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It is hard to be a mixed martial arts fan. With the Ultimate Fighting Championship putting on 40 plus events a year and Bellator MMA ramping up the amount of shows they are putting out it takes a lot for fans to follow all the action. If you are a hardcore fan, you will always try to take in the action of foreign companies like One Championship and Rizin Fighting Federation. If you want to be informed about up-and-coming prospects, you have to tune into “The Ultimate Fighter,” Dana White Contender Series and a slew of regional shows. Unfortunately, most fans don’t have an endless amount of time to catch every meaningful card and must sacrifice their focus on the sport for time spent at work, running household errands and being with loved ones.
Here are 10 fights that are happening in the month of November that are flying under the radar. These 10 scraps are worthy enough for MMA fans to clear up their schedules, so they don’t miss out on the unarmed combat.
Despite picking up a third-round submission over Karl Reed on Dana White’s Contender Series, Anglickas was left without a contract with the UFC. The UFC’s loss became Bellator’s gain. The Lithuanian is riding a six-fight winning streak and each victory has come by way of stoppage. The 28-year-old is a very well-rounded fighter. He is a former golden gloves boxer, who dispatches a high-action striking game. The European also has collegiate level wrestling. Young has been dazzling fans under the Bellator umbrella since January 2017. The rising star from American Top Team has won all 11 of his professional fights including six in the Bellator cage. Of his 11 wins, the Iowa native has won nine by stoppage including his last five appearances in a row. Despite competing at middleweight in the past, Young is a long and lengthy light heavyweight, who is a threat on the feet and the ground. The winner of this matchup should expect a quick rise and thrust into the top of the Bellator light heavyweight division with the likes of Ryan Bader, Phil Davis and Vadim Nemkov.
Despite winning her last two bouts in the UFC, many believe Smith was released from the promotion due to her loud support of a fighter’s union. Bellator didn’t care about her opinion and brought the veteran fighter into their promotion. She was matched up with SBG Ireland standout Sinead Kavanagh in her return to the promotion back in July. “The Peacemaker” outpointed her counterpart and is now right in the mix of a possible title shot. Blencowe is a former title challenger who gave Julia Budd everything she could handle as the Australian dropped a split decision. It was the second time she was on the wrong side of a decision to Budd. Since the second loss, “Angerfist” was able to rebound with back-to-back wins over Amber Leibrock and Amanda Bell. She faces off with Smith red hot; winning five out of her last six appearances. The addition of Cristiane Justino brings new life and excitement to Bellator’s women’s light heavyweight division. The winner of this matchup could face the winner of Budd-Cyborg. With Smith being 37 and Blencowe being 36, their window for making a championship run is closing fast. That makes this showdown even more important.
Ankalaev would be undefeated if it wasn’t for one second. In his UFC debut, he bludgeoned Paul Craig throughout their fight until he was caught in a triangle choke and tapped out with only one second left in the bout. Since then, the Russian has bounced back with consecutive victories over Marcin Prachnio and Klidson Abreu, showing why he was viewed as one of the most promising fighters in the light heavyweight division. Lungiambula also has only one defeat to his name, sporting a 10-1 pro record. The fighter from the Congo is riding a six-fight winning streak and a knockout over Dequan Thompson in his Octagon debut. He is a former two-weight Extreme Fighting Championship Worldwide champion, winning titles at both light heavyweight and heavyweight. The African-born fighter should be giving up the wrestling advantage to his Russian counterpart but should be able to make up for it with his fight end one punching power and judo throws.
After moving up to 170, Martin railed off four straight wins and had some to believe he was a true contender in the welterweight division. That talk was briefly put to the side after suffering a loss to Demian Maia back in June. He can regain some of the excitement fans had for his rise with an upset win over Emeev. A recent move to American Top Team Atlanta to train with Bellator welterweight champion, Douglas Lima and Dhiego Lima could be the perfect change of scenery to see the best from the New Englander. Emeev is a former Combat Sambo World Champion and M-1 Global middleweight champion. The 32-year-old has won eight bouts in a row including all three of his UFC appearances. “Gorets” sports an impressive 18-3 record with wins over top talent like Maiquel Falcao, Anatoly Tokov and Sam Alvey. This is a crucial battle in the welterweight division win the winner likely getting a step up in competition and possibly facing a ranked opponent next.
After a three-and-a-half-year absence from the sport, UFC veteran Stojnic returns to MMA. The fighter representing Bosnia and Herzegovina is 39-years-old but is riding an eight-fight winning streak. His last loss came at the hands of Stefan Struve at UFC 99 back in June 2009. The last time he performed he knocked out Bellator veteran Christian M'Pumbu. The Golden Glory team member didn’t take a warm up fight as Delija is a very talented heavyweight. The 29-year-old Delija is a protégé of Mirko Filipovic. The massive 6’5” heavyweight was a competitor on this past season of the Professional Fighters League, where he made one appearance besting Carl Suemanutafa by decision in a regular season bout. The Rizin Fighting Federation and M-1 Challenge veteran was set to face Francimar Barroso in the second regular season but withdrew and was forced out of the playoffs as a result. Delija was viewed as one of the favorites heading into the season and has a chance to pick up one of the biggest wins of his career against Stojnic. The winner of this bout could be in line to fight the winner of the main event of Mariusz Pudzianowski vs. Erko Jun.
Tel Aviv, Israel
As we mentioned earlier, after the Budd-Cyborg fight the division is wide open for someone to jump to the front of the line and be the next title challenger. Rubin was rushed into a title shot against Budd after starting her career a perfect 6-0 but failed miserably in her chance, being taken out in just over two minutes. The 30-year-old returns to action with a big opportunity to return some of her buzz. The Russian born fighter, who now calls England home, is matched against Kavanagh, who represents Ireland in the British Isles showdown. The SBG Ireland team member is in a must-win situation after dropping four out of her last five contests. However, the gritty striker is much better than her 5-4 record indicates. Her decision losses to Blencowe and Smith could have been scored in her favor and her loss to Janay Harding was due to a cut. “KO” will look to turn this bout into a slugfest trusting her chin to hold up while the more technically sound Rubin’s chin to crumble.
If you watched UFC 244 this past Saturday, you likely heard Jon Anik announce several times that the Legacy Fighting Alliance has signed an exclusive contract with UFC Fight Pass. The promotion’s first event on their new home happens this month. In the co-main event, promising women flyweights battle in the co-main event. Cowan dropped her first fight but has since taken care of business in her last four. Her last two wins were over high-quality opponents in Sarah Click and Jessica Middleton. “All Hail” has been viewed as one of the top prospects in women’s MMA due to her elite athleticism: she was a two-time NCAA National Champion in Acrobatics and Tumbling competition. Mauldin will be looking to play spoiler as she will be a guest in Cowan’s home state of Texas. The California native sports a 3-1 professional record and is part of the prestigious Team Oyama fight team.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Though he is only 24-year-old, Ramos has already had some great success in the UFC. The Brazilian is 4-1 in the premier MMA organization, with his only blemish being a loss to fellow blue-chip prospect, Said Nurmagomedov. The Dana White “Lookin’ for a Fight” standout is a well-rounded fighter, who has displayed some flashy striking acumen and a slick opportunistic submission game. Garagorri is one of the few fighters with a perfect record in the UFC. The Uruguayan fighter received a lot of criticism before his UFC debut, being accused of padding his record against low-level fodder. He silenced some of the naysayers back in August when he blanked Humberto Bandenay across all three judges’ scorecards at UFC on ESPN + 14. The UFC featherweight division is so loaded that the winner of this fight won’t be close to cracking the Top 15 but will continue to show why so many people see the potential of a top fighter.
The UFC and One Championship are in need of quality flyweights and Royval and Scoggins fit that bill. The two are battling for the LFA flyweight title, which was left vacant after former champion Brandon Moreno was re-signed to the UFC. Royval has won four out of his last five bouts, including a quick first-round submission of UFC veteran Joby Sanchez. Eight out of the Factory X team member’s nine wins have come before reaching the judges’ scorecards. Scoggins is the younger brother of Justin Scoggins, who is a veteran of the UFC and currently fights in Rizin. Jared might have even more upside than Justin did. He has nine victories while only tasting defeat once.
Two fan favorites will lock horns as Brazier and Bak is sure to bring excitement to European fight fans. Brazier, who was the Bamma lightweight champion, flaunts an 11-2 record and has got his hand raised in 10 out of his last 11 appearances. The British fighter will be stepping into the Bellator cage for the third time. He had a terrible performance in his promotional debut when he was submitted by Chris Bungard in one of the biggest upsets of the year. “The Dominator” got back to his winning ways when he submitted Alessandro Botti back in June. Bak is one of the best characters in all of MMA and has a cult following among fans. The fighter from Denmark has only tasted defeat once in his career while collecting a dozen victories. The True Viking captured the Cage Warriors lightweight title with a decision win over Paddy Pimblett back in September 2018. He followed that up by moving down to featherweight to capture the promotion’s interim title when he beat Morgan Charriere in March. Hopefully, the Bellator brass will allow him to carry his battle axe to the cage when he makes his organizational debut. The winner of this matchup could quickly turn into a headlining fighter for Bellator when they hold cards in Europe.