Because I promised you a mammoth weekend, we’re moving right along to everything else of note that’s taking place. That means we’ve got more Japanese action, a ONE card with a title fight, and a Cage Warriors card with a welterweight bout that is an absolute banger.
Those that choose to stay up overnight from Friday to Saturday morning are in for a treat as DEEP 88 IMPACT takes place live from the famed Koruaken Hall in Tokyo, Japan.
The bantamweight title is on the line as current champ Yuki Motoya (23-5) defends his belt against Josh Barnett protege Victor Henry (16-4). Motoya won the then-vacant title back in October against Makoto Kamaya, then defeated former UFC talent Justin Scoggins on the RIZIN New Year’s Eve card. He’s got a great all-around athletic style with good scrambles and patient striking. Henry’s been working his wrestling and improving his striking, and is an energetic fireball putting everything together.
RIZIN and PXC vet Roque Martinez (12-4) brings the Big Chungus action against Ryo Sakai (8-8), and flashy bantamweights Shoji Maruyama (16-1, 1 draw) and Koichi Ishizuka (15-4, 1 draw) meet on this card as well. Welterweights Yuta Watanabe (20-9, 4 draws) and Yoshitomo Watanabe (15-15, 3 draws) are also scheduled for action.
DEEP 88 IMPACT starts at 4:00am EST for those of us in the U.S.
From there, we move to Ekaterinberg, Russia as RCC stages another event with a handful of curious and recognizable talent. Godofredo Pepey (14-6) brings his brand of unpredictable volatility and violence against powerhouse Pavel Gordeev (13-1), and well-traveled Anthony Leone (17-8) looks to test Denis Lavrentyev (6-2).
Another former UFC talent gets a spot here as Viscardi Andrade (19-7) looks to put work in against Sergei Martinov (11-2). M-1 veteran Pavel Vitruk (11-3) meets Shooto Brazil vet Cleverson Silva (11-2).
RCC Intro 3 starts at 6:00am EST here in the U.S. Saturday morning.
Cage Warriors pulled the ripcord a few weeks ago and is running at a wild clip so far this year, with Cage Warriors 103 set up from Copenhagen.
This being in Denmark, the hometown mainest man is former UFC talent Nicolas Dalby (16-3, 1 draw) coming off a great win over Philip Mulpeter in December. He’ll be vying for the vacant interim welterweight title against Bellator and BAMMA vet, vicious striker Alex Lohore (17-3). This is has to be one of the best welterweight fights to make right now on the international scene and should have plenty of action.
An interim featherweight fight is also on deck as another Dane, Soren Bak (12-1) tangles with Morgan Charriere (13-6, 1 draw). Standout Danish wrestler Mark Madsen (6-0) gets another step up against Thibaud Larchet (12-4, 1 draw), and Danish former UFC fighter Mads Burnell (10-3) welcomes Ahmed Vila (7-1) to Cage Warriors.
Cage Warriors 103 streaming exclusively on UFC Fight Pass, starting Saturday at 2:30pm EST.
CXF still has a spot on the California scene, as Florentine Gardens plays host to CXF 17: March Madness. This one’s headlined by former Strikeforce and Bellator fighter Virgil Zwicker (16-9, 1 draw) looks to stop fellow heavyweight Michael Quintero (5-1).
Carlos Puente Jr. (6-2) gets a big step up against former Bellator and UFC fighter Albert Morales (7-5, 1 draw). Former Bellator heavy hitter Fernando Gonzalez (27-16) squares off against former LFA fighter, Brazil’s Gabriel “Zangief“ Checco (10-3).
CXF 17 starts at 10:00pm EST.
Lighting round time, kids. Quick hits for the rest of the scene up next. BTC in Windsor, Ontario, Canada has Kyle Prepolec (11-5) welcomes former UFC fighter Cody Pfister (15-6, 1 draw) for the 165lb title. A rarity, sure, but it could be a concept that catches on. Jo Vallé (7-3) is also on this card, challenging for the vacant middleweight belt against Aaron Jeffrey (5-1).
BTC 5 starts at 7:00pm EST.
Former UFC fighter Jarred “The Monkey God“ Brooks tests the flyweight landscape outside of the UFC against Michigan Top Team’s Josh Robinson (12-2) at Total Warrior Combat on Saturday.
Brave Fight x Grachan 39 also takes place from Japan, Saturday night into Sunday morning at midnight EST. Isao Sakiyama, Takahiro Ashida, Ryuta Sakurai and Akihito Mamiya are scheduled to appear.