Worldwide MMA Preview – One FC, Bellator x2 and KSW

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The first action of the weekend is brought to us by One FC who have a card in the Philippines for us to enjoy, with the action kicking off at midday Irish time. The main event features a heavyweight title fight between champion Brandon Vera and challenger Hideki Sekine. Vera had a long and inconsistent run in the UFC, and after it ended in 2013 he took up residence in One FC but has so far only competed in two bouts. The second of which was a heavyweight title fight in which he beat Paul Cheng, that was a year ago so it is time for his first defence. His challenger Sekine is an interesting opponent. He has a record of 7-0 which he achieved fighting mainly against very inexperienced competition on Deep shows. He is not a prospect either as he is 43 years old, he does seem to have a grappling pedigree with appearances at ADCC amongst his achievements so he will be in with a chance should the fight hit the mat.

In the co-main event Bibiano Fernandes will look to defend his bantamweight title and his 11 fight winning streak against Reece McLaren. Fernandes is one of the best fighters outside of the UFC at the moment and it is an awful shame he never competed against the world’s best in his prime he has nonetheless been very successful in his career. It is hard to blame him for the lack of competition, this is a guy who fought Urijah Faber and Kid Yamamoto in his second and third MMA fights after all, but he has made easy work of the last few One FC challengers and at 36 years old he needs stiffer competition sooner rather than later. Maybe McLaren can be that guy, the Australian has a record of 9-3 with two impressive wins in his last two outings, first choking out the then 14-1 Mark Striegl and then handing Muin Gafurov the first defeat of his career so he has certainly earned this title shot.

Bellator 166 is live from Oklahoma with the action starting at 2am GMT on Friday night with a bantamweight title fight between Eduardo Dantas and Joe Warren in the main event. Strangely, Bellator 167 is live from the same venue on Saturday night, with Darrion Caldwell v Joe Taimanglo 2 headlining that card.

This is Dantas’ second stint as Bellator champion and his first reign was ended by Joe Warren which adds an extra dimension to this fight. Since losing the title to Warren, Dantas beat Mike Richman before challenging Marcos Galvao for the title and winning a unanimous decision to claim the title. Warren has had an up and down time of it since beating Dantas in 2014. He dropped the title to Galvao by second round leglock in his first defence and is 2-1 since then, with victories over LC Davis and Sirwan Kakai sandwiched between a loss to Darrion Caldwell, who we will get to shortly.

Elsewhere on the Friday card, AJ McKee continues his young career, Marcos Galvao gets back on the road to title contention as he takes on LC Davis and Chris Honeycutt returns to action looking for his third win in a row.

As for the Saturday card, much hyped prospect Darrion Caldwell is looking for revenge after Taimanglo handed him the first defeat of his career in his last outing. Caldwell has big time wrestling credentials and he was putting them to good use in that fight until the third round when he shot from very far away and left his head there for a guillotine. Taimanglo may not have the pedigree of Caldwell but he has experience and as soon as the opportunity was presented to him he grabbed it with both hands for what was one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Can he repeat the trick or will Caldwell put the record straight.

Also on that card is Nova Uniao’s John Teixeira, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane who achieved notoriety after competing in an Xplode Fight Series mismatch, and former RFA and Tachi Palace Fights champion Chidi Njokuani.

Sandwiched between those two Bellator cards is KSW 37 which begins at 5pm GMT on Saturday. The main event sees Karol Bedorf defending his heavyweight crown against Fernando Rodrigues Jr. Bedorf has a record of 14-2 and is currently on an eight fight winning streak where he has looked very impressive with Rolles Gracie, Peter Graham and James McSweeney amongst the names he has defeated on this run. As for Rodrigues, he competed in IGF heavyweight tournament in 2015 where he scored an upset victory over Yosef Ali Mohammad before falling to Oli Thompson in the final, he then beat Mohammad again this year in a bout in Finland.

Former World’s Strongest Man Mariusz Pudzianowski is in action in the co-main event. He has lost his last two fights which snapped a run of four victories in a row so he really needs this one to get back on track. He is fighting Pawel Rak who has a record of 2-1 with all of them fights coming in 2008, so he may have a bit of ring rust to shake off.

Also on the main card, England’s John Maguire is challenging Borys Mankowski for the welterweight title and TUF veteran Marcin Wrzosek is challenging Arthur Sowinski for the featherweight title on what is another very strong offering from KSW.