Mixed Martial Arts Veteran Watch: April 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 April 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. April 7th – TKO 38: Ascension (Montreal, Quebec) Jesse Ronson (16-8) vs. Derek Gauthier (8-6) UFC vet Ronson looks for revenge as he takes on fellow Canadian Gauthier. In his last bout, Gauthier took out Ronson’s teammate Chris Horodecki in the first round by knockout at TKO 36. Ronson also fought on that card and snapped a three-fight skid taking out WSOF veteran Jimmy Spicuzza. April 8th – EFC Worldwide 58 (Cape Town, South Africa)  Ruan Potts (10-6) vs. Karl Etherington (12-2)  Former UFC heavyweight Potts looks for his first three-fight win streak since 2013 when he battles the 41-year-old Etherington. Potts has won back-to-back fights by submission after losing five straight bouts. Etherington heads into this matchup off three straight stoppage victories. April 8th – Shogun Fights 16 (Baltimore, Maryland)  Mike Easton (13-5) vs. Jesse Stirn (5-1)  UFC veteran Easton competes for the first time since 2014 when he battles 24-year-old Stirn. Easton fought the likes of Raphael Assunção, Brad Pickett and TJ Dillashaw during his UFC tenure, where he went 3-4 with the promotion. Stirn heads into this matchup off back-to-back wins and has never gone the distance in his six-fight career. April 8th – Strike League 1 (Cedar Park, Texas)  Bubba McDaniel (28-10) vs. Juan Torres (6-9)  UFC/Bellator veteran McDaniel looks to make it three in a row when he takes on Fury FC veteran Torres. McDaniel is 6-2 since his UFC release in 2014 and has gone the distance once during that stretch. Torres has lost three of his last four fights. April 14th – Victory FC 46 (Omaha, Nebraska)  Rob Emerson (19-11) vs. Raufeon Stots (7-0)  TUF 5 competitor Emerson makes the first defense of his Victory FC bantamweight title when he takes on Roufusport product Stots. Emerson won the Victory FC featherweight title in his last bout, taking out UFC vet Ryan Roberts in the first round. The 35-year-old is 7-1 in his last eight fights. Stots earned the biggest win of his career in his last bout, as he earned a unanimous decision over Jeff Curran. April 15th – Road FC 38 (Seoul, South Korea)  Melvin Guillard (32-17-2) vs. Seung Yeon Kim (2-1)  UFC veteran Guillard looks for his first win since 2014 when he battles Korean fighter Kim. Guillard has gone 0-4 with a No-Contest in his last five bouts and competes outside the United States for the first time in his career. Kim made his pro debut in 2015 and suffered the first loss of his career in his last fight, as Bruno Miranda knocked him out in the first round at Road FC 35. April 15th – ACB 57: Payback (Moscow, Russia)  Alexander Sarnavskiy (35-5) vs. Eduard Vartanyan (15-3)  Sarnavsky aims to make it two in a row when he battles 25-year-old Russian fighter Vartanyan. “Tiger” heads into this matchup winning three of his last four fights, including a third-round TKO victory over Ramazan Esenbaev at ACB 50 in his last fight. Vartanyan has won back-to-back fights and holds a win over Frodo Khasbulaev. April 16th – RIZIN 2017 in Yokohama: Sakura Kyoji Horiguchi (18-2) vs. Yuki Motoya (18-4 Horiguchi competes for the first time since leaving the UFC earlier this year as he battles DEEP standout Motoya. Horiguchi is currently riding a three-fight win streak and has only lost once since 2012. Motoya hasn’t lost a fight since 2013 and is riding a 10-fight unbeaten streak. Tatsuya Kawajiri (35-11-2) vs. Anthony Birchak (12-3)  Kawajiri has lost his last three fights as he takes on fellow UFC veteran Birchak. The 38-year-old lost back-to-back fights to Dennis Bermudez and Cub Swanson before leaving the UFC last year. He’s coming off a second-round submission loss to Kron Gracie at RIZIN’s event back in December. Birchak competes in his first bout since leaving the UFC and moves up to featherweight for this matchup. The 30-year-old has gone 2-2 in his last four fights and will be looking to make it two straight wins for the first time since 2013. Heath Herring (28-15) vs. Satoshi Ishii (14-7-1)  Herring looks for his first win since 2008 when he takes on former Olympic Judo standout Ishii. Herring returned to MMA after a seven-year hiatus and suffered a unanimous decision loss to Amir Aliakbari at RIZIN’s event back in December. Ishii has lost three in a row and will be looking for his first win since 2015. Daron Cruickshank (18-9) vs. Yusuke Yachi (16-6)  Former UFC lightweight Cruickshank looks to get back on the winning track when he battles the 26-year-old Yachi. Cruickshank had his two-fight win streak snapped in his last fight when he suffered a first-round submission loss to Satoru Kitaoka. Yachi heads into this contest off back-to-back wins. April 23rd – Shooto (Chiba, Japan) Caol Uno (33-18-5) vs. Yutaka Saito (12-3-2) Longtime UFC veteran Uno looks to make it two straight wins when he battles 29-year-old Saito. The 41-year-old  snapped a two-fight skid in his last fight when he submitted Jung Ho Hwang at Mobstyles: Fight and Mosh in April 2016. Saito has lost back-to-back fights after racking up a six-fight win streak. April 29th – KOTC: Supremacy (Wyandotte, Michigan)  Tony Lopez (47-25) vs. Josh Parisian (5-1)  Seventy-two-fight veteran Lopez looks for his fifth win in his last six fights when he takes on Michigan native Parisian. Lopez had his four-fight win streak snapped in his last bout when he lost via submission to UFC vet Ronny Markes at KOTC: Heavy Trama this past February. Meanwhile, Parisian heads into this matchup on a four-fight win streak. 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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