Worldwide MMA Preview – Eurasian, Bellator, Made 4 The Cage, ONE & Shooto

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It is a busy weekend for MMA fans with live fights on UFC Fight Pass on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well some Irish interest in England.

Eurasian Fight Nights debuts on UFC Fight Pass on Friday evening, the card starts at 6pm from Dagestan, Russia. The main attraction of the evening is Bellator champion Vitaly Minakov. Minakov returned from an absence of over a year at Fight Nights last event to win a quick TKO stoppage victory. He is now 15-0 and his opponent will be Brazilian Gerônimo Dos Santos. Dos Santos is 36-15 and he was scheduled to fight Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 153 before sustaining an injury.

In the co-main event, 12-0 Russian Rasul Mirzaev fights American journeyman Kevin Croom. Mirzaev is a Fight Nights regular while Croom has fought in good North American regional promotions such as RFA and Titan.

Later on Friday is Bellator 143, Bellator will be trying to capitalise on the momentum of their Dynamite show last week, and unfortunately for them this is a rather weak card. The self-proclaimed “Baddest Man on the Planet” Joe Warren is a former Bellator champion at both featherweight and bantamweight. He lost his bantamweight crown to Marcos Galvao by leglock in March and tonight he will fight L.C. Davis tonight in an attempt to get himself back into the title picture. Davis has won three straight in Bellator including an epic split decision battle with Hideo Tokoro.

The co-main event is a battle between UFC veterans Joey Beltran and Kendall Grove at middleweight. Both men have previously come up short in attempts to win Bellator titles but with Bellator not having much of a middleweight division nowadays a win could catapult either man into the hunt.

There is Irish interest in Made 4 The Cage 18: Takeover in Newcastle, England on Saturday. Ryan Roddy is a 7-1 lightweight based in Newcastle who has impressed so far in his short career. His only professional defeat came to a Paul Redmond leglock and there is no shame in that. Roddy will battle 10-1 Chris Fishgold. Fishgold impressed in Cage Warriors but was defeated by decision in his last fight to Korean Ki Bum Moon which took place in Taiwan.

On Sunday One FC present Odyssey of Champions from Jakarta, Indonesia. The main event will be between champion Jadamba Narantungalag and the Russian challenger Marat Gafurov. The Mongolian Jadamba has had a long but sparse MMA career. He made his debut in 2004 in a defeat to Kid Yamamoto but only came to prominence in 2010 with a win over Akihiro Gono in Sengoku. Jadamba won the One FC belt with a unanimous decision win over Koji Oishi last August. Gafurov is an impressive grappler, with two first round submission wins in his One FC career so far. This fight has the potential to be a great battle.

Two rising featherweights will meet in the co-main event with the winner likely to fight for the title next. Brazilian Herbert Burns trains out of Evolve MMA and four of his five professional fights have been under the One FC banner. His opponent Timofey Nastyukhin is a 25 year old Russian with a 9-1 record, the lone defeat coming in his first professional fight. Since then he has finished all of his fights with a fairly even split of KOs and submissions. He gained a lot of fame after a particularly violent finish of Eduard Folayang in his One FC debut.

The card has unusual depth for a One FC card which is due to the late cancellation of their last event. Roger Huerta will take on Koji Ando and former middleweight champion Leandro Ataides will be in action for the first time since dropping his belt.

There is more action on UFC Fight Pass on Sunday, this time from Shooto Brazil. As usual with a Shooto Brazil card it features inexperienced local fighters, including plenty from Nova Uniao. The vacant flyweight title will be on the line between Ronaldo Candido and Bruno Suema. Candido is 5-0 with all five wins coming by way of choke. Suema is the more experienced at 11-2 and he has won four fights in a row. Candido is the Nova Uniao representative in this fight, and he is joined on the card by teammates Zeilton Rodrigues, Guilherme Leonardo, Yago Bryan and Kauê Fernandes.