The UFC’s fight week ends early but there is still a full slate of fight cards this weekend from Strikeforce to Bellator to M-1 Global and regional cards in the US and UK.
Taking a spot traditionally occupied by the UFC – and last year, the WEC – Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Hendo is the combat sports centerpiece of this weekend’s Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. The card is anchored by a title fight pitting Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (#12 Light Heavyweight) against former multi-divisional PRIDE champion and multi-divisional UFC title challenger Dan Henderson (#3). The other marquee fights are a title fight between Strikeforce Women’s 135-Pound Champion Marloes Coenen and Liz Carmouche and a 185-pound match between Tim Kennedy (#28 Middleweight) and Melvin Manhoef (#71). The main card will be broadcast at 10 p.m. on Showtime. Go here to view the full card.
Across the country in Lemoore, Calif., Bellator kicks off its fourth season with four welterweight tournament qualifier match ups and a non-title super fight between Bellator Women’s Champion Zoila Frausto and Karina Hallinan. The welterweight matchups are: Former Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good (#40 Welterweight) vs. Chris Lozano, Dan Hornbuckle (#60) vs. Brent Weedman (#92), Jay Hieron (#18) vs. Anthony Lapsley (#71), and Rick Hawn vs. Jim Wallhead. The event will air live on MTV2 at 9 p.m. EST / 6 p.m. PST. Go here to view the full card.
Also on Sat., M-1 Challenge XXIII will see two champions defend their titles in Moscow as M-1 Heavyweight Champion Guram Gugenishvilli (#36 Heavyweight) faces challenger Maxim Grishin (#41) and M-1 Global Welterweight Champion Shamil Zavurov (#34 Welterweight) will defend his belt against Tom Gallicchio (#57). You can watch the action free on M-1Global.com starting at 11 a.m. EST / 8 a.m. PST. Go here to view the full fight card.
Several other noteworthy fighters will compete on smaller stages this weekend as Jens Pulver (#74 Featherweight), Chase Beebe (#63 Bantamweight), and Felice Herrig compete at Chicago Cagefighting Championship and Zelg Galesic (#65 Middleweight) headlines OMMAC 9 in Liverpool, England. Check back on Monday for full results and analysis of how the weekend’s fights effected our MMA fighter rankings.