When fighters are given their release from a major North American MMA promotion like the UFC or Bellator – 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 MMA matchups for the month of January 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.
CES 48 – Feb. 2 (Lincoln, Rhode Island)
Travis Wiuff (75-21) vs. Greg Rebello (23-9)
UFC veteran Wiuff competes for the first time since October 2016 when he faces Contender Series alum Rebello. The 39-year-old was slated to face Wes Sims at Gender Wars in January however that matchup ended up being cancelled. Wiuff has lost three of his last five fights and hasn’t won back-to-back fights since June 2014. Rebello meanwhile has won three of his last four fights with his lone setback coming against Azunna Anyanwu at Dana White’s Contender Series 1 last July.
Shamrock FC 302 – Feb. 3 (Kansas City, Missouri)
Bobby Voelker (29-13) vs. Bobby Emmons (5-7)
Former Strikeforce/UFC welterweight Voelker looks to get back on the winning track against 36-year-old Emmons. Voleker had his five-fight win streak snapped when he lost via decision to Zak Bucia at Shamrock FC 289 last May for the promotions welterweight title. The 38-year-old looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time sine June 2014. Meanwhile Emmons has lost four of his last five fights and will be competing for just the third time since 2016.
KOTC: Fight to the Finish – Feb. 3 (Lincoln City, Oregon)
Fabiano Scherner (11-10) vs. Tony Lopez (56-27)
Two-time UFC veteran Scherner fights for the first time since June 2016 against Bellator veteran Lopez. The 45-year-old has won three of his last four fights, including a first round finish over former Bellator heavyweight DJ Linderman at KOTC: Wipeout. Lopez meanwhile has lost two of his last three fights after amassing a eight-fight win streak last year.
Pancrase 293 – Feb 4 (Tokyo, Japan)
Akihiro Gono (35-22-8) vs. Kyohei Wakimoto (2-0)
Former UFC welterweight Gono looks to avoid his third straight loss when he faces fellow Japanese fighter Wakimoto. Gono has lost three of his last four fights, including a unanimous decision setback to Akira Okada at Pancrase 290 back in October. The 43-year-old moves up to the welterweight division for the first time since November 2013. Wakimoto made his pro-debut in September 2016 and has won back-to-back fights under the Shooto banner.
Island Fights 46: The Return of Roy Jones, Jr. – Feb. 8 (Pensacola, Florida)
Charles Bennett (30-36-2) vs. Brok Weaver (10-4)
Former PRIDE/Elite XC standout Bennett looks for his first win since September 2016 when he faces 26-year-old Weaver. “Felony” has lost six straight fights including a first-round submission loss to UFC veteran Cody Pfister at Fist Fight Night 2 back in September. Weaver meanwhile heads into this matchup on a three-fight win streak, with all of those victories coming by way of decision.
M-1 Challenge 87: Ashimov vs Silander – Feb. 9 (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Mickael Lebout (16-8-3) vs. Pavel Gordeev (9-1)
Former UFC lightweight Lebout looks to snap a two-fight winless skid when he faces Russian fighter Gordeev. Lebout has had mixed results since he was released from the UFC in 2015, going 2-3-1 in his last six fights. The 30-year-old is coming off a split-decision setback to Ryan Scope at BAMMA 33 in December. Gordeev has won two-straight fights including a unanimous decision win over Michel Silva at M-1 Challege 82 back in August.
SCL 65: Destination – Feb. 10 (Denver, Colorado)
Melvin Guillard (32-19-2) vs. Maurice Jackson (6-2)
Former UFC and Bellator lightweight Guillard looks for his first win since July 2014 when he faces Jackson in a middleweight matchup. “The Young Assassin” has lost back-to-back fights by first-round knockout and five-straight fights overall. The 34-year-old is 1-7 NC in his last eight fights. Jackson meanwhile had his five-fight win streak snapped in his last bout when he was submitted by Andrew Kapel at JacksonWink Fight Night 2 in December.
Fight Night 6: Lethbridge – Feb. 10 (Lethbridge, Alberta)
John Howard (25-13) vs. Ronald Stallings (14-8)
A pair of UFC veterans clash in the main event of Fight Night 6 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada as “Doomsday” faces “The Choir Boy” in a middleweight affair. Howard ended his short retirement last year after defeating Roger Carroll by unanimous decision at CES 46 and has won two of his last three fights. Stallings hasn’t competed since a split decision win over Rashuan Spencer at Titan FC 40 in July 2016.
ACB 80: Burrel vs Tumenov – Feb. 16 (Krasnodar, Russia)
Albert Tumenov (18-4) vs. Nah-shon Burrell (15-8)
Two former UFC welterweights clash in the main event of ACB 80 as Russian Tumenov battles American Burrell. Tumenov has only competed once since leaving the UFC in 2016, earning a 46-second knockout win over Ismael de Jesus at ACB 61. The 26-year-old also boasts wins over Alan Jouban and Lorenz Larkin. Burrell meanwhile has lost two of his last three fights including a majority decision setback to Beslan Isaev at ACB 77 in December. The 27-year-old looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since October 2014.
Takeya Mizugaki (21-12-2) vs. Murad Kalamov (8-2)
Former WEC title challenger Mizugaki aims to avoid his fourth loss in a row when he faces Russian fighter Kalamov. Mizugaki is 1-5 in his last six fights and has fought some of the toughest competition imaginable during that span including Dominick Cruz, Aljamain Sterling and Cody Garbrandt. The 34-year-old looks for his first win since September 2015. Kalamov had his three-fight win streak snapped in his last fight, suffering a first-round TKO setback to Oleg Borisov at ACB 71.
Bubba Jenkins (12-4) vs. Mukhamed Kokov (12-2)
Former Bellator standout Jenkins looks to make it two in a row when he faces Kokov in a featherweight matchup. Jenkins, who boasts a win over Bellator lightweight Goiti Yamauchi, is coming off a third-round TKO victory over Diego Marion at ACB 70. Kokov meanwhile has won three fights in a row, including a win over Bellator veteran Akop Stepanyan at ACB 57 in his last bout.
Alexander Sarnavskiy (35-6) vs. Shamil Nikaev (8-0)
Bellator veteran Sarnavsky looks to get back on the winning track when he faces undefeated Nikaev in a lightweight affair. Sarnavsky has lost two of his last three fights including a second-round submission setback to Eduard Vartanyan at ACB 57. The 29-year-old has never lost two fights in a row during his 41-fight career. Nikaev meanwhile is coming off a split decision win over UFC veteran Christos Giagos at ACB 71 and is just 22-years-old.
Leandro Silva (21-6-1) vs. Ali Bagov (24-10)
UFC veteran Silva looks to make it two wins in a row for the first time since November 2015 when he faces Bagov. Silva is coming off a unanimous decision win over Islam Makoev at ACB 73, which was his second win in his last three fights. Bagov heads into this matchup off back-to-back wins, including a second-round submission win over Bellator veteran Bubba Jenkins at ACB 54.
Titan FC 48: Torres vs. Orellano – Feb. 16 (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
Adriano Martins (28-9) vs. Rafael Alves (15-9)
Martins competes outside the UFC for the first time since January 2013 when he faces 27-year-old Alves. The 35-year-old went 4-3 in the UFC, losing his last two fights against Leonardo Santos and most recently Kajan Johnson at UFC 215. Martins will be looking for his first win since October 2015. Alves hast lost two of his last three fights but is coming off a unanimous decision win over Rudy Morales at Combat 16 in July.
Colosseum Combat 43 – Feb. 24 (Kokomo, Indiana)
Sean Salmon (18-21) vs. Jonathan Ivey (33-56)
Former UFC light heavyweight Salmon competes for the first time since April 2013 when he faces 89-fight veteran Ivey in a heavyweight affair. Salmon has lost 11-fights in a row and hasn’t won a fight since May 2015. The 40-year-old has fought the likes of Rashad Evans, Alan Belcher and Jeremy Horn throughout his career. Ivey is 2-2 in his last four fights and is coming off a first-round submission win over Jordan Mitchell at Colosseum Combat 40 in July.
KOP 60 – Feb. 24 (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Joe Riggs (47-17) vs. Erick Lozano (8-12) six
Former UFC title challenger Riggs looks to remain undefeated since leaving the UFC in 2016 as he faces Lozano in a middleweight matchup. Since losing to Chris Camozzi in February 2016, Riggs has won six straight fights, with all of those wins coming by stoppage. The 35-year-old has won seven of his last eight fights. Lozano heads into this matchup on a four-fight win streak, including a first-round flying knee knockout over UFC veteran Terry Martin at KOP 59 in December.
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 or fix it up. Thanks.