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 combat sports 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.
With that being said, let’s look at the weekend ahead as we highlight five great fights beyond mainstream combat sports to keep your eye on. Also worth noting: I’m not including any fights on Saturday night that might coincide during a stacked UFC 273 card.
Aaron McKenzie vs Lucas Clay – LFA 128, Friday, April 8th at 9 PM EST
LFA returns with an interesting LFA 128 card led by a vacant Lightweight title fight between Aaron McKenzie and Lucas Clay. Both are on winning streaks and are looking to solidify some career momentum with a win here.
Aaron McKenzie (10-2-1) is a recent Bellator vet sporting a 1-1 record in the promotion, with that split decision loss being his most recent. Since then, McKenzie has enjoyed a 3 fight win streak in the LFA cage and looks to cement his LFA legacy with a title. One can also assume that he could see another shot at Bellator or even the UFC with a convincing performance.
Lucas “Cassius” Clay (8-1) is on the upswing of his fight career and has won four straight: including two straight in the LFA cage. He is currently ranked as the 45th pro Lightweight in the United States according to Tapology and represents a loaded St Charles MMA fight team. It appears that Clay’s best days are still ahead of him, and we could potentially see him fighting for a mainstream promotion with a decisive win here.
This fight should be a high-level barn burner and can be caught live on UFC Fight Pass.
Mike Richman vs Dave Rickels – BKFC 23, Friday, April 8th at 8 PM EST
We’re branching out a bit for this week’s fight previews, including a 185lbs bare-knuckle showdown between two long-time Bellator vets Mike Richman and Dave Rickels, who look to headline a stacked BKFC 23 card. It’s also worth noting that BKFC is hardly a regional promotion, but this is a fight that should be on your radar.
Mike “The Marine” Richman (18-8 MMA, 2-0-1 NC BKFC) has had an extensive career with a stop along the Ultimate Fighter, a 7-5 record in the Bellator cage, and now headlining the up-and-coming BKFC 23. It would suggest that Richman has found his niche, finishing his last two BKFC fights in the first and second round respectfully. One could imagine Richman putting a definitive stamp on his tenured career with a win here.
Dave “The Caveman” Rickels (21-6 MMA, 2-0 BKFC) has faced an absolute murderer’s row during his 23-fight career in Bellator. Of his six pro losses, one has come from Patricky Pitbull, one from Michael Venom Page, one from Yaroslav Amosov, and two from Michael Chandler. It clearly wasn’t a lack of competition that led Rickels to the BKFC, but as with Richman, Rickels seems to have found his niche: winning his last two fights against Cliff Wright and BKFC stalwart Julian Lane.
This fight promises some hard-hitting action and can be caught live on the BKTV app.
Jimmy Lawson vs Marino Eatman – LFA 128, Friday, April 8th at 9 PM EST
Jimmy Lawson (3-1) is the 58th ranked pro-Heavyweight in the United States according to Tapology and fights out of the world-class American Kickboxing Academy alongside legends like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Daniel Cormier. While such names would indicate a strong wrestling prowess for Lawson, he has earned 3 straight finishes dating back to 2019. He impressed in his LFA debut, needing only 18 seconds to earn the TKO win. Lawson can certainly bolster his reputation with a win here.
Marino Eatman (5-4-1) is the 4th ranked Heavyweight in the state of Florida according to Tapology and trains at the equally impressive MMA Masters fight camp alongside names like Colby Covington and Ilia Topuria. Eatman has been on a bit of a slide as of late, dropping his last two contests. However, with the strength of his training, one would assume that he’s ready for this challenge.
Past performances suggest this fight can easily end with a knockout, catch it all live on UFC Fight Pass.
Landon Quinones vs Reynaldo Acevedo – Titan FC 75, Sunday April 10th at 12:00 AM EST
Landon “The Lone Wolf” Quinones (5-1-1) is the 228th ranked pro Lightweight in the United States according to Tapology and fights out of the world-class Sanford MMA alongside the likes of Derek Brunson and Gilbert Burns. Quinones is currently on a 3-fight win streak and displays a propensity to finish, earning finishes in four of his five wins. A win here would put him on the fast track in a very stacked weight class.
Reynaldo Acevedo (9-3) is the 2nd ranked Caribbean pro Lightweight according to Tapology, and also showcases a strong desire to finish the fight: earning finishes in five of his nine pro victories. While he has slowed as of late (going 2-2 in his last four fights), Acevedo is an ever-dangerous presence and can finish the fight at any time.
It would be surprising to see this clash reach the judges’ table and can be streamed on UFC Fight Pass.
David Solorzano vs Raymond Ramos – Combate Global, Friday, April 8th at 11 PM EST
David Solorzano (4-0) is the 177th ranked pro Bantamweight according to Tapology, and trains out of the impressively stacked Dragon House MMA fight camp. Solorzano has respectable power at the Bantamweight weight class, finishing two of his four pro fights via strikes. A win here would certainly get his pro career on the right track.
Raymond “Godson” Ramos (5-6) is the 258th ranked pro Bantamweight in the United States according to Tapology and has even more power to finish each fight. Out of his five pro wins, four have come via finish. This showdown can certainly become a barn burner with one man hitting the canvas.
Catch this high-flying Bantamweight showdown live on the Paramount Network.
Which fight outside of UFC 273 do you want to see this weekend? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images