Even though this Thursday marks the first full day of the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, don’t forget that it also marks the start of your MMA weekend, as well.
The CFFC 106 Main Event Brings With it a Pot of Gold for the Winner
As this Thursday marks St. Patrick’s Day (don’t drink and drive), it seems only fitting that CFFC 106 from Cage Fury Fighting Championships offers the metaphorical pot of gold for the winners of its two championship fights headlining the 12-fight card, including the CFFC 106 main event, where the CFFC Lightweight Championship is at stake.
Blake Smith (6-2 MMA, 1-0 CFFC) returns to the cage to defend his lightweight strap for the first time against undefeated challenger Paris Artis (5-0 MMA, 2-0 CFFC) in Thursday night’s headliner.
As is customary in CFFC championship fights, the CFFC 106 main event will be a maximum of four rounds at five minutes per round, with a fifth-round tiebreaker going into effect if necessary after 20 minutes of action.
CFFC 106 Main Event Fighter Breakdown
Heading into the CFFC 106 main event on St. Patrick’s Day, champion Blake Smith is the taller man at 5-foot-9, while challenger Paris Artis stands 5-foot-7.
Ordinarily, at this point in the article, we would mention which of these men owns the reach advantage in this match-up, but no such information exists online for the CFFC 106 main event on Thursday.
Blake Smith Looks to Ride Momentum of Three-Fight Winning Streak Into CFFC 106 Main Event Thursday Night
Blake Smith enters the CFFC 106 main event having posted a 3-2 record in his last five MMA bouts, most recently scoring a third-round submission due to a guillotine choke during the main event of the landmark CFFC 100 back in September against then-incumbent titlist Zulk Kamchybekov (5-2 MMA, 4-2 CFFC), who will make his return on Thursday’s card versus Dean Hancock (4-4 MMA, CFFC promotional debut.)
In so doing, Smith broke the trend of then-incumbent champions successfully defending the lightweight title in their first fight after gaining the belt and has presented himself with the opportunity of becoming the fourth man to defend the belt in his first try.
Just as was the case in Smith’s last bout, this one will also serve as a “home game” for him, as like the CFFC 100 main event, the CFFC 106 main event will also take place in Tampa Bay at the selfsame Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Can he ride the momentum of the three-fight winning streak and feed off of the energy that his hometown fans will undoubtedly give him in Thursday’s headliner?
Only time will tell, but it looks to be a tough test for him on paper, as he faces off against an undefeated adversary on Thursday night.
Undefeated Paris Artis Aiming to Impress in CFFC 106 Main Event
Paris Artis enters the CFFC 106 main event on Thursday night having posted a 5-0 record in his last five fights and has won 11 consecutive bouts dating back to his days in amateur MMA.
Last time out, he scored a second-round submission due to an arm-triangle choke versus Feraris Golden Jr. (3-2 MMA, 1-2 CFFC) during CFFC 100 last September.
If a recent interview is anything to go by, Artis is ready to go in the CFFC 106 main event and is hungry for a title.
“Training was amazing,” Artis said. “I’ve been through some details on the ground, sharpened up some things, just got reminded of some stuff that I needed to do and also learned a little bit, so it’s good, putting it all together, that way I can be three moves ahead (of Blake Smith.)”
If he gets out to a fast start in Thursday night’s bout, this one could be a wrap in a hurry.
Analysis, Film Study and Prediction
Stylistically, the CFFC 106 main event on Thursday night looks to be another one of those toss-ups, as both men have shown that they can finish the job on the ground.
Fans could very well be seeing a grapplers’ delight if they decide to eschew college basketball this Thursday.
Blake Smith Can Pounce on a Guillotine Choke in a Hurry
One aspect of Blake Smith’s fight game that jumps out right away upon examining the video of his past fights is that he can quickly sink in on a submission for a victory, as was the case versus Kamchybekov in September of last year.
During the third round of a scheduled four, Smith opened up the period by absorbing some crisp punches by Kamchybekov before catching a Kamchybekov kick to go to the clinch and get to the ground.
From there, Smith quickly squeezed on a guillotine choke to get Kamchybekov to tap out for the victory, even though he contended that he did not tap out.
Broadcast replays of the fight clearly showed that Zulk Kamchybekov tapped out with his right hand in round three to end the bout.
If he can get to a favorable position and pounce on a submission, this fight could be over faster than you can pay the pizza guy.
Paris Artis Can Be Vicious With Head Kicks
Late in a first-round where both men traded shots and Rizco showed dominance on the ground, Artis, who had been mixing up his kicking game, took the judges out of the equation by stuffing a Rizco takedown attempt with a nasty kick to the side of the head to send him down and out for the victory.
If he can place a head kick on the button, Paris Artis will walk out of Tampa on Thursday night with the strap in the CFFC 106 main event.
Even though there’s a full day and night of basketball on Thursday, don’t sleep on CFFC 106 and the CFFC 106 main event.
Take a timeout from looking at your bracket (it’s probably not going to last past this weekend, anyway) and watch the fight.
Prediction: Blake Smith by Third-Round Submission.
Featured Image Credits to CFFC