Every week, Combat Press takes a look at three regional, developmental or international cards from the upcoming weekend, previewing from each a single fight to which people should pay close attention. We will also list other significant bouts from the card, as well as information on how to follow each promotion and watch the events.
Let’s discover those prospects that fight in the obscurity of the regional, developmental and international circuits, waiting for their shot at the bright lights and big stage of the UFC, and those veterans looking for one more chance at stardom. It all begins here, in the small convention centers and high school gymnasiums. It all begins with promotions such as these…
Event Date: Nov. 1
Watch Event: Rede TV! in Brazil and live stream worldwide at xfcmma.com
Marina Moroz (4-0) vs. Karine Silva (5-0)
XFC International’s efforts continue with its seventh show, which includes tournament fights in several divisions and puts a strong focus on Brazil’s female fighters. The lineup is topped by a flyweight showdown between Ruslan Abiltarov and Allen Nascimento and a co-headliner featuring flyweight ladies Iryna Shaparenko and Juliana Werner, but it’s the women’s strawweight tournament that features some of the most intriguing fights from the event. Undefeated fighters rule the bracket, with notables Dora Perjes and Viviane Pereira competing in separate quarterfinal-round contests. Meanwhile, Marina Moroz and Karine Silva collide in a pairing of undefeated fighters who have combined for nine stoppage wins in nine fights.
Moroz, having made her pro debut in late 2013, is the veteran of the pair. The Ukrainian has fought in Russia and China as well as her native Ukraine. The results have been impressive. “The Iron Woman” won her debut with a second-round armbar, took out her next two opponents via first-round armbar and forced a first-round doctor’s stoppage in her most recent fight. Most of her opponents have had fewer than three fights under their belt, but the SK Arena product did secure one of her armbar victories against the vastly experienced Jin Tang, a striker from China who has a history of submission victories.
Astra Fight Team’s Silva didn’t make her pro debut until February, but she has already reeled off five wins. Silva’s debut ended in a second-round TKO and she finished her other four opponents in the first round. Unlike Moroz, Silva lacks a notable name on her resume. Her past opponents currently stand at a combined 2-12. She has only defeated one woman who has a pro victory. That opponent was Helaine Ribeiro, who now sits at 2-6 but was 0-3 when she met Silva.
The finishing tendencies of these ladies don’t paint a clear picture of their styles. Silva has finished her opponents with her fists, but she is tentative on her feet. She seeks to tie her opponent up and get the fight to the mat, where she can use her ground-and-pound skills to end the contest. In her debut, she scooped up her opponent and slammed her to the mat before eventually gaining mount and sending down a volley of strikes that brought a close to the fight. Moroz, meanwhile, is content to stand and use her height and length to get the better of striking exchanges against her foes. Her debut armbar finish was the result of an opportunistic transition to the submission hold after she stuffed her opponent’s takedown attempt.
Moroz will enjoy a two-inch height advantage over Silva, and that’s sure to come with an edge in the reach department as well. The Ukrainian fighter will look to keep her Brazilian counterpart at arm’s length and tee off with combinations. If Silva shoots for traditional takedowns, Moroz will have little difficulty stuffing the attempts. However, Silva does tend to look for the clinch and go for trips. Moroz might have to fight off her back at some point during this contest, but she’ll still be a threat to snag one of Silva’s arms for the submission finish.
Silva’s run of wins against extremely overmatched opposition leaves her as an untested foe for Moroz, who has proven that she can defeat the likes of Tang and prospect Feier Huang. Moroz is the more capable fighter and benefits from the higher level of opponents. She’ll pick away at Silva on the feet, forcing the Brazilian to go for the takedown. Silva might find some success in bringing the fight to the ground, but she’ll still find herself on the defensive as Moroz’s grappling game kicks into gear. This fight will end in a submission win for Moroz, who will move on to the strawweight tournament’s semifinal round.
Other key bouts: Ruslan Abiltarov (16-4-1) vs. Allen Nascimento (13-2), Iryna Shaparenko (6-1) vs. Juliana Werner (7-4), Will Galvao (4-1) vs. Gilson Santos (3-1), Cairo Rocha (11-4) vs. Sergei Bal (15-8-1) in a welterweight tournament quarterfinal bout, Marcela Yineris Nieto (3-1) vs. Liana Ferreira Pirosin (2-0) in a women’s strawweight tournament quarterfinal bout, Ariel Jaeger (4-1) vs. Carlston Lindsay Harris (5-2) in a welterweight tournament quarterfinal bout, Dora Perjes (6-0) vs. Luana Santos Medeiros (0-0) in a women’s strawweight tournament quarterfinal bout, Viviane Pereira (6-0) vs. Fernanda Priscila Barros Pinheiro (0-0) in a women’s strawweight tournament quarterfinal bout, Michel Pereira (10-4) vs. Geraldo Coelho de Lima Neto (7-1) in a welterweight tournament quarterfinal bout
Event Date: Nov. 1
Watch Event: pay-per-view and online at GoFightLive
Jonavin Webb (7-0) vs. Lyman Good (16-3)
For quite some time, live events from Cage Fury Fighting Championships have been available for viewing via online pay-per-view stream on GoFightLive. For its 43rd event, Cage Fury is adding another broadcast outlet—it is headed to televised pay-per-view airwaves via iN Demand. The promotion has put together quite an offering for its pay-per-view debut, serving up four title fights and a number of top prospects, including Tim Williams, Jimmie Rivera and Jonavin Webb. While all three have tough tasks in front of them, Webb, who will be defending his welterweight strap, has the most accomplished opponent in Lyman Good.
Webb, a Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter, captured the vacant welterweight title in August with a win over UFC veteran Daniel Stittgen. “Spyder” Webb made his pro debut in 2012 and claimed victories over a trio of fighters who now stand at 0-10. Webb then stepped up to face a stiff test in Aung La N Sang, a fighter who now sits at 16-9, and emerged with a first-round TKO win. He added to his resume with two more victories before fighting Stittgen for the vacant Cage Fury belt. Webb wrestled in high school and college, and he holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has two TKO victories and three submission wins.
Good made his pro debut in 2005. By 2009, he had won 10 fights, including three under the Bellator banner, and had claimed the Bellator welterweight championship by destroying three opponents in the promotion’s season-one tournament. After more than a year away from the cage, Good returned for his first title defense in 2010 but lost the belt to elite wrestler Ben Askren. Since the loss, Good has struggled to find consistency. He bounced back with a quarterfinal-round win in the season-four tournament, but then he lost in the semifinals to Rick Hawn. He returned to win a season-seven tournament qualifier and claimed victories in the tourney’s quarter- and semifinal rounds only to lose to Andrey Koreshkov in the finals. He returned for one more Bellator fight, a win over Dante Rivera, and then headed for The Ultimate Fighter 19. He lost his fight to get into the TUF house, getting dominated by wrestler Ian Stephens over the course of two rounds. The Team Tiger Schulmann fighter then opted to return to Cage Fury, where he last competed in 2007. He made an immediate statement with a first-round knockout of Matt Secor to earn a shot at Webb’s title. He has eight wins by some form of knockout and only one submission finish.
Good’s weakness is his wrestling defense. Askren proved it when he took the Bellator crown away from Good and Stephens confirmed it when he shattered Good’s TUF dreams. However, Good isn’t always a cakewalk with opponents who have above-average takedown skills. Good defeated Jim Wallhead, a strong judoka, and overcame submission specialists Secor and Michail Tsarev.
Webb keeps the pressure on with his takedown attempts, sticking with them even if he doesn’t immediately put his opponent on the mat. He has the submission skills to finish lesser men on the ground, but Good is an extremely difficult out. Good has only lost by way of decision. The former Bellator champ has been to the scorecards in 10 official fights and has found his hand raised on seven occasions.
Webb has to follow the blueprint laid out by Askren and Stephens if he wants to win this fight. If he can take Good to the mat and keep him there, then the scorecards should tilt in his favor. Good isn’t going to just sit back and let it happen, though. Against Secor, he did show an ability to avoid the takedown and scramble for position. His ability to scramble provided Good with the opportunity to land the series of punches that floored Secor and ultimately put him away. Webb can get reckless in his aggressive hunt for the takedown, and Good could use the opportunity to land a big knockout blow.
Still, Webb’s pressure wrestling is exactly the kryptonite needed to defeat Good, who has only won three fights in a row once since dropping the Bellator title to Askren. Webb has the strength to put Good against the fence and take him down repeatedly, which will give him the points he needs on the scorecards. There won’t be a stoppage at the end of this fight, but Webb should edge Good for the decision win.
Other key bouts: Tim Williams (9-1) vs. Ronald Stallings (12-5) for the middleweight title, Jimmie Rivera (14-1) vs. Anthony Durnell (14-4) for the bantamweight title, Azunna Anyanwu (7-2) vs. Lewis Rumsey (11-10) for the heavyweight title, Jordan Stiner (8-1) vs. Jonathan DelBrugge (5-1)
Event Date: Nov. 3
Watch Event: online pay-per-view on Ustream
Seo Hee Ham (14-5) vs. Saori Ishioka (13-7)
Monday isn’t often a big day for mixed martial arts, but the first Monday in November is an exception, at least on Japanese shores. That’s the day that Deep Jewels returns with its sixth offering. The card includes such notables as Emi Fujino and Shizuka Sugiyama, but it’s the headlining affair that deserves the most attention. Jewels featherweight (105-pound) champion Seo Hee Ham puts her title on the line against Saori Ishioka in the evening’s main event.
Ham, who trains alongside Dong Hyun Kim, will be making her second defense of the Jewels championship she claimed in 2013 with a win over Naho Sugiyama. The South Korean fighter has become a top atomweight after years of toiling around the strawweight ranks, where she made several runs at a title but always came up empty. She moved to the atomweight division for her title fight with the aforementioned Sugiyama. After picking up a unanimous decision over “Sugi Rock,” Ham defended her title against Sadae Numata and then traveled to Road FC to notch a set of wins over Shino VanHoose and Alyona Rassohyna. The 27-year-old has a background in kickboxing, but she tends to be a grinder. Thirteen of her 14 pro wins have been decided by the judges, as have two of her five losses. Her one stoppage victory came via submission in just 65 seconds, but that was when Ham was a 14-fight veteran taking on a debuting pro. Ham’s five losses have come to an elite set of competitors in Miku Matsumoto, Yuka Tsuji, Megumi Fujii and Ayaka Hamasaki (twice). She only loses to the best in the business, and she has yet to encounter that level of competition since dropping to atomweight.
Ishioka certainly represents Ham’s toughest test yet as a 105-pounder. The pair met twice previously as strawweights. Ham won both encounters—two-round affairs—via decision. Ishioka has also suffered losses to the aforementioned Fujii and Tsuji, as well as Mei Yamaguchi and one-time prospects Sakura Nomura and Kyoko Takabayashi. The 27-year-old holds notable victories over Sally Krumdiack and Mika Nagano. “Shooting Star” has a background in judo, karate and kickboxing. Half of her pro fights have gone the distance, but she does have a better finishing rate than her opponent with one TKO victory and seven submission finishes. In 2012, Ishioka stepped away from the sport to become a mother. She returned to action earlier this year with a first-round submission victory over Satomi Takano to extend her winning streak to two fights and position herself for a title shot against Ham.
In their first meeting, which came in 2008 under the Smackgirl banner, Ham dominated Ishioka on the feet, battering her with combinations and kicks. Ishioka’s takedowns were limited in their effectiveness and Ham often ended up in the superior position when they did hit the mat. Their second fight, while not as significant a thrashing as their first bout, was another dominant showing by Ham. She increased the volume of her kicks and aimed several at Ishioka’s head. Her punches, meanwhile, continued to find their way past Ishioka’s defenses. Ham was also able to control the action on the ground, stuffing Ishioka’s takedowns and landing in top position. Whereas Ham was a ball of pure aggression in their first fight, she used a more measured approach to claim her second win over Ishioka.
In both fights, Ham proved that she has a knack for picking Ishioka apart in every aspect of the game, leaving the Japanese fighter with very few routes to victory short of a one-punch knockout. Ishioka’s ground game was rendered meaningless by Ham’s consistent ability to stuff takedowns and use leverage to maintain top position. On the feet, Ishioka has been fortunate to survive four rounds with the South Korean. This title contest means they’ll be in the ring for 15 minutes, not just 10, and it will also be their first clash as atomweights, but the impact of those factors will be negligible on the outcome of this affair. Ham has only grown more dominant since switching weight classes, and it will show against Ishioka. With an extra round of action, there’s a small chance Ham’s dominance translates into a TKO finish. The more likely outcome, however, is another one-sided decision nod for the surging South Korean champ.
Other key bouts: Emi Fujino (13-8) vs. Ayaka Miura (1-0), Mina Kurobe (3-0) vs. Satomi Takano (3-4), Shizuka Sugiyama (11-4-1) vs. Yurika Nakakura (3-1)