Weekend MMA Preview

Weekend MMA Preview: World Series of Fighting Debuts; Bellator, RFA in Action

There aren’t any UFC events this weekend as the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion has its sights set on Macao, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of MMA action for you New England fans to enjoy.

The World Series of Fighting is bring MMA back to the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) when the organization makes its debut at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino this Saturday.  WSOF 1 features a stacked card of UFC vets as former champ Andrei Arlovski headlines the event opposite Devin Cole.  Fellow UFC vet and former WEC champ Miguel Torres will also be featured on the main card alongside former UFC middleweight and welterweight Anthony Johnson.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Gregor Gracie will take on Tyson Steele to round out the main card.

I’m especially excited for the MMA debut of Tyrone Spong who will takes on New England’s own Travis Bartlett, a native of Maine.  Sponge is a prodigy on the kickboxing scene and will likely look to display his amazing striking skills when he takes on “The Showstopper”.  This bout is supposed to be on the preliminary card, but rumor has it that Spong’s debut will be televised.

Check out an awesome mini-documentary on Sponge below:

The main card is set to air live on the NBC Sports Network at 10pm EST.  Check out Sherdog.com’s live stream of the prelims here.

Fans can get a jump on their weekend MMA action as Bellator returns to Ontario, Canada Friday night with two tournament semi-final bouts.

In the main event of Bellator 79, Richard Hale will duke it out with Thiago Santos in the heavyweight tournament semi-finals while Mike Richman will take on Shahbulat Shamhalaev (a name I’ve given up on trying to pronounce) in a featherweight tournament semi-final bout.

Solid MMA vets Douglas Lima and Ryan Ford round out the main card, but once again, it’s an undercard fight that catches my eye.

Capoeira specialist Marcus “Lelo” Aurelio will take on Christ Franck in a 173lb. catchweight bout that I’m very excited to see.  If you’ve never seen Aurelio fight, this 6-1 Brazilian has some awesome and creative kicks stemming from his unique style.

Although capoeira, in my opinion, features more of its dance roots than its martial arts background, you can’t deny the power “Lelo” injects into his kicks.  Check out this insane knockout by Aurelio from 2009 in the video below.

Skip to 2:28 if you want to take the lazy way out.

Main card starts at 8pm EST on MTV2 and prelims kick off on Spike.com at 7pm EST.

Last but not least, Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) returns to AXS TV at 10pm EST Friday night with a few notable UFC vets headlining the card.

The Ultimate Fighter season 8 winner Efrain Escudero takes on former UFC featherweght and lightweight Tyson Griffin in the main event live from Las Vegas.

A pair of little brothers of UFC standouts will also be on the card.  23-year-old Chidi Njokuani, brother of UFC lightweight Anthony Njokuani, will actually be featured in the co-main event against fellow welterweight Phil Dace while Sergio Pettis, the undefeated 19-year-old brother of UFC contender and former WEC Lightweight champ Anthony Pettis, puts his  5-0 record on the line against Jimmy Jones in a bantamweight contest.

Since we are talking about the Pettis’ – and after that capoeira kick KO – I think it’s only fitting to post “Showtime’s” top career highlight.



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