MMA Monday – 24th June 2013

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Despite a lack of major cards, this weekend has produced a lot of action and news, so here’s my five talking points…

Sergio Pettis: Next Big Thing

While his original match against Jeff Curran would have done more for his profile, Sergio Pettis (younger brother of Anthony) showed why he’s one of the most highly touted talents in the sport, knocking Dillard Pegg out in the first round at RFA 8 on Friday.

Pegg actually started the brighter, more aggressive fighter but Pettis found his rhythm and dropped Pegg with a beautiful counter right hand out of nowhere for the win.

At this rate, and especially given the shallow depth of the Flyweight division, it’s not so much a question of IF Sergio makes it to the UFC, but WHEN.

WSOF 4 Card Looks Awesome

Following a weak-on-paper WSOF 3 that delivered big time with an underdog victory in the main event, WSOF 4 looks like their best card to date, and best of all doesn’t rely on fighters who made their name in the UFC.

Likely kickboxing master classes from Tyrone Spong (fresh from winning the Glory 9 tournament on Saturday past) and promotional president Ray Sefo share card space with a tantalising bantamweight clash between on-form Marlon Moraes and Brandom Hempleman, who was last seen (by me at least) beating Paul McVeigh in the headliner of Cage Warriors 50.

Throw in a compelling lightweight clash between new signing Nick Newell and Keon Caldwell, a contest of former stars seeking redemption as Gesias Cavalcante faces Tyson Griffin (the only UFC alum on the main card) and an interesting bout between Gerald Harris and Horge Santiago on the preliminary card.

Given that the show will stream online for free and falls on my birthday weekend… I call that awesome 🙂

WAR MMA Debuts

Nick Diaz’ WAR MMA made its debut on Saturday night, presenting an online ‘pay what you want’ product of impressive production values and entertaining fights of varying quality.

One of the best Internet streams I’ve ever had for an MMA event combined with good commentary and some familiar fighters (DJ Linderman, Daniel Roberts, Mike Hayes) to make the event well worth the $2.09 I chose to pay for it.

Yes, I know that’s not much, but I pay ÂŁ8.99 a month for the UFC and get Cage Warriors & BAMMA for free, so a token payment seemed appropriate for the first show.

It’s a solid start for Diaz’ promotion and I see no good reason why it can’t fulfil it’s stated aim of becoming the de facto North California regional showpiece.

One thing I’m not so sure of is the use of a ring rather than a cage – a few times it looked like fighters were going to fall through the ropes and I just think the cage is safer for fighters and produces a more flowing contest.

Bellator’s UK TV debut

Bellator debuted on VIVA on Friday night and I quite enjoyed watching a full Bellator show rather than seeking out videos of individual fights. I was impressed by the little production touches like the pre-fight interview segments, and you can’t really complain about being handed five stoppage finishes.

In criticism, Bellator’s product does come across as a little ‘backwoods USA’ to European ears and I’d be looking to improve things like the commentary and perhaps the depth of the fighter roster.

That said, ‘King Mo’ looked great and I think we’re seeing the start of a star in Vitaly Minakov.

Well that nearly slipped under my radar

It seems that next weekend there is a rather tasty event going down in Kansas City, called Global Warrior Challenge: the British Invasion as twelve UK based fighters including Jack Marshman, Oli Thompson, Marcin Lazarz, James Saville and Andre Winner travel to Missouri to face a bundle of recognisable American talent including Ricco Rodriguez, Drew Fickett, Ivan Salaverry and LC Davis.

If it wasn’t for a choice retweet from the BAMMA twitter account, I’d never have known this card existed, but seeing as there is no big cards next weekend, GWC has become one of my prime interests for next weekend.

The theme of this week, is that MMA is constant, worldwide and about far more than the UFC. I’ve talked about five promotions/events, nine of which are owned by Zuffa, none of which are local to me but all of which carry meaning for the whole of world MMA.

Broaden your view kids, there’s a lot of good fights out there that you’ve probably never even heard of…

…and with that in mind, all the Scottish folks please note that SFC: Reawakening is this coming weekend in the Albert Halls in Stirling. A top card featuring top ranked UK Featherweights Robert Whiteford and Paul Reed in the main event alongside top Scots talent like Martin Delaney, Shaun Taylor and Brian Stevenson.

I believe the event is close to sold out, but take a walk into EZ Sports in Glasgow, Stirling or Edinburgh to see if there are any returns.

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