Worldwide MMA Preview – RFA 28, Cage Kings, Akuma, Pancrase

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There is MMA action from America, Ireland and Japan this weekend so let’s get to it.

Friday’s action comes from St. Louis, Missouri with RFA 28. RFA is one of the most consistent regional shows in America and constantly provides young fighters for the UFC, evidenced by the fact that the co-main event of this show had to be rearranged due to Geane Herrera signing for the UFC. The show is headlined by a middleweight title fight between Andrew Sanchez and John Poppie. Both are fairly young in their MMA careers but both are finishers, with only two decisions out of 12 wins between them.

The aforementioned Geane Herrera was due to face 8-2 Kenny Porter but will instead fight Ray Borg in the UFC this weekend. Journeyman Matt Manzanares will take his place. RFA’s flyweight division has proved to be particularly fertile in recent years with Herrera joining Zach Makovsky, Tim Elliot and others who have gone on to fight in the big show after RFA. Porter will be looking to join them if he can string some wins together.

The most exciting fighter on the card in my opinion is the young heavyweight Curtis Blaydes. Blaydes is an outstanding athlete with a good wrestling pedigree and he has finished all four of his professional fights to date. If he continues to impress then it won’t be long until he is in the UFC. While Blaydes has not faced top competition in his career to date, he has faced a good standard of opponent in the early stages of his career. He debuted against a 6-1 fighter and his latest win was against a fighter with a 5-0 record so he can’t be accused of can crushing. Blaydes’ next opponent is 7-2 Justin Frazier.

There is also some local MMA action this weekend. On Saturday night the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght will host Cage Kings 2. Cage Kings is a mixed card with Muay Thai and K-1 Kickboxing joining MMA on the card. The professional MMA bouts feature some very promising young fighters. Charlie Ward is in action, the SBG fighter was defeated in his professional debut at Rage in the Cage but he had a very successful amateur career. He is fighting Ciaran Daly who is making his professional debut but also done well on the amateur circuit, competing mainly in Battlezone.

There will be MMA action from Templepatrick, Northern Ireland on Sunday. Akuma Fighting Championship 6 is another event showcasing emerging Irish talent. George Courtney, Michael Devlin and Fabio Viti all in action, Viti is scheduled to compete on BAMMA’s Dublin card next month so it is important he gets through the fight healthy.

Pancrase 269 from Tokyo, Japan is the most high profile international action on Sunday. The main event will see Will Chope fight Isao Kobayashi. Chope was released from the UFC following domestic abuse allegations but his career outside the octagon has been successful and he is currently on a five fight winning streak. Kobayashi was victorious in a split decision over Marlon Sandro in his last outing which was a big result for him.

Japanese MMA veteran Mamoru Yamaguchi will make his Pancrase debut. Yamaguchi spent most of his career in Shooto and was considered one of the world’s premier flyweights before the UFC inaugurated the division. A unanimous decision loss to Jussier Formiga started a decline but things are now looking up.

Another fighter to keep an eye on is Kento Kanbe. He has built up an 8-0 record at only 18 years of age which is incredible and it will be interesting to see if he can keep at up as his level of competition increases.