Damacio Page (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Out of Obscurity: Legacy FC 36, M-1 Challenge 52 and Provincial FC 3

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…

Legacy Fighting Championship 36
Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque, N.M.
Event Date: Oct. 17
Website: legacyfights.net
Watch Event: AXS TV
Twitter: @legacyfighting


Spotlight Fight:
Damacio Page (18-9) vs. Brian Hall (7-2)

Legacy Fighting Championships heads back to Albuquerque, N.M., for its 36th event, but it does so without local draw Holly Holm. However, the promotion still has plenty to offer for local fans and the national television audience on AXS TV. There’s New Mexico fighter Cody East, who locks horns with Vernon Lewis for the promotion’s heavyweight strap. There’s undefeated New Mexico-based flyweight Rafael de Freitas, who collides with Jordan Espinosa. There are local female fighters Angelica Chavez, Natalie Roy and Norma Rueda Center. There’s veteran fan-favorite Donald Sanchez. And, of course, there’s Damacio Page, a former UFC and WEC fighter seeking to climb back to the big stage, this time as a flyweight. He’ll battle Brian Hall for the Legacy flyweight crown.

There was a time when Page, who made his pro debut in 2005, was riding high in the world of MMA. He was a 15-5 pro with a 3-2 mark inside the WEC cage. His only losses on the blue mat came to champion Brian Bowles and future pound-for-pound great Demetrious Johnson. He was headed to the UFC and his future looked bright. Now, though, Page is trying to regain that past glory. His UFC tenure produced only losses and sent him packing. First came a submission loss to Bowles, via the same method as their first meeting and exactly the same amount of time—three and a half minutes of the first round. Then came a submission loss to Brad Pickett, followed by a submission defeat at the hands of Alex Caceres. The bantamweight was on a four-fight skid, but he has since regained his footing. He joined Legacy after departing the UFC. Less than two minutes into his first bout with the promotion, the Jackson’s MMA product was back in the win column. He ventured to Switzerland for his next contest and lost, but returned to Legacy to claim two more wins. It was enough to earn him a spot in the flyweight championship bout opposite Allan Nascimento. Communication issues between Nascimento and Legacy brass forced a change of opponents, though, leading to Page’s current match-up with Hall.

Hall kicked off his pro career in 2011 with a TKO victory over Jeremy Wallace. He showed his grappling abilities in his sophomore appearance by submitting Latral Perdue in just 18 seconds. He suffered a split decision loss in his third fight, but rebounded with three stoppage wins, including a 44-second TKO of Jay Black in the Bellator cage. A unanimous decision loss at XFC 26 followed, but Hall bounced back again with a third-round TKO of Cortez Phelia under the Bellator banner. Legacy paired him with Pedro Souza for his promotional debut, and Hall responded by taking Souza the distance en route to a unanimous decision victory. A highly decorated high school wrestler, Hall has four wins by some form of knockout and two via submission. The 32-year-old trains out of Memphis Judo and Jiu-Jitsu.

Page is a veteran presence inside the Legacy cage, and he’s eyeing this contest as a way to punch his ticket back to the UFC. That doesn’t mean this is a showcase fight. Hall has finishing ability through both his striking and grappling games. Page also has a well-rounded skill set that has resulted in 10 wins by some form of knockout and seven by way of submission, but he’s prone to mental lapses when using his wrestling. Page has suffered seven submission losses in his career, and his submission defense will remain a concern in this showdown against a fighter who has two first-round submission victories.

As dangerous as Hall could be to Page on the mat, he might be out of his league in this affair. Hall handed the previously undefeated Souza the first loss of his career, but “The Law” has also suffered a loss to a fighter who now holds a 2-4 career mark. Furthermore, Hall, prior to his decision win over Souza, had defeated a set of opponents who now hold a combined record of 9-32.

Page has been in the cage against some of the best in the world. Now, fighting as a flyweight, he’ll add even more power to his arsenal. The 32-year-old will have to avoid falling straight into a submission hold. As long as he’s able to avoid the mistakes that have cost him so often in the past, he should be able to gain the upper hand against Hall. Page will flash his knockout power with a second-round TKO finish to capture the flyweight belt.

Other key bouts: Cody East (8-1) vs. Vernon Lewis (4-2) for the heavyweight title, Rafael de Freitas (6-0-1) vs. Jordan Espinosa (5-4), Michelle Nicolini (2-0) vs. Norma Rueda Center (2-1), Angelica Chavez (4-3) vs. Natalie Roy (2-1)

M-1 Challenge 52: Battle of Narts
Summer Amphitheatre in Nazran, Russia
Event Date: Oct. 17
Website: m-1global.com
Watch Event: Russia 2 (Russia), m-1global.tv
Twitter: @OfficialM1

Spotlight Fight:
Ivan Buchinger (27-4) vs. Tural Ragimov (9-1)

Marat Gafurov recently vacated his M-1 featherweight crown, but the championship won’t remain vacant for too long. M-1 Global has paired top featherweights Ivan Buchinger and Tural Ragimov to compete for the belt in the headlining affair of M-1 Challenge 52.

Buchinger is a former Cage Warriors lightweight champion, but he left the British promotion to venture to Russia and fight for M-1 Global. The 28-year-old Slovakian has won two fights thus far under the M-1 banner. In his first fight with the promotion, he avenged one of his early career losses by submitting Sengoku veteran Sergey Golyaev. His only other losses came to future UFC fighters Akira Corassani, Anton Kuivanen and Conor McGregor. The MMA Spirit product made his pro debut in 2008 and already has more than 30 fights under his belt. He has six wins by some form of knockout, but he’s even deadlier on the mat, where he has scored 16 submission wins and has never succumbed to a submission. He is riding a six-fight winning streak and has won nine of his last 10, with the only loss coming to McGregor.

Ragimov hails from Azerbaijan and trains out of the K Dojo Warrior Tribe. He made his pro debut in 2010 and posted stoppage wins, including three submission finishes, in his first four fights. He suffered his only career loss to Ariel Abargel via third-round submission, then bounced back with another five wins. Overall, he has finished his opponent in eight of his nine victories, with four wins via strikes and four by way of submission. Ragimov, like Buchinger, is undefeated under the M-1 Challenge banner through two appearances. His promotional wins came against Aliyar Sarkerov and Lee Morrison.

In Ragimov’s lone career loss, he was taken down and controlled on the ground numerous times throughout the two-plus rounds of their affair. When he did get top position, he was either swept and reversed or jumped right into the fight-ending triangle choke. Ragimov is not going to want to go to the canvas with Buchinger, but he might have little say in the matter. Abargel was able to take him down with ease, and Buchinger has the wrestling skills to do the same.

Buchinger is a slick grappler who loves to attack his opponents’ arms and neck—check out his victory over Mick Sinclair to see what he’s capable of doing to an opponent. Golyaev and McGregor stopped Buchinger with strikes, but Ragimov doesn’t appear to have the crisp, precise striking nor the power to get the job done by that means.

Buchinger’s strong, persistent takedown attempts will plant Ragimov on the mat repeatedly. Ragimov might score some takedowns of his own, but his sloppy ground work will cost him position and, eventually, the fight. This contest ends in the middle rounds via a Buchinger submission finish of Ragimov.

Other key bouts: Daniel Tabera (18-5-3) vs. Murad Abdulaev (13-3), Max Coga (9-3) vs. Magomed Idrisov (4-0), Bartosz Chyrek (4-0) vs. Magomed Mutaev (4-2), Rustam Khasanov (6-2) vs. Zurab Betergaraev (1-0-1), Murad Izmailov (3-0) vs. Vladimir Mishchenko (7-6)

Provincial Fighting Championships 3: Showdown in the Downtown
Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, Canada
Event Date: Oct. 18
Website: profc.ca
Twitter: @pfc_canada

Spotlight Fight:
Malcolm Gordon (5-0) vs. Randy Turner (7-3)

When Provincial Fighting Championships hosts its third event this weekend, it’s not just about fights. The promotion has put together its latest card as part of a fundraising event for The Matthew Mailing Centre for Translational Transplant Studies, The Kidney Clinical Research Unit, The Kidney Foundation of Canada and the London Health Sciences Foundation. The show is headlined by Jesse Ronson and Dom O’Grady and also features a compelling women’s fight between Bobbi Jo Dalziel and Anna Barone, but the one fighter to keep an eye on might be undefeated flyweight Malcolm Gordon, who meets Randy Turner at the event.

Malcolm “X” is a Team Tompkins fighter based out of the Adrenaline Training Center in Canada, but he has also trained with Team Curran. The 24-year-old kickboxer made his pro debut in 2012 with a first-round armbar submission of Tyler Kirk, who is now 0-3. He stopped his next two opponents via TKO before taking a step up in competition in 2014. His success continued with a submission finish of Mike Davis, who now stands at 11-5 as a pro, and a unanimous decision victory over recent UFC signee Chris Kelades. His win over Kelades came in his first appearance with Bellator MMA. Overall, Gordon has two wins via strikes and two by way of submission.

Turner made his pro debut in 2009 with a decision loss to Josh Hill. The Oama and Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu product rebounded with two wins before suffering his second career loss. “Relentless” went on a five-fight tear, but then suffered his third career loss in his most recent bout against Michael Banin. Turner has been inactive for approximately a year and a half. The Canadian soldier, who is in his mid-30s, has held the Wreck MMA bantamweight title. He has four wins by some form of knockout and one victory via submission.

Turner is a seasoned fighter, but he has struggled to maintain consistency. With more than 18 months separating him from his last fight, which happened to be a loss, he’s going to face an uphill battle against a surging prospect like Gordon. Gordon is a very active striker who never stands in one place for too long. With his movement, he forces opponents to chase him down. Gordon can be taken down, but he isn’t content to hang out in bottom position. He used a kimura attempt to sweep Mike Davis and then proceeded to crank the hold to coax a tap from his foe.

Turner likes to wrestle, and he may opt to shoot for the takedown to neutralize Gordon’s high-volume, high-energy striking game. That’ll be a bad move, though. Turner will score points with the takedowns, but his inability to avoid submissions will be costly. Gordon will lock up one of Turner’s arms for the submission finish, possibly coming as early as round one.

Other key bouts: Jesse Ronson (13-5) vs. Dom O’Grady (16-6-1), Bobbi Jo Dalziel (1-0) vs. Anna Barone (2-4)