Worldwide MMA Preview – EFN, Bellator and Jungle FC

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The world of MMA brings us to Russia, America, Korea and Brazil this weekend with plenty of action to keep an eye on.

This weekend’s action begins in St. Petersburg, Russia with Eurasian Fight Nights. The card has been dealt a couple of blows due to injury with Vladimir Mineev and Aleksandar Rakic both missing out. Rakic was due to fight Mikhail Mokhnatkin who is one of the premier lightweights currently plying their trade outside of the big leagues and it cannot be long before he makes a move stateside. He has an extensive background in Sambo and he is unbeaten in MMA since a defeat in his debut fight. He has a win over Valentijn Overeem and most recently defeated Donald Njatah Nua by submission in July to bring his record to 7-1-1. Ednaldo Oliveira has stepped up to replace Rakic and it is a fine replacement for a promotion of this fight, you would think it unlikely that they could arrange an interesting fight for Mokhnatkin on short notice so this replacement is a pleasant surprise. Oliveira fought twice in the UFC but came up short on both of his trips to the octagon. He lost to Gabriel Gonzaga before dropping down to light heavyweight and losing to Francimar Barroso. He bounced back with a win in his native Brazil to improve his record to 14-2-1.

Two interesting women’s flyweight fights occupy spots near the top of the card. In the co-main event Julia Berezikova takes on Rosy Duarte of Brazil. While Berezikova’s 8-4 record may not suggest greatness, she has competed against some of the best women’s flyweights in the world. Three of those defeats came in our opening four fights and they were against Tara LaRosa, Rosi Sexton and Julie Kedzie. Her most recent defeat came to current UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. For Duarte this will be the first time she competes outside of Brazil. In the other female fight of the night, two fighters who are inexperienced in MMA but decorated in Muay Thai will compete. Anastasia Yankova has only competed once in MMA, a successful effort back in 2013 while her opponent Chommanee Sor Taehiran will be making her MMA debut.

Bellator 144 from Connecticut, United States continues this weekend’s theme of cards that have been battered by injuries. Marcos Galvao and Eduardo Dantas were due to rematch for the Bellator bantamweight title on this card but it was not to be, instead we have a middleweight title fight between Brandon Halsey and Rafael Carvalho. Halsey missed weight in his previous title defence so was stripped of the belt meaning this fight is for the vacant title. Halsey has a perfect 9-0 record including wins over Alexander Shlemenko and Kendall Grove. Carvalho sports an 11-1 record and beat Glory kickboxer Joe Schilling in his last outing. Bellator’s middleweight division has really stagnated recently so hopefully this fight gives the division a new lease of life.

Two of Bellator’s finest welterweights are in action on this card, although not against each other. Michael Page, the flashy English striker who has an 8-0 record and a slew of highlight reel finishes will look to add another one when he fights Charlie Ontiveros. Page is 8-0 in MMA and has been competing since 2012, a lot of people are very unhappy with this match as they were expecting Page to receive a stiffer test this time out. Ontiveros has compiled a 6-3 record in Legacy FC but he has never competed against someone of Page’s ability and while I appreciate the desire to see Page deliver a flashy finish and conjure up more attention it is really time for him to start competing against more established opponents.

The man who many wanted to see face Page is Brennan Ward, who is unbeaten in his two fights since dropping down to welterweight. Instead he will face off against Dennis Olson, who has competed in Bellator three times but never managed a victory. If Page and Ward both emerge victorious then hopefully that fight will be made next as people are running out of patience for this type of matchmaking in Bellator.

The action on Saturday morning is from Incheon, South Korea with Top FC 9. It is headlined by a middleweight bout between Jae Young Kim and Matt Horwich. Kim is incredibly experienced with over a decade competing in the sport and he is currently on the best run of his career with six wins in a row. He has fought against strong talent such as Denis Kang, Hector Lombard and Melvin Manhoef in his career. Horwich has competed in every promotion under the sun, ranging from the bright lights of the UFC and Bellator to regional promotions such as Shark Fights and Amazon Forest Combat, most recently he has been competing in Poland for KSW.

Finally, Jungle Fight 82 takes place on Saturday night in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The card is headlined by a lightweight title fight between Erick Barbosa and Ciro Rodrigues. Rodrigues is the current champion and is riding a five fight win streak right now which has brought his record to 18-6. Barbosa is also on a good run of form having won his last three fights. These two have fought before and Barbosa won a split decision on that occasion.

In the co-main event is a 220lbs title fight featuring Bruno Cappelozza and Sandro Bezerra. Jungle Fight founder Wallid Ismail has said that the winner of this fight will compete in the Rizin Fight Federation’s heavyweight tournament over New Year’s. Cappelozza has a 6-3 record and has won his last three with all of his victories coming via KO/TKO. Bezerra is also a finisher, five of his six wins have come inside the distance and he is currently unbeaten.