Mixed Martial Arts Veteran Watch: May 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 May and rather than listing off the top fights outside these major organizations, I highlight some familiar names that you might recognize on upcoming events.   May 6th-  1° Round Combat 2 (Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil) Fábio Maldonado (22-9) vs. Felipe Dantas (9-0) Maldonado competes for the first time since his UFC release as he takes on fellow Brazillian Dantas. After going 3-2 to start his UFC tenure, Maldonado went 1-3 over his next four bouts losing to Stipe Miocic, Quinton Rampage Jackson and Corey Anderson. Dantas has won seven of his nine bouts by stoppage.   May 7th-  West Coast FC 17: Emmett vs. Aveles (Sacramento, California) Scott Smith (18-11) vs. Kito Andrews (11-6) UFC/Strikeforce veteran Smith competes for just the second time since 2013 when he takes on Team Alpha Male product Andrews. The 38-year old is probably best known for his back to back fights against Robbie Lawler, along with matchups against Nick Diaz, Cung Le and Tarec Saffiedine. Andrews hasn’t won since 2013 and is coming off back to back stoppage losses.   May 13th-  Cage 35 (Helsinki, Finland)  Anton Kuivanen (23-9) vs. Felipe Silva (6-0) UFC veteran Kuivanen looks to get back on the winning track when he takes on undefeated Brazilian Silva. The 31-year old had won three fights in a row before suffering a third round knockout loss to Thibault Gouti at Cage 33. Silva meanwhile has won five of his six career victories by stoppage.   May 13th-  Legacy FC 55: Ledet vs. Ritani-Coe (Houston, Texas)  Damacio Page (19-10) vs. Ryan Hollis (11-8) WEC/UFC vet Page looks to bounce back against 26-year old Bellator veteran Hollis. Page heads into this matchup off a second round submission loss to Alexandre Pantoja at RFA vs. Legacy FC 1, which snapped his three-fight win streak. Hollis heads into this matchup off a first round knockout victory over Micah Stockton, which snapped his two-fight skid.   May. 14th – BAMMA 25: Champion vs. Champion (Birmingham, England) Colin Fletcher (12-5) vs. Walter Gahadza (15-0) TUF: Smashes finalist Fletcher aims for his fourth win in his last five fights when he takes on undefeated 28-year old Gahadza. Since his UFC release in 2013, “The Freakshow” has gone 4-2 completing mainly for BAMMA. Gahadza has won 12 of his 15 career fights by stoppage.   May. 14th – Global Proving Ground 24: Fighting for Wounded Warriors 3 (Voorhees, New Jersey) Hayder Hassan (6-3) vs. Idrees Wasi (2-4) TUF 21 finalist Hassan looks to snap a two-fight skid when he takes on 26-year old Wasi. Hassan lost back to back fights in the UFC to Kamaru Usman and Vicente Luque before he was handed his walking papers late last year. Prior to those losses, the 33-year old was riding a four-fight win streak. Wasi is 1-3 in his last four bouts and has yet to win two in a row so far in his career.   May. 14th – Battleground (Kissimmee, Florida) Charles Bennett (28-30-2) vs. Paul Rodriguez (10-8-2)  Former PRIDE/Elite XC fighter Bennett competes for the fourth time this year as he takes on 40-year old ATT product Rodriguez. Since returning to MMA last year, Bennett has gone 2-2 in his last four bouts including a unanimous decision loss to Matthew DiMarcantonio in his last fight. Rodriguez hasn’t fought since 2007 and is 2-2 in his last four fights.   May. 15th – Road FC 31 (Seoul, South Korea)  George Roop (15-12-1) vs. Yoon Jun Lee (10-2)  WEC/UFC veteran Roop competes for the first time since his UFC release when he takes on 27-year old Lee. Roop is coming off back-to-back losses against Rob Font and Takeya Mizugaki and will be looking for his first win since 2014. Lee hasn’t lost since 2013 and is riding an eight-fight win streak.   May. 19th – King of The Cage: Battle Zone (Worley, Idaho) Alvin Robinson (15-9) vs. Daniel Swain (15-6-1) UFC veteran Robinson looks for back to back victories for the first time since 2010 when he takes on RFA veteran Swain. Robinson fought in the UFC from 2007-2008 competing against the likes of Kenny Florian, Jorge Gurgel and Nate Diaz. Swain heads into this matchup a winner of three of his last four fights. Wes Combs (20-6) vs. Tony Bonello (16-3-1)  42-year old Combs competes for the first time since 2013 when he takes on Australian fighter Bonello. Combs competed in the UFC in 2006 losing back to back bouts against Mike Nickels and Wilson Gouveia. He heads into this matchup winning four of his last five fights. Bonello meanwhile has lost two in a row and will be searching for his first win since 2010.   May. 19th – Tachi Palace Fights 27 Cody Gibson (13-6) vs. Rolando Velasco (13-3-1) Four-time UFC veteran Gibson aims to make it 2-0 since his UFC release when he takes on Last Stand Fight Team product Velasco. Gibson went 1-3 in the UFC defeating Johnny Bedford at UFC Fight Night 44 and suffering setbacks to Aljamain Sterling, Manny Gamburyan and Douglas Andrade. Velasco is riding a three-fight win streak including a victory over UFC veteran Jared Papazian last year. Jared Papazian (18-12 NC) vs. Alex Perez (13-3)  Former UFC bantamweight Papazian looks to get back on the winning track when he takes on 24-year old Perez. Papazian has gone 4-3 since his UFC release in 2012 and looks to avoid back to back losses for the third time in his career. Perez is coming off a loss to Adam Antolin at Tachi PF 25 last November, which snapped his 10-fight win streak.   May. 27th – KSW 35: Khalidov vs. Karaoglu (Gdańsk/Sopot, Poland) Kendall Grove (23-15) vs. Michal Materla (22-5)  UFC/Bellator veteran Grove looks to win three in a row for the first time since 2012 as he takes Materla in a rematch. Since Grove’s loss to Brandon Hasley at Bellator 137 last year, the TUF 3 winner has won back to back bouts over Joey Beltran and Francisco France. Materla lost the KSW middleweight title in his last bout, suffering a first round knockout loss to Mamed Khalidov at KSW 33 back in November. These two previously fought at KSW 23 back in 2013 where Materla won a unanimous decision.   May. 28th- Venator FC 3: Palhares vs. Meek (Milan, Italy) Rousimar Palhares (18-6) vs. Emil Weber Meek (7-2) Former WSOF welterweight champion Palhares looks for his fifth straight win when he takes on Norwegian fighter Meek. Palhares is currently under suspension in the United States for yet another submission attempt held on too late, this past time against Jake Shields. Meek has won back to back fights and has never been submitted in his career. Jason “Mayhem” Miller (24-9) vs. Luke Barnatt (10-3)  Strikeforce/UFC veteran Miller looks for his first win since 2010 when he takes on TUF 17 veteran Barnatt. The 35-year old Miller hasn’t competed since a 2012 unanimous decision loss to C.B Dolloway at UFC 146. Barnatt was released from the UFC in May 2015 and has since won two straight bouts – both by stoppage. Matt Hamill (11-6) vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (16-14) A pair of UFC veterans clash in a 205lb bout as TUF 3 contestant Hamill battles former Strikeforce fighter Sokoudjou. Hamill heads into this matchup off two straight losses to Thiago Silva and Vinny Magalhaes. The 39-year old deaf fighter will be searching for his first victory since 2012. Sokoudjou has lost back to back fights by knockout and has only won twice in his last seven bouts. Karl Amoussou (22-7-2) vs. Simeon Thorensen (17-6-1)  Former Bellator title challenger Amoussou looks to make it five wins in a row since his Bellator release when he takes on former UFC fighter Thorensen. The 30-year old French figther has won all of his matchups by first round submission in his recent winning streak. Thorensen will be looking for his first win since 2012 and heads into this matchup off four straight losses. Che Mills (16-8) vs. Roberto Rigamonti (4-2-1)  UFC veteran Mills takes on Italian fighter Rigamonti in a welterweight affair. Mills fought in the UFC from 2011 to 2013, defeating Chris Cope and Duane Ludwig, while losing to Rory MacDonald and earning a No Contest against Matt Riddle. After competing for his last three-bouts at middleweight, the 33-year old returns to 170-pounds for the first time since 2013. Rigamonti is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Peter Queally and looks for his first win since 2014. Cody McKenzie (15-9) vs. Daniele Scatizzi (6-2) Former UFC fighter McKenzie heads into this matchup off five straight losses, including a first round submission loss to Ryan Machan last month in Canada. Scatizzi is coming off back to back losses himself.   May. 28th – Global Warriors FC 3 (Brantford, Canada)  Jonathan Brookins (15-7) vs. Lyndon Whitlock (10-5)  TUF 12 winner Brookins looks for back to back wins for the first time since 2010 when he takes on Canadian Whitlock. Brookins competed in the UFC from 2010 to 2012, earning wins over Michael Johnson, Vagner Rocha and Cody Fuller, while losing to Erik Koch, Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier. Whitlock meanwhile has won three of his last four fights and is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Noah Ali at Hard Knocks 47.   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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