Mixed Martial Arts Veteran Watch: June 2015

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565When fighters are given their release from a major North American MMA promotion like the UFC, Bellator, WSOF or Titan – 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, 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 events.   June 4th – KOTC: Awakening (Worley, Idaho) Trevor Prangley (35-11-1) vs. DJ Linderman (18-9-0) UFC veteran Prangley looks for his fourth win in his last five fights when he takes on former Bellaor and WSOF fighter Linderman. Despite being 42 years of age, Prangley has competed 10 times in the last two years. Linderman meanwhile has won two in a row after losing four straight from 2013 to 2014.   June 5th – RFA 26 (Broomfield, Colorado) Gilbert Smith (10-4-0) vs. Ben Smith (14-2-0) TUF 17 veteran Gilbert Smith looks to get back on the winning track when he meets Xtreme Couture product Ben Smith for the promotions welterweight championship. Since his UFC release in 2013, Smith has gone 5-2 but is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Chidi Njokuani at RFA 22. Ben Smith has won six straight fights with half of those victories coming by way of finish.   June 6th – EFC Africa 40 (Gauteng, South Africa) Ruan Potts (8-4-0) vs. Cyril Asker (5-1-0) Going 0-3 in the UFC last year, South African heavyweight Potts competes for the first time since his release, when he takes on 29-year old Asker. Potts lost three straight bouts to Soa Palelei, Anthony Hamilton and Derrick Lewis. Asker meanwhile has won three straight fights and will look to take out his 37-year old foe, in what is arguably biggest fight of his career thus far.   June 6th – FEFoMP: Mayor’s Cup 2015 (Khabarovsk, Russia) Jeff Monson (55-22-1) vs. Evgeny Erokhin (9-4-0) UFC veteran Monson competes for the fifth time this year as he takes on hometown fighter Erokhin. The 44 year old Monson had won five straight fights, but has recently suffered back to back losses in April against DJ Linderman and Evgeny Egemberdiev. Meanwhile 28-year old Erokin has won four straight by knockout, including a victory over Strikeforce veteran Mike Kyle in his last bout.   June 6th – Ring of Combat 51 (Atlantic City, New Jersey) Nick Pace (6-3-0) vs. Robert Walker III (4-3-0) WEC and UFC veteran Pace returns to the cage for the first time since 2011, as he battles Ohio native Walker III. After amassing a 5-0 record, Pace went 1-3 during his WEC/UFC tenure, losing bouts to Demetrious Johnson, Ivan Menjivar and Miguel Torres. Pace will look for his first win since 2010, while Walker III looks for his second straight win.   June 11th – Fight Nights: Battle 19 ( Moscow, Russia) Xavier Foupa-Pokam (30-20-0) vs. Vladimir Mineev (4-0-0) Former UFC fighter Foupa-Pokam looks for his fourth win in a row when he battles undefeated Russian fighter Mineev. After going on a 1-8 run from 2009 to 2011, Foupa-Pokam has amassed an impressive 10-3 record since then. His 25-year old opponent meanwhile has won all four of his professional fights by stoppage.   June 12th – CES 29 (Lincoln, Rhode Island) Chuck O’Neil (15-6-0) vs. Dominique Steele  (12-5-0) TUF 13 competitor O’Neil looks to extend his winning streak to fight straight when he meets Strikeforce veteran Steele. Since his UFC release in 2011, the 29-year old O’Neil has amassed an impressive 7-2 record, including wins over UFC veterans Marcus Davis and Ricardo Funch. Ohio native Steele meanwhile has won six of his last seven bouts, including a unanimous decision victory in March over Nick Duell. Matt Bessette (14-6-0) vs. Khama Worthy (7-3-0) Bessette looks for his second straight victory when he meets Pittsburgh native Worthy. Bessette snapped his two fight skid by defeating Josh LeBarge at Bellator 134 in February while Worthy is coming off a loss in his last fight to Billy Quarantillo at Glory Fights – Strike Off 4 in that same month. Jon Manley (9-2-0) vs. Matt MacGrath (16-8-0) One time UFC veteran Manley meets Canadian fighter MacGrath in a welterweight affair. The 28-year old Manley’s lone octagon appearance was a unanimous decision loss to Neil Magny at UFC 157. After losing three in a row between 2011-2012, MacGrath has won six in a row, with three of those wins coming by stoppage.   June 13th – Phoenix Fight Night (Bournemouth, England) Andre Winner (20-8-2) vs. Charlie Leary (8-7-0) TUF 9 competitor Winner looks to ride his unbeaten streak to seven straight when he meets fellow Brit Leary. Winner is coming off a unanimous decision victory over fellow TUF competitor Colin Fletcher, while Leary has lost two of his last three fights.   June 15th – Real Xtreme Fighting 18 (Romania) Jeff Monson (55-22-1) vs. Alexandru Lungu (10-3-0) That’s right, Monson has two fights booked in the same month. His opponent Lungu has won five of his six fights with all of those victories coming by way of stoppage.   June 19th – Havoc FC 9 (Red Deer, Alberta) Nick Ring (13-3-0) vs. Alfonso Gonzales (7-1-0) TUF and UFC veteran Ring has a quick turnaround from his last fight as he squares off with Legacy FC veteran Gonzales. Ring is coming off a unaninmous decision victory over Jason Zentgraf at Hard Knocks 43 last weekened. Gonzales meanwhile has only suffered defeat once in his MMA career and has won six of his seven bouts by stoppage.   June 20th – Odyssey FIghts: Round One: Series of Championships (Richmond, Virginia, United States) Steve Montgomery (8-2-0) vs. Anthony Lemon (3-9-0) TUF 22 contestant Montgomery looks for his fourth win in a row when he meets 23-year old Lemon. The ATT product was eliminated on the reality series for having a seizure, and no doubt a win in this fight would land him back in the UFC. His chances of winning this fight look pretty good, his opponent has lost seven fights in a row.   June 21st – Vale Tudo: VTJ In Osaka (Osaka, Japan) Yoshihiro Maeda (31-5-5) vs. Kentaro Watanabe (10-6-0) DREAM veteran Maeda looks for back to back wins for the first time since 2012 when he meets Shooto veteran Watanabe. Most fans will remember Maeda for his WEC tenure in 2008, where he fought the likes of Miguel Torres and Rani Yahya, coming up short in both those fights. His opponent, 31-year old Watanabe has lost two straight fights and hasn’t won a bout since 2013.   June 26th – Legacy Fighting Championship 42 (Lake Charles, Lousiana) Anthony Njokuani (16-10-0) vs. Josh Quayhagen (7-3-0) Former UFC fighter Njokuani looks to get back on the winning track after losing three in a row, as he battles Bellator veteran Quayhagen. Njokuani lost his last bout to Dave Burrow at Legacy FC 42 via third round armbar, while “Quay” has lost two straight bouts. Carina Damm (22-12-0) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (9-1-0) Losing two straight fights, Strikeforce veteran Damm aims to get back on the winning track when she meets Peruvian fighter Shevchenko. Damm lost last month to Marciea Allen by first round armbar at Dakota FC 21. Meanwhile 27-year old Shevchenko has won four in a row, including her last bout, a unanimous decision victory over Strikeforce veteran Jan Finney at Legacy FC 39 in February.   June 27th – Macto Championships (Buckinghamshire, England) Nick Osipczak (5-3-0) vs.  Kyle Redfearn (8-6-0) TUF 9 veteran Osipczak returns to MMA after nearly a five year hiatus and meets BAMMA veteran Lewis. After winning his first two fights in the UFC – against Frank Lester and Matt Riddle – the English fighter would go on to lose three straight to Rick Story, Greg Soto and Duane Ludwig. Redfearn meanwhile has won three of his last four fights.   June 27th – Rebel FC 3 (Shandong, China) Miguel Torres (43-8-0) vs. Will Chope (23-7-0) Former WEC bantamweight champion Torres battles former UFC fighter Chope in a featherweight affair. Torres had his three fight win streak snapped last October at Titan FC 31, losing by first round knockout to Desmond Green. Chope meanwhile has won five in a row and only gone the distance once during that winning streak. Paulo Thiago (15-8-0) vs. Joe Ray (11-4-0) 13-time UFC veteran Thiago competes for the first time since his release from the Las Vegas based promotion last year, as he faces off with Tiger Muay Thai product Ray. Thiago is on the the worst run of his career  right now, going 1-5 since 2012. Ray meanwhile had his six fight win streak snapped in his last fight, losing to Brock Larson this past October at Battlegrounds MMA 5.  

Written by James Lynch

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