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 obscurity, 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, from the small convention centers and high school gymnasiums to the developmental leagues that serve as a launching pad to the big show. It all begins with promotions such as these…
Jared Scoggins (9-1) vs. Thomas Vasquez (8-4)
It’s an extremely busy weekend for the MMA world, and this includes a two-night run from Cage Fury Fighting Championships. The promotion, typically based in the northeast United States, heads to Mississippi for its 84th and 85th shows. The first of these events takes place Thursday night and features a scrap for the vacant bantamweight title. The spotlight in this contest will be on Jared Scoggins, who clashes with Thomas Vasquez.
Scoggins, even by record alone, is the favorite in this affair. If his last name seems familiar, that’s probably because his brother, Justin, has fought in the UFC. Jared has yet to make that same leap, but he’s well on his way to doing so. The 25-year-old posted a 5-1 mark as an amateur before turning pro in 2015. He won his first five fights, including his first three by stoppage, before suffering a setback against Jesse Bazzi in 2017. The “Psycho” has since rebounded with an additional four wins, including a decision nod over Juan Puerta at Legacy Fighting Alliance 8. He has spent much of his career competing as a flyweight. His last fight took place in September 2018. He was set to meet Brandon Royval under the LFA banner in late 2019, but the fight was scrapped and Royval instead took on Nate Williams for the league’s flyweight belt.
The 34-year-old Vasquez started his pro campaign in 2011. He tallied six straight wins to gain the attention of Bellator MMA. However, his promotional debut did not go well, as Vasquez suffered his first pro loss to seasoned veteran Marcos Galvão. His struggles continued against Mike Hernandez and Julio Arce, leading to a three-fight skid. Vasquez finally recovered with a submission victory over Austin Lyons, but his good fortunes were short-lived. In his next fight, the Fisher’s Bang Gym product suffered a decision loss to Brandon Davis, a 3-2 fighter. After more than two years away from action, Vasquez returned in 2018 and picked up a TKO finish over Cleveland McLean. It’s now been almost another two years since “The Die Hard Kidd” has made an appearance.
As a pro, Scoggins has racked up knockouts and decisions in the win column. While he hasn’t seen the same level of success as his brother, it appears that it’s only a matter of time before this changes. He’s competing for gold at 135 pounds here, but he might be better suited for the flyweight division in the long term. His sole pro loss came in his first true step up in competition, and the Revolution MMA fighter has more than redeemed himself since then with victories over Titan FC’s Puerta, the formerly undefeated Cody Durden, and veteran journeyman Kenny Porter.
Vasquez has put together a respectable record, but he struggled where Scoggins did not — against stronger, veteran competition. Vasquez, like his upcoming opponent, scored early career victories against fellow inexperienced competitors and sub-.500 foes. His loss to Galvão marked his own step up in competition, but he sank where Scoggins learned to swim. The losses that followed initially came against additional tough opponents like Hernandez and Arce, but the loss to Davis signaled deeper troubles for “The Die Hard Kidd.”
Vasquez could be a submission threat to Scoggins, but their resumes suggest that he’ll be outgunned in this fight. Scoggins should control the action from the opening bell and eventually score the TKO finish.
Other key bouts: Pat Sabatini (11-3) vs. Jordan Titoni (7-5), Nah-shon Burrell (15-11) vs. Ryot Waller (3-5)
Daniel Zellhuber (8-0) vs. Miguel Arizmendi (8-4)
The Lux Fight League returns on Friday with its 10th show. The lineup features a flyweight title bout and UFC veteran Masio Fullen, but a fight further down the card deserves some attention. That fight features undefeated lightweight prospect Daniel Zellhuber, who is set to go up against 12-fight veteran Miguel Arizmendi.
Zellhuber is just 21 years old, but he’s been competing as a pro since 2016. The “Golden Boy” won his first five fights, including four via finish, before joining the Combate Americas organization. His success continued with victories over José Luis Medrano, Salvador Izar and the formerly undefeated Gian Franco Cortez. The young fighter has drawn comparisons to Yair Rodriguez due to his Muay Thai techniques, length and aggression.
Arizmendi has been competing at the pro level since 2012. He got off to a strong start, with victories in seven of his first eight outings. “El Gallo” has fallen on hard times more recently, however, and has won just one of his last four bouts. He’s currently on a two-fight skid in which both fights ended by some form of knockout. The first of Arizmendi’s three recent setbacks came against a 2-3 opponent, which is cause for concern. His record is heavy on decisions.
Given his recent struggles, Arizmendi appears to be a lamb being led to slaughter in this contest. Zelllhuber has proven to be a rising talent in the Mexican regional scene, and his Muay Thai skills will give him an extreme edge against Arizmendi, who has never come close to fighting someone on par with Zellhuber.
This is a showcase fight for the young up-and-comer. Zellhuber is being brought along slowly, which should be great for his development. Arizmendi is a veteran scrapper, but he should be another easy knockout victim for the “Golden Boy.”
Other key bouts: Alessandro Costa (7-2) vs. Luis Solorzano (5-5) for the flyweight title, Dumar Roa (14-7) vs. Masio Fullen (13-7), Tania Torres (2-0) vs. Laura Zamora (1-1), Francesco Patron Manzo (5-0) vs. Benjamin Mendez Salmon (0-0)
Alberto Pantoja (24-12) vs. Marcos Vinicius (13-3)
We close with a Sunday fight in Brazil where featherweight supremacy is at stake. Favela Kombat hosts its 34th event, which includes a clash for the featherweight title. Champion Alberto Pantoja puts his belt on the line against challenger Marcos Vinicius.
Pantoja is a 36-fight veteran who won the Favela Kombat championship via split decision over Clodoaldo Lima in June 2018. He has not defended the title since then, however, while taking fights with Shooto Brazil and Teixeira Combat. The 39-year-old’s most recent appearance came in November at Shooto Brazil 98, where he suffered a decision loss to Erick Viscondi. The defeat brought an end to a six-fight winning streak for Pantoja. “Strike” has been fighting as a pro since 2008, and his most notable opponents have been Deivison Ribeiro, Alexandre de Almeida, Paulo Dantas and Marcio Andrade. Unfortunately, Pantoja suffered losses to all of those high-profile foes. Pantoja tends to favor the knockout, but he struggles against grapplers.
Vinicius has some grappling chops to offer. He’s submitted four opponents through 16 fights as a pro. After a loss in his 2015 debut, he piled up 11 consecutive victories. “Sorriso” ran into trouble in 2019 when he suffered back-to-back losses to veterans Brendo Bispo and Thiago Silva. He has since rebounded with two victories, including a recent flying-knee finish of Robson Silva.
There’s plenty of room for improvement in Vinicius, who is still just 23 years old. The Paraná Vale Tudo disciple is on the opposite end of his career from Pantoja, who is nearing his 40th birthday. Pantoja has also struggled mightily against any step up in competition. As long as Vinicius avoids a striking battle with Pantoja, he should find plenty of success this weekend.
Vinicius has actually demonstrated a nice mix of finishing instincts on the feet and the mat. His knockout tally of three only trails his submission total by one, and his recent flying knee for the knockout of Silva is evidence that he has a dynamic striking game. Yet, it’s his work on the mat that should get the job done against Pantoja. The champ will struggle to keep up with his younger counterpart and should eventually tap to a choke from the rising prospect.
Other key bouts: Diego Silva (12-6) vs. Luan Matheus (11-6-1) for the bantamweight title, Luis Felipe Dias (14-3) vs. Jose Gomes (39-16-1), Vanilton Antunes (10-4) vs. Jorge Filho (8-7), Wanderson Barcelos (3-0) vs. Jefferson de Fonseca (4-3)
The Best of the Rest
Cage Fury Fighting Championships 85: Ramazan Kuramagomedov (7-0) vs. Trevor Ollison (4-2) Watch Event:UFC Fight Pass
Shooto 2020 Vol. 6: Junji Ito (17-8-2) vs. Tateo Iino (14-6-1)
Road to Kars Fighting Championship 2: Andrey Sergeev (6-0) vs. Nonato Junior (3-2-1)
Deep 97 Impact: Satoshi Yamasu (11-4) vs. Juntaro Ushiku (17-7-1) for the featherweight title
Last Week’s Scorecard
Ramazan Gasanov vs. Tahir Abdullaev at M-1 Selection Online
Abdullaev by submission
Kyle Stewart vs. Tim Caron at LFA 91
Stewart by knockout
Stewart by knockout
Jose Sanchez vs. Jay Cucciniello at Fight World Tour
Cucciniello by knockout
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