Mixed Martial Arts Veteran Watch: May 2018

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 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.

ACB 86 – May 5 (Moscow, Russia) 

Georgi Karakhanyan (27-8-1) vs. Alexey Polpudnikov (24-4-1) 
Former Bellator featherweight Karakhanyan looks to avoid two-straight losses when he makes his ACB debut against Polpnudnikov. Karakhanyan has lost two of his last three fights, including a unanimous decision setback to Henry Corrales at Bellator 192 in Jaunary. Polpunikov meanwhile hasn’t lost since May 2014 and is currently riding a 13-fight win streak. 

HFC 37 – May 5 (Hammond, Indiana)

Mike “Biggie” Rhodes (10-5) vs. Tyler Hufnagle (5-1) 
Bout cancelled per Tapology 

KC Figthing Alliance 28 – May 5 (Independence, Missouri) 

Anthony Gutierrez (9-3) vs. Jose Martinez (9-3)
TUF 18’s Gutierrez competes for the first time this year when he faces fellow American Martinez in a lightweight bout. Gutierrez, who has competed primarly as a bantamweight throughout his career, heads into this matchup off back-to-back wins including a unanimous decision win over Alex Wiggs Jr. at KC Fighting Alliance 26 in December. Martinez meanwhile has won four of his last five fights (all wins coming by stoppage) and looks to make it three-straight wins for the first time since July 2016. The 27-year-old has only gone the distance once in his last five fights. 

RIZIN 10 – May 6 (Fukuka, Japan)

Kyoji Horiguchi (23-2) vs. Ian McCall (13-6-1) 
Former UFC title challenger Horiguchi looks to push his winning streak to nine straight when he faces McCall. Since leaving the UFC in 2016, Horiguchi has gone 5-0 and finishing his last four opponents. McCall meanwhile is coming off a TKO loss to Manel Kape in his RIZIN debut back in December. The 33-year-old will be looking for his first win since July 2014. 

Daron Cruickshank (19-10) vs. Koshi Matsumoto (19-7-2)
UFC veteran Cruickshank looks for back-to-back wins when he faces Japanese fighter Matsumoto. Cruickshank rebounded in his last fight, earning a TKO win over Alex Trevino at KOP 58 which snapped a two-fight skid. Matsumoto meanwhile has won three-straight fights and five of his last six overall. 

Diego Nunes (22-7) vs. Yusuke Yachi (19-6)

UFC and Bellator vet Nunes looks to make it four-straight wins when he faces Yachi in a lightweight affair. Nunes has gone 4-1 since leaving Bellator in 2014, including a first-round submission victory over Corneliu Rotaru Lascar and RFX 29 in December. Yachi is currently riding a five-fight win streak. 

Unified 33 – May 11 (Enoch, Alberta) 

Matt Hamill (12-8) vs. Teddy Ash (10-3) 

Hamill off the card due to injury. 

Shane Campbell (13-6) vs. Stephen Beaumont (9-2)
UFC veteran Campbell looks to make the second defense of his Unified MMA lightweight title when he faces Beaumont in a rematch. Campbell defeated Beaumont in 2012 at AFC 14 where he won by first round submission. The 30-year-old has remained undefeated since leaving the UFC going a perfect 3-0. Beaumont has only fought twice since 2014 but heads into this title fight off two-striaght wins. The 33-year-old is coming off a first-round submission win over Dia Grant at Unified 31 last June. 

Brave 12 – May 11 (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Mehdi Baghdad (10-5) vs. Pawel Kietek (8-4-1) 
Former UFC lightweight and TUF 25 competitor Baghdad makes his Brave FC debut as he battles Kietek. Baghdad will be looking for his first win since Dec. 2014 as he’s currently on a two-fight skid losing fights to Chris Wade and John Makdessi. Kietkek meanwhile has lost two of his last three fights including a split decision setback to Sidney Wheeler at Brave 10 back in March. 

M-1 Challenge 91 – May 12 (Shenzhen, China)

Caio Magalhaes (10-4) vs. Mikhail Zayats (23-8)
Former UFC middleweight Magalahes looks to get back on the winning track when he battles longtime Bellator veteran Zayats. Magalahes went 4-3 in the UFC, earning wins over Karlos Vemola, Nick Ring, Luke Zachrich and Trevor Smith while losing to Buddy Roerts, Josh Samann and Brad Tavares. Zayats meanwhile competes for just the second time since 2015 and is 2-2 in his last four fights. He’ll be looking to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since Feb. 2013. 

Road FC 47 – May 12 (Bejing, China)

Siala Siliga (12-5) vs. Gilbert Yvel (39-16-1) 
Bellator veteran Siliga faces off with former UFC heavyweight Yvel. Siliga heads into this matchup on a six-fight win streak, with all of those wins coming by stoppage. The 47-year-old hasn’t lost a fight since June 2015. Yvel meanwhile competes for the first time since Nov. 2016 and is currenly riding a three-fight win streak. 


Areana Fight: In Memorian Meire Cabral – May 12 (Redencao, Brazil)

Luis Henrique da Silva (12-4) vs. Leonardo Guimareaes (12-6) 
“Frankenstein” looks for his second straight win outside the UFC, most recently winning via second round TKO this past March against Octavio Lacerda. Henrique da Silva won his first two UFC fights but then lost four straight to get his walking papers. His opponent Guimareas is also a UFC veteran who began his career with a strong start but has now lost both of his UFC fights and was released from the promotion. He has gone 1-3 since getting released by the UFC, most recently losing a decision in February.

Alaska FC 140 – May 16 (Anchorage, Alaksa)

Justin Bucholz (16-10 vs. Carlton Minus (7-0-NC) 
UFC veteran and former Team Alpha Male coach Bucholtz looks for two-straight wins for the fist time since May 2013 when he faces undefeated Minus. Buchholz went 1-4 in the UFC earning a win over Corey Hill and losing to Matt Wiman, Terry Etim, Jeremy Stephens and Mac Danzig. The 34-year old competes in his second straight fight for Alaska FC. Minus meanwhile has finished five of his eight career opponents. 

ONE Championship: Unstoppage Dreams – May 18 (Sinapore) 

Shinya Aoki (39-8) vs. Rasul Yakhyaev (11-6) 
PRIDE/Strikeforce veteran Aoki looks to avoid three-straight losses for the first time in his career as he faces Yakhyaev. Aoki is coming off a 57-second TKO loss to Ben Askren at ONE Championship: Immortal Pursuit back in November. The 34-year-old will be looking for his first win since Dec. 2015. 

Fight Nights Global 87 – May 19 (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Fabio Maldonado (24-11) vs. Nikita Krylov (24-5)
Former UFC light heavyweight Maldonado looks to make it three-wins in a row for the first time since Mar. 2014  when he faces fellow UFC veteran Nikta Krylov. Since leaving the UFC in 2015, the 38-year-old has gone 2-2, losing to Fedor Emelianenko and Mikhail Mokhnatkin and defeating Abdul-Khamid Davlatov and Kurban Omarov. Kyrlov meanwhile has won eight of his last nine fights, icnlduing a first-round TKO victory over former Bellator champion Emanuel Newton in his last fight. The 25-year-old has yet to go the distance in his 29-fight career. 

Diego Brandao (22-12) vs. Felipe Froes (16-3-1) 

Former UFC featherweight Brandao looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since 2014 when he battles fellow Brazilian Froes. Since leaving the UFC in 2016 Brandao has gone 1-2, with all of his fights ending inside the distance. Froes meanwhile had his nine-fight win streak snapped in his last bout, losing a split decision to Salman Zhamaldaev at WFCA 43. 

Elias Silverio (13-3-1) vs. Mike Graves (6-1-1)

Former UFC lightweight Silvero faces former UFC welterweight Graves. Silvero is coming off a draw against Goity Dazaev at WFCA 43 this past October. The 31-year-old will be looking for his first win since Oct. 2016. Graves looks to bounce back from his TKO loss to Nikolay Aleksakhin at Fight Nights Global 74 in September. 

ACB 87 – May 19 (Nothingham, England)

Scott Askham (16-4) vs. Ibragim Chuzhigaev (11-5)
Askham out due to injury. 

Robert Whiteford (14-4) vs. Kane Mousah (10-1)
Former UFC featherweight Whiteford faces Mousah in the evenings main event. Whiteford is coming off a 21-second submission victory over Nam Phan at ACB 54 last March and is currently riding a two fight win streak. Mousah heads into this matchup on a three-fight win streak including a split decision nod over Alex Enlund at ACB 70 last September. 

Takeya Mizugaki (21-13-2) vs. Pietro Menga (13-1) 

UFC veteran Mizugaki looks to snap a four-fight skid when he faces Menga. Mizugaki was relased from the UFC at the end of 2016 and has since gone 0-2, losing by knockout to Rustam Kerimov and most recently Murad Kalamov where he suffered a unanimous decision loss. The 34-year-old will be looking for his first win since Sept. 2015. Menga meanwhile is coming off the first loss of his career in his last fight as he suffered a unanimous decision setback to Raymison Bruno at Celtic Galdiator 19. The 30-year-old makes his ACB debut. 

Rob Emerson (19-12) vs. Shamil Shakhbulatov (9-1) 

UFC and Bellator veteran Emerson competes for the first time since Apr. 2017 when he faces off with Shakhbulatov in his ACB debut. Emerson is 2-2 in his last four fights and is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Raufeon Stots at Victroy FC 56. Shakbulatov meanwhile is on a seven-fight win streak and hasn’t lost since June 2014. 

Fernando Gonzalez (27-15) vs. Piotr Strus (12-3-2) 
Former Bellator welterweight Gonazlez makes his ACB debut in the middleweight division against Strus. Gonzalez has gone 2-2 in his last four fights, most recently suffering a unanimous decision loss to Lorenz Larkin at Bellator 193 in January. Strus meanwhile is unbeaten in his last four fights and is coming off a third-round submission victory over Nikola Dipchikov at ACB 74 in November. 

Andre Winner (21-11-2)  vs. Adam Aliev (8-2) 
UFC and TUF veteran Winner looks to avoid two-straight losses when he faces Aliev in a lightweight affair. Winner has lost three of his last four fights, including a 54-second submission loss to Saul Rogers at Tanko Fighting Championships. The 36-year-old will be competing for the first time since Aug. 2016. Aliev meanwhile is coming in to this matchup on a six-fight win streak. 

M-1 Challenge 92 – May 24 (St. Petersburg, Russia) 

Sergei Kharitonov (28-7) vs. Anton Vyazigin (9-2) 
Bellator heavyweight Kharitonov competes in his forth straight fight for M1 Challenge as he battles fellow Russian fighter Vyazigin. The 37-year-old has won 9 of his last 10 fights including a unanimous decision win over Joey Beltran at RCC back in February. Vyazigin meanwhile has won six of his last sevne fights including a 16-second knockout win over Zaur Gadzhibabayev at M-1 Challenge 89 back in March. 

Mickael Lebout (17-8-3) vs. Pavel Gordeev (10-1) 

Former UFC lightweight Lebout aims to make it two wins in a row when he battles Russian fighter Gordeev. Lebout has gone 3-3-1 since leaving the UFC in 2015. Gordeev meanwahile has won three-straight fights with all of those wins being by unanimous decision. 

Fight Exclusive Night 21- May 25 (Wroclaw, Poland)

Goran Reljic (16-8) vs. Kevin Wiwatowski (4-5) 

Former UFC middleweight Reljic looks for his first two-fight win streak since May 2015 when he takes on Wiwatowski. Relic snapped a four-fight skid in his last bout when he defeated Daniel Dorrer by first-round submission at Mannheimer Hafenkeilerei 6 back in December. Wiwatowski meanwhile has lost back-to-back fights by submission and he’ll be looking for his first win since Nov. 2016. 

LFA 40 – May 25 (Dallas, Texas)

Damon Jackson (14-2-1) vs. Jeremy Spoon (21-3) 

UFC veteran Jackson moves back down to the featherweight division to battle Bellator veteran Spoon. Since being released from the UFC in 2016, Jackson has gone 5-1, with all of those wins coming by stoppage. Spoon meanwhile is on a six-fight unbeaten streak. 

MFP 220: Mayor’s Cup 2018 – May 26 (Khabarovsk, Russia)

Cody Pfister (15-6-1) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (11-1) 
Former UFC lightweight Pfister looks for his fourth win in a row when he takes on Tsarukyan for the MFP lightweight title. Pfister went 1-3 in the UFC, defeating Yosdenis Deceno and losing to James Moontasri, Sage Northcutt and Scott Holtzman. Tsaruykan meanwhile is riding a 10-fight win streak, including a unanimous decision win over UFC veteran Takanori Sato. 

KOTC: Grand Finale – May 26 (Lincoln City, Oregon)

Mac Danzig (22-12-1) vs. Tyson Jeffries (14-10)
TUF 6 competitor and former UFC lightweight Danzig competes for just the second time since 2014 as he takes on Jeffries. Danzig returned to the cage last Augst where he earned a third-round submission victory over Joe Condon at CFL 11. The 38-year-old looks for his first two-fight win streak since Apr. 2008. Jeffries meanwhile had his four-fight win streka snapped in his last bout when he lost by fifth round TKO to Ben Egi at KOTC: Fractured in August. “The Antihero’ looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since Apr. 2014. 

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.

Written by James Lynch

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