A packed MMA weekend begins this Thursday night as Atlantic City-based Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) heads to the Tampa Bay area for its third-to-last card of 2022, CFFC 114. The Seminole Rock Hard Casino will play host to the event, beginning with the undercard at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT on the UFC’s subscription-based steaming platform, UFC Fight Pass. Main card action follows at 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT.
All told, barring any late adjustments to the show between now and Thursday evening, CFFC 114 features 13 MMA fights, capped off by a championship doubleheader, beginning with a battle at 125 lbs. in the CFFC 114 co-main event.
Vacant Flyweight Championship At Stake Thursday in CFFC 114 Co-Main Event
It"ll be an international battle for the flyweight championship in the CFFC 114 co-main event on Thursday night. Sao Paulo"s Diego Paiva (9-4 MMA, CFFC promotional debut) will return to the cage for the first time in over 15 months when he takes on Japan"s Makoto Takahashi (14-1-1, CFFC promotional debut), a veteran of RIZIN Fighting Federation.
As with all CFFC championship bouts, Thursday night"s co-main event will be an advertised maximum of four rounds at five minutes per round. Should the scorecards produce a draw after 20 minutes of action, a fifth and final round will be held to break the deadlock.
Former Champion Nkuta Now Retired From MMA
Thursday"s winner will succeed Phumi Nkuta (5-0 MMA, 4-0 CFFC) as the flyweight champion. On Sept. 30, Nkuta retired from the sport as a competitor due to injuries. Earlier this year, the now-former champion underwent hand surgery following his Dec. 17 victory against Jason Eastman (7-4 MMA, 1-1 CFFC) in CFFC 104.
CFFC 114 Co-Main Event Fighter Breakdown
Heading into Thursday night"s co-main attraction, Diego Paiva stands as the taller competitor at 5-foot-7, compared to the 5-foot-4 frame of Makoto Takahashi. No reach advantage information was accessible online for this fight at press time.
In addition, no betting odds were available online for the CFFC 114 co-main event. When they become available for this fight, if you choose to bet on this or any other fight for the card, please wager responsibly.
Diego Paiva Coming Off 15-Month Layoff From MMA
Diego Paiva enters the CFFC 114 co-main event on Thursday night having gone 5-0 in his last five MMA appearances as part of an ongoing streak dating back to Oct. 24, 2015, but he hasn"t fought in 15 months. On Aug. 1, 2021, Paiva stopped Marciley Alves (10-4 MMA) (second-round submission: rear-naked choke) in Road to Future 3.
Before that, Paiva had not set foot in the cage for close to four years, defeating Sostines Carvalho (6-6 MMA) in Pro Fight MMA Brazil in December of 2017. Over three and a half years away from the cage doesn"t quite compare to a 15-month hiatus, but ring rust is still ring rust.
How much does Diego Paiva have and how much training has he been able to get in over the last 15 months? The CFFC 114 co-main event will give us answers to both.
Takahashi, One of Japan"s Best, To Make US Debut Thursday
In the other corner, Makoto Takahashi, a veteran of Bellator MMA, has posted a record of 5-0 in his last five fights and is currently on an eight-fight winning streak across all promotions. Most recently, he scored a unanimous decision win against Hideo Tokoro (35-31-2 MMA) on July 31 in RIZIN 37.
Although Takahashi has fought for a US-based promotion before, winning by unanimous decision against Yusaku Nakumura during a swing bout at Bellator 237, a cross-promotion between Scott Coker‘s promotion and RIZIN in late 2019, he has not yet fought inside the United States of America. The CFFC 114 main event will mark his United States debut.
Tapology currently has Makoto Takahashi listed as the top-ranked flyweight in his home country of Japan and has previously claimed the Deep Flyweight Championship, defending it back in May of this year. Can he add another belt to his resume in just a few days" time?
Tune in and find out.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the CFFC 114 main event on Thursday night looks to favor Makoto Takahashi, a grappler and submission specialist, compared to Diego Paiva"s background as a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Thus, it stands to reason that we could be looking at a ground war on Thursday night.
Watch Out For Diego Paiva"s Takedowns
Diego Paiva has shown himself to be quite adept at landing takedowns throughout his career as a fighter. During a BJJ tournament semifinal earlier this year against Israel Bahiense, he landed an early takedown to score two points while stifling his opponent"s chances to respond in kind with a takedown.
Later on in the match, Bahiense secured top position, yet he could not capitalize due to Paiva escaping from the submission hold, only to see Paiva escape the hold a second time, giving Bahiense another advantage. A third escape netted Bahiense his third advantage in the match, swelling to four ahead of Paiva subsequently receiving two advantages of his own.
Paiva wound up securing his fifth advantage of the match upon recording a near-submission of Bahiense late in the contest, giving him the edge in case of a tiebreaker. After securing six advantages to Bahiense"s five, he"d win the contest.
Once Diego Paiva is able to take an opponent down, it"s his fight, his world. It could be his victory in the CFFC 114 co-main event.
Makoto Takahashi Is Slick With Submissions
In the other corner, Makoto Takahashi has been known to be nasty when it comes to securing the submission. His recent fight against Yamoto Fujita is proof of that. During the third and final round, Takahashi began with a leg kick before scoring with a punch from the clinch to cause Fujita to slip.
From there, he smelled blood in the water, scoring with a flurry of punches inside the clinch after another leg kick to knock Fujita down. Another exchange in the clinch followed before Takahashi executed a ninja choke. taking Fujita down and rolling him over for the needed torque to get him to tap out in under a minute.
If Makoto Takahashi is able to get Diego Paiva in the clinch, it"ll only be a matter of time before he takes him down. One takedown is all Takahashi would need to wrap the CFFC 114 co-main event up.
Although the CFFC 114 co-main event is the first championship fight of the weekend in MMA, it could very well be the most interesting championship fight of the weekend, too. Think about it: You"ll have two fighters making their promotional debut (as well as their US debut) on Thursday and the winner is the new champion.
In short, don"t sleep on this one. You could be missing a great fight if you miss this one.
Prediction: Makoto Takahashi by Unanimous Decision.
main image credit: Embed from Getty Images