(Video courtesy of UFC.)
From minor leagues to the big show, titles are up for grabs this weekend. Here’s a run down of the fights taking place around the globe that will have an impact on FIGHT!’s rankings.
Fri., Dec. 10
On Fri., M-1 Global will award belts for its vacant welterweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight championships in Moscow. Spaniard Abner Lloveras (#50 Welterweight) takes on Shamil Zavurov (#63) for the 170-pound strap, Magomed Sultanakhmedov (#47 Middleweight) fights Rafael Moks (#52) for the Middleweight crown, and Tomasz Narkun (#38 Light Heavyweight) faces Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (#47) for the Light Heavyweight title. M-1 Challenge XXII – which will stream live on Fightmagazine.com at 11 a.m., Fri., Dec. 10 – also features UFC vet Luigi Fioravanti in a middleweight bout as well as a women’s MMA bout between Cindy Dandois and Yana Kunitskaya.
Also on Fri., UFC veteran Victor Valimaki headlines TFC 12: Devastation in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Sat., Dec. 11
After six weeks of listening to Josh Koscheck talk while they filmed the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Georges St-Pierre will register his official response in his preferred venue – the Octagon. UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 pops off live on pay per view from the Bell Centre in Montreal, and is headline, of course, by top-ranked welterweight St-Pierre’s defense of his title against Koscheck (#5). The main card is rounded out by a welterweight bout between Thiago Alves (#10) and John Howard (#40) – who we featured recently on video – a heavyweight fight between Stefan Struve (#26) and unranked Sean McCorkle, and lightweight matches featuring unranked Charles Oliveira vs. Jim Miller (#7) and Joe Stevenson (#17 ) vs. Mac Danzig (#117). Go here to view the full fight card.
Several former UFC fighters will appear together on the “MMA Global Invasion” in Punta Cana, Costa Rica on Saturday. Keith Jardine (#51 Light Heavyweight), Paul Buentello (#54 Heavyweight), Eliott Marshall (#33 Light Heavyweight), Jeff Curran (#35 Featherweight), Terry Martin (#71 Middleweight) and Dean Lister (unranked due to inactivity) all take on unranked opponents. In the only other scheduled bout, flyweight prospect John Dodson takes on John Moraga – both men are currently unranked but FIGHT! will unveil Flyweight Rankings in 2011.
In Brazil, Shooto is putting three titles on the line Sat. night. Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas and Luiz Alberto Nogueira will battle for the Shooto South America Bantamweight title, Carlos Alexandre Pereira and Leandro Silva will scrap for the Shooto South America Middleweight title, and Michael Willian Costa and Lincon de Sa survived the tournament to vie for the vacant Shooto South America Strawweight title. FIGHT! is currently tracking the development of the strawweight division in Shooto Brazil and Japan, where results from top Shooto promoter Sustain are entered into our rankings database. We hope to have sufficient data to roll out Strawweight Rankings in 2011.
The only other rankings-qualified action this weekend will come at Victory Fighting Championships 33 in Omaha, Nebraska, where Bellator veteran Nik Mamalis (#36 Bantamweight) will take on EliteXC and M-1 vet Josh Rave. FIGHT! Full-Time Fighter winner Drew Dober (#48 Lightweight) will also appear on the card.
Check back on Sunday for full results and analysis of the impact the fights had on our rankings.