Declaration of Independents for May 2015

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 spring season is in full swing for MMA.  Bellator hold two events in June as they seem to struggle with an identity relevant to the current industry.  WSOF return to Canada this weekend and are already gearing up for their July card.  The first AXS TV Fights show is in the books with no second one announced however CES MMA and LFC both have events on that network in June.  BAMMA and Shooto Brazil share big improvement acknowledgement for BAMMA landing on Spike TV UK and Shooto Brazil webcast at UFC Fight Pass.  The real news however will be in July when Cristiane Justino defends her Invicta FC featherweight title, supposedly her last before she fights at bantamweight on a fast track to the UFC for current champion Ronda Rousey.  Overall it is a busy month before the annual vacation period slows down live events.

Here is a list of confirmed MMA events on TV and the internet for the next six weeks:

May 22nd One Championship 27 (webcast PPV)
May 23rd UFC 187 (PPV)
May 30th UFC Fight Night – Condit vs. Alves (UFC Fight Pass)
June 5th WSOF 21 (NBC Sports Network)
June 5th Ring of Combat 51 (GoFightLive)
June 6th UFC Fight Night – Boetsch vs. Henderson (Fox Sports 1)
June 12th CES MMA 29 (AXS TV)
June 13th UFC 188 (PPV)
June 13th BAMMA 21 (Spike TV UK)
June 19th Bellator 138 (Spike)
June 20th UFC Fight Night – Velasquez vs. Werdum (UFC Fight Pass)
June 26th Bellator 139 (Spike)
June 26th LFC 42 (AXS TV)
June 27th TUF Brazil finale

Televised shows:

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.

Kimbo Slice headlines Bellator 138Bellator MMA (Bellator) – The second-largest promotion has two events coming up in June, Bellator 138 on June 19th and Bellator 129 on June 26th.  Of the two Bellator 138 is a bit of a circus with Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson vs. Ken Shamrock in the main event while the featherweight title between defending champion Patricio Freire vs. Daniel Weichel takes co-main event.  Bellator 139 isn’t much better so far with Cheick Kongo vs. Alexander Volkov the most significant fight so far.

British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA) – On April 25th BAMMA made their Spike TV UK debut with Marcin Lazarz winning the vacant light heavyweight title, Ed Arthur taking the vacant bantamweight title.  Now BAMMA return with Andy Devent vs. Cheick Kone for the world middleweight title.

Dominique Steele challenges Chuck O'Neil for CES MMA WW  beltClassic Entertainment and Sports MMA (CES MMA) – Chuck O’Neil makes his next defense of the welterweight belt on June 12th when he faces Dominique Steele.

Fight Time Promotions– CBS Sports Network finally got around to airing Fight Time 24, an event that took place April 3rd but wasn’t broadcast until April 16th.  On that show D.J. Linderman defeated Jeff Monson for the heavyweight belt, no further word is available on the next event.

Valentina Shevchenko returns at LFC 42Legacy Fighting Championship (LFC) – The AXS TV Fights megashow wasn’t LFC’s finest hour in terms of results but LFC showed their fighters can compete.  Next up LFC 42 goes head-to-head with Bellator on June 26th with LFC headlining Anthony Njokuani vs. Josh Quayhagen while Valentina Shevchenko makes her return against Carina Damm.

M-1 Challenge – Mansour Barnaoui took the lightweight belt from Maxim Divnich at M-1 Challenge 57, next up Igor Fernandes faces Murad Abdulaev at M-1 Challenge 58: Battle in the Mountains 4.

Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) – After defeating LFC at AXS TV Fights RFA are now off until July 3rd.  So far the biggest news from that show is it will be the first nationally televised event in the state of Idaho.  Headlining the card is Joe Murphy vs. Jesse Brock while co-headlining is Czar Sklavos vs. Nick Burgos.

Titan FC (TFC) – In the archives is a report on TFC 33 where four new champions were crowned.  The new champions are Chase Gormley at heavyweight, Pat Healy at lightweight, Brett Johns at bantamweight, and Kurt Holobaugh at featherweight.  At this time there is no word on the next live event.

Lance Palmer schedule for first defense of WSOF FW  beltWorld Series of Fighting (WSOF) – Still picking at the scraps left over by the UFC and Bellator WSOF return June 5th then are off until August.  At WSOF 21 in Canada featherweight champion Lance Palmer makes his first title defense WEC and IFL vet Chris Horodecki.

Webcast shows:

Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) – Lyman Good became a champion again when he defeated Nah-Shon Burrell for the welterweight title vacated by Jonavin Webb.  On that same card Jimmie Rivera defended the bantamweight belt while Jeff Lentz earned the vacant featherweight title.  At this time there is no word on the next event.

Cristiane Justino to defend Invicta FW title before  dropping to bantamweightInvicta FC – It is tough to keep women under contract as the UFC expands its considerable presence in some of the sparsest divisions.  Invicta so far are managing to stay afloat with their latest event being April 24th where Livia Renata Souza defeated Katja Kankaanpaa for the strawweight title.  The only all-women’s promotion in the US returns July 10th supposedly headlined by Cristiane Justino against a yet-to-be-determined opponent in defense of the featherweight belt.  Justino has already signed to the UFC however she must compete in Invicta at bantamweight before crossing over so expect this July fight to be her last at this weight.

ONE Championship – On April 24th Ben Askren vs. Luis Santos was declared a “no contest” leaving Askren still holding the welterweight belt.  On May 22nd  Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke won the inaugural strawweight title off a technical decision following a rather confusing stoppage for an alleged headbutt.  One Championship may be Asia’s most significant promotion but they are sure not looking professional by international standards as word is awaited on their next event.

Ring of Combat (ROC) – Four months off for ROC is a long time but the last event was January 23rd (see archives) while the next one is June 5th.  At ROC 51 Julio Arce returns to face Michael Imperato in defense of the bantamweight belt.

Shooto Brazil  – May 17th was a historic card more for Shooto Brazil making their webcast debut at UFC Fight Pass than for Felipe Froes defeating Thiago Silva for the Shooto Brazil featherweight title.  Shooto Brazil follow up with another event June 26th also expected to be webcast at UFC Fight Pass, the only information available being Elvis Batista Da Silva takes on undefeated Cleverson Silva.

Tachi Palace Fights (TPF) –Such a legendary promotion can be forgiven for holding their annual Cinco de Mayhem card on May 7th instead of Cinco de Mayo May 5th especially when Chidi Njokuani made the first defense of the welterweight title.  At this time there is no word on the next event.