am EST, with the XX women’s-only portion starting at 5:00am EST, all on DAZN.
Brave CF continues to have an eye for scouting talent despite their controversies, and pitch their tent in Kyrgyzstan. American Top Team rep and former UFC fighter Hayder Hassan (9-4) takes on England’s Carl “The Bomber“ Booth (8-3). Former Cage Warriors fighter and Allstars member Andreas Stahl (12-4) is up against local talent Akzhol Taabaldiev (2-2).
Brave CF starts at 7:00am EST and is available for purchase at FITE.tv for $14.99.
ACA is also back, live from St. Petersburg. Light heavyweight gold will be contested when Alexey Butorin (15-3) challenges Dovletzhan Yagishimuradov for the belt. Yagishimuradov won the belt against former KSW fighter Karol Celinski in a brutal manner, and Butorin is another big, tough opponent that’ll be hard to finish.
The bantamweight belt will also be contested as champion Rustam Kerimov (13-0) defends against Francisco Maciel (15-3, 1 draw).
But wait! Resident bad boy Diego Brandão (25-14) returns to featherweight against Marat Balaev (10-2), former Bellator fighter Tiger Sarnavskiy continues to live his best life on the Russian circuit against Aurel Pîrtea (17-10), and another Bellator vet in Brett Cooper (26-15) steps in against Alexey Efremov (20-10, 1 draw) at middleweight.
ACA 103 starts Saturday at noon EST.
EFC goes inland as they go live from Pretoria, South Africa. EFC dual champ and former KSW welterweight champion Dricus Du Plessis (13-2) defends his middleweight belt against Brendan Lesar (3-0).
Action mainstay Sylvester Chipfumbu (5-3) takes on Asiashu Tshitamba (4-1) at bantamweight, while Amanda Lino (4-1) faces Manon Fiorot (1-1) at flyweight.
EFC 83 starts at 1:00pm EST on DAZN.
RCC is also back this weekend, with former Bellator champion Alexander Shlemenko (59-13) meeting former World Series of Fighting middleweight and light heavyweight champion David Branch (22-6).
Oddly enough, Ivan “Ural Hulk” Shtyrkov drops down to a lighter weight as he meets veteran Yasubey Enomoto (19-11) at 187lbs. Ivan’s looking svelte, and this is an interesting development overall. Josh Copeland (18-6, 1 draw) is in for a hard battle at heavyweight against Anton Vyazigin (13-3), while Canada’s own Matt Dwyer (11-6) tangles with Mikhail Ragozin (14-4).
RCC 7 also starts at noon EST.
Saturday afternoon also brings a very, very special treat live from Dakar, Senegal, as ARES FC makes it’s promotional debut with some very notable talents. This event is the brainchild of Fernand Lopez, trainer to Cyril Gane and former UFC title challenger Francis Ngannou.
Former UFC talent Ildemar Alcantara (26-13) is back at light heavyweight as replaces former Strikeforce champ Feijão Cavalcante against “Captain Lithuania“ Laurynas Urbanovicius (12-1). French veteran Sofiane Boukichou (6-3) welcomes Oumar Kane as he makes his professional debut.
See, this isn’t you usual debut. Kane is a widely respected and loved Senegalese wrestler, and a true specimen. He’ll be trying his hand at MMA and is likely to make a splash in this new endeavor.
The Lapilus brothers are also back, as Taylor Lapilus (15-3) replaces Bryan Caraway against Marcos Breno (12-1), and Damien Lapilus (16-12, 2 draws) meets another UFC vet in Łukasz Sajewski (14-4)
Glenn Sparv (21-6) has a habit of sparking guys out, and he’s looking to do just that against Gregory Babene (19-11). Former UFC fighter and Tristar talent Jonathan Meunier (9-1) meets Nassourdine Imanov (7-2), and former Contender Series and Ultimate Fighter vet Josh Parisyan (10-3) is scheduled to face Matunga (HHH Power) Djikasa (3-1).
ARES FC 1 starts at 2:00pm EST from the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar, Senegal. It all airs on UFC Fight Pass.
DEEP is also back this weekend, with a title rematch between powerhouse slammer Koji Takeda (9-1) against Juri Ohara (25-17, 3 draws) for the lightweight strap.
Big boy season is upon us as RIZIN standout and pride of Guam Roque Martinez (13-5, 2 draws) battles for the heavyweight belt against Japan’s Seigo Mizuguchi (14-17).
Former UFC talent Naoki Inoue (11-2) returns to his old stomping grounds in DEEP at bantamweight to meet Toshiaki Kitada (22-12, 4 draws). Satoko Shinahashi (38-3, 2 draws) is fighting Mizuki Oshiro (1-1) for some reason or another.
DEEP 93 Impact starts Saturday night into Sunday morning at 1:00am EST.
Finally, Cindy Dandois (15-5) continues to get booked against less experienced opposition, but is making the most of her recent world tour. This weekend she’s in Athens, Greece at Cage Survivor 14 against 0-1 Eleni Mytilinaki this Sunday. Yes, you’re reading that correctly.
Also, former UFC and Bellator phenom Maiquel Falcão (40-18) returns to middleweight against Sergey Romanov (18-3) this Saturday at Krepost Fighting Championship in Sochi.