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…
Event Date: April 18
Carl Deaton III (14-3) vs. Justin King (7-6)
Well, if nothing else, the shortened form of the Native American Take Over promotion’s name — NATO — will certainly cause some confusion in the Google News listings. The small Michigan promotion doesn’t have much of its own presence on the interwebs, though. Yet, the company has brought in a solid prospect in Carl Deaton III to vie for the featherweight title against Justin King.
Deaton, a member of the American Top Team camp, has been bouncing around the regional scene since his 2011 pro debut. “Anishinaabe” won four of his first five contests, with the remaining bout ending in a no-contest. He suffered his first setback in 2013 when Mike Hernandez stopped him in the first round with strikes in their Mecca 1 outing. Deaton rebounded with four wins, including three stoppages, to punch his ticket to the Resurrection Fighting Alliance. At RFA 19, he stumbled against Abel Cullum for a submission defeat. Again, the Michigan native responded with four straight wins, including another three finishes. In this streak, Deaton also picked up his most significant win to date when he tapped Adam Ward, a 25-fight veteran with a solid winning record. Yet again, the 29-year-old faltered, this time with a decision loss to Vince Murdock and a no-contest against Jose Mariscal. He answered with a pair of victories over Nathan Williams. Deaton appeared set for a breakthrough in between the two Williams fights when he was booked for a Professional Fighters League event, but he missed weight and the bout was scrapped.
The 36-year-old King has had a career full of ups and downs, which has led to a record that stands at just one win over the .500 mark. After a sturdy 6-1 run as an amateur, the Indy Boxing and Grappling disciple turned pro in 2013. He won his first two fights, but then suffered a split-decision loss to Dalby Halferty. Two more victories were followed by a loss to Josh Baker. King has failed to string together two victories since. He has, however, suffered back-to-back losses on one occasion. He has been victimized by such notables as Dominic Mazzotta, who submitted him via rear-naked choke, and the aforementioned Murdock.
Deaton is absolutely the focus of this fight. King is a scrapper who can hang in there till the final bell, but he hasn’t come close to beating a fighter of Deaton’s caliber. Deaton has been able to find quite a few quick submissions, and his focus here should be in getting the fight to the ground.
King is no stranger to playing the part of the sacrificial lamb. He did so against Baker, who was undefeated through seven fights prior to his victory over King, and Mazzotta, who was 8-1 at the time of their outing. He even did so against Murdock, who now holds a respectable 12-3 mark. King was even slated to play this role against CES mainstay Nate Andrews before that fight fell through and Andrews instead met Tyler Combs. Now, it’s Deaton’s turn. The prospect should find the early finish to bring King’s record back to even.
Event Date: April 19
Watch Event: Fite TV pay-per-view stream via Combat Press (USA), Abu Dhabi TV (Middle East/North Africa), ESPN5 (Philippines), MTV (India), Brave TV (all other regions)
Jose “Shorty” Torres (8-1) vs. Amir Albazi (11-0)
Prior to his disappointing stint in the UFC, Jose “Shorty” Torres was a top flyweight and bantamweight prospect and two-division Titan FC champion. Now, Torres is simply out to rebuild his reputation after a lucky win in his UFC debut and a loss in his sophomore appearance with the promotion. “Shorty” is part of a stacked lineup for Brave Combat Federation’s 23rd show, which can be seen via Fite TV right here on Combat Press. The flyweight tangles with Amir Albazi, an undefeated Bellator veteran.
Torres may have stumbled on the biggest stage in MMA, but the 26-year-old has a trophy case full of amateur titles and Titan FC belts. The youngster is possibly one of the most seasoned amateur MMA fighters ever. He worked his way to an undefeated mark through an astounding 17 amateur outings. Many of these victories came in tournaments conducted by IMMAF over the span of a few days. Torres won IMMAF World Championship tourneys for the 2014 and 2015 calendar years, adding to a collection of gold that already included the American Predator FC, UMMAF and Midwest Fight League championships. When Torres turned pro, he was immediately snatched up by Titan, where he eventually captured belts at both 125 and 135 pounds. After making successful defenses of both crowns, he departed Titan for the UFC. He was getting edged by Jarred Brooks in his Octagon debut, until Brooks went for an ill-advised slam that left him unconscious. In his next fight, Torres was steamrolled by Alex Perez in the first round. He was among the first flyweights purged from the UFC roster, and he landed with Brave CF. Torres was set to meet Albazi in March, but the bout was moved to the April show instead.
Albazi, a Swedish fighter of Iraqi descent based out of London, made his pro debut in 2009 and amassed a perfect record through four fights by the end of 2010. “The Prince” was absent from the sport for the next four years before returning in November 2014 to claim another victory. He extended his streak to 11 fights as he blew through the competition in Europe. The London Shootfighters product had never gone the distance until he landed in Bellator MMA. In his Bellator debut, Albazi took the judges’ nod over Jamie Powell. In his second Bellator appearance, the 25-year-old returned to his finishing ways by submitting Iuri Bejenari in the first round. Overall, Albazi has stopped four foes with strikes and six by way of submission. Albazi is focusing on MMA after claiming a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World championship as a blue belt and tacking on a FILA championship.
It would be tempting to predict an easy victory for Torres here, but this is not the same guy who was rolling to win after win under the Titan FC banner. “Shorty” showed cracks in his armor during his brief UFC stay. Brooks was outpointing him before the botched slam takedown, and Perez pummeled Torres for an early finish. Torres did have a few notable victories over the likes of UFC castoff Pedro Nobre and Bellator vet Farkhad Sharipov, but even those men were far from elite. Torres wasn’t fed complete cans, but there’s a chance that he was fortunate to feed on mediocre competition that never truly pushed him.
Albazi will definitely push his counterpart in this fight. The Swede is an excellent grappler, but he’s also able to finish fights with strikes. Much like Torres, Albazi hasn’t been truly tested. He did have to go the distance against the aforementioned Powell, but he still took a unanimous verdict. He could also pounce on any doubts Torres holds about his own abilities following his UFC struggles. Albazi has the confidence of an undefeated mark that includes a perfect run in the world’s second biggest MMA organization.
It’s actually astounding that Albazi isn’t under exclusive contract with Bellator, but then that organization tends to value over-the-hill marquee names over cultivating new talent. Bellator’s loss is Brave CF’s gain, for now at least. Torres has plenty of amateur and pro MMA credentials, but he’s no longer the invincible force he was in Titan. Albazi has world-class grappling skills and could drag this fight to the mat, where he’ll find the submission finish.
Other key bouts: Jarrah Hussein Al-Silawi (13-2) vs. Abdoul Abdouraguimov (9-0) for the welterweight title, Eldar Eldarov (10-1) vs. Mounir Lazzez (7-0) for the 165-pound title, Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady (10-1) vs. Luan Santiago (13-3) for the lightweight title, Hashem Arkhagha (4-0) vs. Jeremy Smith (8-5), Ikram Aliskerov (8-0) vs. Khamzat Chimaev (4-0), Aidan James (3-0) vs. Jalal Al Daaja (6-3), Alex Martinez (5-0) vs. Anas Siraj Mounir (7-1), Akhmed Magomedov (5-0) vs. Steven Goncalves (6-1), Mohamed Aly (5-0) vs. Hassan Talal (2-0)
Event Date: April 19
Watch Event: Future FC app (iOS and Android)
Wellington Turman (14-2) vs. Marcio Alexandre Jr. (17-4)
The fourth installment of Future Fighting Championships brings a solid helping of MMA to Brazil. The lineup features such notable up-and-comers as Maike Linhares, Marcos Schmitz, Evertom Freitas, Italo Gomes, Karolline Rosa and Gisele Moreira. The headliner pits youngster Wellington Turman against UFC veteran Marcio Alexandre Jr.
It’s a nightmare to try to figure out Turman’s actual pro mark. The 22-year-old’s resume dates back to 2014, but his first few fights are classified differently depending on which fighter database is sourced. The best guess here is that he’s 14-2. That’s a significant number of fights for such a young man. Turman has made the most of them, too. His only setbacks came in decision losses to Gian Siqueira and Carlston Harris. “Fofão,” who trains with the Gile Ribeiro Team, has fared well against all levels of competition, from a winless 11-fight veteran to a 13-3-1 prospect. His record has a balanced set of knockout and submission finishes.
With 21 pro fights, Alexandre is the more experienced of these two men. He, too, has varying marks across the different fighter databases. Many of his earliest fights came on the Brazilian regional circuit, where he stacked up victory upon victory through 12 bouts. This led to a spot on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3, where he topped Giuliano Arantes, Paulo Henrique Costa and Ricardo Abreu to land in the finals. “Lyoto” couldn’t find his groove through three Octagon appearances, though. Instead, he lost to Warlley Alves in the TUF finals, and then suffered losses to Tim Means (in a split decision) and Court McGee. This resulted in a pink slip, and Alexandre returned to his homeland. He made four appearances with the Aspera Fighting Championship organization, where he won three in a row before he was stopped by Fabio Aguiar. Following a rebound win in a smaller promotion, Alexandre sought to rejoin the UFC by taking part in a fight on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. He scored a first-round submission of Leandro Silva, but it wasn’t enough to garner a contract offer. Instead, he has signed on for this match-up and a title challenge in May against Teddy Ash under the Unified MMA banner.
The 29-year-old Alexandre is a proven fighter who has made it to the world’s biggest stage and would like nothing more than to return once again. His stay on TUF Brazil 3 resulted in a submission win in his first fight, but it also included two squeakers in which Alexandre just barely slipped past Costa and Abreu via split verdicts. He fell short to Alves in the tourney final, but a close decision against the aforementioned Means and another fight that went the distance against McGee are enough to demonstrate that he’s no pushover. “Lyoto’s” quick win over Silva on DWTNCS should have prompted a contract offer from the UFC, and the fact that it didn’t likely provides Alexandre with a true chip on his shoulder entering this affair.
The question is whether that chip will be enough to get Alexandre past Turman. The 22-year-old has compiled a strong record of his own, but he has crumbled against two men who, while sporting solid marks of their own, aren’t near the top of many prospect lists. Alexandre is certainly a huge move up for Turman, and it could prove to be too much. Any man who forces Tim Means to a split decision is no joke. It’s very likely that Alexandre and Turman engage in a war that makes it to the final bell. When the dust settles, the judges will side with Alexandre, awarding the UFC veteran a hard-fought decision win.
Other key bouts: Maike Linhares (13-3) vs. Everton Monteiro (14-5), Caionã Batista (9-2) vs. Paulo Pizzo (8-2), Gleristone Santos (34-10) vs. Marcos Schmitz (16-5), Bruno Mesquita (10-3) vs. Leandro Soares (9-2), Marcos dos Santos (8-1) vs. Ednilson Barros (8-3), Matheus Scheffel (12-6) vs. Marcelo Cruz (10-9), Vinicius Pires (1-0) vs. Assis Sousa (4-1), Evertom Freitas (11-1) vs. Italo Gomes (7-0), Victor de Paula (3-0) vs. Jackson Soares (2-0), Marciano Ferreira (3-0) vs. Adriano Florêncio (3-0), Wendell Giacomo (6-1) vs. Felipe Boaventura (8-2-1), Karolline Rosa (10-3) vs. Gisele Moreira (8-2)
Old Guard Divizion 5: Dinislam Kamavov (9-0-2) vs. Sergey Yakovlev (4-2)
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