What’s a Memorial Day weekend without some fights, am i right?
Well, according to both the UFC and Bellator, it’s still just…..
Memorial Day weekend.
However, there is a boatload of MMA action coming to fans across the globe all weekend, from several of the most highly respected promotions in the world of MMA. PFL, TKO, CFFC, and the LFA all have events to put on this weekend, and while that is a loaded regional slate, we’d be remiss if we failed to provide at least some insight on which fighters you need to keep an eye out for.
Once again assisting me with this week’s list is MMA prospect aficionado Shawn Bitter, as we give you our list of the five most exciting up and comers in mixed martial arts that you do not want to miss fight this Memorial Day weekend.
#5. Women’s Strawweight: Miranda Granger (5-0) vs. Helosia Azevedo – CFFC 75
Miranda Granger has been in martial arts since a young age, capturing a black belt in Taekwondo before transitioning over to MMA just years later. Granger is still green, but at 5-0 she has a 100% finishing rate, all in which came against much more experienced fighters. In her last fight, Granger beat two-time Contender Series veteran Jamie Colleen, stopping her in the first round. She will take on fellow grappler Heloisa Azevedo at CFFC 75 for the Vacant Cage Fury FC Strawweight Championship. You can watch the CFFC 75 fight card on UFC Fight Pass this Friday.
#4. Heavyweight: (C) Cyril Gané (2-0) vs. Roggers Souza – TKO 48
It’s hard to gauge just how good the recently crowned TKO Heavyweight champion is based on sheer inexperience, but when talking about sheer potential there isn’t a fighter on this list with more of it than the Frenchmen Cyril Gané. Gané was last seen absolutely dominating a top prospect on the Canadian circuit, Adam Dyczka, who was 7-0 at the time, not to mention TKO’s heavyweight champ knocking on the door of the UFC. Gané not only defeated Dyczka, but he looked to be far too much for the three-times as experienced Dyczka. This will be Gane’s first fight since taking the title last September, and he faces Brazilian Roggers Souza, who is 8-1 with all of those wins coming by way of finish, seven by knockout.
#3. Featherweight: Movlid Khaibulaev (13-0) vs. Damon Jackson – PFL 2019 2
Another fighter from Dagestan, Russia Movlid is making his U.S. debut. He’s fought for big promotions such as One Championship and Fight Nights Global. Movlid is a very well rounded fighter being good on both the feet and the mat. He’s coming off a little over a year and a half layoff due to injuries. The Russian will try his hand at the million for the PFL, aas he’ll be standing across from former UFC fighter Damon Jackson.
#2. Bantamweight: (C) Nathan Maness (10-0) vs. Taylor Lapilus – TKO 48
Serving as the champion of the second of three title fights on Saturday north of the border is TKO MMA’s lone American titleholder, 27 year old North Carolina native Nathan Maness s off to a fabulous start as a mixed martial artist. Maness has a near perfect track record dating back too his amateur days, totaling 14 wins, with half of those wins coming before the final bell, and not a single speckle in the loss column to show for it. Maness scored an impressive victory over former champion Jesse Arnett last time out at TKO 44 last September. He’ll attempt to defend his title for the first time on Friday when he takes on 14-3 Frenchmen Taylor Lapilus.
#1. Lightweight: Islam Mamedov (16-2) vs. Ylies Djiroun – PFL 2019 2
The Dagestani born fighter Mamedov, who now lives in New Jersey, made his US debut in 2014. His last six fights have all come in the US, and have all been for WSOF and PFL. Mamedov fought last year in the PFL tournament, but unfortunately came down ill and had to pull out. Mamedov is a wrestler who has a decorated background in Sambo, and he has eight wins by submission. He’ll step into the PFL cage once again on Thursday night against Frenchman Ylies Djiroun.