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Upcoming Fights You Should Be Watching!

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Okay, I know most of the regulars in this section are hardcore fight fans and will most likely know which decent fights are around the corner, but with the sheer wealth of shows that we have these days it's easy for good fights (both UFC and non-UFC) to slip through the cracks. I know I missed a few last year due to simply not being aware they were happening.

I also figured this would be a good "go to" thread for casual fans and even newbies who fancy getting in on the action to know which fights are worth their time over the coming month.

I reckon we should move forward with the following guidelines;

Only mention fights that aren't UFC main events or UFC title fights. Most will know when these fights are happening, and Wand does his write-ups which detail everything we need to know on those.

Only mention fights that are no further than a month away. This stops the thread from becoming a bit of a clusterfuck of fights that are months away and so on.

Give a reason why people should take your advice and check the fight out. Why do you think it's worth seeing? Is it an up & comer who's worth checking out? An important fight in another org? Let us know!

I'll get the ball rolling on a few bouts that I'm looking forward to seeing in the first month of 2019;

John Lineker vs Cory Sandhagen, UFC on ESPN+ Dillashaw vs Cejudo, January 19th.

Marked as a prelim fight on the 1st ever ESPN+ card for the UFC, any fight featuring John Lineker is worth watching. A 5'3 wrecking ball of a lad, he's a 15 fight veteran in the UFC Bantamweight division, with a 12-3 record with the company. Was slated to face Dominick Cruz, but he pulled out with injury so he's facing a chap by the name of Cory Sandhagen.

Sandhagen is 9-1, 2-0 in the UFC, and comes in with a ridiculous 9 inch height advantage and a penchant for knocking fools out.

It's gonna be a good one.

Fedor Emilianenko vs Ryan Bader, Bellator 214, January 26th.

One that most hardcores have circled on their calendar but worth mentioning nonetheless for any fans who may be new to the sport and who fancy seeing this Fedor fella that everyone talks about so much.

He's 42 years old now, and a shadow of the fighter he once was (I'm not entirely sure he was as great as many think he was, but that's for another thread!) but any Fedor fight is a big deal, especially when it's for the Bellator heavyweight title.

He's facing possibly the best heavyweight/light-heavyweight fighter active today who's name isn't Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier in my opinion, in Ryan Bader. Former UFC fighter, he's come on leaps and bounds in the past few years and looks as close to the finished article as you can be.

He came through the heavyweight tournament without really taking a clean shot, and manhandled his opponents easily. I think he'll do the same to Fedor, marking a real passing of the torch, but it should be a good one nonetheless.

Jake "Jack Swagger" Hager vs J.W Kiser, Bellator 214, January 26th.

Scheduled for the main card, we're going to see a fighter make his pro debut against someone who's 0-1. 

It wouldn't be a big deal if it weren't for the novelty of it being former WWE wrestler Jack Swagger. At 36 years old he's coming to the MMA game late, he brings an amateur wrestling background, which usually means he's not going to get "CM Punked" in there.

Saying that, I don't think his credentials in the amateur mat game are anything to write home about really. He's no Brock Lesnar. 

Still, it's be interesting to see how he does I guess, and it may be something that interests the casual MMA fans who have an interest in pro wrestling.

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Good idea for a thread. So many shows these days that its easy for fights to go under the radar so this should be a handy way to keep up/highlight them. For example, I completely forgot that Jack Swagger’s fight was coming up so soon. 

I just posted the thread for the upcoming Assuncao vs Moraes 2 Fight Night on Feb 2nd and these stand out to me as worth checking out on that one...

43 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:



Livia Renata Souza vs Sarah Frota is another Brazil vs Brazil derby. Don’t really know either of these two. Think I’ve seen Souza fight. She made her UFC debut in September, submitting Alex Chambers. 12-1 overall with 10 finishes, BJJ black-belt, former Invicta strawweight champ. Frota I know fuck all about but she looks bloody terrifying. She’s 31, 9-0 with 7 finishes and was on the Brazilian version of Dana’s Contender Series. She scares me. Makes Cyborg look like Michelle Waterson. 



Johnny Walker vs Justin Ledet is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Really looking forward to this. Two of the new faces at 205. I’ve been talking forever about this new wave of light heavyweights coming up. Some look like real potential future players, others not so much, but it’s all much needed depth in a division which had been crying out for it. They’ve clearly made a conscious effort to strengthen the 205 division and I think it’s going to start paying off soon. And with only one UFC fight under his belt, Johnny Walker is one of the ones I’m most excited about. He’s 26 years old, 15-3 record with 14 finishes, he’s 6ft6 so a good size for the weight. Made his UFC debut in November and completely wiped out Khalil Rountree with an elbow in 2 minutes. Rountree was coming in off a big win over Gokhan Saki as well and Walker just obliterated him. He looked scary. Seems a fun character as well from little bits I’ve seen. Early days of course but I’m really liking him already. Ledet, less so. He’s alright, 9-1-1 record, decent boxer. Just not that into him. Could be an interesting clash though between Walker’s Muay Thai and Ledet’s Boxing. 



Junior Albini vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik is the heavyweight offering. Albini is mostly known as the man who wore a nappy for one of his UFC fights. Lost his last two to Alexey Oleynik and Andrei Arlovski. He’s 14-4 now. Not really a fan. He’s just a big sloppy fat bloke but not in the good way like a Chris De La Rocha or someone like that. He’s not been much fun to watch in the fights I’ve seen. It’s this Rozenstruik chap I’m interested to see here. This is his UFC debut. He’s Surinamese, 30, 5-0 with 4 TKOs, his last fight was in Rizin. They actually signed him to a multi-fight deal but agreed to terms for him to go to the UFC. He’s the first Surinamese fighter to sign with the UFC.

He also had a successful Kickboxing career. Won a fair few titles...


From what I can find he went 76-6-6 as a kickboxer. I’m very much intrigued. 



Mara Romero Borella vs Taila Santos I’m going in a bit blind on. I’ve only seen Borella once and nothing of Santos. Borella is Italian, 11-5-2. Looked great in her UFC debut, choking Kalindra Faria in a round but she lost to Katlyn Chookagian in her last outing. Taila Santos is Brazilian, 25 years old, undefeated at 15-0 with 12 finishes. Fought on Dana’s Contender Series in August. This fight is at Flyweight but Santos did win a title at 135 for a company called Aspera FC (hence the belt in the pic there) in Brazil with a first round body shot. Repped by MTK Global as well, which you don’t see often. Never heard of her but she sounds promising. 


Edited by wandshogun09

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I missed the one month rule. I’ll be back in a week to talk about MVP/Daley.

Edited by d-d-d-dAz

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Yeh good idea for a thread. Im trying to get out of the habit of watching whole MMA shows. Cherry picking certain fights from smaller shows is the way forward for me given my lack of spare time, this could be a good place to highlight a few worth watching.

On the subject of MVP/Daley. That's easily the biggest all-UK MMA fight of all time isn't it? i cant think of anything that really comes close. Shame its happening in America. 

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I love the idea for the thread Dave. Unfortunately one of the fights already mentioned here has just been called off. John Lineker has been pulled from his upcoming fight with an injury of some kind. Disappointing as, like you mentioned above, his fights are always exciting and other than the Dillashaw loss, he was on quite a run.


Edited by WeeAl

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Didn't even know Swagger was making his MMA debut so cheers for that! Completely agree on Bader too, he was one of the fighters who people seemed to really dislike on here but I never had any issue with him. He was a bit of a LHW gatekeeper in the UFC for a while, the bloke who people would be matched up against before going to the next level but in Bellator he's really excelled. Maybe a case of 'big fish, small pond' but he was my pick to win the HW tourney (I cant be arsed to go back through the thread but I promise this isn't revisionist bollocks). Hoping he KO's Fedor in the 1st.

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6 hours ago, WeeAl said:

Unfortunately one of the fights already mentioned here has just been called off. John Lineker has been pulled from his upcoming fight with an injury of some kind.

Well, that's a bit of a kick in the nuts. I was really looking forward to that fight.

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