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.
2018 is starting to heat up in the independent scene as most promotions have at least put out schedules. LFA actually held four events so far this year while Bellator has already held three maintaining their leads on the news. Most other promotions have events scheduled in the next six weeks including CWFC, Invicta, and Victory FC at UFC Fight Pass with CWFC earning special mention for having four upcoming events scheduled. Rizin have actually released their schedule for the year but that consists of only five events with the first being in May. Notably absent from the upcoming schedules in PFL with their much-hyped league format which is supposed to debut this year.
Here is a list of the top confirmed independent MMA events on TV and the internet for the next six weeks:
- February 22nd M-1 Challenge 88 (webcast)
- February 23rd One Championship (iPPV)
- February 24th CWFC 90 (UFC Fight Pass)
- March 2nd ROC 62 (GoFightLive)
- March 2nd Bellator 195 (Paramount Network)
- March 2nd LFA 34 (AXS TV)
- March 3rd CWFC 91 (UFC Fight Pass)
- March 9th LFA 35 (AXS TV)
- March 9th One Championship (iPPV)
- March 10th M-1 Challenge 89 (webcast)
- March 23rd LFA 36 (AXS TV)
- March 24th One Championship (iPPV)
- March 24th CWFC 92 “Super Saturday” (UFC Fight Pass)
- March 24th Invicta FC 28 (UFC Fight Pass)
- March 30th VFC 60 (UFC Fight Pass)
Bellator MMA (Bellator) – The second most significant MMA promotion’s heavyweight grand prix is slowly advancing with Matt Mitrione defeating Roy Nelson on February 16th. That makes two fighters to move on to the semifinals with Chael Sonnen having already advanced. The next quarterfinal isn’t until Bellator 198 on April 28th, between now and then there are three “regular” shows schedule with the first being March 2nd with Darrion Caldwell defending the bantamweight title against Leandro Higo.
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) – Greg Rebello finally managed to claim the heavyweight title with a quick finish of Travis Wiuff February 2nd. Up next for “the other AXS TV promotion” is CES MMA 49 on April 6th, no card is available at this time.
Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) – The busiest independent promotion has already had four events this year with the most recent headlined by Kyle Stewart defeating Jaleel Willis to remain undefeated. Three more events are scheduled for March with the first being Robert Watley defending the lightweight title against Brandon Jenkins.
Professional Fighters League (PFL) – 2018 is here and it is finally time for PFL to start their advertised fight league. 2017 was the transition between WSOF and PFL exemplified by the event November 2nd where Blagoi Ivanov defeated Caio Alencar and Lance Palmer defeated Steven Siler. At this time however there is no word on when the next event takes place or even how the “league” format will unfold.
UFC Fight Pass
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) – Four events are lined up for England’s most important promotion with the first one taking place February 24th. Headlining the event this weekend is Molly McCann vs. Bryony Tyrell for the women’s flyweight title while fan favorite Paddy Pimblett returns in the co-main event to face Alexis Savvidis.
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 – The all-women promotion’s strawweight title is on the line on March 24th as Virna Jandiroba faces Janaisa Morandin. Three other bouts on the card take place at 115 pounds including the co-main event between Mizuki Inoue and Milana Dudieva.
Titan FC (TFC) – Two-division champion Jose Torres made his second defense of the flyweight title February 16th with a KO of Alberto Orellano while on the same card Raush Manflo defended the lightweight title against Lee Henry Lilly. Florida’s top promotion are now off until April when they return to the Bank United Center and UFC Fight Pass, at this time no card is available.
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. VFC return on March 30th with VFC 60, at this time there is no word on the fight card.
Other webcast shows
M-1 Global – February 22nd is the next M-1 Challenge which will be followed by an event on March 10th. M-1 Challenge this weekend is headlined by Damir Ismagulov making his first defense of the lightweight title as he faces Raul Tutarauli.
ONE Championship – Asia’s most significant promotion has held two events so far this year while three more events are scheduled over the next six weeks. Up first is One Championship: Quest for Gold on February 23rd when Aung La N Sang faces Alexander Machado for the heavyweight title.
Ring of Combat (ROC) – The February 2nd card was an all-amateur event, the next pro ROC card takes place March 2nd. Headlining the upcoming card is Julian Lane vs. Jeff Lentz while four other title fights are on the card.
Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin) – Rizin’s entire 2018 schedule is out which consists of five events. The first event of the year takes place May 6th with Kyoji Horiguchi facing Ian McCall in the main event.
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.