Even though there are no UFC fights to be held on this April Fools’ weekend, there’s still plenty of MMA for you to watch. That’s no joke. Between Friday and Saturday nights, New Jersey-based promotion Cage Fury Fighting Championships kicks off its 2023 schedule of events in grand style.
Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena, the longtime host venue for sports entertainment promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling, plays host to both cards this weekend. Live coverage of CFFC 117 begins Friday with the undercard at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT on the promotion’s official YouTube channel, followed at 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT with the main card on UFC Fight Pass.
CFFC returns to action for the first time since the middle of December with a doubleheader weekend of action, beginning on March’s last night with CFFC 117. Barring any late postponements between now and Friday night, this weekend will see no fewer than four championship fights. It starts with the CFFC 117 co-main event of the evening.
Heavyweights Velasco and Coleman Meet in CFFC 117 Co-Main Event for Title
Incumbent CFFC Heavyweight Champion Greg Velasco (5-0 MMA, 5-0 CFFC) looks to defend his 265-lb. strap for the first time on Friday night when he takes on challenger Ronald Coleman (3-0 MMA, CFFC promotional debut.) As with all CFFC championship fights, the CFFC 117 co-main event will be an advertised maximum of four rounds at five minutes per round. ‘
Should the scorecards produce a draw after four rounds of action, the fight then progresses to a fifth round as a tiebreaker. Immediately following the co-main event, Friday night’s headliner sees the CFFC Interim Lightweight Championship at stake between Zulk Kamchybekov (6-2 MMA, 5-2 CFFC) and returning competitor Cedric Gunnison (5-1 MMA, 1-1 CFFC). More on that later.
CFFC 117 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the CFFC 117 co-main event, Greg Velasco stands as the taller competitor at 6-foot-2, compared to Ronald Coleman’s frame of six feet even. Coleman owns a 74-inch reach, with no such information available for Greg Velasco at press time.
Ordinarily, at this time, we’d mention who has the edge according to the oddsmakers, but no betting odds for this card have been released as of Monday afternoon. As always, if you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening over the weekend, please wager responsibly.
Is Greg Velasco Ready For the UFC After CFFC 117 Co-Main Event?
Champion Greg Velasco has yet to lose thus far in his professional MMA career, going 5-0 and counting in amateur competitions. Last time out, he scored a unanimous decision victory against Kevin Sears (9-7 MMA, 0-1 CFFC) during the CFFC 113 main event on Oct. 8.
Earlier this year, Velasco was slated to have appeared on the Feb. 10 PFL Challenger Series 3 program against Vitor Resende (4-1 MMA). Before the card took place, however, the former withdrew from the show for him to fight on March 31.
Even though an opportunity for a PFL contract went by the boards earlier this winter, one has to believe that with an undefeated record on the regional circuit and a championship to his name, UFC President Dana White has to be watching closely this week.
Nolan King of USA Today’s MMA Junkie outlined Velasco as one of the fighters who could close in on a UFC deal with a win in March. King believes that Greg Velasco might be able to parlay success on Friday into a spot on Contender Series later this summer.
“I’m just taking it fight by fight, but if the UFC gave me the call, I’d be super grateful and happy,” Velasco said. “I’m going up against another very tough opponent, an undefeated guy. He’s a big, athletic, knockout guy. I’m hoping if I can get a nice, solid win on him, that would be great.”
With a win here, Greg Velasco’s UFC stock could rise, but he’s got to take the CFFC 117 co-main event one round at a time.
Ronald Coleman Looking to Stop Greg Velasco’s Momentum
In the other corner, Ronald Coleman enters the CFFC 117 co-main event having gone 5-0 dating back to amateur competitions. At present, he’s on a nine-fight winning streak.
About a week after Velasco’s unanimous decision victory for the championship, Coleman scored a first-round knockout (punches) of Chato Wiest (1-2 MMA) during LFA 144. All of Coleman’s nine wins in MMA have come without the judges factoring into the decision after the final bell.
Just as Greg Velasco has momentum going into the co-main event, Ronald Coleman’s got his own on Friday. What will happen when both of these unbeaten fighters collide? We’ll find out later this week, so don’t forget to tune in.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the CFFC 117 co-main event is a dead heat. Both fighters are wrestlers by trade, though Greg Velasco compliments his wrestling background with striking.
Greg Velasco is Brutal with Submissions
Champion Greg Velasco is a rarity at heavyweight in that he’s a proficient grappler. Thus, it stands to reason that he could sink in a submission with as little as one takedown. Right before Christmas in 2021, Velasco squared off against Willie Tarpley during the CFFC 104 undercard and he made Tarpley pay.
During the second round of a scheduled three, Velasco bided his time against Tarpley as he waited to go in for the kill. The former landed a left-handed punch before Tarpley sprawled out and returned to his feet. Velasco executed a trip to put Tarpley down.
At that point, he went to work, grappling with Tarpley and trapping his opponent’s hand, making it impossible to defend against his attack. Upon securing the mount, Greg Velasco softened Willie Tarpley up with ground-and-pound shots.
Willie Tarpley had no shot at defeating Greg Velasco, who locked in the rear-naked choke with under a minute and a half remaining on the clock. If Velasco can secure one takedown against Ronald Coleman, it could be a long night for the latter in the CFFC 117 co-main event.
Ronald Coleman Can End Things in a Hurry
In the other corner, much like any heavyweight fight, don’t blink when Ronald Coleman is on your screen. You might end up missing everything that happens. On Oct. 14, Coleman drew Chato Wiest in the LFA 144 undercard and he got the job done in just 64 short seconds.
Right from the command to fight, Coleman bought some time, but Wiest was too eager, missing on punch and kick attempts. His opponent’s miscues gave Coleman the opening he needed to land some shots, forcing Wiest to cover up.
Smelling blood in the water, Coleman landed a leg kick and a barrage of punches on Wiest. Even though the latter covered up, there was no defense against Ronald Coleman’s shots. Chato Wiest folded like a lawn chair in a tornado slightly over a minute before the fight.
If Ronald Coleman is to have any shot against Greg Velasco on Friday night in the CFFC 117 co-main event, he’s going to have to throw copious punches. As little as one punch can lead to Ronald Coleman walking out of 2300 Arena as the new champion.
We’ve got an interesting bout to co-headline CFFC 117 on Friday night. Greg Velasco could finally get a UFC deal with a win, while Ronald Coleman’s stock could rise with a defeat of a promising prospect. Get your popcorn ready.
Prediction: Greg Velasco by Unanimous Decision
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