Every week, Combat Press takes a look at three regional, developmental and 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…
Jeremy Kennedy (12-1) vs. Marat Magomedov (10-1-1)
The 21st offering from Brave CF isn’t exactly the deepest lineup, but it does offer the best pairing of prospects outside of the major promotions on a week that is extra quiet for both the regional and international MMA circuits. Brave has booked a pair of featherweights that each have just one defeat on their record. UFC veteran Jeremy Kennedy represents Canada against Russian up-and-comer Marat Magomedov.
Kennedy is another in a string of recent head-scratching moves by the UFC. The Canadian fighter debuted in 2013 and compiled an 8-0 mark with five finishes before he was inked to a UFC contract in 2016. Kennedy made his Octagon debut with a decision nod over Alex Ricci. He added decision victories over Rony Jason and Kyle Bochniak before he ran into the surging Alexander Volkanovski. Kennedy was stopped via ground-and-pound strikes by the rising prospect. The loss represented the last fight on Kennedy’s UFC contract, and when he was informed that it might be a matter of months before the UFC was prepared to offer him a new deal, the 26-year-old decided to sign with Brave. He made his promotional debut in August with a first-round finish of Danyel Pilo.
Magomedov has been active on the professional level since 2011. He won his first seven fights, including six by stoppage, and garnered attention from the World Series of Fighting. He made his WSOF debut against Hakeem Dawodu in late 2015, but the pair fought to a majority draw. He rematched Dawodu the following year, but he was finished via a body punch in the second round. The 28-year-old jumped to the Fight Nights organization in 2017 and tallied two victories. He joined Brave in 2018 and earned a decision nod over Luke Adams in his debut with the company.
Magomedov has been excellent at finishing fights, but he struggled mightily over two encounters with Dawodu, a future UFC fighter who remains, by far, the best opponent the Russian has ever encountered. Kennedy could challenge Dawodu for that honor, though. He carries one more UFC win than Dawodu, and he left the promotion with only a loss to an opponent who has gone on to claim a spot in the UFC’s featherweight top 10.
Brave has made inroads recently as a significant player on the international MMA scene. The company has provided a platform for Kennedy to show that he still belongs in the UFC, and the Canadian should capitalize with a hard-fought decision victory over Magomedov.
João Luis Nogueira (25-8) vs. Jose Armoa (9-8)
The New Year’s weekend is spectacularly busy for the bigger MMA promotions, but it’s so quiet on the international and regional level that even a fight between an established veteran and a .500 opponent can make the cut. Case in point, Action Fight 11’s featured bout between João Luis Nogueira and Jose Armoa.
Nogueira is a grizzled veteran who has been competing since 2005. The Team Nogueira fighter has seen action against the likes of Willamy Freire (three times), Alexandre Pimentel, Renato Moicano, Gleristone Santos and T.J. Laramie. Unfortunately, only two of his encounters with Freire ended in victory, while the remaining bouts resulted in losses. The Brazilian has managed to thrive against lower-level competition, though. Prior to his loss to Laramie, the 34-year-old “Andrezinho” was enjoying a strong run of 10 victories, just one defeat and a no-contest.
Armoa, who hails from Paraguay, fits the mold of Nogueira’s victims. He’s just one fight above water, and he’s on a two-fight skid. The 34-year-old “Pitbull” debuted with success in 2011. However, after victories in his first two fights, Armoa started to ride a roller-coaster of losses and wins. First, there were back-to-back first-round stoppages. Then, he won four of his next five outings. A three-fight skid was followed by a three-fight winning streak. That streak came to an end with his current two losses. Armoa tends to beat rookies and fighters with losing marks, but he struggles against anyone with even a remotely decent record.
Nogueira is poised to rebound nicely from his loss at the hands of Laramie. He has 11 career submissions and nine finishes via strikes. Meanwhile, Armoa has suffered all of his losses before the final bell. Nogueira should find an early submission for the win.
Other key bouts: Henrique Kakaroto (1-0) vs. Allison Alves (3-2)
Last Week’s Scorecard
Beibit Nazarov vs. Martin Brown at Titan FC 51
Nazarov by decision
Brown by decision
Marcos Brigagão vs. Acácio dos Santos at Thunder Fight 18
Brigagão by submission
Mike Davis vs. Socrates Pierre at Island Fights 51
Davis by submission
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