This weekend is good. Very good. Organizations across the board are putting on bonkers matchups on all fronts everywhere. We’re really quite spoiled, and it’s a pretty good time to be a fan.
Now, if you’re also a fan of kickboxing, ONE has you covered. This week’s event actually has more kickboxing/Muay Thai fights than MMA. Nong-O vs Hiroaki Suzuki may be the headliner, but the MMA portion’s got some meat on it. Hard-hitting Japanese talent Shoko Sato (31-16, 3 draws) has been in some brutal bouts, and he’ll be looking to make an impression as the VTJ, Shooto, Pancrase and ROAD vet makes his ONE debut against dangerous Kiwi Mark Abelardo (18-5).
Former Pancrase and UFC fighter Kazuki Tokudome (18-10, 1 draw) returned to MMA after his Quintet appearance last June, only to suffer two straight losses to Narantungalag Jadambaa and Christian Lee. He’ll try to get back on the winning path against ONE mainstay Adrian Pang (23-12, 2 draws), who snapped a four-fight losing skid last November with a win over Kota Shimoishi by doctor stoppage. It’s clearly an action-focused event, and should have plenty of fun even if you’re not big on pure striking.
For those not familiar with it, Jackson/Winklejohn (in collaboration with super agent Lenny Fresquez) have been staging events for some time, and they’ve got a bunch of up and comers on their cards. Sometime Bellator fighter Steve Garcia (8-3) faces American Top Team rep and former Titan FC fighter Andrew Whitney (16-6).
Will Santiago (9-6) hasn’t had the most extensive career, but he’s fought in a lot of places against some tough names. With a stint in CES and going 1-1 in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, he’ll be tested against vicious striker Jared Gooden (13-3).
JacksonWink Fight Night 5 starts at 6:00pm EST Friday evening.
Shamrock FC still churns out some of the midwest’s toughest talent, and this weekend has one of their brighter prospects in Ty Flores (6-2) takes on Errick Murray (5-2).
Shamrock FC 318 starts Friday night at 7:30pm EST, and will be streaming live on FloCombat.
Combate Americas returns to Stockton, CA, with Team Alpha Male’s Erick Sanchez (8-4) returns to La Jaula against Alex “Bam Bam“ Velazco. Velazco is no stranger to very bloody fights, and makes things as ugly as he needs to in order to win. Sanchez has wins via strikes and submissions and is a great athlete, and is looking to rebound from a loss to Julian Erosa in November 2017. This will be his first fight since.
Former Ultimate Fighter contestant Irene Cabello (8-6) has shown she’s more than just a kickboxer in her RIZIN performance against Miyuu Yamamoto in the 2017 tournament. She’s continued to turn in some wild performances since spending time at Jackson/Winklejohn in New Mexico, and looks bounce back from a decision loss against Yahaira Romo as she meets BJJ specialist Charisa Sigala (4-0).
Unfortunately, a fight between Zoila Frausto and Simone Duarte has been cancelled due to an injury to Duarte.
Friday night brings us LFA action with some of the best prospects in the country, this time from the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. Exciting featherweight action takes top billing with undefeated Jon Neal (10-0) against Tyler Diamond (9-1).
Remember Josh Burkman (28-17)? He’s back, and this time against another former UFC fighter in William “Patolino“ Macario (9-4). Macario is 2-1 since leaving the UFC, while this will be Burkman’s first fight since leaving the UFC.
Also on the card is a fight between up and comer Bobby King (6-2) and Fabio Serrao (9-6) at lightweight, and former Invicta and Bellator fighter Katylin Neal (4-3) against Lisa Mauldin (2-0).
LFA 66: Diamond vs Neal starts at 9:00pm Friday night on their usual television home, AXS TV.
ZST brings back to back Japanese action this weekend, with the first event headlined by a flyweight bout between Tatsuki Saomoto (11-2) and Ryota Sasaki (14-8, 7 draws).
Look, before we continue I need to level with you — this card is weird. In a good way, but very weird. All fights are scheduled for two five-minute rounds, not three. That said, these are action fights set up largely for violence, and that’s good.
Grachan and Pancrase vet Toshihiro Shimizu (24-17, 11 draws — thanks, ZST ruleset!!) meets Masaya Takita (14-19, 4 draws), and Keigo Kawamoto (7-7, 8 draws) squares up against Issei Kitano, who is making his pro debut in a men’s strawweight fight.
ZST 64 starts Friday night into Saturday morning at midnight EST.