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.
December has been a busy month as the independent promotions wrapped up for the year, now there are three weeks off before the 2018 season. LFA held the most events outside the UFC with their 29th show on December 15th while the same date saw Bellator’s 26th event for the year. UFC Fight Pass shows had a busy December with Invicta FC on the 8th, Titan FC on the 15th, and Victory FC on the 16th. The only independent promotion with an event left for this year is RIZIN which holds the semi-finals of the 2017 grand prix on December 29th and the finals on the 31st. 2018 starts off packed with LFA on January 12th, Invicta on the 13th, LFA again on the 19th, Bellator and One on the 20th, and finally Bellator plus LFA and One on the 26th.
Here is a list of the top confirmed independent MMA events on TV and the internet for the next six weeks:
- December 29th RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2017: 2nd round (iPPV)
- December 31st RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2017: Final Round (iPPV)
- January 12th LFA 30 (AXS TV)
- January 13th Invicta FC 27 (UFC Fight Pass)
- January 19th LFA 31 (AXS TV)
- January 20th Bellator 192 (Spike)
- January 20th M-1 Challenge 87 (webcast)
- January 20th One Championship (iPPV)
- January 26th LFA 32 (AXS TV)
- January 26th One Championship (iPPV)
- January 26th Bellator 193 (Spike)
Bellator MMA (Bellator) – The second most significant MMA promotion actually came in behind LFA for most amount of events with Bellator clocking in at 26 shows if one counts the NASCAR throwaway events. The promotion’s year ended on the 15th with UFC vets Michael McDonald and Valerie Letourneau making successful debuts, the next event is January 20th with Douglas Lima defending the welterweight title against Rory McDonald.
Combate Americas – Kyra Batara returned to Combate Americas on December 1st to defeat Paulina Granados at CA 19. At this time there is no word on the next event.
Classic Entertainment and Sports MMA (CES MMA) – The November 17th CES MMA 47 event was almost laughably one-sided with a total of sixteen minutes of action headlined by Greg Rebello barely breaking a sweat against Derrick Brown in the main event. CES MMA are now done for the season with no word on the next show.
Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) – The busiest independent promotion wrapped up their 2017 season with their 29th event in their first year of operation, a bit misleading considering LFA is a hybrid of Legacy FC and RFA. LFA start 2017 in high gear with three events scheduled for January with the first being LFA 30 on January 12th with Curtis Millender vs. Nick Barnes headlining.
Professional Fighters League – There weren’t many surprises at the PFL “Fight Night” event November 2nd with Blagoi Ivanov defeating Caio Alencar and Lance Palmer defeating Steven Siler. 2018 is when the league format is supposed to begin, at this time there is no word on the next event or exactly how that league will function.
UFC Fight Pass
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) – Two events are lined up for England’s most important promotion, Cage Warriors 90 on February 24th and 91 on March 3rd. No card is available for CWFC 90 but 91 is headlined by Josh Reed vs. Marko Kovacevic.
Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWTNCS) – The first season of the most intriguing MMA series is complete, no information is available on the second.
Invicta FC – On December 8th Jennifer Maia made the second defense of the flyweight title by defeating Agnieszka Niedzwiedz while Mackenzie Dern made her professional debut with a win over Kaline Medeiros. Up next for the all-women’s show is Invicta FC 27 on January 13th, no fight card for which is available at this time.
Titan FC (TFC) – December 15th saw Luis Gomez capture the vacant featherweight title by defeating Sodiq Yusuff. At this time there is no word on the next TFC event.
Victory FC – Both Raufeon Stots and Yuri Villefort made successful first defenses of their belts on December 16th with Stots keeping the bantamweight title, Villefort the belt at welterweight. At this time there is no word on the next VFC event.
Other webcast shows
M-1 Challenge – Khamzat Dalgiev took the featherweight title from Ivan Buchinger at M-1 Challenge 86 on November 24th. The next event for Russia’s largest promotion is January 20th, no card is currently available.
ONE Championship – Asia’s most significant promotion wrapped up for the year on December 9th when Alex Silva took the strawweight title from Yoshitaka Naito. One Championship are starting off 2018 with a busy schedule with events already confirmed for January 20th and 26th, no fight cards are available for either show.
Ring of Combat (ROC) – November 17th saw Julian Lane defeat Jeff Lentz for the welterweight title and Bill Algeo defeat Tim Dooling for the featherweight belt. At this time there is no word on the next event.
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 took place October 15th. Also on the 15th the opening round of the women’s flyweight tournament went down. The second round of the men’s GP takes place December 29th while the finals happen December 31st. Tatsuya Kawajiri is out of the tournament having suffered a crushing loss to Gabriel Leite de Oliveira but Shintaro Ishiwatari advanced.
Tachi Palace Fights (TPF) – November 2nd saw Rodrigo Lima defeat Rolando Velasco and Tony Llamas emerge victorious over Sergio Quinones in the main and co-main events respectively. Also on the card were the semifinals of a heavyweight tournament where Mohammed Usman and Mitchell Sipe advanced to the finals which take place next year. No information is available on the next event.