Weekend Preview: UFC Fight Night 24, Bellator 205# Tourney Openers + Lashley, Lombard In Action
We’ve got an action-packed weekend coming up with two cards airing live Friday night on premium cable, two cards airing live Saturday night on basic cable and five fights streaming live on Facebook. M-1 Global will crown champions in two weight classes on Showtime, Bobby Lashley returns to action on HDNet, eight light heavyweights start the chase for Bellator gold on MTV2, and one UFC 205er will move closer to title contention on Spike TV. Additionally, Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard will fight in Australia and UCMMA hosts a heavyweight throwdown in London. Let’s take a quick look ahead at what’s in store.
M-1 Global kicks off its broadcast partnership with Showtime with a Friday night M-1 Challenge card in Norfolk, Va. Champ Artiom Damkovsky (#64 Lightweight) will face challenger Jose Figueroa (#103) for the M-1 Global Lightweight Championship, while Magomed Sultanakhmedov (#75 Middleweight) and Tyson Jeffries (#62) vie for the vacant M-1 Global Middleweight Championship. UFC vet Vinny Magalhaes (#66 Light Heavyweight) also appears on the card, which can be viewed here.
M-1 Global XXIV airs live on Showtime at 11 p.m., Fri., March 24.
Titan FC is HDNet’s newest addition to its broadcast portfolio. Tonight, Bobby Lashley (#91 Heavyweight) returns to action against unranked, undersized John Ott, Phil Baroni (#132 Middleweight) faces unranked regional fighter Nick Nolte, and Eric Marriott (#24 Featherweight) squares off with Willian De Souza. But I think the most interesting bout on the card is Aaron Rosa (#51 Heavyweight) vs. Abe Wagner (#62). Wagner is coming off a quick stoppage win over former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia and another strong win over a solid opponent would go along way toward erasing the memory of his short sting on TUF. WEC and Bellator vet James Krause also appears on the card, which can be viewed here.
TFC 17 airs live on HDNet at 10 p.m., Fri., March 25.
In Australia, Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard (#7 Middleweight) defends his CFC strap against Joe Doerksen (#41) and in London, UCMMA hosts a heavyweight throwdown. Full results will be added to FIGHT!’s ranking database when the fights are in the books.
(Lots of things can happen in a tournament, but given the high level of MMA success enjoyed by former NCAA/Olympic team wrestlers, let’s just pencil in Nik Fekete as the early favorite.)
Bellator’s season four light heavyweight tournament gets underway on Saturday with four quarterfinal fights: Daniel Gracie (#46 Light Heavyweight) vs. Tim Carpenter, Chris Davis vs. Christian M’Pumbu, Raphael Davis (#40) vs. DJ Linderman, Nik Fekete vs. Richard Hale Blagoi Ivanov, the man best known for defeating Fedor Emelianenko in a combat sambo bout, headlines the untelevised portion of the card, which can be viewed here.
Bellator 38 airs live on MTV2 at 7 p.m., Sat., March 26.
The main card is rounded out by Dan Hardy (#19 Welterweight) vs. Anthony Johnson (#34), DaMarques Johnson (#55 Welterweight) vs. Amir Sadollah (#41), and Leonard Garcia (#51 Featherweight) vs. Chan Sung Jung (#91).
Five preliminary card bouts will be streamed live on Facebook – Alex Caceres vs. Mackens Semerzier (#59 Featherweight), Jon Madsen (#21 Heavyweight) vs. Mike Russow (#19), John Hathaway (#33 Welterweight) vs. Kris McCray (#137 Middleweight), Edwin Figueroa vs. Michael McDonald (#8 Bantamweight), Sean McCorkle vs. Christian Morecraft – leaving only three unaired prelims, Mario Miranda (#68 Middleweight) vs. Aaron Simpson (#45), Johny Hendricks (#30 Welterweight) vs. T.J. Waldburger, Nik Lentz (#38 Lightweight) vs. Waylon Lowe (#49).
UFC Fight Night 24 airs live on Spike TV at 10 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. PST Sat., March 26. The Facebook stream starts at 7:30 p.m. EST / 4:30 p.m. PST.