Worldwide MMA Preview – Fight Nights, Bellator, Deep Impact

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The first action of the weekend comes from Moscow, Russia as the Fight Nights promotion holds a card that will be broadcast live on UFC FightPass. The main event is a fight between two of Russia’s most experienced lightweights with Alexander ‘Tiger’ Sarnavskiy taking on Murad Machaev. Tiger has been around a long time with an impressive 32-3 record. He competed in Bellator frequently and had a lot of success but was unable to capture their title after coming up short against Marcin Held and Will Brooks. Since losing to Held in 2015 Tiger has bounced back with two wins, first against Jesse Ronson and then Leandro Rodrigues. Out of his 32 wins, 18 have come by way of submission. Machaev has an 18-1 record with his only blemish being a defeat to Marcin Held in Bellator, that record includes five KOs and eight submissions. He trains alongside fellow Fight Nights fighters Vitaly Minakov and Rasul Mirzaev.

Decorated Russian kickboxer Vladimir Mineev will fight in the co-main event. The 26 year old Mineev began his MMA career in 2014 and now has a record of 5-0, all of his wins have ended in KOs. He has transitioned to MMA young enough to have a great career and he has started brightly. The light heavyweight division is notoriously low on young talent right now and he is perfectly placed to become a force in the next few years if he can round out his MMA game. He will be fighting Boris Miroshnichenko at Fight Nights. The Belarusian Miroshnichenko has a 13-8 record that includes a victory over Mineev’s last opponent Xavier Foupa-Pokam so he makes sense as a small step up in competition as Mineev looks to build his career slowly.

Bellator 150 will look to capitalise on the bumper ratings that were drawn to Gracie/Shamrock and Kimbo/Dada last week but unfortunately the card’s main event was scrapped at the last minute due to an illness to champion Marcos Galvao who was due to defend his title against Eduardo Dantas in the main event. That pushed the heavyweight bout between Cheick Kongo and Vinicius Quieroz. Kongo has a wealth of experience having competed in the UFC for a long time. Since moving to Bellator he has won five fights but has fallen to Muhammed Lawal and Vitaly Minakov. In his last fight he used his grappling to stifle Alexander Volkov and win a unanimous decision. Quieroz hails from Brazil and has an 8-3 record. He had one fight in the UFC but was defeated by Rob Broughton. He is 3-1 in Bellator since then, with a win over Lavar Johnson and a loss to Alexander Volkov.

Elsewhere on the card former UFC mainstay and Bellator title challenger Kendall Grove will take on Francisco France at middleweight and lightweight David Rickels will look to bounce back from a disappointing defeat against Michael Chandler when he takes on Bobby Cooper.

Yushin Okami will return to Japan to take on Ryuta Sakurai at Deep Impact this weekend. Okami plied his trade in the UFC for many years and came up short in a title challenge against Anderson Silva. Most recently he dropped fights to Jon Fitch and Dave Branch in WSOF. Sakurai is experienced and has fought some decent competition but he should be no match for Okami here, even at this point in his career.

The other notable name on the card is leg lock specialist Ikuhisa Minowa who has over 100 fights to his name. He will take on Yuya Shirai.