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…
Greg Rebello (25-9) vs. Parnell Davis (9-6)
Classic Entertainment and Sports MMA is back with its 59th edition, which features promotional mainstay and heavyweight champion Greg Rebello. The 37-year-old big man puts his belt on the line in the evening’s headliner against Parnell Davis.
The champ has flirted with the big leagues on multiple occasions in his 34-fight career, which kicked off with a 2005 debut. Rebello lost two of his first three outings, but he recovered nicely to compile a 9-2 mark that earned him an invite to The Ultimate Fighter 11. Rebello dropped a majority decision to Josh Bryant and then returned to the regional circuit for another victory. “Ribz” then landed in Bellator, where he took a victory over John Doyle. After another detour to the regional scene, he returned to Bellator and lost to Dan Cramer. This led the Tri-Force MMA fighter back to CES, where he rode a roller coaster of wins and losses before getting another crack at the UFC, this time via Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Rebello was finished via strikes by Azunna Anyanwu on the Contender Series, and he again returned to CES, where he added two wins and picked up the heavyweight title. Rebello was granted a second go-around on the Contender Series, but he was dropped by a spinning back fist from Josh Parisian. Once again, Rebello came back to CES. Most recently, he defended his crown with a first-round knockout of Kevin Haley.
Davis experienced a strong start to his own MMA campaign when he debuted in 2012. After two victories, he suffered his first setback against a 1-4 opponent. He avenged the defeat and added two more victories before taking another loss. The 37-year-old added another three-fight winning streak, but then his career took a major hit with a four-fight skid. The Iowa-based fighter finally recovered in August to score his first victory since 2015.
Age is about the only place where these men are equal. Rebello, while no stranger to adversity, has mostly found success throughout his career. His chin is suspect, though, so a knockout loss is never out of the question. However, Davis is not likely to be the man to send Rebello crashing to the canvas.
Davis has suffered two losses to Legacy Fighting Alliance veteran Patrick Martin, one loss to The Ultimate Fighter alum Justin Frazier, and a loss to current rising UFC heavyweight Maurice Greene. He, too, has a suspect chin, but he can be a threat if he gets the fight to the mat, where he has logged six submission wins.
Rebello’s track record and standing as a champion makes him a solid favorite, especially against a man who has only won one fight the last four-plus years. Rebello should even find a knockout in this one.
Other key bouts: William Knight (5-0) vs. Marvin Skipper (4-2), Dinis Paiva (12-7) vs. Tim Dooling (8-5)
Łukasz Brzeski (6-1-1) vs. Ednaldo Oliveira (20-5-1)
Babilon MMA’s 10th show provides prospect Łukasz Brzeski with a real chance to prove himself. All the Polish upstart has to do is get past 26-fight veteran Ednaldo Oliveira. The two heavyweights collide in one of the featured bouts of the evening.
The 35-year-old Oliveira is a seasoned veteran who kicked off his career in 2015. The Brazilian streaked out to a 13-0-1 start before getting the call from the UFC. “Lula” was submitted by Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 142. After a few subsequent pairings fell through, Oliveira returned at UFC 163, where he dropped a unanimous verdict against Francimar Barroso. The Champion Team product departed the promotion and took a two-year hiatus before returning to action. He won five of his next six bouts, but he couldn’t get past Denis Goltsov in a 2018 showdown. He has gone on to win two of his three most recent contests, including a split verdict over Michał Kita at Babilon MMA 9.
Brzeski managed to decision Kita just one event earlier, which likely played a role in his booking opposite Oliveira. The Polish fighter, who debuted in 2013, had won his three previous fights, all via stoppage. Brzeski had also started his pro career with a three-fight winning streak, but it came to an end when he was knocked out in just 24 seconds by Grzegorz Ciepliński, a .500 fighter.
Brzeski is a finisher who has never seen the scorecards, but he’s also fought much lower-level competition throughout his career, outside of the aforementioned Kita. Brzeski could find the knockout at any moment, but Oliveira sports a pretty solid chin and tends to suffer his losses by way of submission.
Oliveira has suffered his losses predominantly against top-flight competitors. He’s taken out some solid veterans throughout the years, too. Brzeski has potential, but he’s simply not at Oliveira’s level. It’ll be close, but the judges will award the victory to the Brazilian.
Other key bouts: Daniel Rutkowski (8-2) vs. Adrian Zieliński (19-8) for the featherweight title, Diego Dias (10-3) vs. Adrian Błeszyński (7-3), Krzysztof Gutowski (7-0) vs. João Paulo Rodrigues (39-18-2)
Jai Herbert (9-1) vs. Cain Carrizosa (11-3)
Cage Warriors is the source of perhaps the most intriguing regional fight of the weekend. The organization’s 109th event hosts a lightweight title showdown between champion Jai Herbert and challenger Cain Carrizosa.
Herbert’s name has often appeared in this column, but only as a brief mention in the “Other Key Bouts” section. Meanwhile, the fighter has quietly climbed the ranks and snagged a gold belt. The 31-year-old’s career kicked off in 2015, after he had defeated five amateur foes. The Team Renegade BJJ export continued his reputation as a finisher with stops in his first four pro outings. He finally faltered when he challenged Rhys McKee for the BAMMA lightweight strap. Herbert rebounded with an additional win under the BAMMA banner and then migrated to Cage Warriors, where he tacked on three more victories. This put him in line for a shot at the vacant lightweight championship. Herbert was able to stop Jack Grant in the third round of their title tilt to capture the crown. The BAMMA vet tends to register his wins via knockout.
Carrizosa steps up for this title challenge after a career in the California regional scene and a brief stop in the UFC. The Central Valley Combat Academy disciple debuted in 2011 and put together a six-fight winning streak while making stops with Tachi Palace Fights and Bellator. He landed in the UFC in 2014, but he came up short against Chris Wade and Leonardo Mafra. Carrizosa returned to the regional scene, but initially stumbled with a decision loss to Danny Navarro. The 33-year-old then found his groove and reeled off five straight wins, including a revenge victory over Navarro.
Herbert seems to be the real deal. His loss to McKee came when both fighters were 4-0, and McKee still remains respectable with a 9-2-1 mark. The Brit also impressed with his finish of Grant to grab the title. He’s able to finish fights on the feet or on the mat.
Carrizosa’s run up to the UFC didn’t include any truly notable victories, and he’s primarily met light competition since departing the Octagon. His two attempted steps up in competition, both under the UFC banner, resulted in losses. He hasn’t been knocked out, but he has been submitted.
Herbert has likely caught the UFC’s attention by now, and a spot on a card that airs live on UFC Fight Pass could serve as a great audition for the lightweight champ. Herbert will capitalize on this opportunity by coaxing a tapout from Carrizosa.
Other key bouts: Chris Miah (8-2) vs. Brian Bouland (9-2), Samir Alakozai (9-2) vs. Perry Andre Goodwin (8-6), Dean Trueman (10-5) vs. Morgan Charriere (14-8-1), Madars Fleminas (6-0) vs. George Hardwick (4-0), Jordan Vucenic (4-1) vs. Konmon Deh (9-5)
The Best of the Rest
Fight Championship Aslan 3: Abusupyan Alikhanov (10-3) vs. Alireza Shariati (3-3)
One Pride MMA Fight Night 33: Battle of the Pride: Hafid nur Maradi (10-2) vs. Aep Saepudin (4-4) for the featherweight title
Centurion Fight Championship 6: Resilience: Giuseppe Ruggeri (3-0) vs. Enrico Manicaro (5-2)
One Fight Night 2: Jose Ferreira (5-0) vs. Hugo Oyarzun (3-1)
Last Week’s Scorecard
Alejandro Flores vs. Marco Antonio Elpidio at Combate Americas 47
Flores by decision
Flores by decision
Sergey Morozov vs. Josh Rettinghouse at M-1 Challenge 105
Rettinghouse by knockout
Morozov by decision
Ali Bagautinov vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov at FNG 95
Bagautinov by knockout
Zhumagulov by split decision
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