Mixed Martial Arts Veteran Watch: July 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.   July 2nd –  Road FC 32 (Hunan, China) Bob Sapp (11-18-1) vs. Aorigele (2-3)  PRIDE veteran Sapp takes on 21-year old Chinese fighter Aorigele. The 43-year old American comes into this bout on a 12-fight losing streak and he’ll be looking for his first win since 2010.  Aorigele heads into this matchup off back-to-back losses.   July 2nd – ONE Championship: Dynasty of Champions (Anhui, China) Roger Huerta (22-8-1) vs. Ariel Sexton (10-3)  UFC veteran Huerta looks to get back on the winning track when he takes on Canadian Sexton. Huerta has fought just twice since 2013, going 1-1 with an impressive TKO victory over Christian Holley at ONE FC 19 and losing a via decusion to Koji Ando in his last fight at ONE Championship: Odyssey of Champions. Sexton has gone 4-1 in his last five fights with all of those victories coming by way of finish. Like Huerta, he fights for the first time this year.   July 8th – Island Fights 38 (Pensacola, Florida) Keon Caldwell (10-3) vs. Elvin Leon Brito (9-2)  WSOF vet Caldwell looks to get back on the winning track as he battles 30-year old Brito. The 26-year old went 0-2 in WSOF, losing back to back bouts against Nick Newell and most recently Ozzy Dugulubgov. Brito heads into this matchup off back-to-back wins.   July 9th – CFFC 59 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Nah-Shon Burrell (14-6) vs. Tim Williams (12-3) UFC/Bellator veteran Burrell takes on TUF 17 and TUF 19 competitor Williams in the main event. Burrell heads into this matchup off three-straight wins and has only lost once in his last five bouts. Williams is coming off back-to-back victories and will look to make it three in a row for the first time since 2012.   July 15th – Absolute Championship Berkut 41: The Path to Triumph (Sochi, Russia) Paul Buentello (35-16) vs. Denis Goltsov (17-4)  Former UFC heavyweight title contender Buentello for his first three-fight win streak since 2013 when he takes on 26-year old Goltsov. The 42-year old American is coming off back-to-back knockout victories over Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Eric Prindle. Meanwhile Goltsov has won 12-fights in a row and hasn’t lost a matchup since 2012. Tim Hague (21-12) vs. Michał Andryszak (16-6) UFC veteran Hague looks to make it two in a row when he takes on 24-year old Andryszak. After losing three-straight fights by knockout last year, Hague bounced back with a fourth round TKO victory over UFC vet Kalib Starnes. Andryszak has won back-to-back fights and has lost just once in last five fights. Mike Wilkinson (9-2) vs. Soso Nizharadze (2-2)  Fresh off his UFC release earlier this year, Wilkinson looks to get back on the winning track against Nizharadze. Wilkinson went 2-2 in the UFC, defeating Brendan Loughnane and Niklas Bäckström, while falling short to Rony Jason and most recently Makwan Amirkhani at UFC Fight Night 84. Nizharadze made his pro debut last year and is coming off a unanimous decision victory over George Kechagias this past May.   July 15th – RFA 40 (Prior Lake, Minnesota) Chico Camus (15-7) vs. Czar Sklavos (12-4)  UFC veteran Camus looks for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2012 when he battles 34-year old Sklavos. After losing two straight fights in the UFC against Henry Cejudo and Kyoji Horiguchi (which prompted his release from the UFC), Camus rebounded with a unanimous decision victory over Matt Brown at RFA 39 this past March. Sklavos meanwhile has won five of his last six fights.   July 22nd – Legacy FC 58 (Lake Charles, Louisiana) Robert Drysdale (6-0 NC) vs. Ryan Spann (9-2)  One time UFC veteran Drystale looks to keep undefeated record in tact when he takes on 24-year old Span. Drysdale was released from the UFC for a second failed drug test and his promotional debut at the TUF 19 Finale against Keith Berish turned into a “No Contest.” The 34-year old will be competing for the first time since that fight, which took place in 2014. Spann competes for the second time in his career at light heavyweight. He’s coming off a first round submission victory over Aaron Davis at Legacy FC 52.   July 23rd – KOTC: Destructive Intent (Washington, Pennsylvania) Charles Bennett (29-30-2) vs. Francis Healy (6-3)  PRIDE/Elite XC vet Bennett competes for the fifth time this year when he takes on 26-year old Healy. Since returning to MMA after a three year layoff, Bennett has gone 3-2 and is coming of a first round submission victory over Paul Rodriguez at Battleground: Mundell vs. Perry back in May. Healy heads into this matchup off back-to-back victories and will be looking for the first three-fight win streak of his career.   July 24th- Pancrase 279 (Tokyo, Japan) Yushin Okami (31-10) vs. Shingo Suzuki (13-9) Former UFC title challenger Okami looks for his first two-fight win streak since 2013 when he takes on Pancrase vet Suzuki. After going 2-2 in WSOF with losses to Dave Branch and Jon Fitch, Okami rebounded with a second round TKO victory over Ryuta Sakurai at DEEP 75 Impact. He competes for Pancrase for the first time since 2004. Meanwhile Suzuki heads into this matchup off a fourth round TKO loss to Akihiro Murayama at Pancrase 276, which snapped his three-fight win streak. Jonathan Brookins (15-7) vs. Shintaro Ishiwatari (20-6-4)  UFC veteran Brookins competes for the first time since 2014 when he takes on bantamweight champion Ishiwatari in a rematch. Brookins was slated to compete last month up in Canada at Global Warriors FC 3 against Lyndon Whitlock, however that entire card got moved to June 24th. The last time he fought was against Ishiwatari  at Pancrase 262, where he earned a unanimous decision victory. Ishiwatari heads into this matchup off back-to-back victories. Yuki Kondo (59-30-9) vs. Akihiro Takanabe (1-1)  PRIDE/UFC veteran Kondo looks to make it two wins in a row for the first time since 2014, when he battles fellow Japanese fighter Takanabe. Kondo fought three times for the UFC going 1-2 with a win over Alexandre Dantas (UFC 27) and two losses to Tito Ortiz (UFC 29) and Vladimir Matyushenko (UFC 32). Takanabe made his pro debut in 2013 and has only competed twice in his career since then. He’s coming off a unanimous decision victory over Kazuma Maruyama at Pancrase 274. Rin Nakai (16-2-1) vs. Raika Emiko (2-3)  Nakai competes for the first time since her UFC release as she takes on 41-year old Emiko. Nakai went 0-2 in the UFC with losses to Miesha Tate and Leslie Smith. Emiko is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Brogan Walker at PXC 50 last year, which snapped her three-fight unbeaten streak.   July 30th – Premier FC 20 (Springfield, Massachusetts) Ricardo Funch (9-5) vs. Matt Secor (7-3)  Former UFC welterweight Funch battles Bellator/WSOF veteran Secor in a 170-pound showdown. Funch has only fought twice since 2013 and is currently 1-3 in his last four fights. Secor  heads into this matchup off a unanimous decision loss to Chris Honeycutt at Bellator 153, which snapped a three-fight winning 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

Leave a Reply

Live Dogs for UFC 200

UFC 202 Shapes Up with 10 Scheduled Bouts