MMA Odds and Ends for Saturday: South Dakota Sanctions First Event

RFA 17It seems like MMA has alternated between incredibly busy news days and those with hardly anything. Friday was one of the latter, as only one UFC fight was announced (we’ll get to that), but the bigger piece of news is that RFA 17 has been scheduled for August 22nd. That the promotion has booked another event in itself isn’t particularly newsworthy, but the fact that the card will be held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is. This will be the first ever sanctioned event in South Dakota, and marks the ninth different state in which RFA has held an event in their 17 shows to date. There are already six bouts announced for the card, including a pair of title fights. Dakota Cochrane will take on Tachi Palace Fights lightweight champion Christos Giagos for the first ever RFA lightweight title. Down one weight class, UFC veteran Justin Lawrence looks to continue building momentum off of being released from the organization as he battles Mark Dickman for the featherweight title which was left vacant by recent UFC debutant Brian Ortega. The last time RFA travelled to a state with a relatively inexperienced athletic commission was in April. At that event — held in Wyoming — flyweight title challenger Junior Maranhao feinted in between rounds in his bout against Matt Manzanares but the incident was missed by officials cageside and he was allowed to continue fighting. Given that lack of oversight, it would be shocking if the South Dakota commission does not put their best foot forward in order to attract future events. Speaking of future events, UFC 178 is now just eight weeks away, and barring the potential announcement of Donald Cerrone versus Eddie Alvarez, the card seems just about set. One of the final pieces was put into place on Friday as Manny Gamburyan‘s bantamweight debut was scheduled. The former TUF finalist will be dropping to 135lbs and taking on Cody Gibson. Sean Shelby is not doing Gamburyan any favors with this matchup, as Gibson is one of the bigger bantamweights on the roster, and a solid wrestler as well. Gamburyan will still likely be at a size disadvantage here, and Gibson could very likely neutralize his wrestling. ‘The Anvil’ has gone just 2-4 (with a fifth loss overturned to a no contest) since earning his WEC featherweight title shot back in 2010, so one has to think that if his run at bantamweight goes south that he’s not long for the confines of the UFC. While Gibson’s win over Johnny Bedford in June didn’t tell us much, he was very impressive in giving prospect Aljamain Sterling the toughest test of his career in the UFC debut for both. After a couple setbacks in the Tachi Palace organization, Gibson continued to improve his game, and looked a completely different fighter upon making his Octagon debut. Gamburyan has only been favored twice in his recent fights, so it seems he doesn’t command much respect from the public these days. Gibson has been an underdog in both of his UFC fights, but his performances should have opinions of him improving, and we could see a close line here, but I would imagine the veteran gets a slight lean.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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