Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March Madness 2016: The 64 fights to watch for March 2016!

 March is not usually a marquee month for MMA. This year UFC only has two shows while Bellator has one offering. It has a lot to do with March Madness the ratings monster that dominates sports television in March.  At least at the North American level. That is why I took to make a bracket of 64 fights that are going down this month. You have the obvious fights like McGregor VS  Diaz but did you know Charles Bennett was fighting or how about Tony Lopez? Knock on wood these fights actually go down as of me writing this, all are a go!

1- Conor McGregor VS Nate Diaz - UFC 196 3/5- Very rarely does a main event mean so little but mean so much. McGregor who will be fighting two weight classes above where he's champion at Featherweight.  Nate Diaz a fighter who's been at 155 mainly will have the size advantage which has been a rare thing for McGregor in the UFC. This fight might be the fight that makes or breaks McGregor's aspirations of fighting at a higher weight class for Nate Diaz this could be his signature win.

2-Holly Holm VS Miesha Tate- UFC 196 3/5 - Holm who shocked the world last November puts her belt on against long time contender Miesha Tate.  Holm who dominated Rousey had more trouble in her first two UFC Outings. Tate who poses a  well rounded threat could play spoiler. This Co-Main event will set the direction of the womens bantamweight division for years to come.

3-Frank Mir VS Mark Hunt -UFC Fight Night 3/20 - We will see the arguably the best submission artist in the heavyweight division taking on the best knockout artist in the heavyweight division. Mir who seemingly won't leave the Top 10 will look to rebound against Mark Hunt the fan favorite who is coming off a knockout of Antonio Silva back in November. This one is sure to be fireworks.

4-Neil Magny VS Hector Lombard -UFC Fight Night 3/20- Magny who emerged from obscurity over the past two years picked up the biggest win of his career with a decision over Kelvin Gastelum get's his next big fight. Hector Lombard who has been a force since dropping down to welterweight. The big question is how will Lombard look after the long layoff. He was suspended for testing positive for anabolic steroids in 2015. Magny establishes himself as a top 10 fighter with a win against Lombard.  Lombard rebounds with a victory and could challenge the top 3 if he picks up the win on March 20th.

5-Darrion Caldwell VS Joe Warren - Bellator 151 3/4- This fight is the new guard vs the old guard. Joe Warren former champion faces fellow wrestling stand out Darrion Caldwell in the main event of Bellator 151.  Warren who you either love or hate is 39 years old and this is probably his last run at a title.  Caldwell is 28 , undefeated and should challenge for the belt with a win against the veteran.  This fight is a very intriguing fight in a division that doesn't have a ton.

6-Justin Gaetjhe VS Brian Foster- WSOF 29 3/12- Gaetjhe has proven he's must see TV. Facing UFC vet and fellow action fighter Brian Foster in the main event of WSOF 29. All I can say is don't blink. Gaetjhe looks to defend his belt for the forth time. Brian Foster who won the 8 man one night tournament back in November is looking to crash the party.  Foster has only went to decision twice in his 33 fight career will likely put on a fight of the year candidate with "The Highlight" Justin Gaetjhe.

7-Darren Elkins VS Chas Skelly- UFC 196 3/5 - Elkins is the one of the toughest out's in the featherweight division. He's going to be facing a hungry Chas Skelly who's 15-1 and looking to make a statement in Las Vegas.  Elkins who has been separating the elite from the rest for the past 6 years hopes to add another name to "The Rest".  Skelly with a win most likely jumps up the rankings and sets him self up with a top 10 fight later this year.

8-Jim Miller VS Diego Sanchez UFC 196 3/5- You can't think of the 155 pound division in the UFC and not think about Sanchez or Miller. Both have been in outstanding fights and have been in the Main or Co-Main a combined 17 times. Some believe their best days are behind them but this fight is sure to be a fight of the night worthy affair. This fight will be on fight pass so sign up if you aren't already you won't want to miss this one.

9-Jake Matthews VS Johnny Case - UFC Fight Night 3/20 - Matthews will fight on home soil against Johnny Case in a prospect showcase. Case who's undefeated in the UFC will be looking to spoil the home coming against Jake Matthews. Matthews at just 21 years old has one lost against the tough James Vick. The winner of this bout will continue on the path of rising prospect the loser will have to go back to the drawing board.

10-Ben Nyguen VS Justin Scoggins- UFC Fight Night 3/20- Two red hot prospects in the UFC's flyweight division throw down on March 20th.  Scoggins who looked very impressive scoring the upset win over Ray Borg is looking to move up the ladder. Nyguen who's 2-0  in the UFC with two first round finishes is looking to make a statement.  Combined these young fighters have 20 finishes so both will be looking to end it sooner than later.

11-Amanda Nunes VS Valentina Shevchenko- UFC 196 3/5-  Nunes who is coming off a performance of the night win against Sara McMann in August is looking for her 3rd straight win but she'll have tough Russian Schevchenko who was victorious against Sara Kaufman in December. If Nunes wins this puts her on the short list of possible title contenders. Shevchenko could also see herself on that list with a win in Vegas.

12-Bubba Jenkins VS Goiti Yamauchi- Bellator 151 3/4 - Two of the brightest featherweight prospects will meet at Bellator 151. Combined the young fighters have a 29-4 record. Jenkins the stand out wrestler is looking to impose his will and get closer to the top of the division. Yamauchi is a tricky fighter with 15 submisisons. The winner of this should be close to a title shot.

13-Ayaka Hamasaki VS Amber Brown Invicta 16 3/11 - The main event of Invicta 16 features a Atomweight Title fight between champion Ayaka Hamasaki as she takes on Fit NHB product Amber Brown. This will be Hamasaki's first title defense since she won the belt back in July. Brown who is coming off two straight finishes in the promotion has proven to be a fan favorite. Hamasaki who is considered the best Japanese atomweight fighters is looking to retain the belt but expect to see an all out war.

14- Brandon Thatch VS Siyar Bahadurzada UFC 196 3/5 - Headlining the prelim portion of the UFC 196 card this fight should be fireworks. Thatch and Bahadurzada both debuted winning with Knockout of the Night honors but both are on two fight losing streaks. Thatch who was last defeated in July, Siyar you have to go all the way back to December 2013 when he lost a decision to John Howard. These guys are two elite strikers who on the feet can compete with anyone. With both of their backs against the wall expect a crazy affair with the winner staying in the UFC and the loser possibly getting cut.

15-Ross Pearson VS Abel Trujillo UFC Fight Ngiht 3/20- Two long standing veterans of the UFC's lightweight division face off. Both prone to big finishes this is sure to be a rock'em sock'em affair. Pearson looking to get back on track after losing his last bout to Fransisco Trinaldo in January. Trujillo coming off a submission win at UFC 195 over Tony Sims is looking to put a streak together and move up the ladder. Both of these fighters come to brawl and the fans are the real winners in this one.

16-Gian Villante VS Ilir Latifi UFC 196 3/5- This is a true test for both of these Light Heavyweights. Both coming off impressive Knockouts they'll be looking for the home run punch in Vegas. The 205 pound division isin't loaded with contenders so this is an important bout that should see the winner stepping up the rankings and possibly getting a fight with a top 10 Opponent.

17-Vanessa Porto VS Jennifer Maia Invicta 16 3/11 - Porto will take on Maia for the 2nd time as they first fought back in 2011. This time the stakes are higher as the interim flyweight title will be on the line. Porto who lost to champion Barb Honchak back in 2013 has won 3 straight since and looking to take home some gold. Maia lost the first fight back in 2011 so you know she's hungry to avenge that and take home some gold in the process.

18-Joe Taimanglo VS Sirwan Kakai- Bellator 151 3/4 - Diehard fight fans were shocked when Sirwan Kakai was released after a hard fought loss to the very game Frankie Saenz back in August. Rumors circulated of contract issues but Kakai quickly landed in Bellator. His first fight is no easy task as he takes on long time Bellator stand out Joe Taimanglo. "Baby Joe" is riding a 2 fight win streak and has 16 finishes on his record before the fights in Thackerville. This fight should likely send the winner into a bigger match up and possibly send them to a title shot.

19-Erick Silva VS Nordine Taleb UFC 196 3/5 -  Erick Silva continues to be an interesting prospect. He's lost every step up fight he's had but he continues to put on exciting fights. He faces Nordine Taleb who's a grinding fighter with a quiet 3-1 record in the UFC. I expect Silva will try to end this one quick but a loss probably crushes any expectations fans and media once had for him.  Taleb could pick up the biggest win of his UFC career in Vegas  and propel himself into the top 20 at Welterweight. This is why I think this fight is must see.

20- Frodo Khasbulaev VS Kurt Holobuah - Akhmat Fight Show 15- 3/12-  As part of a tournament in Russia.  We'll see two of the best featherweights not in the UFC throw down. Khasbulaev who is a Bellator tournament champion who's been sidelined with visa issues that left him inactive for 2 years is 1-1 in his return.  Holobaugh who picked up the Titan FC Featherweight title and a 5-1 mark since his UFC release is looking for a return to victory coming off a lost to Andre Harrison back in July.  Both will be hungry to get back in the W column and I expect one hell of a fight!

21-Ricky Simon VS Anderson Dos Santos- Titan FC 37  -3/4 - RIcky Simon who's coming off a victory over UFC Vet Alex Soto is 7-0 and hoping to win the Titan Bantamweight title on March 4th. In his way stands exciting finisher Anderson Dos Santos.  Dos Santos who's replacing former Titan FC Bantamweight champion Brett Johns has 11 finishes in his 13 wins. The winner not only walks away with the strap but could also shoot up the ladder and get an invitation to the UFC. Again that's speculation but I do think the winner of this has a bright future.

22-Alexa Grasso VS Stephanie Eggink- Invicta 16 3/11 -  Alex Grasso who is Invicta's best kept secret is hoping to make a statement win on March 11th. The 7-0 prospect has been laid off for over a yer due to injuries and is looking to come back strong. Her opponent has been out since September 2014 but due to having a child. Eggink who's last fight was in September 2014 was in a classic war with Katja Kankaanpaa for the vacant strawweight title.  Eggink who's record stands at 4-2 has two wins over UFC Strawweights (Heather Clark, Angela Magana) and is hoping with ah impressive showing she'll get the call to the UFC or another crack at the Invicta strawweight title. Either way I feel like these two are some of the better strawweights not in the UFC so I expect the winner to get a call to the "big show" very soon.

23- Herica Tiburcio VS Jinh Yu Frey Invicta 16 3/11- Tiburcio who shocked the world in December 2014 after defeating Michelle Waterson for the Invicta Atomweight championship, lost the belt in her first defense.  Tiburcio is looking to get back on the winning track and in her way stands prospect Jinh Yu Frey.  Frey who's 4-1 is well known for her viral knockout of Darla Harris from a few years back. Outside of being a YouTube hit she's put together a 2-1 mark in Invicta and if she can beat Tiburcio it seems like the sky is the limit for Frey.

24-Alan Patrick VS Chad Laprise UFC Fight Night 3/20 - Alan Patrick started his career 12-0 before dropping his last bout to Maribek Taisumov last June. Chad Larpise similarly started his career 10-0 before a KO lost to Fransico Trinaldo last August. Both guys will be hungry to taste victory again. The fight will be on neutral ground in Australia which is new for Laprise who's had all 11 of his fights in his home country of Canada. This winner of this fight will stay a float in the deep waters of the UFC Lightweight division the loser will sink closer to obscurity.

25- Tomas Narkun VS Cassio De Oliveira KSW 34- 3/4  Some times one fight can change a guy's career.  In Oliveira's case his first round submission over Ronny Markes a few weeks back did just that.  Cassio De Oliveira's career up until that point had been hit or miss with losses in his bigger fights but that win gave him another shot.  This time in the polish promotion KSW as he steps in to replace Andre Muniz.  He'll be facing 11-2 Tomas Narkun who's the KSW Light Heavyweight champion. Narkun who's finished all 11 wins is coming off a first round TKO over veteran Goran Relijc.  De Oliveira is looking for another upset and Narkun is looking for another finish. Both hungry fights are going to put on a show in Warsaw, Poland but only one will leave with the belt.

26- Gregor Gillespie VS Jose Mariscal Ring of Combat 54 3/4-  Big time prospect former National Champion wrestler Gregor Gillespie defends his lightweight belt against 3-0 Jose Mariscal.  Gillespie is looking to defend the title and get his shot in the UFC.

27- Fernando Gonzales VS GIlbert Smith  Bellator 151 3/4- Two talented welterweights will be looking to pick up the win and move on the short list of Bellator welterweight title challengers. Smith just came off a win over Bristol Marunde at RFA31 in October. Gonzales is on a 4 fight win streak.

28- Adriano Moares VS Eugene Torquero- ONE FC 3/18 - Former ONE FC flyweight champion Moares is looking to bounce back from losing his title against the Philippines stand out Eugene Toquero. The winner advances in an interesting ONE FC flyweight division.

29-Andre Harrison VS Steven Siler - Titan FC 37 3/4 -  The featherweight title will be on the line as undefeated Andre Harrison looks to improve to 12-0. In his way is  40 plus fight veteran Steven Siler. Harrison with a win could be looking a call to the big show. Siler who's fought in the UFC before is looking at taking home the belt and running his winning streak up to 6.

30-Desmon Green VS David Cubas - Akhmat Fight Show 15- 3/12 - Desmond Green former Titan FC featherweight Champion fights Peru standout David Cubas in the first found of the Lightweight tournament.  Cubas who's 17-3-2 is looking for the upset victory over the very tough Des Green. 

31-Steve Garcia VS Ricky Turcios- Bellator 151 - 3/4  -  A battle of two undefeated prospects goes down on the under card of Bellator 151. Garcia is 6-0 with 5 big finishes is facing Turcios who's making his Bellator debut but brings a strong 5-0 record. The winner of this likely won't see their next fight on the under card but the main card.

32-Jared Brooks VS Chris Miah - Akhmat Fight Show 15 3/12 -  Both fighters bring undefeated records into this one. This fight is part of the first round of the flyweight tournament. Brooks at 8-0 is a stand out wrestler coming off a win in Japan. Miah is a BAMMA stand out with 6 of his 7 wins coming by finish. Both guys are under 25 and win or lose seem to have huge potential in the sport.

33-Daniel Hooker VS Mark Eddiva -UFC Fight Night 3/20- All action fighter Daniel Hooker returns to Australia where he executed his highlight reel finish of Hatsu Hioki last May. Eddiva another action fighter who isn't afraid to stand in trade in the Octagon is hungry to bounce back into the win column.

34 Magomed Bibulatov VS Tyson Nam- WSOF 29 3/12 - The undefeated WSOF flyweight champion Bibulatov brings a 10-0 record into the fight. Nam who's most noted for his upset victory over Eduardo Dantas in 2012 is on a 2 fight win streak. Nam is looking to pull off another  upset and leave Colorado the WSOF flyweight champion.

35-Fabio Maldonado VS Andre Flores-Smith -XFC International 14 3/19-  Fresh  off his UFC release fan favorite Fabio Maldonado looks to return to the win column. Standing in his way is Peru's top light heavyweight Andrew Flores-Smith.  Flores-Smith is looking for the biggest win of his career.

36-Jason Sampson VS Matt Schnell- Legacy 52 3/25 - Matt Schnell was suppose to face Damacio Page but injury took page out. Enter Jason Sampon a 13-1 prospect with 11 finishes. Schnell is a bright flyweight prospect in his own right as he's riding a 6 fight win streak. The winner of this match leaves Legacy 52 with not only the interim Flyweight Title and possibly a spot in the UFC. 

 37-Tim Elliott VS Pedro Nobre- Titan FC 37 3/4 -The Titan FC flyweight Champion Tim Elliott looks for his 3rd straight win since his UFC release last year. He faces UFC veteran Pedro Nobre. Nobre who's 17-1-2 is looking to leave with the Gold and possibly a promotion to "The Big Show".

38-Raoni Barcelos VS Landon Vannata- RFA36 3/4 - Two rising lightweight prospects meet at RFA 36. Barcelos the RFA featherweight champion has 6 finishes in his pro career. Vannata a tough Jackson Wink product has 6 finishes. Both fighters are looking to get the finish and move up the ladder of 155 pound prospects.

39- Guliherme Faria VS Genair Da Silva - XFC International 14 3/19-  Brazil's deep featherweight division heats up on March 19th as former Bellator veteran Genair Da Silva looks to go 3-0 since his time in the promotion.  Guliherme Faria wants to stop Silva in his track and improve his winning streak to 6.

40-Karl Bedorf VS James McSweeny KSW 34 3/5- KSW Heavyweight champion looks to defend his belt for the third time. In his way stands journeyman heavyweight James McSweeney. McSweeney has finished every single victory on his pro record won't be looking to go to the cards. Bedorf has 7 finishes on his record so the scorecards will likely not be needed.

41-Logan Storley VS Lemetra Griffin RFA 36 3/4-  Four time All American NCAA Wrestler Storley has all the makings of a star.  He's a must see prospect and at 23 years old could be fighting in the bigger promotions before too long.

42- Sean Soriano VS Thomas Webb Legacy 52 3/25- The Blackzillians product Sean Soriano is looking to stay on the winning path.  Soriano despite having a rocky UFC run seems to have a lot of upside. Thomas Webb who holds an identical record of 9-3 is looking to spoil the party.

43-Maiquel Falcao VS Ramazan Emeev M-1 Challenge 65- 3/4 - The up and down career of Maqiuel Falcao continues as he heads to Russia.  Falcao faces off against M1 Middleweight Champion Ramazan Emeev who most recently defeated Luigi Fioravanti in December.  This is a tournament bout with the winner facing off against former Bellator title holder Alexander Shlemenko.

44-Aaron Davis VS Ryan Spann Legacy 52 3/25 - Two middleweights collide at light heavyweight. Spann is 24 years old and looking to bounce back in the other corner is 39 year old Aaron Davis.  Davis is looking for one last run in the sport.

45-Justin Patterson VS Chance Recountre Bellator 151 3/4 - Two of the southwest best welterweight prospects  face off on the Bellator 151 prelims.  Patterson who's looking to rebound from his first lost. Alliance product Chance Recountre is looking to bring his record to 9-1.

46-Egidijus Valavicius VS Tony Lopez  Sugar Creek Showdown 29 3/26 - Tony Lopez will make the walk for his 60th pro fight as he challenges for the Sugar Creek Showdown light heavyweight champion Egidijus Valavicius.  Valavcius the Bellator veteran is coming off a 56 second submission win over super veteran Jeremy Horn back in November.  These two may be near the end of their careers but this is still a compelling match up.

47-Ivan Jorge VS Yuir Maia Apsena FC 33 3/19 - Jorge who's coming off a lost to Joe Duffy back in July. Jorge who's one of the top lightweights in Brazil is looking to bounce back his opponent Yuri Maia is looking to make his name. Maia is a 22 year old prospect with 10 finishes and a 14-4 record.

48-Leslie Smith VS Rin Nakai UFC FIGHT NIGHT 3/20-  Smith is known to be in some of the most exciting fights in womens MMA returns after a year pus lay off. Her opponent Rin Nakai is an enigma in her own right.  Nakai also fighting for the first time since 2014 is looking to pick up her first UFC win.  These two make for an interesting bout .

49-Tim Hague VS Tanner Boser - Unified MMA 3/4- Tim Hague the gold standard in veteran Canadian heavyweights rematches the young Boser. The first bout only lasted 6 seconds as Hague finished Boser with a one punch knockout.  Boser who's only 24 years old is 8-1 with 7 finishes and is hungry to avenge his only loss.

50-James Te Huna VS Steve Bosse- UFC Fight Night 3/20- Te Huna is coming off a nearly 2 year layoff and has lost his last 3 fights. This is a cross roads fight for the tough New Zealander. Bosse a once retired fighter is coming off one the receiving end  of the most brutal knockouts in UFC history. Both fighters are in a similar position the winner won't shoot up the rankings but this is a very important fight for both men.

51- Ricardo Tirloni VS Hermes Franca- XFC International 14 3/19- Two veterans of the sport face off as former UFC Title challenger Hermes Franca takes on Bellator veteran Ricardo Tirloni. Franca at 41 years old is likely on the downside of his career. Tirloni is looking to make it 4 wins in a row and a possible shot at one of the bigger promotions.

52-Rakhman Dudaev VS Jonathan Brookins -Akhmat Fight Show 15 3/12-  Brookins the TUF 12 champion is looking to pick up his 2nd straight victory as he heads to Russia. This fight is part of the bantamweight tournament. Dudaev is coming off a victory over UFC veteran Vaughan Lee which was his 6th straight victory.

53-Martin Delaney VS Tim Wilde - Full Contact Contender 15- 3/5- Delaney and Wilde bring a combined record of 18-2 into the March 5th bout.  Both have achieved high prospect status int he United Kingdom. The winner not only claims the vacant lightweight belt but moves up the prospect ladder in the UK.

54-Hiromitsu Miura VS Luiz Dutra Jr - Pancrase 276 - 3/13 - A welterweight bout between UFC Veteran Luiz Dutra JR who's looking to claim his 2nd straight victory  since his release from the promotion. Dutra wants to show out in his Pancrase debut but In his way is Japanese stand out Hiromitsu Miura who's undefeated since he returned to the sport after a six year layoff.

55- Corey Anderson VS Tom Lawlor - UFC 196 -3/5  - Corey Anderson a light heavyweight prospect is looking to move up the rankings as he takes on former middleweight stand out Tom Lawlor. Lawlor who improved to 2-0 as a light heavyweight in the UFC with his knockout win over Gian Villante back in July. 

56-Jamie Abdllah VS Robert Wilkinson - Australian FC 15 3/19-  Jamie Abdllah is only 2-0 in his young career but already holds the AFC middleweight title. He faces fellow prospect Robert "Razor" Wilkinson in a title clash at AFC 15. Wilkinson is 8-0 with 8 finishes.

57-Joey Holt VS Justin Edwards -GOTC MMA 20- 3/19-  Finisher Joey Holt a former Bellator fighter is looking to pick up a huge win on March 19th. His opponent Justin Edwards a submission ace who's looking to bounce back after his release from the UFC. Edwards has only had one of his victories reach the judges scorecards.

58-Cody Stamann VS Farkhad Sharipov- KOP 48 3/26 -  Michigan prospect Cody Stamann looks to improve to 10-1 as he faces the Bellator veteran and tough out Farkhad Sharipov.  Stamann looks to be a nice prospect but Sharipov is one if not the toughest opponents of his career.

59-Marcus Brimage VS Soo Chul Kim- Road FC 29- 3/12  Marcus Brimage was once a 3-0  in the UFC. He then went on a 1-4 spill before being cut. Brimage's losses came mostly against top competition so it will be interesting to see how he looks against Korea's Kim.  Soo Chul Kim is a former ONE FC Bantamweight champion. Kim most recently won at the RIZIN FC Event in December. Kim hasn't lost since October 2013.

60-Peter Montibeller VS Marcelo Dias - Aspera FC 33 3/19-  Two of Brazil's finest flyweight prospects face off. Montibeller holds a 7-1 record while Marcelo Dias holds a 5-1 record. The winner of this moves up the prospect ladder at 125 pounds.

61-Tuerxun Jumabieke VS Alison Marques - WBK 11- 3/5 - Jumabieke was once the top prospect in China. His 0-3 disastrous run in the UFC took him out of the limelight completely. He returned to face Alison Marques last November in a fight that was a draw. Alison Marques who is only 3 fights into his career is looking to pick up the win over the former top prospect as they rematch on March 5th.

62-Marian Zloikowski VS Roman Szymanski - Fight Exclusive Night 11- 3/19 - Two of Poland's finest lightweight prospects throw down in Warsaw.  Ziolkowski has won 5 straight  going into the bout. Szymanski has an impressive winning streak of his own as he's perfect in his last seven. The winner of this bout is on the move and could see a shot in the bigger promotions soon.

63-Fernandon Rodrigues Jr VS Tiago Cardoso - XFC International 3/19 - Two of Brazil's most feared heavyweights are set to duke it out. Both on the right side of 30 seem to have upside in the sport. Rodrgiues Jr is coming off his 2nd career loss and is looking to bounce back. Cardoso is undefeated at 6-0 but in many eyes is facing his toughest opponent to date.

64-Charles Bennett VS Matthew Dimarcantonio - KOTC Extreme Horsepower -3/12- Honestly there  isin't much at stake in this bout.  Dimarcantonio sports an 8-6 record and has fought some tough guys such as Rob Font and Des Green. Regardless when Charles Bennett fights you never know what to expect from the long time Veteran of the sport.

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