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MMA Rundown – ROAD FC, Combate Americas, ONE and M-1

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No, this poster does not feature dueling eyeball lasers. Yes, that would make things very, very awesome.

Crowded space in the MMA world this weekend, as the UFC and Bellator both have events this Saturday. That doesn’t mean that other moving pieces won’t have potential for entertainment though.

Friday morning has a treat for the early birds when Brave FC visits Jakarta for Brave 12: KHK Legacy. The top of the card features brutal grinder Eldar Eldarov (9-1) against slick striker Brian Hooi (15-6). Eldarov’s lone loss was his professional debut against a guy you may have heard of – Khabib Nurmagomedov. His takedown and work from guard are not the prettiest, but he’s a strong submission hunter that applies pressure everywhere. Hooi has some submissions on his record, but is known for his flashy striking style, agility and versatility.

Other notable talent on the card include former Ultimate Fighter contestant and UFC fighter Mehdi Baghdad, RIZIN fighter Khalid Taha, and former UFC fighter Leonardo Mafra. Perhaps it’s timely to remind ourselves that Mafra has wins over Santiago Ponzinibbio on the Brazilian circuit and a decision win against Anthony Njokuani immediately after his UFC release. Former World Series of Fighting talent (and Hakeem Dawodu victim) Marat Magomedov will also be on the card.

Brave 12: KHK Legacy begins at Friday at 5:00am with fights later posted to their YouTube channel.

Friday night begins the whole tour with Canada’s Unified MMA putting on a show that was initially to be headlined by Alberta native Teddy Ash (10-3) against former UFC fighter Matt Hamill for the vacant light heavyweight title. Hamill was unfortunately forced to withdraw due to injury. He’s being replaced by the well-traveled Jacob “Kobe The Stunna” Ortiz (16-6). Ortiz has bounced around the regional scene, and competed for Bellator and Fight Nights Global, but will be moving up to 205 for the first time. Meanwhile, Ash has been a veteran of Prestige FC and Unified MMA, with seven out of his ten wins being TKOs or KOs.

Former World Series of Fighting and UFC talent Shane Campbell (he of hadouken fame, 13-6) will be in the co-main event defending his lightweight title against Stephen Beaumont (9-2). This is a rematch from their previous encounter in 2012, which Campbell won by decision. Campbell went 1-4 in his UFC run, but has gone a perfect 3-0 since with all finishes. Had won the belt against Tristan Connelly last June and aims to cut Beaumont’s recent back-to-back win run short. Beaumont had a lone outing in World Series of Fighting in 2015, and his only other professional loss was to Jason Saggo.

Roger Alves – another World Series of Fighting alum – is also on the card, as is Lee Mein, father of former Strikeforce fighter and current UFC talent Jordan Mein.

Unified MMA 33: Resurgence begins Friday night at 8:00pm EST live from the River Cree Resort and Casino in Enoch, Alberta, Canada. This event will be streamed live on Fite.TV for $19.99.

Later on Friday, Combate Americas returns to California as Combate 20: Mexico vs USA takes place in Sacramento, CA.

This card also took a hit on the main event level as Combate Americas mainstay (and onetime RIZIN fighter) Kyra Batara had to pull out with an injury. She’s being replaced by Utah’s Brenda Enriquez (1-1) against Lisbeth “Bunny“ Silva (5-3), who has a crafty and slick submission game. Despite her relative professional inexperience, Enriquez has a 7-1 amateur record to fall back on, with her lone amateur loss at the hands of former Ultimate Fighter contestant Emily Whitmire.

Former UFC fighter Chris Avila (5-6) drops back to featherweight as he faces on another former Ultimate Fighter contestant and fellow UFC vet in Horacio Gutierrez (4-3). Avila is best remembered for his affiliation with Team Cesar Gracie and his fighting style, which resembles that of the Diaz brothers. Gutierrez won two of his fights while on The Ultimate Fighter, including a win over Polo Reyes.

Puerto Rican Francis Hernandez (2-2) brings her hard-hitting style as she faces New Mexico’s Shyann Farmer (0-1).

Prelims start at 9:30pm EST on UnivisionDeportes.com as well as Combate Americas’ Facebook page, with the main card starting at 11:30pm EST Friday night on Univision.

You want a circus? ROAD FC is gonna give you one. And I don’t mean that as a slight, either. ROAD FC 47 begins Saturday morning with what is bound to be one of the most random action cards in recent memory, showcasing their openweight tournament for this year.

Top billing goes to the rotund arbiter of violence and expressive dancing, Aorigele (6-3). He’ll be in the first in the tournament leg against Jae Hoon Kim (0-3!!). This is actually a rematch from a bout they had back in late 2015, and it was a real humdinger. I’ll be generous here and describe Kim as a very limited fighter, whereas Aorigele is deceptively active and absolutely savage when he wants to punish opponents. Previous openweight champion Siala Siliga (a.k.a. “Mighty Mo“, 12-5) returns after defending his openweight championship to take on former RINGS, PRIDE, M-1, Affliction and UFC fighter Gilbert Yvel (39-16-1). Chris Barnett (a.k.a. “Honey Bear“, a.k.a. “Hellboy”, 16-6) brings his patented fun and agile big man style reminiscent of Tekken’s Bob Richards when he looks to take out Romanian strongman Alexandru Lungu (16-4), while Oli Thompson (17-10) should be expected to batter Chaolong Deng (3-4).

Massive expectations are ahead for Brazilian Gabi Garcia (4-0, 1 no contest), who takes on one of the most skilled opponents to date in Veronika Futina. We covered Futina a bit when the fight was announced, and it appears that the war of words between the two could come to an end here. Futina has a grappling and striking background, but is still a bit undersized and may struggle with Garcia’s physicality and athleticism. On the other hand, Garcia has serious gaps in her striking defense and has yet to face an opponent capable of using reach and precise striking to give her pause.

Also, Kazuyuki Fujita (15-14) looks to snap an eight-fight losing streak when he steps in to face Handong Kong (3-5), for reasons that will never make sense. On the bright side, Yincang Bao (11-5) engages in fisticuffs against the Torao Supernova himself, Shinji Sasaki (18-11-3).

We should also note that Jerome Le Banner was scheduled to be on this card against Lahan Wu, but that fight was cancelled.

ROAD FC 47 starts at 4:00am EST live from the Cadillac Arena in Beijing, China. This event is likely to be broadcast live internationally via their YouTube channel.

The Jakarta Convention Center will be the stage for ONE Championship: Grit and Glory. This time around, the men’s strawweight belt is on the line as Alex Silva (7-1) defends his title for the first time as he takes on Japanese submission specialist and former strawweight champion Yoshitaka Naito (12-1). This is also an immediate title rematch between the two. If you haven’t seen Silva fight, he’s good. Very good, and always hunting for finishes. Naito is essentially a machine, and he keeps a brutal pace to open up opportunities for submissions.

Brazilian Leandro Ataides (10-3) tests himself against Russian talent Vitaly Bigdash (9-1), while Krazy Bee’s Kotetsu Boku (26-12, 2 draws) looks to bounce back from his recent loss to Christian Lee when he faces Rafael Nunes, who just defeated Eric Kelly in January.

ONE Championship: Grit and Glory will be streaming online via the ONE Championship app (available on iTunes here) starting at 7:00am EST.

Saturday at noon the action heats up in Asia as M-1 presents M-1 Challenge 91 live from Shenzen, China in conjunction with WKG.

Headlining act for this one is a fun bout between former Bellator light heavyweight champion Mikhail Zayats (23-8) and former UFC fighter Caio Magalhães (10-4). Zayats lost to Muhammed Lawal in 2014 and took two and a half years off before coming back to the sport with a decision win over Marcus Vänttinen last August. Magalhães is 1-1 since leaving the UFC in 2016, defeating Dmitry Voitov by submission and losing to Artem Frolov by decision.

Also featured on the card are featured “locals” Musu Nuertiebieke, WLF veteran Huoyixibai Chuhayifu and Chinese flyweight standout Zelangzhaxi.

M-1 Challenge 91 will also be streamed live via Fite.TV this Saturday starting at noon EST, with the prelims for free and the main card for $7.99.

Disclaimer: Victor Rodriguez works as a member of the Combate Americas digital content team.

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