By now, I think MMA fans have become privy to a UFC, Bellator or World Series of Fighting event on just about every single weekend. Sometimes, one or two of each. Of course we look towards those ‘big’ shows primarily, but almost every single weekend there are plenty of other fights and events worth, at the very least, being on the lookout for results after the fact. Here are all the mixed martial arts events and fights you should care about this weekend.
King of the Cage: Awakening – Worley, Idaho – Couer D’Alene Casino (06/04/15)
The King of the Cage promotion has been known to hardcore MMA fans since the late 90s-early 00s, and in 2015 they’re still alive and kicking, and still producing some decent fights. The nights main event pits two veterans of the game against one another for the KOTC light heavyweight title. Trevor Prangley (35-11-1) will step in the cage coming off a submission win over Richard Blake six months back to take on DJ Linderman (18-9) who has won two in a row, most recently stopping Jeff Monson.
Also on the main card, a women’s strawweight fight between Glena Avila (4-3) and Invicta’s Jenny Liou Shriver (3-2). As well as a lightweight bout featuring Daniel Swain (12-4-1) and, let’s be honest, an opponent he should definitely beat in Joaquin Calderon (2-1).
Ring of Combat 51 – Atlantic City, New Jersey – Tropicana Casino (06/05/2015)
From the promotion that has helped produce the likes of the Miller brothers and Chris Weidman, comes Ring of Combat 51, featuring FIVE, yes, FIVE title fights! No real ‘main event’ here, so let’s run-down all of the title fights ahead of us, shall we.
Jeresey’s own Julio Arce (7-0) will defend his bantamweight strap vs. Michael Imperato (7-1), a Canadian that is content with choking you unconscious or bringing a limb home. The vacant lightweight title will be on the line as knockout artist George Sheppard (15-10) takes on Long Islander with a 100% finish rate, Gregor Gillespie (4-0), a man who has been with ROC for his entire career thus far. The ROC featherweight title will on the line as Mike Santiago (14-9) will look to add another submission to his resume when he tries to defend his title vs. Mervin Rodriguez (7-8-1). The heavy handed Oluwale Bamgbose (4-0) will look to defend his middlweight title against former light heavyweight, Brian ‘Bulldog’ Booth (3-1). And finally, Randy Brown (3-0) will try to defend his welterweight strap against former middlweight, Rocky Edwards (8-5-1)
WSOF 21 – Edmonton, Alberta – Edmonton Expo Centre (06/05/2015)
Though Ryan Ford being removed was a big hit, World Series of Fighting is doing it’s best to make up for it, bringing two big title fights to the Great White North. The first title fight of the night sees Team Alpha Male product Lance Palmer (9-1) look to defend his featherweight title against the Canadian striker, the vet, Chris Horodecki (21-5-1). The co-main event sees Canadian heavyweight champion Smealinho Rama (9-1) hoping to add another knockout to his resume as he defends against the Bulgarian Sambo specialist, and former Bellator tournament finalist, Blagoi Ivanov (11-1).
Of course, what’s an event in Canada if it doesn’t feature a plethora of Canadian talent? Every fight on this eleven-fight card has a Canadian in it, including eight Canada vs. Canada match-ups. Some of the names involved are Hakeem Dawodu, Chuka Willis, Mike Hill, Matt Baker, Marcus Hicks, Mark Drummond, Roger Alves, Tim Smith and Stephen Beaumont, among others.
RFA 26 – Broomfield, Colorado – 1STBANK Center (06/05/2015)
As always, Resurrection Fighting Alliance brings a fairly fun card to fight fans, live on AXS TV, this Saturday. Headlined by an interesting welterweight title fight between Ben Smith and Gilbert Smith. Bet on Smith, it’s a sure thing! Coming off a loss to Chidi Njokuani, veteran of season 17 of the Ultimate Fighter, Gilbert Smith (10-4) finds himself in a great position as he fights Ben Smith (14-2) for his welterweight title. Ben has won six in a row since losing to Mike ‘Biggie’ Rhodes in 2013.
The co-main event sees one of Colorado’s finest lightweights Marcus Edwards (9-3) attempt to maintain his 100% finishing rate as he takes on Brazil’s Thiago Alves (8-2), who has only went to decision twice in ten fights. The rest of the card features a few more interesting prospects, including heavyweights Brandon Griffin (4-0) and Ashley Gooch(7-4), as well as bantamweights Jared Mercado (12-2) and Boston Salmon (3-0). In terms of odds and overall match-making, this card is full of fun, competitive fights.
FEFoMP: Mayor’s Cup 2015 – Khabarovsk, Russia – Platinum Arena (06/06/2015)
Ahh, yes. The ‘Far Eastern Modern Pankration Federation’. A promotion that not many people have heard of, but it’s a promotion that has seen it’s fair share of great fighters and fights. The night’s main event will feature a heavyweight contest between veteran Jeff Monson (55-22-1) and Evgeny Erokhin (9-4). Though in his mid-40s, Monson is one of the more active veterans going right now, generally fighting at least once a month. He is coming off two losses, including a (T)KO loss to DJ Linderman. Erokhin however is on a nice little hot-streak, winning four straight including a (T)KO over Brett Rogers as well as a (T)KO over Mike Kyle in his last outing.
The card also features a trio of lightweight bouts. Alexey Polpudnikov (15-4-1) will fight Ramazan Kurbanismailov (5-2-2). Gadji Zaipulaev (20-8) will try to rebound from two losses in a row, including a submission loss to Jesse Ronson, as he faces Sergei Teskunov (7-4), who is also coming off two losses in a row. Finally, Mikhail Volkov (6-5) attempts to get back on the winning track as he faces the heavy-handed Ruslan Fomin (2-1).
EFC 40 – Johannesburg, South Africa – Carnival City (06/06/15)
EFC Worldwide returns with a fun welterweight headliner between finishers Dino Bagattin (11-4) and Dricus Du Plessis (5-1). Both men are each coming off a single win, Bagattin a (T)KO over Gordon Roodman, while Du Plessis is coming off a submission win over Darren Daniel.
The co-main event features the return of former heavyweight champion Ruan Potts (8-4) as he faces the Frenchman Cyril Asker (5-1). Also on the card; Ireland’s Peter Queally (5-1) faces the undefeated Igeu Kabesa (5-0). Brendon Katz (7-4) and Wade Groth (4-3) will face one another in a fight where each man is looking to get back to their winning ways. In an exciting featherweight bout; Hanru Botha (5-2) will face Scotland’s Danny Henry (4-1).
UFC Fight Night 68 – New Orleans, Louisiana – Smoothie King Center (06/06/15)
‘UFC NOLA’ was originally supposed to be headlined by Louisiana’s own Daniel Cormier taking on Ryan Bader, but following the whole Jon Jones hit & run debacle, Cormier was selected to fight Anthony Johnson for the vacant belt at UFC 187, of course, he won. Though the card, without a doubt, took a hit, the UFC is still bringing a strong card to New Orleans. Lots of fights to get to, so let’s dive into the main card.
The card is headlined by a very intriguing contest between the legendary, heavy handed Dan Henderson (30-13) taking on the always tough, always gritty Tim Boetsch (18-8), who has shown time and time again that, he too, has the power to end a fight at the drop of a dime. The co-main event is a toss-up in the heavyweight division which sees Matt Mitrione (9-3) look to add another knockout to his record as he takes on the veteran ‘Big’ Ben Rothwell (34-9). Now, the fight I am most excited about, Dustin Poirier (17-4) meets Yancy Medeiros (11-2) in a featherweight contest that can not disappoint. Thiago Tavares (19-5-1) will take on Brian Ortega (8-0) as he returns from suspension. A fun bantamweight fight between Francisco Rivera (10-4) and Alex Caceres (10-7) is also on tap, as well as another fight in the 135 division which sees Joe Soto (15-3) try to rebound from his title loss to TJ Dillashaw to take on Anthony Birchak (11-2), this is the fight that was supposed to happen over the Summer before Barao was injured, putting Soto into the title fight in his debut.
Quick rundown of the nights preliminary action; heavyweights Derrick Lewis (12-3) and Shawn Jordan (17-6) will battle in a fight that (likely) does not go the distance. Welterweight veteran Brian Ebersole (51-16-1) will face Omari Akhmedov (14-2), Akhmedov replaces Alan Jouban. Two lightweight fights between Giagos (11-3) and Wade (9-1) as well as Proctor (10-3) and Edwards (8-4). Finally, middleweight Jake Collier (8-2) will take on Ricardo Abreu (5-0), and bantamweights Jose Alberto Quinones (3-2) and Leonardo Morales (4-1) will open up the UFC Fight Pass prelims.
Alright, that’s pretty much it.. until next weekend. Have fun, and enjoy the fights!