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…
Billy Pasulatan (5-2) vs. Brando Mamana (9-3)
A light schedule this week from the larger regional promotions gives us a chance to look at some international promotions that don’t often grace this preview series. The first stop this week is Indonesia, where One Pride MMA is set to host its 41st “Fight Night” show. The key contest of the night is a strawweight title affair between champion Billy Pasulatan and challenger Brando Mamana. These two men fought once before, in 2019, with Mamana tapping Pasulatan in the first round.
Sulut MMA’s Pasulatan is seven fights into his pro career. The taekwondo practitioner lost his 2017 debut to Zaenudin, but he rebounded with four straight wins, including two via kimura submission. The One Pride mainstay then suffered the loss to Mamana, which came by way of a rear-naked choke. Despite this stumble, Pasulatan returned to action a year later as the challenger against Gunawan and ended up claiming the strap with an 86-second submission finish of his own.
The 27-year-old Mamana is the more seasoned fighter of this pair. “Tiger Karo” has 12 fights under his belt, and he’s won nine of those affairs. The Bali MMA product lost his 2016 pro debut, but he responded with a run of three first-round finishes to claim the strawweight belt. His first defense didn’t go so well, though, as Mamana was stopped by the aforementioned Gunawan. He won his next two fights to earn a rematch with Gunawan, who again dispatched him. Mamana has since added four more first-round stoppages, including the finish of Pasulatan.
Mamana has to be thankful that Pasulatan dethroned Gunawan, who seems to have the former champ’s number. However, “Tiger Karo” could be in for a trilogy fight with the wushu practitioner if he unseats Pasulatan. There’s a very real possibility that this scenario comes to fruition. Mamana is a quick finisher, and he’s already responsible for one of the current champ’s two career losses.
In their first encounter, Mamana’s aggressive nature proved to be too much for Pasulatan. Mamana was able to close the distance and get Pasulatan to the mat. Once there, Mamana punished his opponent with vicious ground-and-pound strikes. Pasulatan eventually made it back to his feet, but Mamana tied him up again and then took his back. This led to the finishing sequence, in which Mamana coaxed the tap from Pasulatan with a very tight rear-naked choke.
Pasulatan is the taller, longer fighter. If this was a more disciplined, methodical fight, he could chip away at his foe from range and work his way toward an eventual TKO stoppage or a nod on the scorecards. However, both of the men tend to bolt out of the gates, maintain a relentless pace, and attack wildly. This approach would appear to favor Mamana, who makes excellent use of his compact frame for leverage in the wrestling realm. In addition, the kicks that Pasulatan throws in bunches only work to expose him to Mamana’s takedowns.
Pasulatan scrambles well and has a few good submission attacks, but he can be controlled on the mat. With the reckless styles of these fighters, one little mistake on the mat could cost either man the bout. Given Mamana’s previous victory over Pasulatan, another submission victory for the challenger could be in the cards. The one near guarantee is that this One Pride strawweight affair will entertain.
Other key bouts: Wendris Patilima (4-0) vs. Sarwo Edhi Sam (3-0-1), Eperaim Ginting (4-0) vs. Martin Sulaiman (3-0), Ronal Siahaan (2-0) vs. Riyanto (2-0), Dimas Wiradinata (1-0) vs. Abdul Munir (1-0)
Greg Shestakov (7-1) vs. Walter Cogliandro (9-1-1)
Italy’s The Golden Cage organization is back with its third offering. The show airs on UFC Fight Pass, and it’s stacked with prospects. This includes lightweights Greg Shestakov and Walter Cogliandro.
The 29-year-old Cogliandro has been competing as a professional since 2016. He got off to a solid start with eight consecutive victories. However, “The Snatch” has fallen upon hard times more recently. He’s posted just a 1-1-1 mark over his last three outings, and even the win was just a split decision. His biggest victory came against Souk Khampsath, who was 11-9-1 at the time. Meanwhile, his loss and draw came to fighters with 7-1 and 7-4 records, respectively. The Italian fighter has five knockouts on his resume, but he was also the victim of a finish via strikes when he was dropped in just 81 seconds by Alioune Nahaye..
Russia’s Shestakov trains in Italy. He debuted in 2017 and picked up wins in his first seven fights. He’s also coming off a recent setback, with a 2019 loss to Jakub Dohnal. The 33-year-old is an equal-opportunity finisher who has tallied three knockouts and three submissions. His loss to Dohnal came on the scorecards.
Shestakov’s lone defeat was a tough-luck loss. He grew visibly frustrated at Dohnal, who kept on his bike and forced the Russian to constantly pursue him around the cage. The lanky southpaw couldn’t get anything going, but he was by no means dominated in the contest. Dohnal simply used a perfect strategy and outpointed Shestakov through three rounds.
Cogliandro will be far more willing to tie up with Shestakov. The Italian is a more physical, grinding fighter who will work in the clinch and initiate takedowns. Cogliandro’s high knockout ratio disguises a fighter who’s possibly better on the mat than in a striking affair.
Cogliandro’s record has suffered at the expense of a stronger strength of schedule compared to that of Shestakov. The Italian appears to be the stronger of these two men, and this will benefit him in the clinch and on the mat. Ultimately, he should control the action and find a TKO finish.
Other key bouts: Leonardo Damiani (9-2-1) vs. Marco Saccaro (6-2) for the welterweight title, Wisem Hammami (4-0) vs. Franc Agalliu (3-0), Michele Baiano (3-0) vs. Nizar Ben Amara (4-0) for the featherweight title, Danilo Belluardo (12-6) vs. Dragan Pešić (18-22), Mohammed Walid (2-0) vs. Fabio De Luca (3-1), Dylan Hazan (3-0) vs. Carlo D’Ambrosio (0-1), Simone Patrizi (3-0) vs. Dumitru Girlean (2-0), Emanuele Sabatino (1-0) vs. Enzo Tobbia (3-3), Giuseppe Ruggeri (4-0) vs. Domenico Colucci (4-4)
Sharapudin Magomedov (4-0) vs. Alexey Shurkevich (8-4)
M-1 Global’s campaign of co-promotion continues when it teams with the School of Martial Arts Storm and the All Russian Organization for MMA Development to host MMA Series-25. The lineup isn’t particularly deep, but it does feature a stiff test for undefeated bantamweight Sharapudin Magomedov. The up-and-comer tangles with 12-fight veteran Alexey Shurkevich.
The 26-year-old Magomedov put together a 16-1 amateur run between 2016 and 2018. He won multiple ammy tournament championships before going pro in 2019. As a pro, he has scored two first-round submissions, a second-round knockout, and won one fight on the scorecards. Magomedov’s last two opponents have been fellow undefeated upstarts Valeriy Pak and Vyacheslav Svischev. Only Pak was able to go the distance with the young prospect.
Shurkevich represents the most experienced opponent yet for Magomedov. The 28-year-old sambo specialist debuted in 2014 and posted a 7-1 mark through his first eight appearances. He hit a rough patch in late 2018 and dropped three straight on the scorecards, but those setbacks came to a solid trio of fighters in Isa Kilaev, David Kozma and Artur Karavaev. He rebounded in December with a stoppage of Yuriy Maslov via strikes.
Magomedov has put together quite the run across the amateur and pro circuits, and this fight is primarily interesting as a look at what he can do against a veteran like Shurkevich. Shurkevich can be beat, as his recent three-fight skid demonstrates. However, he’s also been able to slam the door on a handful of upstarts as well.
Magomedov isn’t just any prospect, though. He may only have four pro outings, but this is an extremely experienced and fairly polished up-and-comer. He has excellent top control that was on display in his win over Pak. This was the one fight where the Russian couldn’t get the finish, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t entirely dominant from start to finish. Throw in the sneaky power in his hands and Magomedov is a dual threat.
Shurkevich may have more fights under his belt, but he is far less complete of a fighter than his counterpart. He lacks discipline on the feet, where he’ll barrel forward and throw wildly. He’s found some success with this style, but it will leave him open to Magomedov’s takedowns and crisper striking. Magomedov could land a stiff jab to drop Shurkevich if the two exchange on the feet. More likely, however, is an approach in which the prospect waits for Shurkevich to overcommit in his strikes and then changes levels to score the takedown.
Shurkevich is an average ground fighter who will be out of his depth against someone like Magomedov in the wrestling and grappling departments. Once Magomedov takes the fight to the ground, it should be only a matter of time before he finds the finish. This one could end in a number of ways, but a ground-and-pound TKO seems like the best bet.
Other key bouts: Dariya Bankina (1-0) vs. Yulia Ostroverkhova (3-1), Vladislav Shabalin (12-6) vs. Denis Kirillov (2-2)
The Best of the Rest
Gladiator Combat Fight 54: Thiago Tavares (23-10-1) vs. Jean Carlos Liebl (4-6) Watch Event:AcessoShow
Hombres Do Honor 104: Khamzat Zimaev (3-0) vs. Willman Junior Cuellar (3-1)
Hardrock MMA 117: Isaiah Ferguson (8-2) vs. Terry Lemaire (4-2) Watch Event:B2 Digital
Gladiator 013 in Osaka: Takeya Takamoto (11-6-1) vs. Shunichi Shimizu (34-23-11) for the bantamweight title
Last Week’s Scorecard
Josh Fremd vs. Bruno Oliveira at LFA 98
Fremd by submission
Fremd by knockout
Shamil Musaev vs. Uroš Jurišič at KSW 59
Musaev by knockout
Musaev by decision
Chris Curtis vs. Kyle Stewart at XMMA
Stewart by decision
Curtis by knockout
In last week’s preview, the prediction ultimately was a submission finish for Fremd, but it was also noted that the Factory X fighter would have the upper hand over Oliveira regardless of where the fight took place. Fremd proved this to be true by dropping his Brazilian counterpart for a first-round TKO finish…Musaev did not get the predicted knockout of Jurišič, but he was awarded the unanimous decision. The bigger news from the bout was a post-fight brawl between the two men. Their actions resulted in hefty fines — Musaev lost 50 percent of his purse, while Jurišič was docked 30 percent — and a loss of their “Fight of the Night” bonuses…Stewart was able to neutralize Curtis for much of the first two rounds through the use of the clinch, but he faded in round three. Instead of the predicted decision in his favor, Stewart ended up on the wrong end of a knockout finish from the boxer Curtis…”Best of the Rest” selection Leandro Silva eked out a split-decision victory over Alex Lohore, Doug Usher needed only 17 seconds to score a knockout finish, and Keisuke Sasu successfully defended his Pacific Rim featherweight title with a submission victory.
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