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 the non-UFC or “independent” scene.
The rest of August is relatively tame for MMA with AXS TV keeping busy while most other promotions are off. AXS TV sees RFA and LFC fill out four of their next five events with the cable TV station’s only week off being the first week of September. UFC Fight Pass also stay busy not only with UFC Fight Night but also Shooto Brazil on the 21st while September will see webcasts of Invicta and Titan FC. Bellator meanwhile hold one event this month however most of the recent news has been regarding their two September shows. In September WSOF, CFFC, and ROC all return while in the international news M-1 Challenge, BAMMA, and One Championship are all set to return as summer winds down.
Here is a list of confirmed MMA events on TV and the internet for the next six weeks:
August 14th CES MMA 30 (AXS TV)
August 21st RFA 29 (AXS TV)
August 21st Shooto Brazil 56 (UFC Fight Pass)
August 23rd UFC Fight Night – Holloway vs. Oliveira (UFC Fight Pass)
August 28th Bellator 141 (Spike)
August 28th LFC 44 (AXS TV)
September 1st One Championship (webcast PPV)
September 5th UFC 191 (PPV)
September 5th M-1 Challenge 61 (webcast PPV)
September 11th LFC 45 (AXS TV)
September 12th CFFC 51 (CBS Sports Network tape delayed)
September 18th RFA 30 (AXS TV)
September 18th Fight Time (CBS Sports Network tape delayed)
September 18th WSOF 23 (NBC Sports Network)
September 19th Bellator MMA – Dynamite (Spike)
September 19th BAMMA (Spike TV UK)
September 19th Titan FC 35 (UFC Fight Pass)
September 25th Bellator 143 (Spike)
September 26th UFC Fight Night – Barnett vs. Nelson
September 27th One Championship
AXS TV Fights – The inaugural “supercard” featuring promotions LFC vs. RFA went in favor of RFA with Alexandre Pantoja taking the AXS TV flyweight belt. At this time there is no word on a second card but both RFA and LFC promoted this event as the “first” such show.
BAMMA – On June 13th Cheick Kone defeated Andy DeVent for the middleweight belt and Mark Godbeer took the heavyweight title with a defeat of Paul Taylor, both titles being vacant at the time. Now the UK’s biggest event is off until September 19th when Tom Duquesnoy faces Brendan Loughnane in Dublin.
Bellator MMA (Bellator) – Three shows are in the works for the second-largest MMA promotion. On August 28th UFC vet Melvin Guillard makes his Bellator debut against Brandon Girtz, on September 19th Bellator and Glory team up for an event with Liam McGeary vs. Tito Ortiz headlining, and on September 25th Joe Warren faces L.C. Davis.
Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) – Louis Gaudinot didn’t have a good run in the UFC as the former ROC champion went 1-3 with one “no contest” over three years. Now Gaudinot makes his CFFC debut in a flyweight contender fight against Claudio Ledesma headlining the September 12th event
Classic Entertainment and Sports MMA (CES MMA) – On June 12th Dominique Steele took the welterweight belt from defending champion Chuck O’Neil in a grinding unanimous decision. This weekend the lightweight title is on the line as Julian Lane makes the second defense of the belt with a rematch of Luiz Felix.
Fight Time Promotions– On the July 17th Fight Time event Niko Price defeated Maurice Salmon. Next up is a show on September 18th however no card is available at this time. Of note regarding Fight Time is promoter Howard Davis Jr. has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.
Legacy Fighting Championship (LFC) – Like RFA also broadcast on AXS TV LFC are keeping a busy schedule with the Texas-based promotion holding two shows two weeks apart. On August 28th Valdir Araujo headlines against Alex Morono while on September 11th Andrew Todhunter faces Dylan Smith.
Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) – Andrew Sanchez overwhelmed John Poppie for the middleweight title at RFA 28 on August 7th. The August 21st event however looks to be the biggest of the year with a “USA vs. Brazil” theme featuring guest coaches Robbie Lawler and Lyoto Machida, a battle for the vacant featherweight belt serves as the main event.
World Series of Fighting (WSOF) – WSOF 22 is being remembered as the show Rousimar Palhares was stripped of the welterweight title by repeatedly eye gouging Jake Shields but the show also had Marlon Moraes defending the bantamweight title. Up next Justin Gaethje defends the lightweight title in a rematch against Luis Palomino on September 18th.
Hard Knocks Fighting – Calgary’s webcast up-and-comers held an event June 26th with Cory Devela defeating Nick Ring in the main event. No word is available at this time on the next show.
Invicta FC – On July 9th Cristiane Justino defended the featherweight belt against Faith Van Duin while Tonya Evinger earned the vacant bantamweight title and Ayaka Hamasaki took the atomweight belt. Not to be outdone Livia Renata Souza makes the first defense of the strawweight title on September 12th as she puts her undefeated record on the line against Alexa Grasso.
M-1 Challenge – Heavyweight champion Marcin Tybura defends his belt for the second time come September 5th as he faces Ante Delija. So far no other details are available on the rest of the card.
ONE Championship – Six events remain on the schedule for Asia’s largest promotion. Up first is “Dynasty of Champions” in Shanghai on September 1st with Igor Svirid headlining against Vitaly Bigdash.
Ring of Combat (ROC) – The card is out for ROC 52 on September 25th and once again a whopping six title fights fill the card. Headlining the night is UFC vet Pete Sell vs. Elijah Harshbarger for the welterweight title.
Shooto Brazil – The third Shooto Brazil event to be webcast at UFC Fight Pass takes place August 21st. Headlining the event will be a light heavyweight title fight between Amilcar Alves and Rafael Viana.
Tachi Palace Fights (TPF) – On August 6th Rolando Velasco defeated Josh San Diego for the vacant bantamweight title. At this time there is no word on the next event.
Titan FC (TFC) – For their UFC Fight Pass debut Titan FC held titles in four weight classes. For their second event webcast Titan FC 35 features Pat Healy defending the lightweight title against Bellator vet Rick Hawn.
Rebel FC – It is difficult to know what to make of Rebel FC, an upstart out of Singapore. Last August Rebel FC 2 looked like it would break new ground with an iPPV featuring the quarterfinals of a featherweight tournament with former WEC champion Miguel Torres and UFC vet Will Chope among others. Ten months went by before the next Rebel event where Wenbo Liu defeated Adil Boranbayev in the main event, Kleber Koike Erbst defeated Torres in the co-main event. No word is available on what happens next for this Asia upstart promotion.