The United States is celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend, meaning there isn’t much in the way of mixed martial arts domestically, but there are some cards and fights worth talking about.
The latest installment of the M-1 Challenge Series will take place Saturday at the Seoul Arena in South Korea. The series pits five-man teams against each other in a format similar to the now-defunct International Fight League with fights coming at 155 pounds, 170, 185, 205 and heavyweight.
The team matchups set for this weekend are Team U.S. West against Russia Imperial, South Korea versus Brazil and Finland takes on Bulgaria, so the fans in Seoul will get to see fighters from all over the world.
Team Brazil appears to be loaded, with Affliction vet Fabio Nascimento (9-4), Pride and Pancrase alum Daniel Acacio (17-8), Givanildo “The Arm Collector” Santana (12-1), Hacran Dias (11-0-1) and Eduardo Pamplona (11-2). Santana is notable not only for his awesome nickname, but for the fact that 11 of his 12 wins have come by armbar as well. Also, Pamplona did beat Acacio at an event in Brazil back in December 2008.
Other fighters to watch on the card include the 11-0 Dave Jansen and 6-0 Shane Del Rosario from Team USA West, Jae Young Kim (12-7) of South Korea, Yanko Yanev (8-1) from Bulgaria and the Finnish trio of Janne Tulirinta (11-3), Mikko Suvanto (7-3-1) and Marcus Vanttinen (9-2).
One card in the U.S. Saturday is Absolute Cage Combat’s “New Revolution” in Lakeview, Ohio. There are only three pro MMA fights on the card, featuring Rodney Carter (2-1), Carson Gainey (0-2) and Brandon Walker (0-1), so the card is pretty low-key.
There are three international cards scheduled for Sunday. The British promotion Strike and Submit is holding a card in Dunston, England, headlined by a lightweight title fight pitting “Ultimate Fighter 9” alumnus Martin Stapleton against Andrew Fisher.
Also, the Japanese promotion ZST – famous for its tag-team MMA matches (yes, they really do have tag-team MMA) and lack of judges (all fights that go the distance are draws) – puts on a pair of cards Sunday in Tokyo. Both cards are part of ZST’s SWAT series, which serves as a feeder system similar to the Strikeforce Challengers series here in the U.S.
Pictured: 11-0 Dave Jansen