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 09that serve as a launching pad to the big show. It all begins with promotions such as these…
Chi Lewis-Parry (8-0-2) vs. Fabio Maldonado (26-14)
The best way to gain name recognition in the MMA world is often to beat a UFC veteran, even if that veteran is now past their prime. Chi Lewis-Parry has such an opportunity in front of him when he takes to the cage at UAE Warriors 13 against former UFC fixture Fabio Maldonado. Lewis-Parry puts his heavyweight belt on the line in the fight, too.
Lewis-Parry, 37, has a surprisingly slim record for a fighter who has been toiling around at the pro level since 2012. Yet, this is due to his other focus: kickboxing. As a kickboxer, Lewis-Parry has gone 8-1, including a 4-1 run under the GLORY banner that included a couple of first-round finishes. In the MMA realm, “Chopper” won five bouts before making his first high-profile appearance with ONE Championship. His time with the promotion was short-lived, resulting in just two fights, one of which ended in a no-contest, against Alain Ngalani. After his time with GLORY, the American Kickboxing Academy representative returned to the MMA world with Britain’s BAMMA organization, where his two fights resulted in a no-contest and a draw. He has since added another draw sandwiched in between victories with UAE Warriors. Lewis-Parry scored stoppages in all eight of his victories.
Maldonado is a well-known light heavyweight from his days in the UFC. The Brazilian, who debuted in the year 2000, compiled a 17-3 mark before joining the UFC in 2010. He eventually tallied a 5-6 record inside the Octagon, but he faced some of the best across the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, including Glover Teixeira, Stipe Miocic, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Corey Anderson. Since departing the organization, Maldonado, now 40, has gone 3-5 while facing such notable names as Fedor Emelianenko, Nikita Krylov, Ivan Shtyrkov and Jiří Procházka.
Maldonado can be a bruiser on the feet. He’s scored 15 knockouts over his career, but he has also suffered five knockout defeats. This doesn’t bode well for the aging veteran as he prepares to embark upon a title challenge against a former GLORY kickboxer. Lewis-Parry scored all of his GLORY wins by either knockout or TKO. “Chopper” has six knockouts and two submissions on his MMA resume as well. Lewis-Parry is a finisher, and Maldonado, whose recent eight-fight post-UFC stretch includes three knockout losses, could be destined to serve as his next victim.
The biggest struggle for Lewis-Parry has been avoiding controversial outcomes. He delivered a low blow in his first meeting with Ngalani that led to the no-contest ruling in that affair. He landed a set of illegal elbows to the back of Stav Economou’s head for his other no-contest. It could be said that Maldonado’s best route to a victory here will come as a result of a mistake by the basketball-player-turned-martial-artist. However, if Lewis-Parry can avoid these mistakes, he should cruise to a knockout victory once again.
Other key bouts: Islam Mamedov (18-1-1) vs. Kyung Pyo Kim (9-2), Abdulla Al Bousheiri (7-1) vs. Dean Barry (2-1), Agshin Babaev (22-6) vs. Gi Bum Moon (10-4), Casey O’Neill (4-0) vs. Christina Stelliou (6-3), Hashem Arkhagha (5-0) vs. Yuri Fraga (13-11-1), Xavier Alaoui (10-3) vs. Juares Dea (7-2), Oli Thompson (21-12) vs. Chris Barnett (20-6), Isaac Pimentel (17-9) vs. Thanongsaklek Tigermuaythai (6-3), Omar Hussein (7-1) vs. Sasha Palatnikov (4-2), Imamshafi Aliev (3-0) vs. Elijas Paknys (2-0)
Jack Cartwright (8-0) vs. Gerardo Fanny (9-1)
It’s a huge weekend for Britain’s Cage Warriors organization. Set to outdo Cage Fury FC, which last week held back-to-back events that aired live on UFC Fight Pass, Cage Warriors is going back-to-back-to-back with a trio of events spanning from Thursday through Saturday. We pick things up with the Friday show, Cage Warriors 115, which is capped off by a bantamweight title scrap between champion Jack Cartwright and challenger Gerardo Fanny.
The undefeated Cartwright captured the crown with two wins in a single-night tournament in 2019, and he has since defended the belt with a decision nod over veteran Manuel Bilić in March. The British fighter has only been competing at the pro level since 2017. His first seven fights ended in a first-round finish, including three by knockout and four via submission. He needed less than five minutes combined to beat his two tourney foes en route to the title. Only his title defense went beyond round one. The SBG Manchester fighter is obviously aggressive right out of the gates.
The 26-year-old Fanny is not quite as efficient with his finishing rate, but he’s close. Seven of his victories have come via stoppage, but he’s seen the scorecards twice as a pro and also suffered a submission loss. The Ringer Sportplaza representative debuted in 2015 and has bounced around between numerous organizations, most notably making stops in Strength & Honour Championship and Kunlun Fight. He reigns as the Strength & Honour bantamweight champ, which has led to this title shot in his Cage Warriors debut.
Fanny’s standing as a champion provides him with some legitimacy as a title challenger here, but Strength & Honour is hardly at the same level as Cage Warriors, a longtime provider of talent to the UFC. Cartwright has blazed through the Cage Warriors competition thus far to prove that he’s the real deal. Fanny will have his work cut out for him as he tries to dethrone the champ.
Given his previous submission loss, it looks like there are holes in the game of the Curaçao native. He will give up three inches in height to Cartwright, which won’t help, but the disparity in skill sets is sure to be obvious. Cartwright has shown a ridiculously well-rounded game from his earliest days as a pro. He clearly possesses the power to put opponents to sleep, but he also has strong takedown defense, excellent positional awareness and sweeps, and solid offensive and defensive grappling abilities. Fanny might not make it beyond the first round before succumbing to a submission.
Other key bouts: Nathias Frederick (8-2-1) vs. Jamie Richardson (9-5) for the middleweight title, Jack Grant (15-5) vs. Yassine Belhadj (6-2), Adam Wilson (5-0) vs. Weslley Maia (5-4), Ian Garry (3-0) vs. George McManus (2-1), Ben Ellis (2-0) vs. Kingsley Crawford (5-2), Nathan Fletcher (3-0) vs. Leigh Mitchell (3-1)
Mason Jones (9-0) vs. Adam Proctor (12-1)
The third night of Cage Warriors action features another intriguing title bout. Cage Warriors 116 is headlined by a clash between Mason Jones and Adam Proctor for the vacant welterweight title.
Jones is the undefeated stud in this affair. The Welshman made his professional debut in late 2017 with Cage Warriors. He’s spent almost his entire career with the company thus far, and he most recently became the league’s lightweight champion. “The Dragon” captured that belt, which was also previously vacant, with a first-round knockout of Joe McColgan. The 25-year-old, who trains out of Pedro Bessa BJJ, has a balanced record that includes three knockouts, three submissions and three decisions. This will be his first professional outing at 170 pounds after a career spent exclusively at 155.
The 24-year-old Proctor made his pro debut in 2014 and didn’t permanently join the Cage Warriors roster until 2018, though he did make one appearance with the company in a 2016 loss. That setback came via rear-naked choke submission to Aaron Khalid. Proctor, who was 5-0 entering that fight, has since added seven victories to his record, including three in the Cage Warriors promotion. “The Love Doctor” has five submissions on his resume, but he’s had a tendency to go the distance lately. In his most recent appearance, which took place in March, the SBG South Shields disciple doled out the first pro loss to Madars Fleminas.
Jones is not the type to run away with fights. Even in stoppage wins like the ones he posted against the aforementioned McColgan and Lawrence Tracey, the fight was close right up until the finishing sequence. Jones was even in serious trouble early on against Kacper Formela before he turned the tide and scored the finish within the first frame. With Jones, the approach appears to be one where he gradually wears on his foe and then goes for the finish once he sees any glimpse of vulnerability.
Proctor pushes the pace much more. He’ll immediately get in an opponent’s face and change levels for the takedown. He works well from the top position, avoiding sweeps and transitioning with ease. He fights much longer on the feet than Jones, who has a boxing background. He has much more foot movement and appears to be quicker than his counterpart. However, all of that pressure and movement could potentially play into the attrition-based game of Jones.
Proctor might have the size advantage here, but it’s his style that could give Jones fits. Jones struggled against Formela until the Polish fighter prematurely gassed out in the opening round. Proctor surely has better cardio, and his approach to pushing the pace blends a striking attack with a wrestling and grappling game that will put Jones on the defensive from the opening bell. Proctor hasn’t been prolific in the finishing department, so this one could end up going to the judges before his hand gets raised in victory.
Other key bouts: Max Coga (22-6-1) vs. Morgan Charriere (15-7-1) for the featherweight title, Paul Hughes (5-0) vs. Aidan Stephen (7-2), Kieran Lister (6-0-1) vs. Tom Mearns (6-4), Sam Creasey (11-3) vs. Nicolas Leblond (5-2), Steve Aimable (14-7) vs. Jordan Vucenic (5-1)
The Best of the Rest
Fight Nights Global 98: Nariman Abbasov (24-3) vs. Mikhail Gogitidze (14-8) for the lightweight title Watch Event:YouTube
Titan Fighting Championship 64: Said Sowma (5-1) vs. Bobby Brents (17-7) for the heavyweight title Watch Event:UFC Fight Pass
Oktagon 16: Magdaléna Šormová (9-2) vs. Minna Grusander (6-3) Watch Event:Oktagon TV
Fight Club Sech: MMA Series-15: Time of New Heroes 9: Gozel Zutova (8-0) vs. Dariya Zheleznyakova (3-0)
Last Week’s Scorecard
Jared Scoggins vs. Thomas Vasquez at Cage Fury FC 84
Scoggins by knockout
Scoggins by decision
Daniel Zellhuber vs. Miguel Arizmendi at Lux 010
Zellhuber by knockout
Zellhuber by submission
Alberto Pantoja vs. Marcos Vinicius at Favela Kombat 34
Vinicius by submission
In Hindsight: While Scoggins didn’t score the predicted TKO, he dominated the Cage Fury title fight with Vasquez. He was able to utilize his wrestling and neutralize his opponent for a vast majority of four rounds en route to an easy decision nod. Vasquez did indeed attempt some submissions, but he didn’t come close to getting the tapout…Zellhuber was the superior fighter in every aspect of his bout with Arizmendi. The 21-year-old didn’t get to flash much of his Muay Thai game, but he impressed in the grappling department with a calf slicer for a submission finish that wrecked Arizmendi’s knee…Vinicius failed to make weight for the title bout with Pantoja, and so the fight was scrapped…Featured “Best of the Rest” fighters Ramazan Kuramagomedov and Junji Ito scored big finishes in their outings, while Andrey Sergeev and Juntaro Ushiku claimed decision victories.
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