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CFFC 108 Main Event Preview: Blackshear vs. Smith

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Saturday, before the UFC takes center stage for another UFC Fight Night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, an MMA matinee will take place in Bensalem, PA as the Parx Casino plays host to the first of two events from Cage Fury Fighting Championships this month, CFFC 108.

A Saturday Matinee of MMA

Live coverage of CFFC 108 will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass, as always, beginning at 2 pm ET/ 11 am PT with the six fight main card.

Undercard action will immediately follow the CFFC 108 main event on the CFFC Facebook page and YouTube channel.

All told, the final version of CFFC 108 will feature a nine-fight card, highlighted by a battle for supremacy at 135 lbs. in the CFFC 108 main event of the afternoon.

CFFC Bantamweight Championship at Stake in CFFC 108 Main Event

Incumbent titleholder Da’Mon Blackshear (11-4 MMA, 2-1 CFFC) will battle challenger Josh Smith (11-7 MMA, 1-0 CFFC) for Blackshear’s CFFC Bantamweight Championship in the CFFC 108 main event.

As with all CFFC title bouts, Saturday afternoon’s main event will be a maximum of four rounds at five minutes per round to close out the main card.

However, should the judges’ scorecards produce a draw after four rounds of action, the CFFC 108 main event will progress to a tiebreaking fifth and final round.

CFFC 108 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the CFFC 108 main event on Saturday afternoon, champion Da’Mon Blackshear stands as the taller combatant at 5-foot-10, compared to the 5-foot-8 frame of challenger Josh Smith.

Additionally, the champion owns a 2 1/2-inch reach advantage (72 1/2 inches to 70 inches even) over the challenger going into Saturday afternoon’s headliner.

Da’Mon Blackshear Looks to Get Back to Major MMA Following CFFC 108 Main Event

Da’Mon Blackshear, a veteran of Bellator MMA, has posted a 4-1 record in his last five appearances and enters the CFFC 108 main event on Saturday afternoon on a three-fight winning streak, which was extended last time out against DeAndre Anderson (first-round submission due to a rear-naked choke) right before Thanksgiving on Nov. 19 in the CFFC 103 main event.

The victory was Blackshear’s 12th by stoppage in his MMA career, counting both professional and amateur fights.

Blackshear noted in a 2020 interview with MyMMANews that his gameplan for scoring the stoppage is a simple one that entails exhausting his opponent throughout the early stages of a fight.

“I don’t expect it, but if it’s out there, I take it,” the champion began. “I feel like I can come in and adapt to my opponent and then find holes a lot easier than most people. In the first round, I’ve already got a feel for my guy. In the second round, I expose them.”

Da’Mon Blackshear is a man who has already had a taste of success in major MMA with his one-fight stint in Bellator, scoring a second-round submission (rear-naked choke) against Mike Kimbel in the fall of 2020.

A victory here on Saturday afternoon in the CFFC 108 main event could be reason enough for Scott Coker to give him a second look in Bellator.

At the same time, an impressive showing this weekend might be just what Dana White is looking for, resulting in Blackshear getting a spot on Contender Series later on this year.

Josh Smith Enters CFFC 108 Main Event Looking to Shake Off Ring Rust After Canceled Fight in March

In the other corner, challenger Josh Smith has posted a record of 3-2 in his last five MMA fights, most recently scoring a unanimous decision victory against Kyle Estrada after three rounds in the featured prelim of XMMA 3: Vice City last October in Miami.

Following that, Smith was booked to appear on St. Patrick’s Day during CFFC 106′s main card in Tampa versus Brandon Lewis, but the contest was postponed ahead of fight night after the latter failed to make weight.

Due to this postponement, he has not appeared in an MMA cage in almost eight months, so one has to wonder just how much ring rust there is for Smith to shake off in the CFFC 108 main event.

Last year, Josh Smith was interviewed by Mike Heck of MMA Fighting, during which time he said that Da’Mon Blackshear is a man “who I don’t mind fighting at all”, and wondered, “If I beat another champ, hey, is that not enough evidence to put me to the next level?”.

Smith already won the CES MMA Bantamweight Championship last spring, and on Saturday afternoon, he gets his chance at Da’Mon Blackshear in the CFFC 108 main event for another championship and the shot at major MMA that he’s craving.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the CFFC 108 main event on Saturday afternoon looks to be a toss-up, but Da’Mon Blackshear, a former high school wrestler in his home state of North Carolina and black-belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, has a slight edge here, compared to Josh Smith’s wrestling background.

Look For Blackshear’s Grappling to Tell the Tale in CFFC 108 Main Event

One aspect of Da’Mon Blackshear’s fight game that’s particularly telling on videotape is his ability to grapple with his opponent as he tries to score the victory, as was the case in his most recent fight against Anderson.

During the first round of a scheduled four, Blackshear immediately went to work by wobbling Anderson with a right-handed punch, which set off a violent exchange of strikes between the men.

Afterward, Blackshear and Anderson spent time in the clinch, with the former attempting a slick takedown, but Anderson was able to fight it off.

From there, Anderson tried to sink in a guillotine choke, nearly finishing Blackshear in the process, with Blackshear moving his body to get out of the hold and Anderson still trying to submit him.

Blackshear managed to eventually reverse the script by landing a flurry of right-handed punch before Anderson returned to the feet, slowing the pace of the fight down in the clinch.

With just over a minute to go in the round, Blackshear landed a flying knee to take Anderson down and immediately put him on his back, landing ground and pound shots from the back mount.

Although Anderson rolled over, Blackshear was on his trail, taking complete control of the fight, eventually locking in the submission before the first round ended.

If Blackshear is able to effectively grapple with Smith, the CFFC 108 main event could be over in a hurry.

Josh Smith Can Submit Opponents in His Own Right

In the other corner, Josh Smith has also been known as a submission specialist, something that Eric Ramirez found out firsthand in February of 2019.

During the second round of a scheduled three, with Smith already showing his dominance throughout the first round, Ramirez found himself on the receiving end of a takedown.

Josh Smith gave Eric Ramirez no chance to create opportunities for himself. eventually taking the back mount and scoring ground and pound shots.

This was a prelude to the end of the fight, as Smith locked in the short choke in under 90 seconds for the victory.

Look for Josh Smith to try and take Da’Mon Blackshear down with any opportunity that he can in the CFFC 108 main event.

Final Thoughts

At the core, the CFFC 108 main event looks to be a battle won on the ground this Saturday afternoon.

Whichever fighter is able to take down his opponent first has a decent shot at being the fighter who walks out of the casino early Saturday evening as the champion, so don’t miss it.

Prediction: Da’Mon Blackshear by First-Round Submission.

Featured image credit to Cage Fury Fighting Championship

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