Mid-November occasionally hits a slump in the MMA world, as the autumn shows slow down and organizations around the world prepare for their usual larger shows near the end of the year. So as the UFC has its anniversary show this weekend, there’s not too much going on outside of that in terms of major talent.
For starters, ONE Championship caps off their big news week with Heart of the Lion, a show headlined by the sensational Bibiano Fernandes (22-3) defending his featherweight title against Kevin “The Silencer“ Belingon (19-5). Belingon has been one of ONE’s most reliable talents coming off his fights in URCC in his native Philippines, and this is a rematch of their 2016 match, which saw Fernandes win by submission. Belingon has since been undefeated with six straight wins, including some impressive finishes against Toni Tauru, Reece McLaren and Andrew Leone. Fernandes also defeated Tauru, Leone and McLaren, and is undefeated since a 2010 loss to Hiroyuki Takaya. He’s looked virtually unstoppable, and this should make for an outstanding fight.
BJJ ace Michelle Nicolini makes her MMA debut on this card, taking on Tiffany Teo (7-1). Teo suffered her only loss to surging prospect Jingnang Xiong earlier this year. Another decorated and feared grappler makes an appearance on this card, as Garry Tonon (2-0) looks to get his third professional win against Korea’s Sung Jong Lee (4-2), who has three wins via heel hook. Christian Lee (brother of Angela Lee, 9-3) steps up against Kazuki Tokudome (18-9, 1 draw), and Adrian Pang (22-12, 2 draws) Kota Shimoishi (21-6) in a welterweight showdown.
Side note: Angela Lee was supposed to compete on this card against Jingnang Xiong, but was sidelined due to a back injury. This fight has not been rescheduled as of yet.
ONE Championship: Heart of the Lion takes place Friday morning at 7:00am EST via YouTube or ONE’s streaming app.
LFA also brings the heat this weekend with a show in Tempe, Arizona (At least it’s a dry heat! Anyone? Sigh…) with LFA 53: Royval vs Kenney. Flyweight gold is up for grabs as Brandon Royval (8-3) faces Casey Kenney (9-1, 1 draw) for the interim flyweight belt.
Former Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series contestant Kyle Stewart (10-1) won on the show, but was not offered a contract. He’s still out here winning and sharpening his tools, and will test himself against the very tough Braden Smith (8-2).
The very athletic Kamuela Kirk (8-2) fights the fellow featherweight known as “The Hard-Hitting Hillbilly“, Kevin Croom (19-10). Don’t let the name fool you, Croom has more submission wins than anything else, and Kirk is a certified finisher.
LFA 53: Royval vs Kenney takes place on Friday night starting at 9:00pm EST on their usual home, AXS.TV.
ACB returns as well, with a pair of heavyweights headlining on Saturday at ACB 90: Moscow. Sergey Belostenniy (5-1) fills out the big boy bracket with Mukhamad Vakhaev (6-4, 1 draw). But the real meat and potatoes for this card is with the lighter weight classes. Andre Winner (22-11, 2 draws) steps in against Yusup Raisov (13-1) in a lightweight tango, as well as another matchup between Musa Khamanaev (18-5) vs former Bellator and UFC fighter Marcin Held (24-7). Bantamweight Oleg Borisov faces PXC, Shooto and UFC veteran Michinori Tanaka (12-3), and featherweight Timur Nagibin (14-3) has a major challenge ahead as he faces Georgi Karakhanian (28-8, 1 draw).
Gamzat Khiromagomedov (6-0) will also be at an experience disadvantage against Spirit, Top FC and ROAD vet Jae Young Kim (23-11). Former Bellator standout lightweight Alexander “Tiger“ Sarnavskiy (35-7) attempts to fend off hungry Brazilian Hederson Batista (12-3). Former Ultimate Fighter contestant Cory Hendricks (5-1) reps Syndicate stepping in against Alexey Butorin (12-3).
Also, Rasul Mirsaev (why yes, we mean that Rasul Mirzaev – 17-1) goes up against the well-travelled Brazilian and Pitbull Brothers protegé Gleristone Santos (34-9).
ACB 90: Moscow goes down Saturday at noon EST.