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.
Legacy Fighting Alliance and Bellator are both off to busy starts in 2017 with LFA having six events already in the history books, four more planned through the end of April, Bellator “only” at five events so far with four scheduled through the end of April. Most of the other independents are keeping pace with 2016 with Invicta FC, CFFC, Combate Americas, and CES MMA holding events later this month while Rizin returns in April. Slow to get out of the gate this year is ROC which held one event so far this year while the next one being in June.
Here is a list of the top confirmed MMA events on TV and the internet for the next six weeks:
- March 18th UFC Fight Night 107 (UFC Fight Night)
- March 18th WSOF 35 (NBCSN)
- March 24th LFA 7 (AXS TV)
- March 25th CFFC 65 (GoFightLive)
- March 25th Invicta FC 22 (UFC Fight Pass)
- March 30th Combate Americas 12 (UFC Fight Pass)
- March 31st Bellator 175 (Spike)
- March 31st CES MMA 42 (AXS TV)
- April 1st CWFC 81 (UFC Fight Pass)
- April 7th LFA 8 (AXS TV)
- April 8th Bellator 176 (Spike)
- April 8th UFC 210 (PPV)
- April 14th Bellator 177 (Spike)
- April 14th LFA 9 (AXS TV)
- April 15th CES MMA 43 (AXS TV)
- April 15th UFC on Fox 24 (Fox)
- April 16th Rizin (Spike TV)
- April 21st Bellator 178 (Spike)
- April 21st LFA 10 (AXS TV)
- April 21st One Championship (iPPV)
- April 22nd UFC Fight Night 108 (Fox Spots 1)
BAMMA (not to be confused with BAMMA USA) – “Spike’s UK show” BAMMA are 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 but at this time there is no word on the card itself.
Bellator MMA (Bellator) – The second-largest promotion has a busy schedule mixing events in the US with international dates. Up next is Bellator 175 with Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal taking place in California. On April 8th Bellator return to Italy for Bellator 176 with Rafael Carvalho vs. Melvin Manhoef, April 14th holds Bellator 177 in Budapest with bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas vs. former LFA champion Leandro Higo, then Bellator return to the US for featherweight champion Daniel Straus vs. Patricio Freire for the fourth time.
Classic Entertainment and Sports MMA (CES MMA) – The first defense of the CES MMA welterweight title for Chris Curtis comes March 31st when he faces Wilfred Santiago Jr. “The other AXS TV show” also has an event scheduled for April 15th, the only confirmed matchup at this time being Pedro Gonzalez vs. Bruno Dias.
Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) – AXS TV’s LFA are off to a busy start for 2017 with six events in the books so far. At LFA 4 Kevin Aguilar won the featherweight title with a defeat of Damon Jackson and Andrea Lee took the inaugural women’s flyweight belt with a defeat of Heather Bassett. LFA 5 featured Adam Townsend defeating Marcus Edwards while LFA 6 headlined Ray Rodriguez defeating Rivaldo Junior. Up next is LFA 7 on March 24th with Ricky Turcios vs. Levi Mowles topping the card.
Rizin – The descendents of Pride are so far following their 2016 schedule with their last show being a multi-day NYE extravaganza, their next event being in mid-April, this year being April 16th. The main news regarding the card is former UFC title challenger Kyoji Yamauchi is signed to the main event against Yuki Motoya.
World Series of Fighting (WSOF) – Following the NYE debut in NYC the most-hyped promotion rescheduled their February 28th show for March 18th. Three titles will be on the line at the next show with Blagoy Ivanov defending the heavyweight title in the main event against Shawn Jordan.
UFC Fight Pass
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) – On March 4th Karl Moore won CWFC’s vacant light heavyweight title by defeating Josh Clark. Next up one of CWFC’s biggest stars returns as featherweight champion Paddy Pimblett makes the second defense of the belt by taking on Nad Nariman.
Combate Americas – Kyra Batara disappointed at Combate Americas’ February show missing weight causing her removal from the card, the second time she has been pulled with the first due to injury. That event was instead headlined by Albert Tapia defeating Benji Gomez in Los Angeles. March 30th the Hispanic show returns to Mexico with Marcelo Rojo vs. Ivan Hernandez Flores headlining.
Invicta FC – The all-women’s show kicked off 2017 with Invicta FC 21 in January, a show where Megan Anderson defeated Charmaine Tweet at featherweight. At Invicta FC 22 reigning bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger faces Yana Kunitskaya in a rematch of their controversial Invicta FC 20 bout which was overturned to a “no contest” (see archives). Also on that card atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki returns to strawweight to face Livia Renata Souza.
Titan FC (TFC) – Newly crowned flyweight champion Jose Torres moves up to bantamweight to face champion Farkhad Sharipov in the main event of Titan FC 44 on May 19th. Torres won the title with a TKO of Pedro Nobre January 21st.
Other webcast shows
Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) – For the first time CFFC head further west than Pennsylvania as they travel to San Diego for CFFC 64 on March 25th. The card is headlined by Sean Santella vs. Joseph Morales but it is unclear if this fight is in defense of the interim flyweight title “Shorty” Santella won at CFFC 62.
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.