UFC 227 is set for this weekend, and while there’s a slew of other events worldwide, there’s not many with recognizable names. It’s a busy weekend, but in a function over form kind of way.
The two most notable events for this week are the ones we’ll be addressing here, starting with New England institution CES. Friday night’s card features title fights for both the lightweight and welterweight divisions. Up top, we’ve got Nate Andrews (13-1) defending his title for the first time against D’Juan Owens (16-12, 1 draw). Andrews is on a seven fight run of straight finishes, including a triangle choke win over Bruce Boyington last year. Andrews’ nickname is well-deserved, because he really does move like a snake from one position to another and has a terrifying squeeze. Owens has career losses to Jordan Rinaldi (on the amateur circuit) and Marlon Vera, and a win over Julian “Let Me Bang Bro“ Lane.
Former UFC fighter Sean Soriano (11-5) vies for the vacant featherweight belt against former World Series of Fighting vet Bruce “Pretty Boy“ Boyington (15-11). Soriano won his last fight by rear naked choke against Jonathan Gary, and is now 3-2 since his UFC departure. All three wins have been finishes. Boyington had a three-loss skid since leaving WSOF, but won his last bout by third round rear naked choke. Both fighters have deadly kicking games and are very good athletes, plus they’ve got a knack for exciting fights.
Also, former Bellator fighter Blair Tugman (10-7) will see action against Shane Manley (4-3)
CES 51: Boyington vs Soriano will be live from the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI and airing exclusively on AXS TV.
Pancrase is upon us, and blessed are the souls that stay up all night for these.
Japanese veteran Emi Fujino (22-10) fights for the vacant strawweight Queen of Pancrase title against Brazilian Viviane Araujo (5-1). Fujino’s won four in a row, including her most recent win against standout wrestler Sharon Jacobson, known for her Invicta performances. Fujino’s had wins over Amber Brown, Emi Tomimatsu and Mei Yamaguchi, while Araujo’s biggest wins thus far have been against Brazilian regional vet Elaine Albuquerque and her last fight in her Pancrase debut against Ayaka Miura.
Thai striker Loma Lookboonmee (1-0) thrilled and impressed in her pro debut for Invicta, and she’ll be facing Japanese talent Hana Date (2-4) in her second outing. Loma’s takedown defense is nothing short of marvelous, and her striking game is absolutely on point. This fight is clearly to be a showcase, and it’s a good one to look forward to.
Featherweights Juntaro Ushiku (12-6, 1 draw) tangles with Yuta Saito (7-1), and flyweights Taiki Akiba(8-6, 1 draw) and Yusuke Ogikubo (10-7) do battle. Don’t sleep on Akiba, or Akiba sleeps you. The UK’s Mike Grundy (11-1) is scheduled to face Hiroshige Tanaka (12-5), while strawweight Ryo Hatta (12-4) should be in a banger against Brazil’s Marcus Paulo Amaral (13-1). If you haven’t been paying attention to men’s strawweight, you’re really missing out.
Brazil’s Vitor Toffanelli (15-8) scraps with Yojiro Uchimura (15-12, 3 draws), and the main fight will be Akira Okada (13-5, 3 draws) against Russia’s Arsen Batyrov (3-0).
Pancase 298 starts at 3:00am EST (Friday night into Saturday morning) and airs exclusively via UFC Fight Pass.