The UFC’s next blockbuster event is more than a week away but this weekend is filled to the gills with meaningful fight cards. In fact, Dec. 4 was shaping up to be the biggest day ever for UK MMA before a snowstorm hit Newcastle, so let’s take a quick look at what’s going down over the next three days.
Thurs., Dec. 2
Two noteworthy events will be held tonight on opposite coasts as Tachi Palace Fights 7 pops off in Lemoore, Calif. The card is stacked with UFC vets James Irvin, John Alessio, Jay Silva, Seth Baczynski, and Tim McKenzie as well as Strikeforce and Dream vet Darren Uyenoyama. Allessio’s scrap with Phil Collins is for the vacant TPF Welterweight Championship and Cole Miller’s kid brother Micah will square off with Isaac De Jesus for the TPF Featherweight Championship. But the star of the show is Shooto South America Flyweight Champion Jussier da Silva – “Formiga” is widely regarded as the top 125er on the planet, and tonight will be his U.S. debut. He signed a four-fight deal with TPF, but if Dana White keeps his word about adding flyweights to the UFC, da Silva could be the next small guy to graduate from Lemoore to Zuffa’s cages. You can watch the fights live on MMAJunkie starting at 8:30 p.m. EST.
Across the country in Rhode Island, UFC and Affliction vet Dan Lauzon re-emerges on the regional circuit to take on Wai Kru fighter Damien Trites at “Snow Brawl.” Lauzon needs an impressive win on the small stage if he wants to get back to the big leagues.
Fri., Dec. 3
Tampa Bay’s XFC returns to the hi-def airwaves on Dec. 3 as Jarrod “Wild” Card defends his XFC Featherweight Championship belt against Luis Palomino. American Top Team’s Mario Rinaldi will face Christopher “Beast Boy” Barnett in a feature fight and Kim Couture-killer Marianna Kheyfets will be back in action. You can watch the main card of XFC XIII live on HDNet this Fri., Dec. 3 at 9 p.m. EST.
On the other side of the state, Art of Fighting will host AOF 10: Blackout in Jacksonville, Fla., where UFC veteran Rob Emerson will fight Eric “It’s A Wrap” http://www.artoffighting.tv/ Up the coast in New Jersey, Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat will host its 33rd event featuring a slew of prospects from 125 on up.
Sat., Dec. 4
Stateside, the biggest fights on Saturday night will go down in St. Louis, Mo., where Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu pits #8-ranked Light Heavyweight Dan Henderson against #5-ranked Light Heavyweight Renato Sobral. Top-ten heavyweight Antonio Silva will face late replacement Mike Kyle while Scott Smith and #14-ranked welterweight Paul Daley will likely engage in an free-swinging dustup. A middleweight scrap between Robbie Lawler (#24) and Matt Lindland (#32) and a vet-versus-prospect bout between Benji Radach vs. Ovince St. Preux round out the main card.
In Las Vegas, the UFC wraps up the season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter at the Palms. Jonathan Brookins and Michael Johnson vie for the TUF title and Stephan Bonnar faces Igor Pokrajac in the main event. In other main card action, #9-ranked middleweight Demian Maia looks to start climbing back to contention against Kendall Grove and hot prospect Rick Story (#20 welterweight) faces Johny Hendricks (#21). The UFC also launches its new featherweight division with several bouts contested at 145, headlined by Leonard Garcia and TUF 12 contested Nam Phan.
Two other WEC vets will be in action on Sat. but not in Las Vegas. Jeff Curran will headline XFO 37 in Lakemoor, Ill. The UFC, Pride, WEC, IFL, and Bellator vet faces David Love in the main event. Fellow Bellator vet Felice Herrig will also appear on the main card. South of the equator, #20 middleweight Paulo Filho co-headlines Bitetti Combat 8 against Yuki Sasaki. Glover Teixeira headlines the card against Hans Stringer.
Across the pond, the UK was poised for a huge night until inclement weather forced the cancellation of BAMMA 5. But that still left cards in Liverpool, where Olympian MMA Championships http://www.fightmagazine.com/mma-events/fightcard.asp?eventid=705 will crown heavyweight and bantamweight champions, and London, where Cage Warriors, Cage Rage, and UFC vet Ross Pointon returns from a two-and-a-half-year hiatus at UCMMA: Kings of the Cage. The promotion will also crown featherweight and bantamweight champions on Sat. as well as staging its first women’s MMA bout.
Check back in with Fightmagazine.com tomorrow for results and rankings analysis of Tachi Palace Fights 7, check in on Sunday for results and rankings analysis coming out of Strikeforce and The Ultimate Fighter 12 finale, and check in Monday morning for rankings analysis from the rest of the regional action this weekend.