Mixed Martial Arts Veteran Watch: January 2016

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565When fighters are given their release from a major North American MMA promotion like the UFC, Bellator or WSOF – 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 January and rather than listing off the top fights outside these major organizations, I highlight some familiar names that you might recognize on upcoming events.     Jan 9th – WFC 46 (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) Kyle Bradley (20-11) vs. Dez Hill (6-2)  Former UFC lightweight Bradley looks for his first two-fight win streak since 2013 when he meets 33-year old Hill. Bradley competed in the UFC from 2008-2009 and earned a win over Phillipe Nover, while losing to Chris Lytle, Joe Lauzon and Rafael Dos Anjos. Hill meanwhile looks for his third straight win.   Jan 15th – RFA 34: Velickovic vs. Smith (Broomfield, Colorado) Hugo Viana (8-3) vs. Zac Riley (3-3)  Viana competes for the first time since his UFC release when he meets 23-year old Riley. Viana went 3-3 in the octagon, with wins over John Teixeira, Reuben Duran and Ramiro Hernandez and setbacks against T.J. Dillashaw, Aljamain Sterling and Guido Cannetti. Riley has alternated between wins and losses throughout his career and is coming off a win over Shai Lindsey at RFA 31.   Jan 15th – Shamrock FC: Assault (Kansas City, Missouri) Bobby Voelker (27-12) vs. Kyle Kurtz (5-1)  UFC/Strikeforce veteran Voelker looks for his fourth straight win since his UFC release as he takes on “The Hurtz.” The 36-year old has won his last three fights by knockout and another impressive win here could land him back with the Las Vegas based promotion. Kurtz is coming off a win over Steven Mann at Bellator 145 and has won five of his last six fights.   Jan 22nd – Legacy FC 50 (Houston, Texas) Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos (19-16) vs. Artenas Young (10-9) PRIDE/Strikeforce veteran Santos competes for the first time since April 2014 as he takes on 35-year old Young. Santos is 1-3 in his last four bouts earning a victory over Elton Rodrigues and enduring losses to Nick Diaz, Jordan Mein and Melvin Manhoef. He’s also competed just twice since 2012. Fellow Strikeforce vet Young has lost three in a row and will be looking for his first win since 2013.   Jan 23rd – Elite Warrior Challenge 9: Takeover (Salem, Virginia) Matt Van Buren (6-4) vs. Lewis Rumsey (11-13) Van Buren competes for the first time since his UFC release against 26-year old Rumsey. Van Buren suffered back to back defeats to Corey Anderson and Sean O’Connell which prompted his departure from the Las Vegas based promotion. Rumsey has lost three straight fights and looks for his first win since September 2014. Charles Bennett (27-28-2) vs. Terrell Hobbs (9-10) Bennett looks for his first two-fight win streak since 2011 when he faces Bellator vet Hobbs. 36-year old Bennett returned to action back in October where he knocked out Danny Black in the first round at KOTC: Harvest of Champions. Hobbs has lost four in a row and will be looking for his first win since June 2013.   Jan 23rd – Prime Fighting 6 (Ridgefield, Washington) Austin Springer (8-1) vs. Toby Misech (9-4)  Titan FC/TUF 22 competitor Springer looks to bounce back from his first official loss as he faces “2 Quick” Misech. Springer had a forgettable performance in his last fight suffering a first round submission loss to Steven Siler at Titan FC 35 just over a minute into the bout. Misech has won three straight fights and will be looking for the first four-fight win streak of his career.   Jan 29th – AFC 24 (Coconut Creek, Florida) Per Eklund (15-5-1) vs. Marc Stevens (19-9) Former UFC lightweight Eklund competes for the first time since 2011 as he takes on Stevens,who has won three-straight fights. Eklund went 1-2 in the UFC earning a victory over Samy Schiavo and losing bouts to Sam Stout and Evan Dunham. He has competed just twice since 2009 and will be looking for his first win since 2008.   Jan 29th – Hard Knocks 48 (Calgary, Alberta) Nah-shon Burrell (12-6) vs. Sergej Juskevic (15-7-2) UFC/Bellator veteran Burrell looks for his first two-fight win streak since 2012 when he takes on Canadian Juskevic for the promotions welterweight strap. Since his Bellator release in 2014, Burrell has gone 2-1 with his only blemish coming to UFC welterweight Lyman Good. Juskevic has won four straight fights – all by submission – and hasn’t lost a bout since 2012.   Jan 29th – Victory FC 47: Smith vs. Mutapcic (Omaha, Nebraska) Elvis Mutapcic (15-3) vs. Anthony Smith (23-11)  WSOF veteran Mutapcic aims for his third straight victory when he takes on Bellator veteran Smith. Mutapic holds wins over UFC standouts Cezar Ferreira, Zak Cummings and Sam Alvey. Smith has won six straight fights including his last bout, a TKO victory over UFC veteran Brock Jardine.   Jan 30th – NAFC: Super Brawl (Waukesha, Wisconsin) Mike “Biggie” Rhodes (8-4) vs. Mark Stoddard (11-8) Rhodes looks for his third straight win since his UFC release in 2014 as he battles 32-year old Stoddard. “Biggie” is coming off a third round submission win over Taki Uluilakepa at Prestige FC 1 up in Canada. Stoddard is 2-2 in his last four bouts and is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Victor Moreno at MCC 60 in September.   Jan 30th – Midwest Fight Series 14 (Anderson, Indiana) Jason Gilliam (14-8) vs. Austin Tweedy (7-1) UFC vet Gilliam looks for his first win since June 2009 as he takes on Tweedy who has won four-straight fights. Gilliam is known for his two octagon appearances in 2007 (both losses) against Jamie Varner and Chris Lytle. He is currently on a six fight losing streak.   Jan 31st – Pancrase 275 (Tokyo, Japan) Hatsu Hioki (27-9-2) vs. Kyosuke Yokoyama (5-3-) Hioki competes for the first time since his UFC release as he takes on Krazy Bee product Yokoyama. Hioki went an unimpressive 3-5 during his UFC tenure and lost his last two fights before his walking papers. Meanwhile his 24-year old opponent Yokoyama looks for his fifth straight win. Andy Main (11-2-1) vs. Juntaro Ushiku (10-3-1) UFC veteran Main looks for his fourth straight win when he meets hometown favourite Ushiku. Main is coming off an impressive forth round submission victory over Nam Phan at Pancrase 270, which was his third straight finish. Ushiku is 8-1 in his last nine fights and is just 20-years old.   Jan 31st – Road FC 28 (Seoul, South Korea) Riki Fukuda (23-7) vs. Jung Hwan Cha (11-6-3) UFC veteran Fukuda looks to push his undefeated streak to five-straight when he meets fellow Korean Cha. Fukuda has gone 4-0  1 NC since his UFC release in 2013. Cha meanwhile hasn’t lost since a 2012 setback to Roan Carneiro at Road FC 7.   Is there a notable MMA veteran competing this month that I missed? Hit me up on Twitter @LynchOnSports and I’ll add them in.

Written by James Lynch

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