MMA is giving fans the night off on Saturday this weekend, but Friday will be a busy one. Titan FC 39 will be airing on UFC Fight Pass, while CES MMA 36 takes place on AXS TV. The bigger of the two cards is certainly Titan offering, which features a good mix of established veterans and up-and-coming prospects, as usual. The main event sits firmly in the former category, as Pat Healy and JZ Cavalcante vie for the vacant Titan lightweight title. Healy was stripped of the title after failing to make weight for his last bout against Rick Hawn. He went on to lose a split decision, so he would have lost the belt regardless, and the promotion was able to avoid a messy situation for a little while. Following his title victory, Hawn announced his retirement from MMA, vacating the title he’d just won. Now Titan has a bit of a predicament with Healy: He’s coming off of a loss in a title fight where he missed weight, but their dearth of contenders at 155 means he’s right back in a title fight. Cavalcante’s recent form isn’t much better. Contract disputes between Titan and WSOF have kept him out of action since September 2014, and even that fight was against an unknown named Gele Qing in Chinese promotion Kungfu Union. Prior to that, the man who was formerly considered a top 5 lightweight had a pedestrian 2-2 record in WSOF. As has become customary for Titan, there is more than one title fight on the card. Titan FC 39 actually has three. The second is for the featherweight belt, as Andre Harrison looks to keep his undefeated record intact and defend his title for the third time. His opponent will be Deivison Ribeiro, a Brazilian striker in the midst of a four-fight winning streak. Finally, the Titan welterweight title will find a home as well. A pair of UFC vets square off for that honor in their Titan FC debuts. Dhiego Lima and David Michaud have each rebounded with a win on AXS TV (RFA and Legacy, respectively) since being released from the UFC. Now they have a chance to put themselves on the short list of fighters to get back into the promotion by holding a Titan belt. Outside of the title bouts, Titan FC 39 features some notable fighters such as Kurt Holobaugh and Micah Miller. Also, Alexis Vila has to be the oldest fighter to compete in any sort of high-level flyweight fight, as he takes on Abdiel Velazquez at age 45. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for Titan FC 39 today at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Check them out: ——————– TITAN FC 39 Friday, June 10th UFC Fight Pass, 7pm ET
——————– Brad’s Analysis: Pat Healy is still insanely tough to finish, and has good cardio. Against an inactive, presumably injured (in some form) JZ who hardly even resembles a shell of what he once was, that should be enough on its own. It’s unfortunate that JZ never got a chance to fight in North America before all of his injuries piled up. Back in 2007 he looked like he could give any lightweight in the world problems, then a couple of losses followed by consecutive year-long injury breaks simply ruined him. He’s certainly more talented than Healy, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win a round, or two, but for him to hold up for 25 minutes would be surprising. Perhaps with Healy hitting a decline in his career, Cavalcante could shock him early, but that’s the only way I can see him winning. If Andre Harrison were to come out and strike with Deivison Ribeiro, he might be in trouble. However, Harrison is not going to do that. He’s going to get takedowns and likely fight the full 25 minutes for a fourth straight fight. There’s a reason that Harrison is likely to end up one of Titan’s longest reigning champions despite perhaps being the best fighter on their roster. He’s simply not fun to watch. Effective, but not going to bring eyeballs in or keep them engaged. Betting against Dhiego Lima has been a profitable endeavour since he came into the UFC. While Lima rebounded with a win over a solid prospect in Antonio Trocoli in his last outing, I might have to get back on board the fade train again here. I don’t see Lima getting rid of Michaud, which means he either has to outwrestle a wrestler for the better part of 25 minutes, or stand for 25 minutes and not get clipped. I don’t see either of those outcomes being particularly likely, so I’m siding with Michaud here. Kurt Holobaugh is still very good, and Luciano dos Santos is just a guy who has traveled various regional scenes winning a few more than he’s lost. Holobaugh will makes this fight closer than it needs to be by not going to his grappling early, but he should still win comfortably. At the time that he fought them, the combined record of Kenny Gaudreau’s wins in MMA is 9-32. All of Micah Miller’s career losses have come to fighters who have a minimum of 9 wins. There’s a bit of a disparity here in terms of competition level. The only things Gaudreau has going for him here are his size, and the fact that Miller has been out for nearly two years. I guess Miller’s brother Cole looked like complete crap last weekend too, so maybe if Micah has been training alongside him he could be in store for a letdown performance too. Basically what I’m saying here is, don’t trust a Miller brother, and don’t trust the other guy. Maybe just sit this one out. Alexis Vila is fighting someone less than half his age, because Alexis Vila is a crazy, crazy man. If Dan Henderson was tiny, Cuban, and psychotic, he’d be Alexis Vila. Vila is coming off more than a year away, and just got stopped by strikes for the first time in his last fight. As much as you’d expect a 45-year-old flyweight to be completely done, I actually think he’s got a decent shot here. Velazquez isn’t a heavy hitter, doesn’t start out quickly, and Vila has a massive wrestling advantage. Hell, I might even bet the old man when I see that plus sign beside his name. Carina Damm’s recent record looks alright (she’s won 5 of her last 7), but she’s drastically reduced her level of competition. If we’re being honest, she’s been declining for a couple years now. Now 37, and yet another fighter with more than a year out of action, I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Damm fall to Sarah Alpar. If we get one of those ‘name recognition’ lines, where the public bets Damm because they know her and haven’t heard of Alpar, I’ll probably take a shot the other way.