Talent is everywhere. Great fight camps and gyms are popping up in every region and great fights are not hard to come by.
The future stars of the UFC, Bellator, One Championship and many more had to start somewhere. If you’re willing to look, you’ll be able to catch many of these future stars early in their careers. If you’re an avid MMA fan looking to get a fight fix beyond the aforementioned UFC, Bellator, and One Championship, upcoming regional and mid-tier combat promotions are a great place to curb your appetite for combat.
With that being said, let’s look at the weekend ahead as I highlight five great fights beyond mainstream MMA to keep your eye on.
Ty Flores vs George Tokkos – Fury FC 59, Sunday March 27th at 8 PM EST
Starting off the countdown is a huge light heavyweight showdown between two fighters with high ceilings as Ty Flores clashes with George Tokkos for the Fury FC Light Heavyweight Championship at Fury FC 59.
Ty “Big Medicine” Flores (9-3) is 7-1 in his last 8 fights, with his only loss coming from UFC up-and-comer Dustin Jacoby in the Contender Series. He is the the 6th ranked pro light heavyweight in the United States according to Tapology, and trains out of the world-class Elevation Fight Team in Colorado alongside notable names such as Curtis Blaydes and Neil Magny. One would think Flores might be getting another call from a mainstream organization such as the UFC/ Bellator with a win here.
George “Tuco” Tokkos (6-2) is another name to watch on the Light Heavyweight circuit, and is the 30th ranked pro Light Heavyweight in the US according to Tapology. He’s had a recent stint with Bellator and trains out of the equally world-class Sanford MMA in Florida, alongside the likes of Anthony Johnson and Derek Brunson. Don’t be surprised if he gets another shot at Bellator or another mainstream organization with a win here.
This showdown features two talents on the verge of breaking into the mainstream, and shouldn’t be missed. With each fighter accumulating 5 finishes in their pro career so far, it’s safe to say this one might not make it to the judges. Catch it live on UFC Fight Pass.
Ozzy Diaz vs Bruno Assis – LFA 127, Friday March 25th at 10 PM EST
Ozzy Diaz vs Bruno Assis is yet another matchup of a former Bellator vet (Diaz) facing off against a former Contender Series contestant (Assis), and promises a skill level to match during their main event at LFA 127. Also worth noting is the level of competition each man has faced, as Diaz has previously squared off with Dominick Reyes with Assis facing Paulo Costa. Needless to say, neither fighter needs an introduction to the bright lights of the cage.
Ozzy Diaz (6-1) is the 60th ranked pro Middleweight in the US according to Tapology, and trains out of the stacked California Mixed Martial Arts in Gardena. He is looking to add to a 4 fight finish streak, in which he finished 3 of those opponents in the first round. Furthermore, each one of his pro fights (including his one loss) have come by way of finish. This man is looking to decide the outcome of the fight himself rather than leave it in the hands of the judges.
Bruno Assis (12-5) is currently the 25th ranked pro Middleweight in the US according to Tapology, and trains out of the dangerous BH Rhinos team in Brazil. Assis is another fighter facing the sting of high level competition such as the aforementioned Paulo Costa at Jungle Fight 84 as well as UFC riser Andre Muniz in the Contender Series. He however has shown the skill level and grit to hang with such top level talent, and looks to prove he is ready for the big show with a win over Diaz. Assis is also someone looking to avoid the judges altogether, with 6 of his last 8 wins coming by way of finish.
This LFA main event showcases two legitimate talents on the cusp of a big-time opportunity. Both of these fighters’ resumes indicate a finish is likely. Catch every second of it on UFC Fight Pass.
Giacomo Lemos vs Brett Martin – PFL Challenger Series 6, Friday March 25th at 9 PM MST
While the PFL itself might be mainstream, its Challenger Series is still an up-and-coming product. We’re expecting some exciting showdowns with its Heavyweight card on March 25th, with perhaps the most enticing matchup being that of Giacomo Lemos and Brett Martin.
Giacomo Lemos (7-0) is currently the 12th ranked Brazilian pro Heavyweight according to Tapology, and trains out of the Rangel Farias Team in Santa Catarina Brazil. Even more impressive than his undefeated record is his propensity to finish his opponents, with his last 6 fights coming by way of finish.
Brett “Big Dog” Martin has burst onto the Midwest fight scene and is the 2nd ranked pro Heavyweight in the Midwest region according to Tapology. He leads the fairly stacked Triumph MMA and has supporters from the likes of upcoming UFC star Jamahal Hill. A 2019 first round submission win over UFC vet Josh Parisian shows Brett Martin has the potential to make a big splash with a win here.
This Heavyweight clash can easily end in a violent manner and can be caught live on fuboTV.
Máté Kertész vs Bojan Velickovic – OKTAGON Prime 5, Saturday March 26th at 12 PM EST
OKTAGON MMA is one of the Eastern European MMA organizations that’s seen a recent influx of top-level talent, and that’s illustrated with the March 26th main event Welterweight showdown between Mate Kertesz and Bojan Velickovic.
Mate Kertesz (11-4) is the 18th ranked Eastern European pro Welterweight according to Tapology, and has built a respectable record against some formidable opponents during his time in OKTAGON MMA as well as Bellator. He’s looking to earn his fourth win in a row over one of his biggest challenges to date.
Bojan “Serbian Steel” Velickovic (20-11-2) is the 7th ranked Eastern European pro Welterweight according to Tapology, and trains out of the world-class Elevation Fight Team under the tutelage of striking instructor Sean Madden. His MMA career has led to stints in the UFC, PFL, and more through an absolute murderer’s row with names like Darren Till, Krzysztof Jotko, Jake Matthews, and Jiří Procházka, with an early career victory over Procházka. Velickovic has never shied away from facing the absolute best, and his experience here should continue to pay off throughout his career.
This high-level affair can be seen live with a PPV purchase at www.oktagon.tv
Derek Campos vs Aalon Cruz – Fury FC 59, Sunday March 27th at 8 PM EST
Another ‘can’t-miss’ bout on the Fury FC 59 card comes in the Lightweight showdown between Derek Campos and Aalon Cruz. Both fighters have world-class experience coming from top-level camps and both guys look for the finish each time out.
Derek “The Stallion” Campos (20-11) trains out of Mohler MMA and has faced a murderer’s row of his own during his longstanding career with Bellator, clashing with the likes of Michael Chandler, Patricky Pitbull and AJ McKee. Experience won’t be a problem for Campos, who is looking to rebound from a tough stretch against some of the best competition the Lightweight division has to offer.
Aalon Cruz (9-4) fights out of DEFWAR in Tampa and is perhaps best known for his incredible flying knee KO on the Contender Series that earned him an immediate UFC contract. His tenure in the UFC might have been short lived, however one could speculate a return to the organization with another quality win or two. Cruz has a history of delivering some highlight reel finishes, and we expect to see more from his arsenal at Fury FC 59.
Catch this high-level showdown live on UFC Fight Pass.
With so much talent across the MMA landscape, it’s nearly impossible to showcase only 5 fights. Therefore we have two additional fights worth mentioning:
- Elijah Smith (4-0) will face off against Felix Cano (2-0) for the Colorado Combat Club amateur Bantamweight title at Colorado Combat Club 11. Smith is the son of UFC veteran Gilbert Jamal Smith and has shown incredible finishing power and speed in his short career: finishing his first 2 bouts in a combined 22 seconds. Catch it live in person or via their Facebook page.
- Adam “Mini-Hunt” Martinez (7-4) faces off against Isaiah Gutierrez (7-1) at Fury FC 59 in a showdown of highlight reel fighters from two of the top fight camps in the US (Martinez from Factory X and Gutierrez from Jackson Wink). One would expect this one to end with an exciting finish, and should be a war regardless. Catch it live on UFC Fight Pass.
Which of these bouts are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image credit to OKTAGON MMA