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5 Oz’s Weekend Preview

There are a pair of Thursday night cards this week, including King of the Cage “Superstars” in Highland, Calif. Topping the bill are a pair of KOTC title matches, pitting Tony “Kryptonite” Lopez (14-2) against Dave Cryer (8-1) for the light heavyweight belt and Victor Valenzuela (9-3-2) versus Tony Hervey (10-5) for the lightweight championship. Topping the undercard is cult hero Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett (21-15-2), who takes on Eric Moon (5-1).

The other card is in Brazil, where Platinum Fight Brazil is putting on a show. The top name is Jorge “Jorjao” Rodrigues, who is 17-2 with 10 submissions. He’ll be taking on Gil Freitas (7-1), whose only loss is to Daniel Acacio. Patricio “Pitbull” Friere (9-0) squares off with Giovani Diniz (9-3) and Renan Barao (14-1) gets Jurandir Sardinha (6-1) in the top undercard matchups.

Only one card is scheduled for Friday, with Jeremy Horn’s Elite Fight Night holding its 10th card in Layton, Utah. Lightweight Travis “T-Train” Marx (14-1) tops the bill, taking a four-fight winning streak into his matchup with Jeffrey Willingham.

Topping Saturday night’s action, obviously, is Strikeforce “Carano vs. Cyborg” card from San Jose. Between Carano-Cyborg for the Strikeforce women’s 145-pound title (I hope both of them can make weight this time), Renato “Babalu” Sobral against Gegard Mousasi for the 205-pound title and Gilbert Melendez-Mitsuhiro Ishida for the 155-pound belt, it should make for a night of must-see action.

However, I wouldn’t underestimate the undercard fights featuring Jesse Taylor against Jay Hieron and the heavyweight tilt pitting Mike Kyle versus Fabricio Werdum. Taylor is out to prove his recent win in Dream wasn’t a fluke, while Hieron will be looking to vent his frustration from missing out on a title fight when Nick Diaz went AWOL.

With the signing of Fedor Emilianenko by Strikeforce, I’m sure Kyle and Werdum would both like a shot at “The Emperor”, so a good performance Saturday is vital towards taking a step in that direction.

Another good card Saturday is Call to Arms “Called Out Fights”, which goes down in Ontario, Calif. The card includes Thomas “Wild Man” Denny (26-18) against Brandon Wolff (7-4), Wander Braga (10-0) versus “Ultimate Fighter” alumnus Gabe Ruediger (14-5), ex-UFC fighter Roman Mitichyan (5-3) taking on Mike Dolce (4-6), Emanuel Newton (11-4-1) squaring off with Raphael Davis (6-1) and ex-World Wrestling Entertainment star Daniel Puder (7-0) looking to remain unbeaten against trialhorse Ruben Villareal (15-15-3).

The Midwestern-based Xtreme Fighting Organization is back in action Saturday night as well, hosting its 31st card, “Outdoor War 5” in Island Lake, Ill. The main event has former WEC and IFL standout Bart Palaszewski (30-13) looking to right the ship after two straight losses as he takes on Lucas Gwaltney.. The main supporting fight has MMA veteran Jeremy Horn (81-19-5) making his return versus Mike Marrello (11-2-1). Mike Corey (7-2) is on the undercard as well and John Hosman (13-5-1) – who just lost to Rani Yahya on the undercard of the WEC event Sunday – is listed as fighting, too, but I’m not sure if that’s the case or not.

Other U.S. cards Saturday include Rage in The Cage 133 in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M. (topped by UFC veteran Edwin Dewees), King of the Cage “Thunderstruck” (featuring the 4-1 Caros Fodor, Julia Budd and former UFC fighter Tim Boetsch), SummerFist III in Irvine, Calif. and UMMAXX 8 in Akron, Ohio, which features a mix of amateur and pro MMA bouts.

Internationally, M-1 Challenge holds its latest round of team matchups in Amsterdam. This go-round, which actually covers two days, has Spain taking on England, France versus Japan and the World team facing France Saturday. Sunday’s action has Spain squaring off against Japan (both teams have totally new lineups for their second matches, so nobody will have to fight twice in two days), Turkey pairing up with the Russian Legion squad and U.S. battling the homestanding Benelux bunch.

Add it all up and that’s 30 fights over the span of two days. Even if you might not recognize most of the names that will be fighting, that’s a lot of MMA action to take in and is an MMA fan’s dream.

Just one other card is scheduled for Sunday, with Shooto holding its “Border 2: Advance” card in Osaka. Leading the card is a middleweight (167 pounds) bout between Masaki “Leo” Konishi (3-0-1) and Takuya Sato (4-2-2). Also on the card is a bantamweight (123 pounds) scrap pitting Kentaro Watanabe (2-1) against Tatsuro Kamei (4-3) and a welterweight (154 pounds) matchup of Hiroshi Shiba (7-5) and Tatsunori Tanaka (3-3).

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