With the Ultimate Fighting Championship headed for Western Russia, fight fans can be treated to some matinee MMA as a result on Saturday. Once that event comes and goes, there’s hardly anything for fans to sink their teeth into anymore that doesn’t come without shifting over to boxing completely. In addition to the UFC in Russia, are events taking place for Brave Combat Federation as well as the RIZIN Fighting Federation this weekend. With plenty of fights to check out on both cards, including three titles on the line in Brave CF, there’s a lot to keep up with. Surely one could understand another’s inability to keep up with such a loaded slate, and that’s why i’m here to help. Here are five fights (along with some honorable mentions) you need to keep your eye on for this weekend.
5. (C) Abdul Kareem Al-Sewady vs. Luan Santiago for the Brave CF Lightweight Title
On Friday Abdul Kareem Al-Sewady (10-1 MMA, 5-0 BCF) takes on Luan Santiago (10-3 MMA, 3-1 BCF) for the Brave CF Lightweight title. Al-Sewady currently serves as the 155 pound division’s champion for the promotion, having captured the title last November with a win by TKO via injury over then champion Lucas Martins. Al-Sewady joined the promotion upon it’s beginning, debuting at Brave 1 in September 2016 and scoring a rear-naked choke victory over Rami Aziz in the first round. Since then, Al-Sewady his piled four more wins on top of it, including three finishes en route to a 5-0 start with the promotion en route to capturing the title. His opponent comes in the form of Salvador Brazil’s own Luan Santiago, a 24 year old fighting out of Curitiba. Ironically enough, Santiago also found himself in a title fight with the aforementioned Lucas Martins last year. There was also a TKO due to injury in that fight as well, with this time Santiago being the one succumbing to at 4:56 of the fifth and final round. Santiago bounced back in November to earn a decision win over Djamil Chan, and is 3-1 with the promotion since his debut in March 2017.
4. Eldar Eldarov vs. Mounir Lazzez for the Vacant Brave CF 165 Pound Title
If the constant peppering of Dana White and friends surrounding a 165 pound division isn’t indicative enough of the trend in the sport already, than this fight can also serve as a bit of a hint as to what comes to fruition as a result of a 165 pound weight class. Brave Combat Federation has decided to test those waters, and has an appetizing matchup for the vacant title. Eldar Eldarov (11-1 MMA, 3-0 BCF) takes on Mounir Lazzez (7-0, MMA, 1-0 BCF) in a matchup that will ultimately see one man take their first loss for the promotion. Eldarov hails from Russia, and is 10-0 since dropping his second professional bout to none other than UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. His opponent, Mounir Lazzez is a Tunisian-born gifted athlete fighting out of Dubai. Lazzez enters this matchup with a flawless 7-0 pro record, six of those wins coming by way of KO/TKO finish.
3. Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Ben Nguyen – RIZIN FF 15
I’ll admit it’s a bit odd that this matchup ultimately materialized without any kind of raised stakes given Horiguchi’s status as current RIZIN Bantamweight champion. However, nonetheless this is a high level fight between two UFC veterans looking to continue past success away from the world leader. Horiguchi (26-2 MMA, 8-0 RFF) has been nearly unstoppable since his beatdown at the hands of Demetrious Johnson in 2015. Horiguchi is 11-0 in that timespan, with six of those eleven victories concluding before the final bell. Entering the fray is former UFC flyweight contender Ben Nguyen, who steps outside the familiarity realm of the UFC to join RIZIN. Nguyen’s UFC career was off to a solid start, as he won four of his first five fights for the promotion. His luck began to dwindle however, as he ultimately failed to defeat Jussier Formiga and Wilson Reis in his final two fights for the promotion. This is a fun matchup between two highly skilled fighters, though Horiguchi is the favorite here for good reason.
2. (C) Jarrah Al-Silawi vs. Abdoul Abdouraguimov for the Brave CF Welterweight Title
In the main event of Brave Combat Federation’s three-headed title fight monster, Jarrah Hussein Al-Silawi (13-2 MMA, 6-0 BCF) will take on Abdoul Abdouraguimov (9-0 MMA, 2-0 BCF) for the welterweight title. Al-Silawi has been flawless for the promotion disposing of all six opponents they’ve thrown his way since his company debut at Brave 2 in December 2016. Overall Al-Silawi has won his last seven fights in a row with four of those wins being finishes, three by submission. Al-Silawi has undoubtedly faced some good competition in Brave CF, but Abdouraguimov is one of his most dangerous challenges to date. The Russian debuted for the promotion last August, winning by ground and pound over Sidney Wheeler just over three minutes into the opening stanza. Abdouragimov is a smothering presence on the ground, having won five of his nine bouts by submission. It will be interesting no doubt to see how the champion deals with the relentless pressure Abdouraguimov brings to the cage.
1. Muhammed Lawal vs. Jiri Prochazka 2 for the vacant RIZIN FF Light Heavyweight Title
One of the most highly-anticipated moments of any ‘King Mo’ Lawal fight in Japan, is the pageantry and ‘pizzazz’ of his walkouts. While it’s not my job to rate how well a fighter comes out of a tunnel with women and fireworks all around him, I can tell you that this matchup between Muhammed Lawal (21-8 MMA, 3-1 RFF) and Jiri Prochazka (23-3-1 MMA, 8-1 RFF) actually comes with a bit of history as well to pair with the stakes of a 205 pound title. In 2015, Prochazka and Lawal were both entrants into the 2015 RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix. A two day event, that saw both men ultimately meet in the tournament final. Prochazka was knocked out by Lawal just over 5 minutes into the first round, a round that had it been traditionally five minutes as it is in the rest of the world, would have been over. These two will run it back this Sunday, in the wee hours of the morning stateside for the vacant 205 pound title for RIZIN Fight Federation.
Brave CF 23: Friday, Mar. 19 – Amman, Jordan
Jose Torres (8-1) vs. Amir Albazi (11-0)
RIZIN FF 15 – Sunday, Mar. 21 – Yokohama, Japan
150 Pound Bout
Mikuru Asakura (9-1) vs. Luiz Gustavo (9-0)
Light Heavyweight Bout
Karl Albrektsson (8-2) vs. Christiano Frohlich (10-4)