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…
Cleiton Silva (15-2) vs. Amin Ayoub (14-4)
Brave Combat Federation returns on Thursday with its 44th event, which can be seen right here on Combat Press. The lineup is capped by a lightweight title showdown between champion Cleiton “Predator” Silva and challenger Amin Ayoub.
The 34-year-old Silva has been waiting more than a year to make his first title defense due to delays as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. He has seen fights with Guram Kutateladze and Luan Santiago fall apart as a result of these cancellations, with Kutateladze even moving on to the UFC. Predator won the belt in 2019 with a 42-second submission of the aforementioned Santiago. It was the culmination of a run through the organization that included two additional stoppage victories. The Brazilian had previously spent much of his time in his homeland en route to a 12-2 mark since his 2011 pro debut. His second setback came via split decision in a lightweight title bid with the Jungle Fight promotion. Overall, the Full House protege has seven knockouts and four submission wins. Seven of his victories have come within the first frame.
France’s Ayoub stumbled out of the gates upon his 2014 pro debut and lost his first two fights within the span of a single month. He has recovered nicely, however, to record 14 victories while suffering only two additional defeats. The 24-year-old’s more recent losses have come in a tournament championship bout and a lightweight title bid. He’s now undefeated through his last six fights, which includes a reign as the UAE Warriors welterweight champion. The Bulgarian Top Team fighter has eight submissions and two victories via strikes.
Predator is far removed from the reckless, overly aggressive bleach-blonde who suffered a loss via a gruesome arm injury to Robert Peter in 2012. Nowadays, he has a more measured approach and even keeps his hands slightly higher. The Brazilian still tends to lead with low leg kicks more than he does with jabs. At 6-foot-2, he’s tall for a lightweight, and that height contributes to his style as a rangy fighter. Predator sports a well-rounded game, and he’s never been clearly and decisively defeated — his losses came due to an injury stoppage and in a split decision.
Ayoub has the better boxing and wrestling of the pair. However, Silva could give him headaches in any scrambles on the ground. The Frenchman is not great at maintaining superior position and can be too quick to pull the trigger on submission attempts. Either of these missteps will cost him against Predator, who is apt to batter an opponent or attack with submissions of his own once he has top position. In the striking realm, Ayoub does his best work when he can get inside and fire off his uppercut. He’ll give up three inches in height to Silva, though, and certainly will have to work hard to close the distance while avoiding taking too much damage.
Silva is not an easy fighter to stop. He fends off submissions well — it took a displaced elbow to cost him a fight on the mat — and has never been knocked out. Ayoub doesn’t have much power, and he’s not quite dominant enough on the ground to be a confident bet for the tapout. So, the French fighter will most likely have to angle for a decision nod. Yet, even that will be a tall task.
Predator can look to Tim Wilde for the answers to Ayoub, who was unable to really get a solid offense going for much of that fight. Wilde, like Silva, tends to throw looping punches, but he also incorporates kicks. If Silva can duplicate Wilde’s performance by increasing his output of leg kicks, he can open up Ayoub to combinations or head kicks while keeping the challenger from closing the distance. On the mat, he can also take advantage of Ayoub’s tendency to often surrender the advantageous position. If Silva can accomplish these two tasks, he’s likely to end up as the one with the win when the fight goes to the scorecards.
Other key bouts: Abdoul Abdouraguimov (11-1) vs. Louis Glismann (7-1), John Brewin (6-1) vs. Rolando Dy (13-9), Mzwandile Hlongwa (5-1) vs. Dominik Schober (11-8), Yann Liasse (3-0) vs. Abbas Khan (0-0)
Serbian Battle Championship 29: Revenge!
Novi Sad, Serbia Event Date: Nov. 7 Website:sbc.rs/en
Gian Siqueira (18-4) vs. Stefan Negucić (7-0)
The Serbian Battle Championship organization hosts its 29th show on Saturday. While the welterweight strap is on the line in the main event between Vladislav Kanchev and UFC veteran Bojan Velickovic, it’s former championship hopeful Gian Siqueira’s fight with undefeated upstart Stefan Negucić that holds perhaps even more intrigue.
Siqueira, yet another in a long line of Brazilian fighters to carry the nickname “Pitbull,” fought for the SBC crown in 2019. However, he tipped the scales at more than four pounds above the limit. So, while he did defeat Eri Silveira, he did not claim the championship. It was a disappointing outcome for the 26-year-old, who had earned his crack at the gold two months earlier with a first-round submission of Nebojša Mršić. The Astra Fight Team product debuted in 2012 and has had several five- and six-fight winning streaks, only to see them snapped. His most recent setback came in early 2019 when he clashed with grizzled veteran Alexander Butenko under the M-1 Challenge banner. Butenko squeaked by with a split decision for the win, but Siqueira has since rebounded with his two victories in Serbia. “Pitbull” is an equal-opportunity finisher who has seven knockouts and eight submission wins.
Serbia’s own Negucić makes for a very interesting opponent. The 26-year-old has compiled a perfect mark through seven fights since his 2016 debut. All of his victories have come by knockout, and he tends to get the job done within the first round. This, however, will mark his first step up from the low-level regional circuit in Europe. Negucić has managed to see some experienced foes already, though. He needed just 33 seconds to put away Ivan Vladimir, who entered their bout with an 8-6 mark, and he also polished off eight-fight veteran Vladimir Prodanović in under five minutes.
Siqueira has an adequate striking attack, but his primary objective is to get the fight to the ground. Once on the canvas, he smothers opponents with his grappling skills and ground-and-pound assault. If he ends up on bottom, he’s likely to attack aggressively with triangles and armbars. His most recent fight against the aforementioned Silveira was a chance for the “Pitbull” to hand out the first pro loss to his opponent, and now he gets the opportunity to do the same against Negucić.
Siqueira’s success here depends on whether he can avoid the Serbian’s fists. Negucić has plenty of power and tends to be a quick starter. He separated the aforementioned Vladimir from his senses in devastating fashion, and he did plenty of head-hunting in his subsequent fights with Prodanović and Daniel Wolak. He dropped the former for a knockout and opened a cut on the latter that led to a stoppage.
While Negucić is always a knockout threat, he’s got plenty of holes in his game. Primarily, it centers on his habit of loading up on punches. He telegraphs home-run swings and too often throws caution to the wind as he charges forward to tee off on an opponent. This is where Siqueira can make a level change and score the takedown. The Brazilian has to be smart about how he gets the fight to the mat. If he doesn’t use Negucić’s aggression against him and instead just shoots for the takedown, then he could be met with a flying knee or an uppercut that puts him to sleep. Fortunately for him, Negucić has grown accustomed to fighters who are either willing to stand with him or incapable of getting the fight to the mat. He was never in any real danger of ending up on his back in any of his last three fights. Here, things will be different.
If Siqueira can avoid the knockout blow, then he should be able to employ his stifling top control against Negucić. The Serbian has faced little adversity thus far in his career and might not be prepared to defend against what Siqueira brings to the cage. The veteran Brazilian should become the first man to beat — and submit — Negucić.
Other key bouts: Vladislav Kanchev (11-5-2) vs. Bojan Velickovic (17-10-2) for the welterweight title, Slobodan Maksimović (15-6-1) vs. Sérgio de Jesus Santos (7-8), Satoshi Ishii (23-12-1) vs. Marko Petković (3-1), Jovan Zdelar (2-0) vs. Rade Novakovic (1-0), Nemanja Kovač (12-3) vs. Ivan Vladimir (9-8)
Parus Fight Championship
Dubai, United Arab Emirates Event Date: Nov. 7 Website:mfp-mma.ru
Sergei Kharitonov (31-8) vs. Oli Thompson (21-12)
Paris Fight Championship, a card co-promoted by the Far Eastern Modern Pankration Federation, offers up two title fights on its Saturday show in Dubai. The names should be familiar to fight fans, too. Victor Henry is on the docket in the bantamweight championship contest, but the focus here is the heavyweight title tilt that pits Sergei Kharitonov against Oli Thompson.
Kharitonov was once considered one of the world’s best heavyweight competitors. The kickboxer has been fighting at the professional level in MMA since the year 2000. He’s now 40 years old, but he’s still going strong and has only suffered three losses in the MMA realm over the last decade. Those setbacks came courtesy of Josh Barnett, Javy Ayala and Linton Vassell. Meanwhile, the Russian big man has tallied recent wins over UFC veterans Joey Beltran, Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione. His most high-profile affairs have occurred under the Bellator MMA banner, but his 2020 campaign has thus far consisted of two outings — one in MMA and one in boxing — for World Total Kombat Federation. In his career, “The Paratrooper” has notched 20 victories by some form of knockout, while also delivering nine submission finishes.
England’s Thompson is also 40 years old. He’s enjoyed stints with the UFC, KSW and Bellator, but he certainly hasn’t experienced the same level of success as his counterpart. The Brit’s UFC run consisted of just two fights in 2012, and both ended with Thompson getting finished. He is 2-3 in KSW fights, and his Bellator stay was another brief one that resulted in losses to the aforementioned Mitrione and Cheick Kongo. “The Spartan” holds notable wins over Kevin Asplund, Chris Barnett, Fernando Rodrigues Jr. and Ikuhisa Minowa. He has 11 knockouts and six submission victories.
In addition to his success in using his fists to win fights, Thompson has also suffered six knockout losses. This doesn’t bode well for him in a fight against a powerful kickboxer like Kharitonov. Yes, the Russian is years removed from kickboxing bouts where he went the distance with the likes of Jerome LeBanner, Rico Verhoeven and Anderson “Braddock” Silva, as well as MMA outings in which he tangled with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski, but his losses have still remained few and far between. Ayala shocked the world when he dropped Kharitonov in just 16 seconds, while Vassell used ground-and-pound to end the kickboxer’s night. Meanwhile, Kharitonov has still found plenty of success against men who are willing to stand with him.
Thompson is likely to welcome a striking duel, which could lead to his downfall. The Brit has done serious damage with his hands and knees, but he’s also been taken out by even the likes of Tarek Suleiman and Brett McDermott. He could always land the perfect strike in the same fashion as Ayala did, but that’s likely to be his best route to a finish and a victory.
Kharitonov has the higher skill level here and a history of success against quality opposition that Thompson lacks. He’s also a much more technical boxer and kickboxer, while possessing additional background in combat sambo. Thompson is always a game opponent, but Kharitonov should be able to outclass him and eventually score the knockout.
Other key bouts: Victor Henry (20-4) vs. Denis Lavrentyev (9-2) for the bantamweight title, Abdul Sami Wali Fayzi (5-1) vs. Leonardo Damiani (7-2-1), Alexander Kovalev (7-0) vs. Amr Abdel Malek (8-8), Nikolay Kovalenko (2-0) vs. Alexander Vezhevatov (1-0), Mahmoud Salama (10-7) vs. Petr Romankevich (1-0)
The Best of the Rest
Human Fighting Championship 1: Anas Siraj Mounir (8-2) vs. Mohamed ElDwansy (9-7) for the middleweight title
Hard Rock MMA 116: 12 Year Anniversary: Adli Edwards (7-1) vs. Lance Lawrence (5-1) for the featherweight title Watch Event: pay-per-view stream via b2mma.com
Strikehard Productions 57: Kailan Hill (4-1) vs. AJ Dobson (4-0) Watch Event: pay-per-view stream via b2mma.com
Shooto Brazil 103: José Mauro Delano (8-2) vs. Luciano Benicio (14-4) for the featherweight title Watch Event: Canal Combate
Last Week’s Scorecard
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Brett Martin at Taura MMA 11
Bigfoot by knockout
Vanessa Demopoulos vs. Lupita Godinez at LFA 94
Godinez by decision
Godinez by decision
Stipe Brčić (8-1) vs. Brad Katona at EMC 6
Katona by submission
In Hindsight: The Taura MMA 11 contest between Bigfoot and Martin was scrapped. Bigfoot and the organization disagree as to exactly why the fight fell apart. Several other UFC veterans fought at the show, and full results for the card can be found right here on Combat Press…The forecast was accurate for the Legacy Fighting Alliance championship tilt between Godinez and Demopoulos. Godinez got the better of the striking exchanges early, and Demopoulos tried to drag the action to the mat. Demospoulos’ best opportunity came in the fifth and final frame, but Godinez survived and cruised to the predicted decision based off of her strong work early in what turned out to be a bloody war…Katona’s fight with Brčić was the latest victim of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The entire EMC 6 show was canceled as a result of pandemic precautions…”Best of the Rest” selections Alberto Trujillo, Tomo Maesawa and Pamela Mara Assis scored stoppages, while Levi Mowles notched a decision.
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