Mixed Martial Arts Veteran Watch: March 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 March 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. March 4th – BRACE 46 (Queensland, Australia)  Ben Wall (8-5-1) vs. B.J. Bland (7-6)  UFC vet Wall looks to get back on the winning track when he takes on fellow Aussie fighter Bland. After going undefeated through his first eight fights, Wall has now gone on a 1-5 skid that includes back-to-back losses in the UFC. The 27-year-old is coming off a unanimous-decision loss to Rob Hill at Australian FC 17. Bland has won back-to-back fights heading into this matchup. March 4th – PLMMA 72: Mayhem (Lomianki, Poland)  Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller (24-10) vs. Wojciech Balejko (4-6)  Bout cancelled per Tapology Matt Horwich (29-25-1) vs. David Ramirez (6-2)  UFC vet Horwich looks to get back on the winning track as he faces Ramirez. Horwich hasn’t won a fight since 2012 and has lost four-straight fights. Ramirez heads into this matchup on a five-fight win streak. March 4th – Cage Warriors 81 (Dublin, Ireland)  Josh Clark (12-3) vs. Karl Moore (7-1) – Cage Warriors Light Heavyweight title  TUF 19 and RFA vet Clark looks for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2014 when he takes on Irish fighter Moore. Since losing to Corey Anderson on Season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter, the 32-year-old has gone 3-1, with his lone blemish coming to top middleweight prospect Trevin Giles. Moore heads into this matchup off back-to-back stoppage victories and will be looking to earn three straight wins for the first time since 2014. March 11th – ACB 54: Supersonic (Manchester, England)  Luke Barnatt (12-3) vs. Mamed Khalidov (32-4-2)  UFC veteran Barnatt faces one of his stiffest tests yet in Polish powerhouse Khalidov. Since his UFC release in 2015, Barnett has gone a perfect 4-0, with all of those wins coming by way of stoppage. Khalidov hasn’t lost since a 2010 loss to Jorge Santiago at Sengoku 12 and heads into this matchup on a 12-fight win streak. Brett Cooper (23-12) vs. Aslambek Saidov (19-5)  Bellator veteran Cooper looks to build off his back-to-back victories as he battles Saidov in a rematch of their ACB 50 bout this past December. Cooper won the first outing, earning a third round TKO victory. The loss snapped Saidov’s four-fight win streak. Vinny Magalhães (14-8) vs. Przemysław Mysiala (20-9-1)  Former UFC and WSOF light heavyweight Magalhaes ends his short retirement to take on English fighter Mysiala. Magalhaes annouced his retirement after his loss to Dave Branch at WSOF 33, however, he now finds himself back in action this month. The 32-year-old has won three of his last four fights. Mysiala heads into this matchup on a three-fight win streak, with all of those victories coming by stoppage. March 11th – Fight Exclusive Night 16: Warsaw Reloaded (Warsaw, Poland)  Pawel Pawlak (11-3) vs. Ireneusz Szydłowski (5-1)  UFC veteran Pawlak looks to get back on the winning track when he battles fellow Polish fighter Szydłowski. Pawlak went 1-2 in the UFC, earning a win over Sheldon Westcott and suffering setbacks to Peter Sobotta and Leon Edwards. Szydłowski is coming off two straight wins. March 12th – Pancrase 285 (Tokyo, Japan)  Issei Tamura (10-7) vs. Nazareno Malegarie (33-4) – Pancrase 145lb championship A pair of UFC veterans square off for the featherweight title as Japanese fighter Tamura defends his championship against Malegarie. Tamura won the featherweight strap in his last bout, knocking out Juntaro Ushiku at Pancrase 277. The 32-year-old is riding a three-fight win streak. As for his opponent Malegarie, he’s won four in a row since his UFC release in 2015. March 18th – Brave CF 3 (Curitiba, Brazil)  Lucas Martins (18-3) vs. Paulo Bananada (22-11)  Former UFC featherweight Martins looks to extend his winning streak to four in a row when he battles Team Nogueira product Bananada. Martins was surprisingly released from the UFC off a win over Robert Whiteford last year at UFC Fight Night 86 and has since won two in a row. Bananda is 2-2 in his last four fights and competes for the second time this year. March 18th – Beatdown 20 (New Town, North Dakota)  David Michaud (9-3) vs. Cody Wilson (9-2)  UFC and Titan FC vet Michaud battles the 29-year-old Wilson. Michaud is coming off a controversial split-decision loss to Dhiego Lima at Titan FC 39 last April. Wilson had his nine-fight win streak snapped in his last fight, losing a unanimous decision to Dave Vitkay at Legacy FC 53. March 24th – Paramount MMA (Denver, Colorado)  Brian Rogers (13-9) vs. Canaan Grigsby (7-5)  Bellator veteran Rogers looks for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2011 when he battles Legacy FC vet Grigsby. Rogers is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Lewis Rumsey at Big Guns 22 last month, which was his first fight outside of Bellator since 2011. Grigsby has won three of his last four fights. 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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