Mixed Martial Arts Veteran Watch: June 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 June 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 3rd –  Absolute Championship Berkut 40: Battleground (Krasnodar, Russia) Jesse Taylor (29-13) vs. Aslambek Saidov (18-4) TUF 7 finalist Taylor looks to get back on the winning track as he takes on KSW veteran Saidov. Taylor has gone 2-3 in his last five bouts with all of those losses coming by way of submission. Saidov meanwhile heads into this contest off three-straight wins.   June 3rd –  Shamrock FC: Explosion (St Louis, Missouri) Adam Celia (6-5) vs. Kyle Kurtz (5-2)  TUF 17 contestant Celia looks for his first win since 2014 when he takes on Kurtz. Celia is perhaps unfairly known for getting knocked out on The Ultimate Fighter by Uriah Hall in highlight reel fashion. The 30-year old has won just twice since 2013. Kurtz meanwhile is coming off his second loss in his last three fights, including a knockout loss to Kevin Engel this past March.   June 3rd – Final Fight Championship 24: Parisyan vs. Ardas ( Daytona Beach, Florida) Karo Parisyan (24-11) vs. Arda Ardas (6-2) UFC/Bellator veteran Parisyan competes for the first time since October 2014 when he takes on Turkish fighter Ardas. Parisyan last competed for Bellator where he went 2-2 with the organization earning wins over Phil Baroni and Ron Keslar, while losing to Rick Hawn and Fernando Gonzalez. His 24-year old opponent heads into this matchup off back to back victories and has never been finished in his eight-fight career. Matt Van Buren (7-4) vs. Jeremy Kimball (12-5)  TUF 19 finalist Van Buren looks for his first two-fight win streak since 2011 when he takes on RFA veteran Kimball. After losing bouts in the UFC to Corey Anderson and Sean O’Connell, Van Buren rebounded with a submission win over Derrick Weaver at Elite Warrior Challenge 9 this past February.  Kimball meanwhile comes into this bout off back to back wins after losing to Chris Camozzi back in November 2014. Danillo Villefort (14-5) vs. Pavel Doroftei (16-3)  One time UFC veteran Villefort competes for the first time since 2013 when he takes on Doroftei. Villefort hasn’t competed since a 2013 unanimous decision defeat to Dave Branch at WSOF 5 and he’s currently 2-2 in his last four fights. Doroftei meanwhile has won eight of his last nine fights with all of those victories coming by way of stoppage.   June 3rd – RFA 38: Moises vs. Chavez (Costa Mesa, California) Christos Giagos (11-5) vs. Karen Darabedyan (12-5)  UFC veteran Giagos looks to snap a two-fight losing streak when he takes on WEC vet Darabedyan. Giagos Went 1-2 in the UFC earning a victory over Jorge de Oliveira and losing to Gilbert Burns and Chris Wade. He’s currnetly 1-3 in his last four fights. Darabedyan competes for the third time this year and is currently riding a three-fight win streak.   June 4th – GOTC MMA 21 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) Chris Dempsey (11-4) vs. Adam Hunter (6-1)  Dempsey competes for the first time since his UFC release and takes on Canadian Hunter. Dempsey went 1-3 in the UFC with his lone win coming in the form of a split decision over Eddie Gordon at UFC on FOX 15 last year. Hunter is coming off a third round knockout victory over Bruno Lurette and competes in the U.S. for the first time in his career. Dan Spohn (12-5) vs. Jamelle Jones (6-2)  TUF 18 contestant Spohn looks to get back on the winning track when he battles Bellator vet Jones. Spohn last competed in the Canadian Hard Knocks promotion where he lost a unanimous decision to Rodney Wallace. The loss snapped his four-fight win streak. Jones is coming into this fight off four-straight wins.   June 4th – Scandinavian Fight Nights 1 (Solna, Sweden) David Bielkheden (21-12) vs. Daniel Acacio (30-18) UFC vet Bielkheden looks for his fifth straight win when he takes on Brazilian Acacio. The Swede last saw action at Superior Challenge 12 last year where he earned a unanimous decision over Cody McKenzie. Acacio meanwhile has lost five in a row and will be looking for his first win since 2013.   June 4th – KOTC: Wipeout (Lincoln City, Oregon) Fabiano Scherner (10-10) vs. DJ Linderman (19-10)  Former UFC fighter Scherner competes for the first time since  2012 as he takes on WSOF/Bellator veteran Linderman. Scherner fought twicei nthe UFC from 2005-2006 losing two straight fights to Brandon Vera and Gabriel Gonzaga. The Brazilian fought four times in 2012, going 2-2 and hasn’t fought since. Linderman is coming off a split decision loss to Josh Copeland at Prize FC 12 back in November which snapped his three-fight winning streak.   June 4th – Cage Warriors 76 (Newport, Wales, UK)  Andreas Stahl (9-2) vs. Lewis Long (12-3)  Stahl competes for the first time since his UFC release when he takes on hometown favourite long. Stahl’s two career losses both came in the UFC as he came up short against Gilbert Burns and Santiago Ponzinibbio. Long heads into this matchup on a five-fight win streak.   June 10th – CES 36 (Lincoln, Rhode Island) Matt Bessette (18-7) vs. Jairo Soares (17-10) Bellator veteran Bessette looks for his fourth win in a row when he takes on Brazilian Soares. Since losing to Lenny Wheeler last year at CES 30, the 31-year old has won three fights in a row all by stoppage. Soares meanwhile has won three of his last four bouts and makes his North American debut.   June 10th – Final Fight Championship 25: Staring vs. Stosic (Springfield, Massachusetts) David Mitchell (19-6) vs. Leo Leite (7-0)  UFC veteran Mitchell aims to snap a two-fight skid when he battles undefeated Brazilian Leite. Mitchell fought in the UFC from 2010 to 2013 going 1-4 with the Las Vegas based promotion. Folowing his UFC release he amassed eight straight wins, before losing back to back fights in his last two bouts. Leite is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Ryan Spann and has won four of his seven victories by way of stoppage. Anthony Njokuani (17-11) vs. Leonardo Mafra (12-3)  A pair of UFC veterans clash in a lightweight affair as Njokuani battles Mafra. The 36-year old Texas native has had a rough stretch losing four straight fights and will be looking for his first win since 2013. Mafra meanwhile competes for the first time since his UFC release last year and is coming off a knockout loss to Stevie Ray at UFC Fight Night 72.   June 10th – BAMMA Badbeat 20 (Commerce, California)  Chris Saunders (15-7) vs. Chris Culley (19-13)  TUF 15 competitor Saunders takes on Millennia MMA product Culley. Saunders earned wins over Chase Hackett and Sam Sicilla on The Ultimate Fighter, but lost to Myles Jury at the TUF 15 finale back in 2012. The 30-year old heads into this matchup on a four-fight win streak. Culley meanwhile is 2-2 in his last four bouts and looks for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2013.   June 12th- Pancrase 278 (Tokyo, Japan) Hatsu Hioki (28-9-2) vs. Yojiro Uchimura (13-7-3)  UFC vet Hioki looks for his second straight victory when he takes on fellow countryman Uchimura. After losing two-straight fights in the UFC to Charles Oliveira and Daniel Hooker, the Japanese fighter was released from the UFC but recently picked up a win over Kyosuke Yokoyama back in January. Uchimura meanwhile heads into this matchup off back to back victories. Nazareno Malegarie (30-4) vs. Hiroyuki Takaya (21-11-2)  UFC/Bellator veteran Malegaire looks to make in two wins in a row when he takes on DREAM/Strikeforce veteran Takaya. Malegaire only fought once in the UFC and lost a split decision to  Joaquim Silva at UFC 191 last September. He rebounded with a first round submission victory over Iramar Frota at Aspera FC 34 last month. Takaya is unbeaten in his last five-fights and hasn’t lost a matchup since a 2013 loss to Daniel Romero.   June 16th- M-1 Challenge 68 (St. Petersburg, Russia) Alexander Shlemenko (52-9 – NC) vs. Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (28-4)  Former Bellator middleweight champion Shlemenko looks for his second straight win when he battles Vasilevsky in a rematch. After testing positive for performance enchaining drugs in his win over Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 133 last year, Shlemeko rebounded with a majority decision victory over Vasilevsky at M-1 Challenge 64. Alexander Volkov (25-6) vs. Attila Vegh (29-6-2)  A pair of former Bellator champions clash in the co-main event as Volkov takes on Vegh in a heavyweight affair. After losing two straight fights in Bellator, Volkov rebounded with a win over Denis Smoldarev at M-1 Challenge 64. Vegh moves up to heavyweight for this matchup and is coming off two straight losses to Emanuel Newton and Goran Reljic.   June 17th- Fight Nights Global 50 (St. Petersburg, Russia) Fedor Emelianenko (35-4) vs. Fábio Maldonado (22-9) MMA legend Emelianenko competes for just the second time since 2013 when he takes on former UFC light heavyweight Maldonado. The former PRIDE heavyweight champion came out of retirement and earned a first round submission victory Jaideep Singh at RIZIN FC 1 back in December. The 39-year old heads into this matchup off four-straight wins. Maldonado competes for the first time since his UFC release last year and will be looking for his first win since 2014.   June 17th- EFC Worldside 50 (Sun City, South Africa) Ruan Potts (8-6) vs. Vandam Mbuyi (3-3)  Former UFC heavyweight Potts looks to get back on the winning track when he battles Mbuyi. Potts has lost five-straight fights and will be looking for his first win since 2013. Mbuyi will also be looking for his first win since 2013 and heads into this matchup off three-straight losses.   June 18th- Australian FC 16 (Melbourne, Australia) Ben Wall (8-4-1) vs. Rob Hill (13-9-1)  Two time UFC veteran Wall looks for back to back wins for the first time since 2013 when he battles fellow Aussie Hill. Wall got back in the win column in his last fight at Australian FC 15, earning a third round submission victory back in March. Hill heads into this bout off two-straight wins and prior to that, he lost four in a row.   June 24th- Hex Fight Series 6 (Melbourne, Australia) Brian Ebersole (51-17-1) vs. Steven Kennedy (22-8-0)  A pair of UFC veterans duke it out in the main event of this card as 69-fight vet Ebersole battles Kennedy. Ebersole has only fought three times since 2013 and is 1-2 in that stretch. He’s coming off a TKO injury loss to  Omari Akhmedov at UFC Fight Night 68. The 35-year old will be looking for his first win since 2014. Kennedy is coming off a loss to Richard Walsh at UFC 193 and heads into this matchup off two straight losses.   June 24th- Legacy FC 56: Vazquez vs. Peterson (Dallas, Texas)  Edwin Figueroa (9-4) vs. Levi Mowles (3-0)  Bantamweight Figueroa competes for the first time since his UFC release when he takes on 20-year old Mowles. Figueroa lost all three of his bouts in the UFC, suffering setbacks to Francisco Rivera, Roland Delorme and Erik Perez. The 31-year old competes for the first time since 2013 and will be moving up to the featherweight division. Mowles has won two of his three fights by stoppage and competes for the second time this year.   June 25th- M4TC 21: Supremacy (Tyne and Wear, England)  Colin Fletcher (12-6) vs. John Maguire (22-8) UFC veterans collide when Fletcher battles Macguire in a welterweight affair. Since his UFC release in 2013, Fletcher has gone 4-3, with his last bout ending in a loss via Disqualification against Walter Gahadza at BAMMA 25 this past May. Macguire meanwhile has gone 4-2 since his UFC release and heads into this matchup on a three-fight win streak.   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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