Mixed Martial Arts Veteran Watch: February 2017

480 When fighters are given their release from a major North American MMA promotion like the UFC, Bellator or WSOF – unless they’re a major star – they often fall into obscurity on the regional/overseas circuit unless they rack up a few wins and end up signing with one of the aforementioned promotions. In this regular feature for MMAOddsBreaker.com, I take a look at some regional/overseas matchups for the month of February and rather than listing off the top fights outside these major organizations, I highlight some familiar names that you might recognize on upcoming fight cards. February 4th – KOTC: Heavy Trauma (Lincoln City, Oregon) Fabiano Scherner (11-10) vs. Tony Lopez (46-24-0)  UFC/IFL veteran Scherner looks for his fourth win in his last five fights when he takes on Bellator vet Lopez. Scherner fought the likes of Brandon Vera and Gabriel Gonzaga in the UFC while fighting Roy Nelson in the IFL. At 44 years old, he’s competing in his 32nd professional fight. Lopez heads into this matchup off a three-fight win streak and fought an astounding 11-times last year. February 10th – ONE Championship: Throne of Tigers (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) Kamal Shalorus (9-4-2) vs. Ev Ting (12-3)  UFC veteran Shalorus looks to get back on the winning track as he takes on Ting in the main event. Shalorus fought the likes of Jim Miller, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Rafael Dos Anjos during his UFC tenure from 2011-2012. Since then, the 39-year-old has only fought three times, going 2-1 with his last fight a loss to Shinya Aoki at ONE FC 19: Reign of Champions back in 2014. Ting has won six of his last seven fights with five of those wins coming by way of stoppage. February 11th – Road FC 36 (Seoul, South Korea) Riki Fukuda (23-8) vs. Nae Chul Kim (6-3)  Former UFC middleweight Fukuda aims to bounce back against the Korean Kim. The 36-year-old had his four-fight unbeaten streak snapped when he lost via TKO to Jung Hwan Cha at Road FC 28. Kim, meanwhile, heads into this matchup on a four-fight win streak, with two of those wins coming by knockout. Andy Main (11-2-1) vs. Chang Hyun Kim (17-10)  TUF 12 vet Main looks for his fourth straigh win when he battles Kim. The 27-year-old had five fights cancelled last year for various reasons and is competing for the first time since his October 2015 submission victory over Nam Phan at Pancrase 270. Kim, meanwhile, has lost five of his last seven fights and will be competing for the first time since Feburary 2015. Leo Kuntz (17-3-1) vs. Young Gi Hong (3-3)  UFC vet Kuntz competes for the first time since his UFC release in 2015 when he takes on six-fight vet Hong. Kuntz went 0-2 in the UFC, losing to Islam Makhachev and Tae Hyun Bang. Hong heads into this matchup off a two-fight losing streak. February 11th – Tankō Fighting Championships 3 (Manchester, England) Karl Amoussou (23-7-2) vs. Matt Inman (19-8)  Strikeforce/Bellator vet Amoussou looks to improve his winning streak to seven when he takes on hometown favorite Inman. Since his loss to Fernando Gonzalez at Bellator 122 in 2014, Amoussou has gone a perfect 7-0, with all of those victories by stoppage. Inman has won six of his last seven fights, including a victory over UFC vet Che Mills in his last fight. Vaughan Lee (14-12-1) vs. Nathaniel Wood (9-3) Former UFC bantamweight Lee looks to snap a three-fight skid when he takes on “The Prospect” Wood. Lee lost back-to-back fights in the UFC against Iuri Alcantara and Paddy Holohan before his release in 2015. He followed that up with a unanimous-decision loss to Rakhman Dudaev at Akhmat Fight Show 13 in 2015. Wood has won three of his last four fights including a third-round submission win over Chase Norton at Bellator 158 last year. Che Mills (16-9 ) vs. Thomas Robertsen (5-0)  UFC veteran Mills searches for his first win since 2014 when he battles undefeated Norwegian fighter Robertson. Mills has gone 1-4 with one No-Contest since his UFC release. Robertsen has won all of his fights by finish. February 17th – Fight Time 35: A New Era (Miami, Florida) Vagner Rocha (13-4) vs. Yoislandy Izquierdo (10-3)  Rocha competes in his third straight bout for Fight Time as he battles fellow UFC vet Izquierdo. The 34-year-old Brazilian has won back-to-back fights by knockout and will be aiming for three straight wins for the first time since 2013. Izuierdo fought for the UFC in 2012 and went 0-2, losing matchups to Reza Madadi and Rafaello Oliveira. Since leaving the UFC, the Cuban fighter has gone an impressive 4-1. February 17th – LFA 4 (Bossier City, Louisiana) Damon Jackson (11-1-1) vs. Kevin Aguilar (11-1)  Three-time UFC vet Jackson battles champion Aguilar for the LFA featherweight strap. Jackson is coming off back-to-back victories over Levi Mowles and Charles Cheeks III. Aguilar hasn’t lost since 2013 and is riding a three-fight win streak. February 18th – CFFC 63 (Atlantic City, New Jersey)  Tim Williams (14-3) vs. Eric Roncoroni (5-3)  TUF 19 competitor Williams looks for his fifth straight win when he battles Ring of Combat vet Roncoroni. Since losing back-to-back fights against UFC middleweight Anthony Smith back in 2015, Williams has been on a roll, earning four wins in a row. Roncoroni has gone 2-2 in his last four fights. Nick Pace (7-3) vs. Ahmet Kayretli (6-1)  UFC vet Pace competes for the first time since 2015 when he takes on Turkish-born bantamweight Kayretli. Since his UFC release in 2011, Pace has competed just once earning a submission win over Ricky Bandejas at CFFC 52. The 29-year–old was slated to take on top bantamweight prospect Dominic Mazzotta last year at CFFC 60, however, he had to pull out due to injury. Kayretli hasn’t lost since his pro debut in 2013 and heads into this matchup on a six-fight win streak. February 24th – BAMMA 28 (Belfast, Northern Ireland)  Norman Parke (22-5-1) vs. Paul Redmond (11-5)  A pair of UFC veterans clash in the main event, as English fighter Parke battles Irishman Redmond. Parke has only fought once since his UFC release early last year, with two of his bouts cancelled. The 29-year-old is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over Andrew Fisher at ACB 47 this past October. Redmond was slated to take on Daniel Weichel at Belaltor 169 last December but had to pull out due to injury. He looks to go 2-0 since his UFC release in 2015 and is coming off a unanimous-decision win over Chris Stringer at BAMMA 26. Ronnie Mann (25-8-1) vs. Damien Lapilus (14-7-1) Bellator veteran Mann looks to make it two in a row for the first time since 2013 when he battles French fighter Lapilus. Since his Bellator release in 2013, Mann has gone 4-2, including a first-round TKO victory over Graham Turner at BAMMA 25 last May. Lapilus is 3-3 in his last six fights, including a first-round TKO loss against Fares Ziam in his last fight. Colin Fletcher (13-7) vs. Alex Lohore (10-1)  TUF finalist Fletcher looks for his first two-fight win streak since 2014 when he takes on Lohore, who is making his BAMMA debut. Fletcher snapped a two-fight skid in his last contest as he submitted Aymard Guih at M4TC 22: Warriors back in November. Lohore heads into this matchup on a six-fight win streak. February 25th – Full Metal Dojo 13: Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made Of (Bangkok, Thailand)  Will Chope (33-11) vs. Tommy Hayden (9-3)  Former UFC fighters clash here, as Chope aims to get back on the winning track against Hayden. The 26-year-old fought seven times last year going 5-2 and heads into this matchup off a first-round submission loss to Fabrício Guerreiro at URCC 29: Conquest last month. Hayden – who went 0-2 in the UFC losing to Fabrício Camões and Dennis Bermudez – has won back-to-back fights, including a second-round submission victory over Asikerbai Jinensibieke at WKG last month. February 25th – Deep Jewels 15 (Tokyo, Japan)  Shayna Baszler (15-10) vs. Reina Miura (1-0)  UFC veteran Baszler competes at 155 pounds for the first time in her career as she takes on Miura, who has just one pro MMA fight. The 36-year-old went 0-2 in the UFC, losing by knockout to both Bethe Correia and Amanda Nunes. She’ll also be competing for the first time since 2015. Miura is 20 years old and made her professional debut last year, earning a first-round submission victory over Eriko Iwamoto at Deep Jewels 14. February 25th – KC Fighting Alliance 22 (Independence, Missouri)3 Chuka Willis (8-3) vs. Grant Dawson (11-1)  WSOF/Bellator vet Willis looks to bounce back against rising featherweight prospect Dawson. Willis is coming off a unanimous-decision loss to Brandon Phillips at Bellator 159, which snapped his four-fight win streak. Dawson has won back-to-back fights since his first career loss last year. February 25th – Gleamon FC 1 (Seoul, South Korea)  Akihiro Gono (34-20-8) vs. Jang Yong Kim (8-6-1)  UFC vet Gono looks for his fourth win in his last six fights as he battles, Korean Kim. Since retiring at Bellator 67 in his loss to Michael Chandler, the 42-year old returned to action in 2013 and has gone 3-2- 1.  Kim meanwhile had his three-fight win streak snapped in his last fight, losing to Yusuke Yachi by third round KO. Is there a notable MMA veteran competing this month that I missed? Or is there a matchup that has been changed? Hit me up on Twitter @LynchOnSports, and I’ll add it in / fix it up. Thanks.  

Written by James Lynch

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