After a weekend that featured the finale of the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter, a Strikeforce Challengers Series card and the final card of the first season of the Bellator Fighting Championships, the mixed martial arts scene is a little bit quieter in terms of television exposure this weekend.
That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of MMA action. There are a lot of cards going on all over the world with many fights worthy of your attention, which is why I’m here to give you a peek at what’s going on in the MMA world this weekend.
The top two cards Saturday are FFI’s “Ultimate Chaos” card at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Miss., and the UCFC has “Rumble on the Rivers” at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.
The main event in Biloxi is a matchup of the big men, as former World Wrestling Entertainment star Bobby Lashley (3-0) receives the stiffest test of his fledgling MMA career against Pride veteran Bob “The Beast” Sapp.
The undercard is loaded with recognizable names, with Gilbert Yvel facing off with Pedro Rizzo, Din Thomas taking on Javier Vazquez and Chris Horodecki and William Sriyapai duking it out. Also fighting on the undercard are Affliction VP Tom Atencio (no, that’s not a misprint), International Fight League veteran Brett Cooper and UFC alum Danny Abbadi as well.
“Rumble on the Rivers” is headlined by a battle of tested veterans, as former UFC fighter Rich Clementi and Kyle Jensen go at it in a welterweight scrap. Leading the undercard is a featherweight scrap between WEC veteran and Dream Tournament participant Micah Miller and J.C. Pennington.
Also on the card are former NFL standout and NCAA wrestling champion Carlton Haselrig, ex-Penn State wrestler Phil Davis and the 10-1 Paul Bradley.
Other promotions putting on cards around the country Saturday night include World Championship Fighting in Wilmington, Mass., the Elite Fighting Challenge in Norfolk, Va. (featuring Pat Curran, who sports a 6-1 record), Total Fight Challenge in Hammond, Ind., Shark Fights in Amarillo, Texas (with UFC vet Nissen Osterneck on the undercard) and 5150 Combat League (featuring UFC and Pride star Marcus Aurelio in the main event and TUF alumnus Jesse Forbes on the undercard),
Also on Saturday night, Rage in the Cage holds its 129th card in Globe, Ariz. Topping the bill is a fight between Drew “The Master” Fickett, who has lost six of his last seven against journeyman Shannon Ritch, who sports a record of 43-66.
On the international scene, Greatest Common Multiple holds the 11th installment of its Cage Force series Saturday at Differ Ariake in Tokyo. The main event pits UFC veteran Kuniyoshi Hironaka against Dream alumnus Katsuhiko Nagata.
Also featured on the card are Yuta Nezu (7-2-1) and another former UFC fighter in Keita “K-Taro” Nakamura (15-4-2).
It‘s not often you get MMA action on Sunday as well, but you can think Japanese promotion Deep for giving us something to look forward to on the final day of the weekend as well. Deep is holding a Toyama Impact card in Toyama, Japan and like the upcoming Strikeforce card, this bill is topped by a female title fight.
Miku “Supernova” Matsumoto (20-4), considered to be one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in female MMA, will defend her Deep lightweight title against American Lisa Ward (12-4). Ward already owns a victory over Matsumoto, beating her by armlock on a Smackgirl card back in 2006. That was Matsumoto’s last loss and she’ll be looking to avenge that defeat this weekend.
Also on the card is Yoshihiro “Barbaro44” Tomioka (12-7-4) against Takafumi Ito (34-28-10) in a matchup of grizzled Japanese MMA vets.
Other notables on the card include journeymen Kenji Arai (13-13-3) in a 145-pound fight and Yuichi Ikari (10-6-3) in separate action at 155 pounds.
Deep isn’t done, though, as it also holds its 42nd Impact card June 30 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The main event is a middleweight title fight pitting Yuichi Nakanishi (9-8-3) against Riki Fukuda (14-4).
Also fighting on the undercard are Ryuta Sakurai (18-15-4) taking on Pride, Deep and Pancrase alumnus Hiromitsu Kanehara (17-22-1), Kazayuki Miyata (6-7) taking on Shooto, Deep and Dream fighter Takeshi Yamazaki (14-9-2) and Kazuhisa Tazawa (4-0-1) versus Korean Jae Young Kim (12-7). Tazawa is worthy of mention if for no other reason than his last win came against Tim “Big Perm” Persey (who has one of the greatest nicknames in MMA) and it was a submission with a scarf hold. No, I’m not making that up.