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.
It is getting interesting to see some of the independent promotions switching gears and holding more events while other independents are lagging behind. Most of the “busy” promotions don’t give a toss about the UFC’s schedule such as Bellator, M-1 Challenge, and One Championship but surprisingly top UFC feeder LFA is one of the “busiest” promotions. By contrast CES MMA which like LFA broadcast on AXS TV is lagging behind with no event upcoming at this time. As summer draws to a close most of the top independents have one event announced such as Invicta FC, ROC, and Titan FC all holding events this month. All this while the Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series Season 1 draws to a close.
Here is a list of the top confirmed independent MMA events on TV and the internet for the next six weeks:
- August 22nd DWTNCS 7 (UFC Fight Pass)
- August 25th Bellator 182 (Spike TV)
- August 25th LFA 20 (AXS TV)
- August 29th DWTNCS 8 (UFC Fight Pass)
- August 31st Invicta FC 25 (UFC Fight Pass)
- September 1st LFA 21 (AXS TV)
- September 2nd One Championship (iPPV)
- September 8th LFA 22 (AXS TV)
- September 15th ROC 60 (iPPV)
- September 16th One Championship (iPPV)
- September 16th CWFC 86 (UFC Fight Pass)
- September 23rd Bellator 183 (Spike)
- September M-1 Challenge 83 (webcast)
- September 29th Titan FC 46 (UFC Fight Pass)
Bellator MMA (Bellator) – The second-largest promotion has eight more events scheduled for 2017 with the next show being August 25th headlined by Andrey Koreshkov vs. Chidi Njokuani. Two of those eight events are throwaway cards at NASCAR racing events such as the one that took place August 19th. The fall’s “real” shows are looking more and more like “UFC Classic” as Ryan Bader, Gegard Mousasi, Benson Henderson, Phil Davis and more UFC vets appear while the newest signing is former heavyweight champion Frank Mir.
Combate Americas – The Hispanic-oriented promotion took a step with the July 27th event airing live on ESPN 3 instead of Azteca America. Ricky Palacios defeated Chris Avila on that card while Kyra Batara pulled off a win over Vanessa Rico Fernandez. At this time there is no word on the next event.
Classic Entertainment and Sports MMA (CES MMA) – August 11th was the latest CES MMA event, a show where Juliano Coutinho won the heavyweight title by defeating Ashley Gooch. At this time there is no word on the next event.
Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) – Kevin Aguilar successfully defended the featherweight title against ADCC Worlds vet Ryan Bader on August 4th, notable since most LFA champions move right on to the UFC. Since then LFA started a “four events in four weeks” run with Ciro Rodrigues defeating David Michaud Friday night while Chad Curry faces Nick Barnes this coming weekend.
Professional Fighters League – At the second PFL event on July 29th Andre Harrison remained undefeated by picking up a unanimous decision over Steven Rodriguez. Now the upstart promotion is off until October 14th, no fight card is available at this time.
UFC Fight Pass
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) – The legendary British promotion holds a co-promoted event with Shinobi FC on September 2nd while the next “real” CWFC event takes place September 16th. On the 16th Nathaniel Wood takes on undefeated Josh Reed.
Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWTNCS) – Six shows are concluded, two more are left in the first season of what has quickly become the show of choice to lead into the UFC. On August 22nd Anton Berzin takes on Kennedy Nzecukwu in the main event.
Invicta FC – After three changes to the main event Invicta FC 24 on July 15th was finally headlined by Mara Romero Borella defeating Milana Dudieva. The all-women’s event returns August 31st where the main event is currently Yana Kunitskaya vs. Raquel Pa’Aluhi while the co-main event slot goes to Livia Renata Souza vs. Janaisa Morandin.
Titan FC (TFC) – The August 18th TFC 45 show was headlined by Valdir Araujo defeating Adriano Capitulino but it was Gustavo Balart in the co-main event defeating Jorge Calvo Martin that may turn out to be the bigger news. With that win Balart earned the #1 contender slot to the flyweight title current held by Jose Torres. Torres stated on the webcast he is looking forward to returning on the September 29th event but at this time there is no word on if he will defend the flyweight or bantamweight title which he also holds.
Other webcast shows
M-1 Challenge – Russia’s leading promotion returns September 23rd when Mikhail Ragozin faces Bellator vet Brandon Halsey. That is by no means all M-1 Global have in store as nine more events fill out the fall schedule including a “20 years of MMA” event on October 27th.
ONE Championship – Martin Nguyen is the new featherweight champion following his defeat of Marat Gafurov on August 18th. One Championship has a whopping nine more events this year with the next one being September 2nd were welterweight champion Ben Askren defends the belt against Zebaztian Kadestam.
Ring of Combat (ROC) – Once again five title fights will take place at Ring of Combat with ROC 60 on September 15th holding two regional and three national titles. One of the regional titles looks almost as interesting as the national titles as Stephen Regmen takes on Kevin Horowitz at lightweight.
Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin) –The bantamweight grand prix opening round kicked off July 30th with half the tournament fighters competing, the other half of the tournament’s opening round takes place October 15th while the semifinals happen December 29th and the finals December 31st. So far Takafumi Otsuka and Khalid Taha advanced in July while in October Erson Yamamoto takes on Manel Kape while Shintaro Ishiwatari fights Akhmed Musakaev. Notably the 15th also holds a grappling event between Kazushi Sakuraba and Dan Henderson.