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 September 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.
PFL 2018 #8: Playoffs – Oct 5 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Josh Copeland (17-5) vs. Francimar Barroso (21-7)
A pair of UFC veterans clash in the PFL heavyweight playoffs as American Copeland battles Brazil’s Barroso. Copeland (17-5) went 1-1 in the PFL regular season defeating fellow UFC veteran Shawn Jordan and losing to Jack May at PFL #1. The Colorado native is 5-1 in his last six fights. Barroso meanwhile went 2-0 during the regular season earning victories over Daniel Gallemore and Jack May. The 38-year-old will be looking for his first three-fight win streak since Aug. 2013.
Alex Nicholson (12-6) vs. Jack May (10-4)
Former UFC light heavyweight Nicholson looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the second time in his career when he faces “Outlaw” May. Nichiolson went 1-1 during the regular season defeating Jake Heun and losing to Phillipe Lins. May meanwhile defeated Josh Copeland and lost to Francimar Barroso.
Jared Rosholt (16-5) vs. Kevin Tiller (10-1)
UFC veteran Rosholt looks for revenge as he faces Tiller in a rematch from their PFL #4 matchup back in July. Rosholt droped to 2-2 in his last four fights when he suffered the first submission loss of his career to Tiller. The 32-year-old looks to avoid back-to-back losses for just the second time in his career. Tiller meanwhile is riding a four-fight win streak and hasn’t lost since a unanimous decision setback to UFC veteran Elvis Mutapcic at WSOF 12 in Aug. 2014.
Steven Siler (31-17) vs. Nazareno Malegarie (35-5)
Two former UFC fighters face off in the PFL featherweight playoffs as Siler battles Malegarie. Siler has won back-to-back fights by submission over Magomed Idrisov and Alexandre de Almeida. The 31-year-old looks to make it three in a row for the first time since Nov. 2015. Malagarie meanwhile had his six-fight win streak snapped after losing to Andre Harrison at PFL #4 in July. The 32-year-old has never lost two straight fights in his career.
Mike Kyle (23-16-1) vs. Caio Alencar (12-3)
UFC/Strikeforce veteran Kyle looks to bounce back in a rematch against Alencar for the PFL heavyweight playoffs. Kyle dropped to 2-2 in his last four fights when he lost by decision to Alencar. Alencar meanwhile snapped his two-fight skid and is 5-2 in his last seven fights.
KSW 45: The Return to Wembley – Oct. 6 (London, England)
Phil De Fries (15-6) vs. Karol Bedorf (15-3)
UFC veteran De Fries defends his KSW heavyweight title against Bedorf. De Fries is currently riding a three-fight win streak and has gone 6-3 since leaving the UFC in 2013. The 32-year-old has finished two of his last three opponents. Bedorf meanwhile has won nine of his last ten fights.
Wagner Prado (14-3) vs. Max Nunes (17-5)
Former UFC light heavyweight Prado looks for his third win in a row when he faces ACB veteran Nunes. Prado has gone 6-1 since he was released from the UFC in 2013, with all of those wins coming by stoppage. Nunes meanwhile has lost back-to-back fights, including a TKO loss to UFC veteran Luke Barnatt at ACB 63.
James McSweeney (15-16) vs. Thiago Siva (20-7, 2 NC)
UFC veteran McSweeney looks for his first win since Oct. 2015 when he faces Silva in a heavyweight contest. McSweeney has lost three-straight fights and five of his last six. Silva meanwhile has lost two of his last three fights.
ONE Championship: Kingdom of Heros – Oct 6 (Bangkok, Thailand)
Shinya Aoki (41-8) vs. Ev Ting (16-4)
Strikeforce/Bellator veteran Aoki looks for his third straight win when he faces Ting. The 35-year-old is coming off a TKO win over Shannon Wiratchai for ONE Championship back in July. Ting meanwhile heads into this contest on a three-fight win streak incuding a unanimous decision over Koji Ando for ONE Championship back in June.
Leandro Issa (16-6) vs. Mulin Gafurov (15-2)
UFC veteran Issa plans to make it four-straight wins when he faces 23-year-old Gafurov. Issa has gone 3-0 since leaving the UFC in 2016, with two of those wins coming by stoppage. Gafurov meanwhile is currently riding a four-fight win streak.
PFL 2018 #9: Playoffs – Oct 13 (Long Beach, California)
Vinny Magalhaes (16-9) vs. Rakim Cleveland (19-10-1)
Former UFC light heavyweight Magalhaes aims to make it three-straight wins when he faces American Top Team standout Cleveland. Magalhaes went 2-0 during the PFL regular season earning wins over Jamie Abdallah and former Bellator champion Brandon Halsey. Cleveland meanwhile went 1-1 during the regular season earning win over Rashid Yusupov and losing to Maxim Grishin.
Sean O’Connell (18-10) vs. Dan Spohn (18-5)
A pair of UFC vetearns clash in the PFL heavyweight playoffs as O’Connell battles Spohn. O’Connell went 1-1 during the regular season earning a win over Ronny Markes and suffering TKO loss to Bozigit Ataev in August. Spohn meanwhile defeated Bozigit Ataev and Artur Alibulatov in the regular season to push his winning streak to six-straight.
Johnny Case (24-6) vs. Natan Schulte (13-3)
Former UFC lightweight Case looks for his third-straight win when he battles Brazil’s Shulte. Case automatically earned a spot in the playoffs after his opponent Jason High missed weight at PFL 7. Shulte went 2-0 during the regular season earning wins over UFC veterans Chris Wade and Jason High.
Chris Wade (13-4) vs. Robert Watley (11-2)
Former UFC lightweight Wade faces former LFA lightweight champion Watley in the 155-pound playoffs. Wade rebounded from his loss to Natan Schulte at PFL #2 by submitting Yuki Kawana at PFL #5. Watley had his 11-fight win streak snapped when he lost via unanimous decision to former Bellator champion Will Brooks at PFL #5. The 29-year-old looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in his career.
Thiago Tavares (22-8-1) vs. Islam Mamedov (15-2)
UFC veteran Tavares looks for back-to-back wins for the first time since Aug. 2014 when he faces Mamedov. Tavares is coming off a split decsison win over Arthur Estrázulas at PFL 5 which pushed his regular season record to 1-1. Mamedov meanwhile hasn’t lost a fight since July 2009 and carries a 14-fight win streak into the playoffs.
Will Brooks (20-4) vs. Rashid Magomedov (21-2)
Former Bellator lightweight champion Brooks aims to make it three-straight wins for the first time since July 2016 when he faces UFC veteran Magomedov. Brooks went undefeated during the PFL regular season defeating Luiz Firmino and Robert Watley. Magomedov has won 14 of his last 15 fights.
Ramsey Nijem (9-7) vs. Yuki Kawana (14-3-5)
UFC veteran Nijem looks for his first win under the PFL banner when he faces Kawana. Nijem went winless during the PFL regular season losing to Brian Foster at PFL 2. Kawana comes in on a two-fight skid with losses to Islam Mamedov and Chris Wade.
Brandon Halsey (11-4) vs. Ronny Markes (18-6)
Former Bellator middleweight champion Halsey faces UFC veteran Markes. Halsey had his two-fight win streak snapped in his last bout, suffering a TKO loss to Vinny Magalhaes at PFL #5. Markes is coming off a TKO loss to Sean O’Connell which also snapped his two-fight win streak.
PFL 2018 #10: Playoffs – Oct 20 (Washington, DC)
Bruno Santos (18-2) vs. Sadibou Sy (7-3)
Former UFC middleweight Santos aims to make it five in a row when he faces Sy in a rematch. Santos has gone undefeated since leaving the UFC in 2014 going a perfect 4-0. Sy meanwhile lost to Santos at PFL 5 and has won three of his last four fights.
John Howard (26-14) vs. Shamil Gamzatov (13-0)
UFC veteran Howard looks to avoid back-to-back losses when he faces undefeatd Gamzatov. Howard is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Bruno Santos at PFL 6 which snapped his two-fight win streak. Gamzatov defeated both Eddie Gordon and Rex Harris in the PFL regular season to keep his perfect record in tact.
Jake Shields (33-10-1) vs. Ray Cooper III (15-5)
Former UFC title challenger Shields looks for revenge when he faces Cooper in rematch. Shields bounced back from his loss to Cooper at PFL #3 by earning a unanimous decision over Herman Terrado at PFL 6. Cooper meanwhile has remained undefeated in the PFL regular season earning wins over Shields and most recently an 18-second victory over Pavel Kusch at PFL 6.
Rick Story (21-9) vs. Handesson Ferreira (12-1-1)
Former UFC welterweight Story looks to remain undefeated under the PFL banner when he faces Brazil’s Ferreira. Story has gone 5-1 in his last six fights including wins over Gunnar Nelson and Tarec Saffedine. Ferreira is coming off a TKO win over Paul Bradley at PFL #7 and is undefeated in his last four fights.
Bojan Velickovic (16-7-1) vs. João Zeferino (23-9)
UFC veteran Velickovic faces former WSOF title challenger Zeferino in a welterweight contest. Velickovic has lost three of his last four fights, including a unanimous decision loss to Magomed Magomedkerimov at PFL #6. Zeferino meanwhile is coming off back-to-back wins over Paul Bradley and Yuri Villefort and is 3-1 in his last four fights.
Eddie Gordon (8-6) vs. Andre Lobato (24-9)
TUF 19 winner Gordon looks for his first win since June 2016 when he faces Brazil’s Lobato. Gordon has lost back-to-back fights over Shamil Gamzatov and Gasan Umalatov. The 35-year-old will be looking for his first win under the PFL banner. Lobato meanwhile has lost three-straight fights and will be looking for his first win since Aug. 2015.
Pure FC 11 – Oct 27 (Oshkosh, Wisconsin)
Chico Camus (18-8) vs. Matt Brown (10-6)
Former UFC bantamweight Camus looks for back-to-back wins when he faces Brown in a rematch from their RFA 36 matchup. Camus had his four-fight win streak snapped in his last fight when he lost to current UFC bantamweight Ricky Simon at LFA 29. Brown meanwhile hasn’t fought since the first fight against Camus which took place in Mar. 2016. He carries a two-fight skid into the rematch.
WFF 40: Night of Champions – Oct. 27 (Chandler, Arizona)
Ed West (24-10) vs. Matt Betzold (9-9)
Former Bellator title challenger West looks for his seventh straight win when he faces Betzold for the bantamweight title. Since he was released from Bellator in 2014, West has amassed a 6-1 record including a win over UFC veteran Roman Salazar. Betzold meanwhile has lost 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 or fix it up. Thanks.