The UFC and Bellator MMA go head-to-head, but the rest of the field stays busy.
Seeing as the two major organizations have simultaneous events, most of the secondary and tertiary organizations appear to be taking a break. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t matchups worth keeping an eye on.
First up LFA on Friday night, in which former Ultimate Fighter contestant Thanh Le (7-1) takes on LFA mainstay Bobby Moffett (10-2) for the interim featherweight title. Moffett’s been taking on challenges each time out, and has back to back wins with six submission wins on his overall record. Le made it to the second round of The Ultimate Fighter Season 22, but had a submission loss to Martin Svensson. Since then, he’s racked up three straight wins, all of them finishes via strikes.
The co-main event is a middleweight tilt between Ian Heinisch (8-1) and Arizona’s Daniel Madrid (13-5). Heinisch has trained at Factory X in Colorado with UFC veterans Chris Camozzi and his brother Brian. Madrid has 11 submission wins on his record, with six consecutive wins.
Also on the card is former WSOF figher Matthew Frincu (11-3), as he continues to quietly put together a respectable record. While he’s coming off an October loss to Curtis Millender (who gained internet infamy with this beauty), he hopes to rebound against undefeated Roman Alcantara. Alcantara’s been fighting out of the Mexican circuit, making his stateside debut in September in King of the Cage. Four of his wins have come by submission.
LFA 31: Moffett vs Le takes place at the Comerica Theater in Phoenix, AZ. As usual, it airs live on AXS TV starting at 9:00pm EST.
Saturday morning action is in the works for those that rise bright and early, because ONE Championship: Kings of Courage kicks off at 7:00am EST. Live from Jakarta, the card features Singaporean Tiffany Teo (7-0) facing Chinese Jingnang Xiong (10-1) for the women’s flyweight title. Teo’s racked up two finishes by strikes (one of them being a front kick KO) and three by submissions. Xiong has spent time at Phuket Top Team, and it’s paid off to net her seven TKOs on her record with one submission. She beat Lena Ovchynnikova in a Sanda match back in 2014, and her lone MMA loss is to current Bellator fighter Colleen Schneider.
Russian talent Vitaly Bigdash (9-1) aims to blaze a trail back to the middleweight title after losing it last June against Aung La Nsang. It’s a tough road, because he has to get through Nova União’s Leandro Ataides (10-3) first. Ataides is riding a two-fight win streak, and this should be a very physical match with two fighters gunning for a finish.
As a bonu, Masakazu Imanari (36-12-2 draws) should be trying to take home another limb, as he faces Yusup Saadulaev (16-4-1 draw). Imanari puts his three-fight win streak on the line against the very crafty Saadulaev, who also has the majority of his wins by way of submission.
ONE Championship will be streaming live via their website. The PPV will be $9.99.
Shamrock FC 301 (!!) starts Saturday at 6:00pm at the Ameristar Casino, headlined by Adam Cella (7-8) facing Coltin Cole (4-5). A former Ultimate Fighter contestant mostly known for being posterized by eventual runner-up Uriah Hall, Cella went 2-1 under the Shamrock banner immediately after his UFC exit. After that came a six-fight losing skid across World Series of Fighting, Bellator and his return to Shamrock FC. He recently won last month at Shamrock 300 by TKO, and hopes to get back to the .500 mark.
Also, something called Kumite 3000 is supposed to happen in Thailand. Did you enjoy the Expendables film franchise? Because Expendables 2 goes down on Saturday in Moscow. No, it doesn’t make much sense to me, either. Tuff-N-Uff hosts a show on Friday night to showcase up and coming talent.