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MMA Returns to Chicagoland at LFA 123

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Professional mixed martial arts will finally return to the Windy City—or at least close to it at LFA 123. Due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, major MMA events have been localized to specific locations (the APEX for the UFC, for example, or the Mohegan Sun Arena for Bellator MMA). Legacy Fighting Alliance will host its February 4th event at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, just 25 minutes from the Second City.

Bantamweight Scrap Headlines LFA 123

The main event of LFA 123 will feature a bantamweight clash between Daniel Argueta (6-0) and Mairon Santos Alves (12-0). Argueta will return home to Chicagoland to compete in this 135-lb. scrap. Perfect professionally, Argueta has racked up six wins in just under three years of pro competition. “The Determined” last competed at LFA 116, where he submitted Rodney Mondala via armbar. Argueta was featured as a member of Brian Ortega’s team during the TUF 29 season. Argueta would compete just one time during the season, dropping a judges’ decision to Ricky Turcios in the first round of competition.

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Argueta’s opponent, Mairon Santos Alves, will compete for the first time in the United States at LFA 123 having competed internationally in all twelve of his previous professional fights. Alves blazed out nine straight victories in 2019, scoring five finishes during this time. In his first bout of 2020, Alves would challenge Julio Pereira de Almeida for the Shooto Brasil Featherweight Championship. In the third round, Alves would land a fight-ending series of shots that would result in his crowning of the featherweight title. Since then, “A Lenda” has fought once inside the Shooto Brasil cage, besting Andre Borges in a split decision and finishing Paulo Roberto Aquiles at Braga Pro-Showtime Fights 4.

Other Notable Fighters

Josh Streaker (7-4), a two-fight vet of Bellator MMA, will make his sophomore appearance in LFA in his lightweight bout with Miguel Jacob (5-1). Streaker, a native of Chicago, has worked the midwest MMA circuit since his professional debut in 2016. In his last fight, Streaker forced a verbal submission from Ryan McIntosh at Colosseum Combat 56.

Indiana native Payton Brezinski (4-1) will compete in the biggest fight of his career when he squares off against Cody Davis (4-0) in a flyweight contest. Brezinski, who fights out of Team Colon MMA in Merrillville, Indiana, submitted David Lopez at Elite Fight Night in August 2021 in the main event spot.

Brezinski’s opponent Cody Davis is based out of Los Angeles, California, and has strung together a perfect professional record of 4-0 since his pro debut in December 2020. In his second professional fight, Davis would compete at Combate Global 11, defeating Juan Ramirez via first-round submission. Prior to turning pro, Davis racked up five straight wins on the amateur circuit.

Indiana local, Valanti “300” Atsas will be making his pro debut at LFA 123. Atsas has competed in ten amateur fights since 2015, first stepping into the cage at United Combat League: Havoc in Hammond 2. Atsas last competed at EAFL: Steel City Showdown in June 2021 where he topped Aleksander Keca for the EAFL Amateur Welterweight Title.

Chicago Returns as a Home to Major MMA?

It is hard to say whether Chicago, or any other city for that matter, will begin to host more major MMA events in the future given the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, but one can be hopeful. Will major MMA promotions stay localized or will events begin to be held throughout a more globalized area?

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