Worldwide MMA Preview – Invicta, Road FC, Akhmat and WSOF

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Invicta FC is the first major card of the weekend. The all female promotion presents a stacked card that will broadcast live on UFC FightPass from 1:30am on Friday night. Newly minted atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki will defend her title for the first time against Amber Brown. Hamasaki has a 12-1 record with her only defeat coming in a strawweight fight against Claudia Gadelha. She captured the atomweight title in a split decision over Herica Tiburcio in July. Hamasaki is primarily a grappler and her other notable wins have come against Seo Hee Ham and Mizuki Inoue.

Her opponent Amber Brown has a 6-1 record and may be familiar to Irish fans due to her victory over Limerick’s Catherine Costigan last summer. She followed that up with another first round submission in her next fight which has given her this opportunity. This fight could easily come down to who can win the key scrambles and come out on top in grappling exchanges, or their grappling could possibly be even and lead to a striking battle.

There will be an interim flyweight title contested on this card also when Vanessa Porto meets Jennifer Maia. Champion Barb Honchak has not fought for over a year which has necessitated the need for this championship. Porto came up short against Honchak in 2013 but since then has won three straight fights, the latest against Roxanne Modafferi. Maia fights out of the famed Chute Boxe gym and she has a record 12-4-1.Maia is on a run of three straight victories in her native Brazil, two of those being stoppages from strikes. She has not been as successful in Invicta though as she is 1-2 in the promotion.

Elsewhere the card features prominent fighters throughout, including former UFC fighters Angela Hill, Roxanne Modafferi and Jessamyn Duke, former Invicta champion Herica Tiburcio and former Invicta title challengers Stephanie Eggink, Irene Aldana and DeAnna Bennett.

Saturday morning brings us to South Korea for Road FC 29 headlined by a featherweight fight between Marlon Sandro and Mu Gyeom Choi. Choi has a 6-4 record that has largely been compiled in Road FC. Sandro on the other hand has a wealth of experience all over the world including Bellator and Sengoku. Sandro fights out of Nova Uniao and during his 2009/2010 run in Sengoku he was thought to be one of the world’s finest featherweights. His career has not hit those heights recently as he went 1-1-1 during 2015.

The co-main event is a bantamweight clash between Soo Chul Kim and Marcus Brimage. Brimage is a former opponent of Conor McGregor and went 4-4 in the UFC in total. This is his first fight since being released from the promotion following defeat to Jimmie Rivera. Kim drew with Marlon Sandro last year and his last lost came to Bibiano Fernandes in One FC in 2013. He last competed at Rizin on New Years Eve where he was victorious over Maike Linhares.

Later on Saturday a big card takes place in Grozny, Russia known as Akhmat Fight Show. The show will have the quarterfinal fights of tournaments at flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight and lightweight. The field has a mix of young prospects and more experienced journeymen. The flyweight tournament will feature the WSOF champion Magomed Bibulatov, former Bellator title challenger Anthony Leone and undefeated English fighter Chris Miah. At bantamweight we have Khabib Nurmagomedov’s younger brother Said, Bellator and Pancrase veteran Luis Nogueira and five fighters who are on a winning streak of five or more fights.

In the featherweight tournament the two biggest names will face each other straight away. Former Bellator tournament winner Frodo Khasbulaev will fight former UFC fighter Kurt Holobaugh. Jungle Fight champion Otto Rodrigues is also in the featherweight bracket. At lightweight Des Green and Ryan Quinn have experience in Bellator while the biggest name of the Russian contingent in Shamil Zavurov who has over a decade of experience with lots of fights in other Russian promotions such as M-1 and FightNight.

WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje is one of the most exciting fighters to watch in all of MMA and he will be defending his title against Brian Foster on Saturday night in Colorado. Gaethje is 15-0 with eight of those wins coming in WSOF and his first fight with Luis Palomino was one of the best fights of 2015. Foster has experience in the UFC and beat Joao Zeferino in the finals of a lightweight tournament to earn this title shot. Gaethje has three fights left on his lucrative WSOF contract and we may get to see him in the UFC or Bellator after that if they stump up the cash to tempt him.