With everything starting to open up around the world, MMA has been able to thrive once again. Especially regional MMA. Nowadays, there are so many options for fight fans to watch around the world thanks to UFC Fight Pass and various other streaming platforms.
This week alone, people can tune into BFC 67, B2 Fighting Series 129 & 130, ONE Championship: Battleground, XMMA 2, FAC 9, LFA 113, RUF 42, Art of Scrap 2, Lion Fight 67, Bellator 263, BRAVE CF 52, Cage Warriors 126, and another phenomenal UFC Fight Night. With options, comes questions; so The Scrap decided to put together a new column — a one stop shop titled ‘3, 2, 1.’
Most weeks we will feature three fights to watch, two fighters to keep an eye on, and one regional card you can’t miss.
3 FIGHTS TO WATCH
Bellator 263 is the last stop on the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix. The fight between AJ McKee Jr. and Patricio Pitbull is the matchup MMA fans have been longing for. These two fighters dominated their way through the Grand Prix, and will finally meet as tensions get heated between them leading up to fight night.
McKee will finally get his title shot, which is long overdue. Pitbull will try and prove that he is still in a class of his own and continue his dominance. Two of the best fighters in the world will meet while in their prime, a rare spectacle. You definitely don’t want to miss.
Usman Nurmagomedov and Manny Muro will also meet at Bellator 263. Muro has won his last 3 fights, while being 2-0 in Bellator. Both of his wins have come via decision and could steal momentum and hype if he can string together a third win in a row here.
Nurmagomedov won his Bellator debut in his last fight to stay undefeated. The promotion looks to be building the young undefeated prospect, it will be interesting to see how Nurmagomedov has developed and if he will continue to improve.
This fight between Gloria de Paula and Cheyanne Buys is a bigger fight than fans may think. The two are in very similar situations. With both fighters being 26 years old, they are young prospects that have high hopes and long careers head of them.
Both de Paula and Buys found their way into the UFC by winning a contract on Contender Series in 2020. Also, they lost their UFC debut and need to bounce back with a win. Starting 0-2 and 0-1 in the UFC is a big hole to try and climb out of, or it could end up with someone getting released altogether.
2 FIGHTERS TO WATCH
Thomas Petersen finds himself in a fight for the LFA heavyweight championship after starting off 4-0 as a professional. While he is 9-0 combined as an amateur and a pro, he has shown a well rounded skillset and a knack for finishing fights.
Winning a belt for the LFA holds significant weight in the eyes of UFC promoters, and could be a big step for Peterson’s career. He will look to make the most of the opportunity as he headlines LFA 113.
Sean Strickland has been on a mission. He has been one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC since his return, and has been rewarded with a main event slot on fight night against Uriah Hall. Strickland is currently ranked #11 at middleweight and hopes to find himself in the top 10 after his fight with the #8 ranked Hall.
In a fight between two great strikers, we can only hope these fighters stand and trade for the majority of the fight. Strickland can really establish himself as a threat in the division with a win here, so there is a lot on the line.
1 REGIONAL CARD TO WATCH
CW 126 marks the U.S. debut for the promotion, as the U.K. based Cage Warriors travels all the way to California. A number of fighters will have an opportunity to fight on a bigger regional promotion that is not usually an option on American soil. The card features a range of fighters, with some undefeated prospects ranging to former UFC veterans.
A matchup between Zac Pauga and Terrance Jean-Jacques is one worth mentioning on the card. Jean-Jacques will be making a step up in competition against Pauga, a fighter who has fought on larger regional promotions like LFA. Brandon Laroco vs. Alex Trinidad is fight between prospects returning for the first time since the pandemic, and both fighters make the move up to lightweight. And let’s not forget the banger of a matchup between the returning Max Rohskopf and surging up-and-comer, Jeff Creighton.