The 10 best MMA Fights of the Weekend – Volume 10

Every week, I will be providing the 10 best MMA fights of the weekend.

 

Alexander Shlemenko (49-7) vs. Brennan Ward (9-1) @ Bellator 114 (Middleweight bout)

Shlemenko is one of the best fighters in the world never to have stepped foot in the octagon. He’s rule the Bellator Middleweight division ever since Hector Lombard left to the UFC. He now faces quite possibly his biggest threat in young up and comer Brennan Ward. Ward is hardly a polished fighter at this stage, but he is an impressive physical specimen that is willing to brawl.

Steve Carl (21-3) vs. Rousimar Palhares (15-6) @ WSOF 9 (Welterweight bout)

Steve Carl has been overlooked as a top fighter despite submitting Josh Burkman in his last fight. His upcoming fight against exiled UFC veteran Rousimar Palhares should put Carl on the map if he can come out victorious.

Yushin Okami (29-8) vs. Svetlozar Savov (12-4) @ UFC Fight Night (Middleweight bout)

Yushin Okami competes for the first time outside of the octagon in nearly 8 years. Okami faces a virtual unknown in Savov, but he needs to be careful not to suffer a letdown in his WSOF debut, similar to Jon Fitch. Should Okami win, he seems primed to fight for the title against the winner of Jesse Taylor-David Branch.

Marlon Moraes (12-4-1) vs. Josh Rettinghouse (10-2) @ UFC Fight Night(Bantamweight bout)

Marlon Moraes will finally have a chance to fight for a title in WSOF. He’s clearly been the the top Bantamweight on their roster, and should be rewarded for those talents with a belt around his waist. Rettinghouse beat Alexis Vila last time out, so he’s no slouch, but this should be a showcase fight for Moraes.

Josh Burkman (26-10) vs. Tyler Stinson (27-9) @ UFC Fight Night (Welterweight bout)

Both fighters are talented and the winner should position themselves for a future title shot in WSOF once Jon Fitch has had his opportunity. Burkman was riding a ton of momentum after back-to-back finishes of Jon Fitch and Aaron Simpson, but just as the MMA world started to take notice, he was unceremoniously submitted by Steve Carl. Stinson is the underdog coming in, but he has proven to be a capable fighter that has performed admirably against top-level competition from his days in Strikeforce and Bellator.

Brett Cooper (19-9) vs. Kendall Grove (19-13) @ Bellator 113(Middleweight bout)

Brett Cooper and Kendall Grove are nearing similar stages in their careers. Each fighter has fought top-level competition, but more times than not have come up short. Cooper is a tough, durable striker. Grove’s chin has been questionable at times, so he will need to use his superior reach and speed advantage to keep Cooper at bay.

Thomas Almeida (15-0) vs. Vinicius Zani (7-3) @ MMA Super Heroes 3 (Bantamweight bout)

Thomas Almeida might be the top prospect in the world today. He just garnered an award for being the Brazilian fighter of the year in Brazil’s regional MMA circuit. This should be another showcase fight for the talented Bantamweight.

Konstantin Erokhin (5-1) vs. Brett Rogers (14-6) @ Fight Nights 15 (Heavyweight bout)

Konstantin Erokhin is quickly making his presence known as one of the top Heavyweights prospects in Eastern Europe. The stout, powerhouse should gain some traction worldwide if he can beat former Strikeforce veteran Brett Rogers.

Isao Kobayashi (14-1-4) vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka (22-8) @ Pancrase 257 (Lightweight bout)

Isao Kobayashi is one of Japan’s top Lightweight prospects, but he will need to prove that he can hang with veteran competition as he squares off against former UFC veteran Kuniyoshi Hironaka. Kobayashi held his own recently with Jorge Patino, and the stakes are high because a win over Hironaka could possibly lead to a call from the UFC.

Mario Israel (9-0) vs. Jonas Bilharinho (4-0-1) @ XFC International 3 (Bantamweight bout)

Two of Brazil’s top Bantamweight prospects square off. This bout was listed as happening in both the XFC and Jungle Fights. Bilharinho trains out of Team Nogueira and has been highly touted ever since making his MMA debut. Meanwhile, Israel trains out of Top Life Amazonas alongside UFC veteran Adriano Martins.

 

Photo Credit: www.sherdog.com, Dave Mandel

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