All the fans know the UFC and all the press report on that promotion but where do their fighters come from? What else is going on now? Perhaps most importantly what shows should fans watch to see tomorrow’s stars develop? The Declaration of Independents is a monthly snapshot of what is going on in “independent” scene from major events on Spike TV to smaller non-UFC events webcast at UFC Fight Pass.
Springtime is here and the live events just keep coming. Both Bellator and LFA continue expanding with the amount of events if not the significance of each event with LFA starting to emerge as the busiest independent promotion. Bellator on the other hand are just beginning their reported buying spree to improve their roster apparently searching for the balance between quantity and quality. FloCombat and Fite TV are also expanding as platforms but so far not to the point of gaining enough attention with the level of events they are both webstreaming. WSOF is totally up in the air under new ownership while Titan FC and ROC are both taking the month off. Overall it is a typical busy spring with some species growing faster than others.
Here is a list of the top confirmed independent MMA events on TV and the internet for the next six weeks:
- April 20th Combate Americas 13 (Azteca America and ESPN Latin America)
- April 21st Bellator 178 (Spike)
- April 21st LFA 10 (AXS TV)
- April 21st One Championship (iPPV)
- May 5th LFA 11 (AXS TV)
- May 6th CWFC 83 (UFC Fight Pass)
- May 12th CES MMA 44 (AXS TV)
- May 12th BAMMA 29 (Spike TV UK)
- May 19th Bellator 179 (Spike)
- May 19th LFA 12 (AXS TV)
- May 20th Invicta FC 23 (UFC Fight Pass)
- May 20th CFFC 65 (CBSSN)
BAMMA (not to be confused with BAMMA USA) – “Spike’s UK show” BAMMA is coming off a co-promotion with Bellator on February 24th, a night that was headlined by Liam McGeary defeating Brett McDermott on the Bellator portion of the card. BAMMA return to Birmingham on May 12th with two world championship fights, the main event being Brett McDermott vs. Ruben Wolf for the vacant heavyweight title.
Bellator MMA (Bellator) – The second-largest promotion is coming off two international shows that were half kickboxing and half MMA, the most significant MMA news being Rafael Carvalho defended the middleweight title in Italy and Eduardo Dantas’ win over Leandro Higo in Hungary became a non-title fight when Higo missed weight. Bellator return to the US this weekend with yet another Daniel Straus vs. Patricio Freire fight followed by a May return to London.
Combate Americas – The April 20th Combate Americas event will be broadcast live on Azteca America and ESPN Latin America but at this time there is no scheduled archive at UFC Fight Pass. Headlining the show is Roman Salazar vs. Ricky Palacios.
Classic Entertainment and Sports MMA (CES MMA) – With LFA scheduled for over thirty shows this year it is of little surprise the most recent CES MMA event was not broadcast on AXS TV, instead CES 43 was webcast at FloCombat as part of the “Rising Stars” series. The card itself was more about established regional stars than “rising” with Rico DiSciullo defeating Matt Lozano and Pedro Gonzalez defeating Bruno Dias. CES return to AXS TV on May 12th with Sean Soriano vs. Jacob Bohn in the main event but there is no word on what percentage of upcoming CES shows will be broadcast on AXS TV and what percentage webcast at FloCombat.
Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) – AXS TV’s main MMA show finishes their “three shows in three weeks” run on April 21st with Ian Heinisch vs. Lucas Rodolfo Bresolin Rota, next month already has LFC events scheduled for May 5th and 19th. The downside to so many shows is LFA haven’t done as much as one might expect with their championship belts with both fights topping the April 21st show being non-title fights, the last LFA title fight took place at LFA 4 on February 17th with Kevin Aguilar winning the featherweight title.
Rizin – The descendents of Pride held their fifth show on April 16th with Kyoji Horiguchi defeating Yuki Motoya, Tatsuya Kawajiri defeating Anthony Birchak. At this time there is no word on the next event.
World Series of Fighting (WSOF) – The March 18th WSOF event was a reschedule from February 28th and marked the first event under new ownership. At that event Blagoy Ivanov defended the heavyweight title, Andre Harrison took the featherweight title from Lance Palmer, and Bekbulat Magomedov won the vacant bantamweight belt. WSOF 36 is advertised to take place in Las Vegas but at this time there is no date, venue, or fight card.
UFC Fight Pass
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) – May 6th is the date CWFC return to UFC Fight Pass. Headlining the event will be Che Mills vs. Lewis Long at welterweight.
Invicta FC – The flyweight division which is missing in the UFC is on display at Invicta FC 23 with three fights in the division. Vanessa Porto vs. Agnieszka Niedzwiedz takes the main event but also on the card is Roxanne Modafferi vs. Sarah D’Alelio and LFC champion Andrea Lee vs. Liz Tracy.
Titan FC (TFC) – Florida’s most significant promotion seems to be hitting another speed bump. On January 21st Jose Torres made the first defense of the flyweight title with a defeat of UFC vet Pedro Nobre. The problem is the website still lists a March 31st show which never happened and the next event being May 19th. Clarification is expected soon but at this time there is none.
Other webcast shows
Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) – CFFC are coming off two major achievements, their first show in California and an episode of Dana White’s Looking for a Fight. CFFC return to Philadelphia on May 20th with three title fights including Sean Brady vs. Tanner Saraceno.
ONE Championship – The March 11th atomweight title defense by Angela Lee over Jenny Huang was not very close but cemented Lee as the women’s star of Asia’s largest promotion. One Championship return to the Philippines April 21st with Eduard Folayang making the first defense of the lightweight title as he takes on Ev Ting.
Ring of Combat (ROC) – Julio Arce successfully defended the featherweight title against Frank Buenafuente on February 24th, the same show where Sidney Outlaw took the welterweight title and Merab Dvalishvili the bantamweight belt. June 2nd is the date for the next ROC event, at this time there is no card available.