10 August Tussles Worth Watching

By: Brian Knapp
Aug 3, 2016

In an effort to bring more attention to the global stage of mixed martial arts, this list does not focus on major North American-based promotions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Bellator MMA and the World Series of Fighting.

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Gesias Cavalcante’s best days may be behind him, but if recent results are any indication, he still has plenty left in the tank.

Cavalcante will defend the Titan Fighting Championship lightweight crown against surging Ascension MMA export Freddy Assuncao in the Titan 40 main event on Aug. 5 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida. UFC Fight Pass will provide coverage of the event.

A two-time K-1 Hero’s grand prix winner, Cavalcante has registered back-to-back wins for the first time since 2007. The 33-year-old Blackzilians rep returned from close to a two-year layoff on June 10, as he captured the Titan lightweight title with a stunning first-round knockout against Pat Healy. Wins over Vitor Ribeiro, Rani Yahya, Caol Uno, Katsunori Kikuno, Bobby Green and Tyson Griffin anchor the Cavalcante resume.

Assuncao, 31, will enter the cage on the strength of an eight-fight winning streak. The younger brother of UFC veterans Raphael Assuncao and Junior Assuncao, he last appeared at Titan 34 a little more than a year ago, as he submitted Cody Bollinger with a second-round arm-triangle choke. Assuncao suffered his only professional defeat in November 2009, when he tapped to a Jim Alers rear-naked choke.

The Cavalcante-Assuncao battle is but one outside-the-major-MMA-bubble matchup worth monitoring during the month of August. Here are nine more:

Jared Papazian vs. Casey Kenney
Tachi Palace Fights 28
Aug. 4 | Lemoore, California

Papazian, 28, has posted five wins in eight appearances since being released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2012 following consecutive losses to Tim Elliott, Dustin Pague and Mike Easton. A former King of the Cage champion, “The Jackhammer” last appeared at TPF 27 in May, when he submitted Alex Perez with a first-round armbar. The undefeated Kenney sports four finishes among his five victories. He owns a 3-0 mark under the Tachi Palace Fights banner, with victories over Angel Hernandez, Anthony Torres and Victor Rosas.

Ricardo Lucas Ramos vs. Alfred Khashakyan
New England Fights “Lookin’ for a Fight”
Aug. 5 | Bangor, Maine

Ramos was a hot commodity on the regional scene before experiencing his first hiccup: a first-round submission loss to Manny Vazquez at Legacy Fighting Championship 51 on Feb. 5. The 20-year-old Brazilian had finished seven of his first eight opponents prior to the unexpected setback, three of them in less than a minute. Ramos’ return comes with potentially higher stakes, as an undeniable target on UFC President Dana White’s “Lookin’ for a Fight” tour. Spawned by the Glendale Fighting Club, Khashakyan, 28, has won seven of his past eight bouts.

Jose Torres vs. Abdiel Velasquez
Titan Fighting Championship 40
Aug. 5 | Coral Gables, Florida

The interim Titan Fighting Championship flyweight crown will hang in the balance when Torres squares off with Velasquez in the Titan 40 co-main event. Torres, 23, was regarded as the top amateur fighter in the sport before turning pro in March. He has posted back-to-back wins since, having last appeared at Titan 38 on April 30, when he claimed a three-round unanimous decision from Reynaldo Walter Duarte. The 23-year-old Velasquez will enter the match on the heels of two straight victories, his latest triumph coming at the expense of 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Alexis Vila at Titan 39 on June 10.

Viviane Pereira vs. Carolina Karasek
Aspera Fighting Championship 42
Aug. 6 | Sao Paulo, Brazil

Pereira has been on the prospect radar for some time now. The 22-year-old Brazilian sports a perfect 10-0 record with six finishes and has already captured titles in the Bitetti Combat and Xtreme Fighting Championships International organizations. Pereira last competed at XFC International 12 on Nov. 28, when she submitted Vanessa Guimaraes with a third-round armbar. The once-beaten Karasek, 35, has finished all five of her victories, four of them inside the first round.

Jonavin Webb vs. Isaac Steele
Cage Fury Fighting Championships 60
Aug. 6 | Atlantic City, New Jersey

Webb entered the UFC with an 8-0 record, but losses to Kyle Noke and Nathan Coy sent him out the door before he could establish a foothold. The 27-year-old now returns to a Cage Fury Fighting Championships organization where he was once welterweight champion. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who has trained out of a Renzo Gracie affiliate in Philadelphia, Webb already has four first-round finishes to his credit. Steele, who replaced an injured Hayder Hassan, has touched off his pro career with four consecutive victories.

Andre Soukhamthath vs. Kin Moy
CES MMA 37
Aug. 12 | Lincoln, Rhode Island

Hunter becomes hunted, as Soukhamthath defends the CES MMA bantamweight championship for the first time against Moy. The 27-year-old Blackzilians representative captured the vacant title with a spectacular knee-strike knockout on Kody Nordby on March 11. Soukhamthath has delivered nine of his 10 pro victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. A Bellator veteran, the 26-year-old Moy will step into the cage on a two-fight winning streak.

Adriano Moraes vs. Andrew Leone
One Championship 45
Aug. 13 | Macau, China

The vacant One Championship flyweight crown will be up for grabs when former undisputed champion Moraes meets the surging Leone. Constrictor Team’s Moraes has recorded five wins across his past six appearances, losing only to Kairat Akhemtov -- a 23-0 Kazakhstani who took his 125-pound title with a five-round unanimous decision in November. The 27-year-old Brazilian last fought at One Championship 40 on March 18, when he submitted Eugene Toquero with a first-round brabo choke in Yangon, Myanmar. Leone, 26, holds victories over Soo Chul Kim, Kyung Ho Kang and Shinichi Kojima and finds himself in possession of a three-fight winning streak.

Ray Elizalde vs. Alex Perez
Resurrection Fighting Alliance 42
Aug. 19 | Visalia, California

A former Tachi Palace Fights champion, Perez figures to provide a litmus test for the unbeaten Elizalde in the RFA 42 co-main event. Team Oyama’s Perez, 24, has followed a 10-fight winning streak with back-to-back losses to Papazian and Adam Antolin under the Tachi Palace Fights flag. Spawned by the Blackline MMA camp, Elizalde has compiled a perfect 10-0 record with eight finishes, five of them inside the first round. The 27-year-old last competed at RFA 38 on June 3, when he put away Richard Alarcon with third-round punches.

Velimurad Alkhasov vs. Rasul Albaskhanov
Absolute Championship Berkut 43
Aug. 20 | Penza, Russia

The undefeated Alkhasov and the once-beaten Albaskhanov -- the two men are Fight Club Berkut teammates -- will duke it out over the vacant Absolute Championship Berkut flyweight title. Alkhasov has finished three of his first four opponents, a majority decision over Mikael Silander the only outlier on the Chechen’s unblemished resume. Albaskhanov will enter the match on the strength of a five-fight winning streak. His latest conquest came at the expense of Isaac Pimentel on March 9.

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