Highlighting the top MMA events around the world to look forward to for this penultimate April weekend.
We have yet another UFC card this week, no Bellator until next week, and Invicta on the horizon a few weeks from now. Considering all of the other great stuff we saw last week (including Quintet – run off right after reading this and watch Quintet), what’s everyone else doing this week? Well, I’m glad you asked. There’s a lot of meat on the bone for this week, and we’ve got the info on what stands out the most.
We start bright and early with One Championship putting on an MMA and kickboxing supercard.
The main event should be a great bantamweight duel between “The Silencer“ Kevin Belingon (17-5) and former title challenger Andrew Leone (8-3). Belingon had some ups and downs in his career, but now has four consecutive wins to his name. A win over Leone could easily get him another title shot against current (and possibly invincible king) Bibiano Fernandes. Leone challenged for the title against Fernandes last August, losing by first round submission. Leone’s still got wrestling chops and a great gas tank, which makes him a tough test for anyone in the division.
The co-main event will be a lightweight battle between Honorio Banario (12-6) and Adrian Pang (22-11-2 draws). Pang’s earlier success came from his time on the Australian circuit, and had a good run with three straight wins, including his first two fights for ONE upon his arrival. Since then, he’s lost three straight decisions against Eduard Folayang, Roger Huerta, and Amir Khan. Banario has won four straight, with a 2016 over Eddie Ng. Marat Gafurov (15-1) faces Emilio Urrutia (11-4), while the legendary submission master Masakazu Imanari (36-17-2 draws) will test himself yet again, this time against talented Korean Dae Hwan Kim (12-3-1 draw).
The card will also feature kickboxing and Muay Thai bouts with international talents Fabio Pinca, Cosmo Alexandre and a bout between Jo Nattawut vs Giorgio Petrosian
One Championship: Heroes of Honor begins live on Friday morning at 7:00am EST from the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
LFA also returns, staging an event in Sioux Falls, ND this week. Two title fights are on this one, with the vacant men’s flyweight belt up for grabs in a fight between Factory X’s Sid Bice (8-1) and Cuban Olympian wrestler Maikel Perez (5-1). Bice’s lone loss was a split decision against former UFC fighter Pedro Nobre, and he holds a win over current UFC flyweight Eric Shelton. Perez has put in time at Kings MMA, and has won four fights in a row to earn this shot.
Before that, the women’s flyweight belt will be contested as Colombian striker Sabina Mazo (4-0) hopes to earn the also-vacant women’s 125lb belt against former Invicta fighter Shannon Sinn (5-5). Sinn had a rough patch, but has back to back wins over Heather Bassett and Katy Collins. Mazo has been wrecking shop in LFA, with two consecutive brutal head kick KOs.
LFA 37: Bice vs Perez will air live on AXS TV, starting at 9:00pm.
Combate Americas continues its tour of featured talent with Combate Estrellas 2, live from Monterrey, Mexico. The main event will be former UFC fighter Erik Perez (17-6) attempts to avenge an earlier 2010 loss against DJ Fuentes (13-10). Fuentes is on a five fight win streak, with his most recent victory in early December at Combate Americas 19. “Goyito” hasn’t fought since November of 2016 where he capped off a three-fight win streak with a split decision win over Felipe Arantes in the UFC. That was the last fight on his contract, and he elected to sign with Combate Americas shortly thereafter.
The co-main event is a fight between Team Lobo’s Victor Madrigal (6-1) and Alejandro Flores (11-1). Madrigal was an alternate in November’s one-night tournament, losing in the opening round. He now replaces the eventual winner of that event (Levy Marroquin) for this fight against an opponent on a three-fight win streak.
Also Melissa Martinez (3-0) is slated to face Argentinian striker Ivanna Martinenghi (4-1). Martinez hit one of the most viewed knockouts last year against Yahaira Romo, and hopes to keep her winning ways against a durable late replacement opponent that also has a kickboxing base.
Also appearing on the card will be Argentina’s Marcelo Rojo and Spain’s Irene Cabello, fresh off her participation in RIZIN’S recent women’s tournament. The prelims begin at 8:00pm on UnivisionDeportes.com, with the main card live on Univision starting at midnight this Friday.
ACB has set up another impressive card with international talent as they continue their world tour. This time, ACB travels to Rimini, Italy, with 11 fights on deck.
Top of the card gives us former Bellator title challenger Anthony Leone (16-8) tests himself against fellow bantamweight Magomed Ginazov. Ginazov is a brutally effective ground striker, which has led to his recent back to back wins against Bruno Viana (link here) and Ioan Vranceneau (seriously). Leone counts mostly on his wrestling to break down opponents and work submissions, which accounts for his nine submission wins.
Also appearing on the card is former Ultimate Fighter contestant Yoni Sherbatov (7-0-1 draw) opening the festivities against Brazilian Felipe Silva (9-2). You may remember Sherbatov as the scrappy fighter living in Canada, who was unfortunately defeated in the opening round by Eric Shelton. He has wins over former UFC fighter Zack Makovsky (decision) and Freddy Arteaga, as well as a draw against Tyson Nam in 2016. Silva only has one decision win, with two TKOs and six submissions, most of them armlocks. With seven wins in a row, his last win was a TKO against Magomedgadzhi Gadzhiev in Fight Nights Global 73 last September.
Other notable international talent on the card include Joilton Santos, Magomed Raisov, former Bellator fighter Jason Fischer, and Bellator, Titan and Victory FC veteran EJ Brooks.
ACB 85: Leone vs Ginazov starts this Saturday at noon EST, with fights being made available shortly after they take place via their YouTube channel.
Finally, Combat Games 61 will be live from the Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, WA. Probably won’t be any video available, but the headliner is former UFC fighter Anthony Hamilton (15-9) against 3-2 Randy Zarza. Former LFA fighter Jamie Thornton (6-4) will also be on the card against Miranda Granger (2-0). That card begins at 6:00pm EST Saturday.
Disclaimer: Victor Rodriguez works as a member of the Combate Americas digital content team.