Happy Labour Day Weekend everyone. As a kid when Labour Day would roll around I would genuinely be upset because I knew the fun & freedom of summer was over. But as an adult I love it and it is the start of a really fun time to be a sports fan with Football back in our lives and especially if you are a fight fan some exciting times are ahead. Now onto my thoughts:
This is a really fun UFC Card this weekend. I know the card did get eaten up by Visa issues, injuries & bouts being rescheduled but all in all the UFC have themselves a really fun card for Saturday afternoon
I just love that this card is on Saturday afternoon. It was a card that was supposed to take place in London England but COVID put the kibosh on that. But I do love how the UFC does have cards that focus on the UK audience who normally have to stay up until God knows when to watch an entire event, plus the earlier start time works out great for those like myself in the Eastern Time Zone.
Looking at the card it’s self the Main Event is a real important fight in the Middleweight Division as Darren Till takes on Derek Brunson. Seeing Till at the weigh-ins it was great to see him look as healthy as he has ever been during his UFC run. This is an important fight for Till if he wants to be a big player in the Middleweight Division. Till hasn’t been that active with only 3 fights in the UFC since 2019 (going 1-2 in them). Till has had a lot of fights set up but fell out of them due to injury and I’m expecting to see the best performance of Till’s UFC career tomorrow afternoon. His opponent is Derek Brunson who is a real sleeper in the Middleweight Division but has been having the best run of his UFC career since moving over to Sanford MMA. Brunson is on a 4 fight win streak and with a win, he would really shake up the Middleweight Division.
The Undercard has some quality fights including the UFC Debut of former Cage Warriors Featherweight Champion Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett. Pimblett has since moved up to Lightweight but has been one of the best prospects in Europe with his brash personality and ability to finish fights both on the feet and if the fight hits the ground. Pimblett has the chance to be the UFC next massive superstar coming out of the UK.
Welsh Bantamweight Jack Shore looks to move to 15-0 as he takes on Liudvik Sholinian who is coming fresh off this season of TUF. Happy to see Shore still on the card as he lost two opponents on this card (Said Nurmagomedov & Zviad Lazishvilli) who were both forced to withdraw.
The Co-Main Event is real exciting bout at Heavyweight with two of the best up and comers not only in the Heavyweight Division but out of Europe as England’s Tom Aspinall takes on Moldova’s Sergey Spivak. I love this fight as Aspinall has been a violent force every time he steps into the Octagon with two quick first-round finishes and then most recently getting a Rear Naked Choke Submission over former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski. Spivak has is a great athlete for his size he can push the pace and uses his grappling to throw his opponents around. The most impressive attribute he has is his gas tank as he can go the full 15 minutes without breathing heavy.
There are two Canadians on the card as former TKO Middleweight & Light Heavyweight Champion Marc-Andre Barriault looks for his second win in the UFC against Dalcha Lungiambula. Barriault looked like he has finally figured out how to be successful in the UFC with his pressure & combos. The other Canadian on the card is former TKO Featherweight & Interim Lightweight Champion Charles “Air” Jourdain as he takes on “Juicy J” Julian Erosa. This fight to me screams fight of the night with the styles that both men bring to the table. Jourdain may just be the most exciting Canadian on the active roster with his ability to throw caution to the wind at times & yet be a technical striker/grappler.
Speaking of Canadians September is a big month for Canadians in action as top prospects Chad Anheliger, Anthony Romero, Jasmine Jasudavicious & Aaron Jeffery all have the most important fights of their careers. Chad Anheliger is the current RISE FC Bantamweight Champion who is on an 8 fight win streak with wins over notable fighters such as James Mancini and a successful title defence against TUF 29 Bantamweight Finalist Brady Hiestand. Angheliger has really shown that he can finish fights with his last two wins being finishes before Championship Rounds.
Anthony Romero finally gets to compete for the first time in 2021 in the Main Event of Fury FC 50 down in Houston Texas. Romero who is known as The Genius is arguably the biggest snub from Season 4 of the Contenders Series. Romero fights smart but when he sees an opening he can let his hands go or use his wrestling & ground game which keeps getting better thanks to the great coaches at Niagra Top Team in St. Catherines. Romero faces the toughest opponent he has ever faced in AKA fighter JJ Okanovich. A fight you won’t want to miss.
Jasmine Jasudavicious will fight on Week 3 of DWCS which is set for September 14th. This fight will be in the Flyweight Division which I think is the perfect weight class for Jas as she can use her height and reach advantage. I’ve said for years she is the best Female 125er not in a major promotion competing in MMA. Jasmine is just known for her ability to go in for the kill and finish fights. Her fight with Kylie O’Hearn in Cage Titans is a go out of your way and see the fight as those ladies went to war. Plus the moment doesn’t seem too big for her as she fought in her home town of Niagra Falls Ontario back in November at BTC 8 and she woman handled Christina Ricker (now Adcock). Jasudavicious’s opponent is Brazilian Julia Plastri who has an impressive 8-2 record and a 6 fight winning streak with her last 3 wins coming by both submission & TKO.
Aaron Jeffery rounds out the Canadians I have spotlighted. Jeffery will be back on the Contenders Series for the second time in his career. Jeffery fought Brendan Allen back in the summer of 2019 and was forced to submit due to a Rear Naked Choke. But since then Jeffery has only become a better fighter by racking up a 4 fight win streak with 3/4 wins by way of finish. But Jeffery’s last 3 wins have been huge stepping stones for his road back to DWCS. He beat a fellow DWCS vet Bruno Assis via 3rd Round TKO with a beautiful right hand that floored the Brazilian, Jeffery then took that win to the LFA where he was able to pick apart Andrei Petroski on the feet and able to stuff the majority of Petroski’s takedowns. Jeffery then went and got some gold by winning the CFFC Middleweight Championship from Colin Huckbody who months before had won a fight on DWCS and opted not to accept a UFC contract feeling he wasn’t ready. Jeffery was able to grind down Huckbody up against the fence to win a Unanimous Decision. Jeferry’s opponent is Brazilian Cai Borralho who is 6-1 but Jeffery is easily the toughest opponent that Borralho has ever faced.
The Canadian MMA Scene keeps getting hotter as BFL 68 & 69 will be held on Sept 30th & Oct 1st in Vancouver British Columbia, Unified returns with Unified 41 Sept 24th from River Cree Resort & Casino in Edmonton Alberta & BTC Fight is back home in Burlington Ontario just 5 weeks after BTC XI in Edmonton. Each of these shows has fights to look out for. BFL 68 has an awesome Bantamweight Championship fight between Serhiy Sidey & Gio Platon. Sidey is a guy I have followed since his days on the amateur circuit and he is a new breed of athlete that grew up just training MMA. Sidey has lethal head kicks but his grappling has only gotten better since his loan loss to Mateo Vogel. Sidey was supposed to fight for the BFL Bantamweight Gold back in June but his opponent Ali Wasuk had weight cutting complications so BFL did the right thing and gave Sidey another opportunity at the Championship as he showed up and made weight. Platon may only be 2-0 as a pro but he has crazy power for a Bantamweight with both wins coming via 1st Round KO. BFL 69 will see the BFL Welterweight Championship on the line as Dejan Kajic will defend against UFC Vet Christian Aguilera. Kajic looked fantastic in his title-winning fight against a top prospect in Kyran Cameron as Kajic was able to lure Cameron into his gameplan and pounced for a finish. Aguilera is a vet of the fight game. He has been a pro since 2013 with stops in BAMMA LFA & the UFC. It’s a really interesting match with two true vets of the sport clashing for BFL Gold
BTC Fight Promotions returns home to Burlington Ontario with their first card in Ontario since BTC 9 took place on February 29th 2020 in Kitchener Ontario. BTC isn’t playing around as they have a fantastic Bantamweight Bout in the Co-Main Event with Tyler Wilson vs Louis Jordain. This is a rematch from January 2017 when Wilson handed Jourdain his first loss as a pro. Both fighters have only gotten better and this bout should be one of the best fights to take place in Canada this year. As well BTC announced that starting at BTC 13 they will have a $10,000 Bantamweight Tournament and with all the top 135ers in Canada, I can’t wait to see who is involved.
Unified 41 returns to River Cree Resort & Casino with two title fights. The Unified Super Lightweight Championship (165lbs) will be on the line in the Main Event as Shane Campbell takes on Mike Hill. Both guys are vets of the sport and should put on a war in the Main Event. The Co-Main Event will see Christian Larsen defend his Unified Heavyweight Championship against Grayson Wells. Larsen who is a big Heavyweight and has to cut to make the 265lbs limit did get to shake off some of that rust from the pandemic back in June when he fought BFL Heavyweight Champion Cai Machado. While that fight didn’t go Larsen’s way I expect him to be even more dangerous. Wells hasn’t fought since 2019 but gets to keep the same dance partner that he was supposed to fight back in March 2020 in Champion Larsen.
Unfortunate to see that Oscar De Lay Hoya is out of his Sept 11 Triller Boxing fight vs Vitor Belfort due to him contracting COVID19. His replacement is former Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield which just fits the wild out of the box and sometimes insane booking from Triller
There is a bit of a hold up as the card is set to take place from California but they won’t sanction Holyfield vs Belfort as either a Pro Bout or an Exhibition so Triller may move the card on one wee’s notice to Florida
I feel bad for Triller as COVID has killed all the momentum they built but I do worry about how long they last as they have lost Mike Tyson & Jake Paul and wonder about the stability of the organization going forward.
This past Tuesday saw the return of the Contenders Series which is one of my favourite series all year in MMA. Week 1 saw a crazy flying knee KO from A.J Fletcher and a devastating KO from Azamat Murzakano. We also saw the first-ever fighter to lose a fight get a contract. Victor Altamirano won his Flyweight Bout over Carlos Candelario via Split Decision but Dana gave both a contract due to the performance both men put on. It helped that this was a Flyweight and the UFC Flyweight Division could always use more meat on its bones. Dana White did say after the fact that he loves a fat roster so expect a record to be broken in fighters signed this season. Also really cool to see Laura Sanko on the broadcast team. Laura is one of the best analysts in all of MMA and her now getting the chance after this season of DWCS to be a regular on Fight Nights is a huge win for the UFC.
No Podcast this week due to Labor Day so enjoy the long weekend everyone