The anticipation for UFC 200 has created a lot of buzz in the MMA world, and there is no shortage of fighters seeking a spot in that legendary card. However, there are a lot of interesting fights scheduled before July’s UFC 200. The most notable ones being Jones vs Cormier II, Weidman vs Rockhold II, Faber vs Cruz III, among others. All of those fights are amazing in their own right, and so are the cards for UFC 197 and 199. The problem is that the best card prior to UFC 200 just might be 198, and there is not a whole lot of people talking about it. The card is full of fresh, exciting, and fan friendly fights involving some of the biggest mixed martial arts fighters of all time. The event is scheduled to take place May 14th in Curitiba, Brazil. In addition to the great fights, the event will be held at Arena da Baixada, which will be the first UFC stadium event in Brazil. 

The undercard will likely have some main card worthy fights, such as Cris Cyborg’s UFC debut, and hot prospect Warlley Alves taking on Bryan Barberena. Rumors of Cyborg’s potential UFC debut have been thrown around quite a bit over the past few years. The speculation is over as she has been added to UFC 198 to fight Leslie Smith at a catchweight of 140 pounds. The anticipated match up with Ronda Rousey will not happen at her debut, but it is a huge step towards that potential fight. Cyborg has dominated Invicta FC’s featherweight division, and hopes to shake up women’s MMA in the UFC. Smith fought recently at UFC Fight Night Hunt vs Mir, and beat Rin Nakai via unanimous decision.  

On the other hand, the undefeated top prospect Warlley Alves is looking to move up the rankings in the very tough Welterweight division. Alves has finished his last two fights by submission both being guillotines, including the first round stoppage of Colby Covington at UFC 194. The talent of Alves is undeniable, but can he make some noise in one of the most stacked divisions. Bryan Barberena is no stranger to undefeated hot prospects, since his last fight was against Sage Northcutt. Barberena pulled a big upset against Northcutt, by submitting the young phenom in the second round. The question is can he do it again, or is Alves too skilled? 

Things get very interesting in the main card with important fights like Demian Maia vs Matt Brown, Anderson Silva vs Uriah Hall, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs Vitor Belfort, and the heavyweight championship bout between Stipe Miocic and Fabricio Werdum. As mentioned before, the Welterweight division is super deep with talented young fighters as well as tough and skilled veterans. A clash of top ten ranked veterans could have title shot implications, as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu wizard Demian Maia faces “The Immortal” Matt Brown. Brown has gone the distance against the last two Welterweight champions in the past, and he is looking to build on his latest submission win over Tim Means. He has a very tough task in the form of Maia, and this should be a very entertaining fight to watch. The winner will likely enter the top five and put himself in the position of fighting for a shot at UFC gold. 

If you enjoy striking battles, then you should love the matchup between Uriah Hall and Anderson Silva. It might be safe to say that nobody is shooting for a takedown in this on, but you just might see a knockout of the year candidate. Both fighters are coming off disappointing losses, but they are still top ten in the Middleweight division. The winner would take a step closer to a shot at the winner of  UFC 199’s main event, and most likely a spot in the top five. The fight should be very fan friendly and thrilling from start to finish, so make sure you don’t blink during this one.

The next fight has even more influence on the Middleweight division, as it should definitely provide the next number one contender. The number two ranked middleweight “Jacare” Souza will meet number three ranked Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort in the co-main event. Two guys with major knockout power, so this could easily be a quick one. There is nobody currently at middleweight or maybe even the entire UFC roster who has better Brazillian Jiu Jitsu than Souza, so If the fight goes to the ground he will certainly have the advantage. Souza lost his last fight to Yoel Romero in a very controversial fight, but he is looking to finally get that shot at the belt. Vitor’s last fight was a first round KO of Dan Henderson, and he hopes to get a rematch against either Weidman or Rockhold.

The main event is the Heavyweight championship of the world, as Fabricio Werdum defends his title for the first time against Stipe Miocic. Werdum was scheduled to fight Cain Velasquez in a rematch earlier this year, but Cain suffered a back injury. The UFC offered Miocic as a replacement to Werdum, but the champ was also injured. Nonetheless, they will fight in May and it should be a great fight between two warriors. Both men are very well trained and they can hit, so this could also be a quick fight as are most Heavyweight bouts. Fabricio’s tremendous ground game could be the x factor in this matchup, but it is not a grappling match so anything could happen. Two of the baddest men on the planet fighting for glory is a great way to close out an amazing card of fights. It is a great time to be an MMA fan, and the future looks very bright for the sport. 

Joao V. Gomes

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

Two UFC veterans will do battle in the WSOF 30 main event when current WSOF Middleweight and Light heavyweight champion David Branch (17-3) attempts to defend his 185lb title against Clifford Starks (13-2). The event takes place April 2nd in Las Vegas, Nevada.

David Branch was never able to make it to the top in the UFC, however at his new home, the World Series of Fighting, the 34 year-old American seems to have finally found his groove. He is the reigning WSOF Middleweight and Light Heavyweight champion. He’s currently riding a seven fight win streak, all of them have come under the WSOF banner. Branch has finished his past four opponents so Clifford Starks will need to be at his best on April 2nd.

Clifford Starks only has two losses on his professional MMA record, and both of those losses were in the UFC against Yoel Romero and Ed Herman. Outside of the UFC he’s perfect, including a five fight winning streak which has landed him in the title fight opposite David Branch.  Where Branch is able to end the fight anywhere, Starks will need to rely on a strong wrestling game to grind out his opponent.

WSOF 30 airs April 2nd on NBCSN, the prelims begin at 8pm ET and the main card has a later than usual start time at 11:30pm ET.  The co-main event is for the vacant WSOF welterweight title when Jon Fitch meets Joao Zeferino.  For more coverage of WSOF 30 and everything MMA keep checking back with Pro Fighting Fans.

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Editor/Writer

 

Anderson Silva (33-7) will continue to search for a career resurgence as it’s expected to be announced that he’ll be meeting former TUF Finalist Uriah Hall (12-6) at UFC 198 on May 14th.  The matchup has the potential for some violent fireworks, it really depends on which version of each man shows up in Brazil.

Silva returned to action for the first time in over a year this past February when he headlined a UFC Fight Pass event against longtime UFC middleweight Michael “The Count” Bisping. Despite hurting Bisping on multiple occasions and coming very close to a finish, Silva ultimately lost a judge’s decision to the Brit.  Thanks to a failed drug test against Nick Diaz last January, Silva has now gone winless since a 2012 victory over Stephan Bonnar.  Anderson proved against Bisping that he can still fight at a high level and is capable of ending it in a matter of seconds.

In Uriah Hall, Anderson Silva is facing a man that at times can be the scariest dude on the planet, and at other times he’s a nervous wreck. No one will ever forget his spinning heel kick knockout of Adam Cella on TUF 17, or his recent finish over veteran Gegard Mousasi.  But since joining the UFC, Hall has also had some pretty lackluster performances against the likes of Kelvin Gastulem and John Howard.  Uriah is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Robert Whittaker this past November, it was Hall’s 3rd fight in as many months.  Now that he’s had a bit of time off it’ll be interesting to see if he can return to old form against such a big star, Anderson Silva.

UFC 198 will take place at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil with a heavyweight championship main event. Fabricio Werdum will defend his title against top contender Stipe Miocic, also on the card, welterweight contenders Matt Brown and Demian Maia will do battle.  The main card will be presented on pay-per-view.  For more coverage of UFC 198 and everything MMA keep checking in with Pro Fighting Fans.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

 

 

Over the weekend UFC officials announced several fights that will be a part of UFC Fight Night 88, which takes place May 29th, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao is making the move up to the featherweight division and his first assignment is not an easy one.  He’ll be facing off against Jeremy Stephens.

A former lightweight, Stephens will be making his 8th appearance as a featherweight and is a big power puncher.  He’s had mix results at 145lbs, going 4-3 since dropping down but he still remains a tough out for anyone.  “Lil’ Heathen” has good takedown defense and is usually able to keep his fights standing.  Over the course of his career he’s had notable victories over Rafael dos Anjos, Sam Stout and more recently Dennis Bermudez.  However he is on a 1-3 stretch and in desperate need of a win.

Renan Barao was once the most feared bantamweight in the world. His reign of destruction included wins over Michael McDonald, Eddie Wineland and he’s twice defeated Urijah Faber.  Barao first beat Faber at UFC 149 and won the interim bantamweight championship.  After multiple injuries to then champion Dominick Cruz, the UFC made Barao the official bantamweight champion.  He defended the title three times but after losing to TJ Dillashaw in 2014 he’s seemed to have lost a step.  Jeremy Stephens is going to be a really good test for Barao to see where he stands in the featherweight division.

Barao vs. Stephens will likely be part of the main card for UFC Fight Night 88 taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 29th, 2016.  The main event features a bantamweight clash between rising stars Cody Garbrandt and Thomas Almeida.  Broadcasting information is not yet available.  Keep checking back with profightingfans.com for more updates.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Over the weekend UFC officials announced that a bantamweight bout between Thomas Almeida and Cody Garbrandt will be headlining UFC Fight Night 88. The event is set to take place May 29th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The winner of this fight could find themselves in a bantamweight title fight before the end of 2016. They both have perfect records, Almeida is 20-0 while Grabrandt is 8-0, so someone will be tasting defeat for the first time.

It will be Almeida’s fifth fight in the UFC and he has wins over veterans Yves Jabouin and Brad Pickett. In the fight with Pickett, Almeida had to survive an early barrage before he was able to get the TKO in the 2nd round by flying knee.  He’s a very dangerous striker and possibly the best prospect in the UFC’s 135lb division.

Garbrandt is coming off his third straight UFC win and eight overall. He was supposed to face John Lineker in his last fight but the Brazilian dropped out at the last minute due to injury.  Instead Garbrandt faced UFC newcomer Augusto Mendes and he got the win in the first round by TKO.  He trains with Team Alpha Male, led by bantamweight title challenger Urijah Faber, so Garbrandt is definitely well rounded and would be a tough fight for Thomas Almeida.

Along with the main event several other bouts have been announced for the UFC Fight Night 88 card, including, Renan Barao vs. Jeremy Stephens at featherweight, Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rick Story and Lorenz Larkin vs. Jorge Masvidal. It looks like a stacked card, for more coverage of this fight card and everything UFC, check out profightingfans.com.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Despite having only fought twice in the welterweight division, it’s the 170lb title that Benson Henderson will be challenging for when he makes his Bellator debut on April 22nd at Bellator 153.  When Henderson announced he had signed with Bellator many expected he would get an immediate title shot, it was just a matter of what division he would be fighting in.  Now we know its Andrey Koreshkov’s welterweight title that will be on the line.

Henderson joins Bellator riding high on a two fight winning streak. He defeated Jorge Masvidal and Brandon Thatch in his last two fights as a member of the UFC.  Before that he was on the first two fight losing streak of his career.  He dropped a decision to Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 59 and was knocked out by current UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 49 in August of 2014.  On April 22nd Henderson will look to add another title to his resume as he is a former WEC and UFC lightweight champion.

Bellator welterweight champ Andrey Koreshkov won the vacant title at Bellator 140 when he took a unanimous decision from Douglas Lima. It was the second time he’d fought for the Bellator welterweight title.  He lost a decision to former champ Ben Askren in 2013.  Koreshkov is also the Bellator Season 10 Welterweight winner.  The champ only fought once in 2015, the title fight against Lima, and will have a tough task in front of him upon his return to the cage.

Bellator 153 is scheduled to take place April 22nd, 2016 at The Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut and will air live on Spike TV.  Other matchups for the card are expected to be announced in the coming days.  Keep checking back with Pro Fighting Fans for more coverage on all things MMA.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Well, it is official that Scott Coker and Bellator are in the hunt for free agents! Not just washed up veterans either, we’re talking still relevant contenders.  That became quite clear when Benson Henderson announced yesterday that he has signed with the Viacom owned company.

This is Bellator’s first major free agent signing since the UFC teamed up with Reebok in 2015, a move that took a lot of money out of the pockets of fighters in regards to sponsorships. Bellator doesn’t have any such partnership and fighters are free to have their own sponsors.  It wouldn’t be shocking if other fighters start following Benson’s footsteps.

Money may have something to do with Henderson’s decision, but the fact that he could be a major focal point for Bellator’s 155lb and 170lb divisions is just as big of a deal. It is quite possible that within the next year “Smooth” could hold either one of those titles and be on his way to a long and illustrious reign as champion.

The former UFC lightweight champion has two straight victories over Brandon Thatch and Jorge Masvidal. Both were at welterweight and both were short notice matchups.  It was the perfect way for Henderson to end his UFC contract, riding high on a winning streak never hurts contract negotiations.

An opponent for Benson Henderson’s Bellator debut has yet to be announced, but expect it to be a high profile fight. For more updates on this situation and all things MMA keep checking back with profightingfans.com.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

The last time we saw Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0) inside the octagon he was manhandling current UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. That was way back in April 2014, but it seems as though MMA fans won’t have to wait much longer for his return.

Nurmagomedov made it official on Twitter that he is signed once more to fight fellow top contender Tony Ferguson (20-3). The two men were supposed to face off this past December at the TUF 22 Finale.  Unfortunately Nurmagomedov had to pull out of that bout with yet another injury.  Ferguson of course went on to fight Edson Barboza and won by submission in the second round.

Overall Ferguson has won seven straight and has only suffered one defeat in his past fifteen fights. The only loss came at the hands of Michael Johnson in 2012.  The two were ready for a rematch later this year before Johnson became injured.  It’s probably the best scenario for Tony Ferguson, because the fight with Nurmagomedov will most certainly be a 5 round title eliminator.  The winner will face off against the winner of UFC 196’s main event between Conor McGregor and Rafael Dos Anjos.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is looking to hold on to his perfect professional MMA record and finally get the title shot that has eluded him for some time. Getting past Ferguson will be no easy task and the Russian will need to shake off the cage rust early if he wants a shot at gold.  When he is healthy he is one of the best fighters in the world, his stellar grappling makes him a tough fight for anyone at 155lbs.

Hopefully the UFC will make this official in the next few days but as long as they do this just became one of the biggest fights of 2016 so far! For continued coverage on UFC on FOX 19 and other MMA events keep checking back with Profightingfans.com

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Sao Paulo Brazil (March 24, 2014) – XFC International returns to Sao Paulo with world class fighters and match ups. Athletes from Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia will face each other in the XFC Hexagon in the third installment of the XFC International Latin American tournament. XFCI 3 will take place live from Sao Paulo Brazil, on March 29, 2014 at 00:30am Brasilia time/ 11:30pm Eastern Standard time on REDE TV and will be streamed live Worldwide on XFCMMA.com

XFC International President Myron Molotky commented “MMA fans worldwide will witness the rise of new champions in XFCi 3 with the start of the men’s middleweight and women’s strawweight Latin American tournament on Rede TV!”

The Main Event SuperFight features Brazil vs. Mexico, when Brazilian XFC contender Luis “Sapo” Santos steps into the XFC hexagon against top contender Alfredo “Tsunami” Morales from Mexico in a three -round, welterweight bout when XFC International returns to Live TV on REDETV. This is Luis “Sapo” Santos first fight in Brazil since XFC 25…Sapo is on a 4 fight winning streak. In the Co-Main Event, contenders Matias Vasquez from Chile and Brazilian Allan Nascimento face off for a critical battle for supremacy in the XFCi 3 SuperFight flyweight division. The main card also features Mexican hero Julio Cesar Cruz (15-4) facing off against Brazil’s Thiago Rela (6-2) in a contest of up-and-coming middleweights.  In the women’s strawweight division, XFCi 3 will feature Chile’s Gloria Bravo (3-1) against Brazil’s Vanessa Melo (3-2).

XFCi 1 and XFCi 2 have provided highlight reels that have the passionate MMA fans worldwide anxiously awaiting the March 29, 2014 third edition of XFC International.

Molotky provided this insight “As we have seen in XFCi 1 and XFCi 2, the wins have been euphoric for these fighters, while the losses have been equally devastating. Our fighters know what is at stake and are hungry to take advantage of the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of a massive television audience on Rede TV!”

About XFC and XFC International – The XFC (Xtreme Fighting Championships) is a premier International MMA organization founded in 2006, based out of Tampa, Florida with offices in Michigan, New York, Ft. Lauderdale, Sao Paulo- Brazil, & Buenos Aires- Argentina. The XFC is known for entertaining fans with some of the most action packed MMA events on television! Showcasing both Male and Female fighters, the XFC boasts finding and building the names of the next generation of MMA fighters. XFC has produced stadium fight cards throughout the United States, Greece, and now Latin America.

On February 8, 2014, XFC International produced its inaugural event XFCi 1 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. XFCi 1 was one of the highest rated programs seen on Rede TV.  XFC has also established attendance records with events drawing over 11,000 fans to the St. Pete Times Forum. www.xfcmma.com

Fresh off the success of the XFC’s Latin America debut, the fastest growing international promotion (XFC) is right back at it with XFCi 2, LIVE on REDE TV, March 15th from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The evenings Main Event will see two true veterans of the sport lock horns when Adson Lira and Flavio Alvaro meet inside the Hexagon. Fans Worldwide are in for a treat, as these seasoned Brazilian fighters lay it all on the line for mainstream notoriety.

A winner of 6 of his last 7 fights, Adson “Preguica” Lira (37-10-2) has been fighting professionally for over a decade. Even though Lira is known throughout Brazil as “Preguica” (Lazy), the 35 year’s track record proves his nickname is not an accurate description of his character. In 2011, Lira fought an impressive twelve times; staying in fight camp an entire calendar year. True to his Brazilian heritage, 19 of Preguica’s 37 victories have come by way of submission. 7 of his wins are from knockout; giving him a finish rate of 70 percent.

Flavio “The Legendary” Alvaro (45-10) is as advertised; a legend in Brazilian MMA. With 55 professional fights under his belt, Alvaro is the definition of “well-rounded”. His wins have come from a balanced attack of knockout power and slick submissions. With 14 wins coming by KO, 16 by submission, and 16 by decision, The Legendary one’s resume proves he can either end the contest or go the distance; pick your poison. Twice in his storied career, Flavio has ripped off impressive win streaks. Between 2005 and 2007, he found victory in 15 consecutive fights and then again in 2011, he went on another 10 fight run. The most impressive stat of Alvaro’s career, however, is not found in his wins, but his losses. Born, raised, and competing in a culture that eats, breathes, and sleeps Jiu Jitsu, Flavio has made it through 55 professional fights without being submitted; a stat his opponent XFCi 2 has surely taken note of.

Catch all the up to the minute news about XFCi 2 at www.XFCMMA.com, and follow the promotion on Facebook and Twitter @OfficialXFC / @XFCLatinAmerica. Join the XFC on March 15th at 10:30pm EST / :30 BRST as they go Live on REDE TV in Brazil, streaming Worldwide via the website XFCMMA.com!