Top 10 Maple Leaf Match Ups In March


Another month ends and it’s time again for another instalment of Top MMA News’ Top Maple Leaf Match Ups. March is chalked full with great MMA fights taking place all over Canada. The battle of Quebec heats up with both Ringside and Instinct holding cards this month. Alberta is bursting at the seems with shows with KOTC, School of Hard Knocks, Unified and Bully’s Fight Night all presenting offering, even Saskatchewan gets a show as School of Hard Knocks presents an all amateur event in the rectangular province. As always this list is reserved for non Zuffa fighters since their fights will be discussed at nausea on Top MMA radio and our great UFC pre event breakdowns.
Enough we the foreplay let’s get to the list.

Zuffa Mentions:

  • Sarah Kaufman (14-1) vs. Alexis Davis (11-4) – Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey – March 3
  • Nick Penner (11-1) vs. Anthony Perosh (12-6) – UFC on FX 2 – March 2

    Misha Cirkunov (photo by Sean McManus)

10. Todd Stoute (4-0) vs. Sebastien Gauthier (6-2)
Instinct MMA 3 – Sherbrooke – March 31
It’s always good to see a fight with ranking implications and considering Stoute is just outside of the top 10 and Gauthier is dropping down a division, it’s very possible the winner here could slide into that number 10 slot. Stoute fights out of Shah Franco Martial Arts and has amassed an undefeated record while finishing three out of his four wins between the bells. Gauthier recently returned from a three year hiatus defeating Bruce Nelson, a veteran of over 50 fights. Gauthier is by far Stout’s greatest test to date as “Iron Leg” has twice as many fights as Stoute, but Stoute has shown great punching power and the ability to comeback after taking serious punishment so there’s no dog here. Given each fighters propensity to throw leather and entertain the crowds, this is an event to pick up some tickets for.

9. Misha Cirkunov (5-1) vs. Aaron Johnson (9-5)
KO Kings – Atlanta – March 17
Canada’s 8th ranked Light-Heavyweight takes his first MMA trip south of the border for the biggest test of his career. Cirkunov, a product of Tap Star in Toronto, has polished off some of the better Canadian Light-Heavyweight prospects in his last two outings, with decisions over both Ion Cherdivara and Ali Mokdad. Johnson, a Georgia native and member of the Defkon1 fight team, is currently riding a two fight win streak and hoping home field advantage will secure him a win over the Canadian prospect. With 19 fights under his belt and all of his 10 wins coming between the bells, Johnson is Cirkunov’s toughest test to date. Given that 8 of Johnson’s 10 wins have come via submission and the fact that Cirkunov has won every major submission wrestling title under the sun in Canada, one should expect a few exchanges of holds, locks and chokes in this tussle. Also, consider Johnson has submitted 8 mediocre MMA fighters while Cirkunov has twisted and torqued many of the world’s top submission grapplers. That being said, expect Cirkunov to receive the winner’s purse in this one.

Cory Houston (photo by Jim Beattie)

8. Lyndon Whitlock (5-2) vs. Cory Houston (4-1)
Score Fighting Series 3 – Hamilton – March 16
Revenge will be on Whitlock’s mind when he steps into the cage March 16, as he’ll be looking to avenge his teammate Denis Puric’s loss to Houston at the last SFS. Whitlock, a member of the feared Iron Tiger Muay Thai, will not only be out for revenge but also look to bounce back from his previous loss to Tristan Johnson. Houston, a WAMMA product, burst onto the national scene with his aforementioned win over Denis Puric, now five months later, he’ll look to build on that success with another win over an Iron Tiger Muay Thai member and bump his name into the national top 10.  Both men are good grapplers. Whitlock enjoys a top position wrestling base and Houston, a solid boxer, is comfortable off his back with an offensive guard game. The winner here has a chance to crack the top 10 ranking. Sadly, the loser may fall off the national radar and look to rebuild before getting another big time fight.

7. Alex Ricci (4-0) vs. Iraj Hadin (6-3)
Score Fighting Series 3 – Hamilton – March 16
This is one of the most intriguing matchups on an already stacked card. Ricci, an M-1Thai Boxing System’s product and Muay Thai monster, burst onto the scene in late 2010 and has remained undefeated even though he’s stepped up in competition time and time again. Hadin, an Adrenaline Training Center product, makes his triumphant MMA return after a year on the shelf while recovering from a knee injury. With less then 10 fights under his belt, Hadin has already faced two UFC fighters, John Makdessi and Sean Pierson, and has secured wins over top Canadians like Derek Gauthier, Samuel Guillet and Steven Rogers. Ricci has been touted as one of Canada’s fastest rising prospects and prior to his injury, Hadin was quietly climbing the national rankings himself. Now in Hamilton Place Theatre, fans will get to see who is the real deal and who needs to go back to the drawing board. A vicious pin point striker versus a tenacious wrestler with power fists, who will reach the top 10 first?

Mike Davis, in white (photo by Jason Bouwmeester)

6. Mike Davis (7-3) vs. Corey Lautischer (5-1)
Unified MMA 11 – Edmonton – March 30
Unified MMA will crown Canada’s first ever Flyweight champion. Davis, an Arashi-Do Martial Arts product, is a long time KOTC Canada veteran, has won 7 of his last 8 fights, and makes his first cut down to the 125 lbs mark. Lautischer, a member of the Hayabusa Training Centre, has fought in almost every promotion in the western provinces and is currently riding a four fight win streak. Davis will have the advantage on the feet with his great foot work and quick hands, while Lautischer will have the submission advantage as he can lock on a choke standing or on the ground. It’ll be Red Deer versus Edmonton when these two combatants meet in the cage. Not only will we see who’s the best Flyweight in Alberta, but with Remi Morvan losing this past month, the winner here  could very well be Canada’s top 125 pounder. There’s a lot more on the line here then just the Unified MMA’s gold belt.

5. Martin Grandmont (12-6) vs. Brandon Thatch (6-1)
Instinct MMA 3 – Sherbrooke – March 31
When matchmakers do their job right you get fights like this. Grandmont versus Hatch is a battle of two high percentage finishers who frequently produce exciting tilts. Grandmont is looking to get back on the winning track after suffering a TKO loss to Pete Spratt at the last Instinct MMA event. Thatch, on the other hand, continued his winning ways defeating France’s Patrick Vallee at the last event. Now the two will face off.  It’s the wily veteran looking to get back on track facing off against the hot prospect.  Both men possess great hand speed and kicking ability including the willingness to throw everything into the first five minutes. Sure, Grandmont has fought everybody under the sun at 170 in Canada and, sure, Thatch is a budding prospect from a top camp but that’s not important. What is important is both men have head kick KOs on the record, Grandmont has 75% finishing percentage and Thatch has finished every fight in the first round. Those are the important stats! Those stats let you know when you put down your hard earned dollars you are going to see an exciting fight! Like I said before, it’s nice when matchmakers do their job right.

4. John Alessio (33-14) vs. Ryan Healy (19-9-1)
Score Fighting Series 3 – Hamilton – March 16
Alessio will return to his home soil as a combatant for the first time in two years when he steps into the cage to meet Healy. Prior to his TKO loss to Siyar Bahadurzada in March of last year, Alessio was riding a seven fight win streak with hopes of UFC domination in the Welterweight division.  One year later, Alessio has dropped to Lightweight, polished off his two more opponents and now hopes for an Octagon shot at his new found weight class and a win over tough veteran Healy could cement that dream. Healy, a member of Team Quest, is also on a two fight roll and has won 7 of his last 10. Both men only share one common opponent in Luis Firmino, while Healy dropped a decision, Alessio was able to get the nod in his three round tussle with the wily Brazilian. Both men posses similar skill sets as both are stellar top position wrestlers and both fight well in the clinch, probably since both come from Randy Couture influenced fight teams. Alessio has not been this fired up for a fight in a long time and he promises to not leave this fight in the hands of the judges. No matter how this tilt plays out, the fans in the Hamilton area will witness an all out war when these veteran step into the cage. If you haven’t picked up a pair of tickets to the Score Fighting Series, you’re silly!

Jeff Harrison (photo by Mike Fischl)

3. Jeff Harrison (5-4) vs. Will Romero (7-3)
Score Fighting Series 3 – Hamilton – March 16
What a great idea this matchup is, find out who is Canada’s best 145 lbs Muay Thai fighter with four ounce gloves and extended clinching allowed, fun! When matchups need to be exciting for television, this is the kind of gold you can get. Iron Tiger Muay Thai product and 6th ranked Canadian Featherweight Romero has bounced back from his three fight losing skid with a decision win over Daniel Langbeen and stopping OAMA product Stephane Bernadel with a highlight reel KO in his last SFS appearance. Now Harrison, an OAMA product like Bernadel, will be out for revenge looking for a highlight reel finish of his own. Harrison has also bounced back from his hard times winning his last fights over Kyle Vivian, Jamie Mclean and James Haourt. Both men are tremendous strikers and both have competed in numerous professional Muay Thai bouts, and now with thinner gloves they look to determine who is the most vicious striker at 145 lbs outside of Mark Hominick. If this fight doesn’t have you rushing out to pick up a pair of tickets, then you’re not a true fan, because this is the definition of a barn burner.


2. Josh Hill (7-0) vs. Eric Wilson (5-1)
Score Fighting Series 3 – Hamilton – March 16
Nothing wets the whistle of an MMA fan more then a bout with ranking implications and when Hill meets Wilson, MMA fans all over Canada will be salivating. Hill, Canada’s 6th ranked Bantamweight, has won all 7 of his professional fights and looks to make the leap to the big show and a win over Wilson could be his final hurdle. Wilson, Canada’s 9th ranked Bantamweight, was last seen in a valiant albeit losing effort when John Fraser submitted him in his bid for the inaugural Wreck MMA 135 lbs title. Both men have experience against world class opponents, both are juggernauts on the canvas, and both are known for exciting fights. Conditioning may very well be the key to victory in this affair with Hill known to go 15 minutes easy and Wilson being suspect when entering the 3rd round. Its hard to pick the winner here, but if this bout enters the eleven minute mark, Hill will probably walk away the victor but in the first 10 minutes Wilson could easily spoil the night for the hometown favourite.

1. Patrick Cote (16-7) vs. Gustavo Machado (22-8)
Amazon Forest Combat – Brazil – March 31
Fuelled by a burning desire to return to the Octagon and three straight wins, Canada’s top ranked Middleweight travels to Brazil to punch or kick his return ticket to the UFC. In Machado, Cote faces a submission specialist and 12 year veteran who holds victories over Nate Quarry, Allen Goes and Yuki Sasaki. Hailing from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and fighting out of the famous Gracie Barra Combat Team, Machado is currently riding a four fight win streak and has won 10 of his last 11. Cote struggled after his injury loss to UFC champion Anderson Silva, dropping back to back fights to Alan Belcher and Tom Lawlor then receiving his pink slip from the sport’s biggest organization. “The Predator” returned with a vengeance in 2011 dispatching three UFC veterans in a row. Now with a tremendous return to the UFC just over the horizon, Cote looks to cement his UFC contract and start off his 2012 campaign with a bang. The saying “styles make fights” really rings true here as Machado hasn’t faired well against power punchers like Benji Radach and Mike Pyle while Cote and submissions wizards such as Joe Doerksen and Travis Lutter haven’t mixed well either. Which ever combatant implements their game plan and style will be the one with their name on Joe Silva’s desk in the morning.

25 Responses to “ Top 10 Maple Leaf Match Ups In March ”

  1. Happy to see five of the 10 fights are happening March 16th in Hamilton.

    And it doesn’t even include:

    Shane Campbell vs. Derek Boyle
    Sergey Juskevic vs. Forrest Petz (one can argue if Juskevic is considered Canadian. I say he is.)

    And a really fun fight like Jason Meisel vs. Mike Sledzion.

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  2. I am looking forward to Ricci vs Hadin the most.

    I wish I could watch Lautischer vs Davis somehow.

    Great list, Don!

    Well-loved! Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. Jamie Locke says:


    Machado – Cheering for the Predator of course, but I think he’ll have a hard time here and take a dissapointing set back… I don’t like this fight for Cote…

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  4. Robin Black says:

    Good picks.

    I’m gonna give some thought….

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  5. Gotta love Cory Houston. Walking out with a Winnipeg Jets toque !!

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  6. Cody Rempel says:

    Come on Keith… you gotta be able to write off flights as a business expense! lol, no excuses!

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  7. Just Sayin' says:

    Still not sure what all the hype over Davis is. Guess I’ll have to watch and see. Yes he has 7 wins, but 2 of those are over Matt Knysh and 2 of those are over Corey Knapp – 2 fighters with horrible records. Fight against Daniel Mark was incredibly close and could have gone either way. I think the hype is over the fact that he is 125 lbs and there is excitement over that new weight division. I’ll still have to see a few more fights with worthy opponents to make me a Davis fan. Speaking of Davis – where has his brother disappeared to??

    Daniel Mark

    EFC 10 – Lloydminster
    Oct / 1 / 2011

    Decision (Split)




    Matt Knysh

    KOTC – 48
    Nov / 21 / 2010

    TKO (Punches)
    John Braak




    Corey Knapp

    AMMA 5 – Uprising
    Oct / 1 / 2010

    Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)




    Matt Knysh

    AMMA 4 – Victory
    Jul / 9 / 2010

    TKO (Punches)




    Clayton Sheen

    KOTC – Diamondback
    Mar / 26 / 2010

    Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)




    Tony Bibby

    KOTC – Retaliation
    Feb / 26 / 2010

    Decision (Unanimous)




    Corey Berridge

    KOTC – Nailbiter
    Jan / 22 / 2010

    TKO (Punches)
    Gerard Forde




    Corey Knapp

    KOTC – Accelerator
    Nov / 20 / 2009

    Submission (Inside Shoulder Lock)




    Jesse Fox

    PFC – Pure Fighting Championships 2
    Mar / 13 / 2009

    Submission (Armbar)
    Elvis Lyon




    Cam Yallits

    Heat XC 1 – Heat XC
    Jan / 30 / 2009

    TKO (Punches)
    John Braak



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  8. Just Sayin' says:

    Actually, I was just looking at Lautischer’s fight record too. He also has only fought fighters with losing records. So, again, how is this fight Top 10 in fights in Canada for March?? This is about the first time either fighter will really fight someone with a winning record (well, other than when Davis fought for the KOTC title and lost). I think I may have to give this one to Davis. I respect his camp.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  9. Donald Duck says:

    Arashi-Do? I just looked online and the website looks like a McDojo.


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  10. Jamie Locke says:

    Just Sayin’

    I believe this is a top ten because it has Canadian Top Ten 125lbs ranking implications. We havn’t showcased this division yet, so regardless of the level of competition these guys have faced, it is a top end 125lbs bout with the winner becoming “Canada’s top 125 pounder”…

    I would have had it at the back of the list though at number 10, either way it’s a fight I am interested in.

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  11. kjr says:

    there’s some great fights to watch. Davis vs. Lautischer will also be great. With Unified willing to crown a champ, it’s a great place to start the rankings. I’m going with Lautischer, by sub.

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  12. Bobby Karimi says:

    Hey great job Don! Really enjoyed the read and good list!

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  13. Josh Oliveira says:

    Great article, Don. Informative content and snappy writing, as always!

    One thing, though. Please explain how you figure Roy Boughton (8-2) wasn’t Misha Cirkunov’s “toughest test to date.”

    The dude’s legit.

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  14. Jamie Locke says:

    ^ I thoguht of that too Josh, but then figured because of Johnson’s experience advnatage may sway Big Wins opinion…

    Boughton is a tough dude, on another tear too, three fight win streak…

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  15. Sean McManus says:

    ^^^Boughton’s Soko fight was a really tight decision loss too – I would agree that Boughton was Misha’s toughest test to date. I remember when Boughton won that fight (vs. Misha) and you could pretty much hear a pin drop in the arena – Misha’s gained a lot from that loss and is continuing to evolve.

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  16. Mike Davis says:

    Just Sayin’ my brother will be making his return soon has just moved camp. Arashi-Do is not a Mc Dojo we have a great gym here with tons of guys in there like Ryan & Josh Machan, Advin Omic, Jeff Larkin, Wolfgang Jansen, Evan Sanguin, Chris Chapman, Rick Pfeifer , Brent Keryluke, Derek Clark, and lots more including the bjj and muay thai guys. Gary Vig is a great coach feel bad if I missed anyone but we have a great support system there. Thanks for interest guys and Corey and I will put on a show.

    Neither of us are world beaters by any means but are building up as young athletes trying make there way up. We both are training hard as we are both looking to take next step up over each other. I have tons of holes in my game and working on it. I am looking to take the step up in competition cause its that time to do so. I just slowly developed and getting the hang of everything there is in mma. I will look to take a step up here and in the future.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  17. Mike Davis says:

    The rematches are odd cause imminently after every win from my start Knapp, Berrige, Kynsh and Bibby tried to get a rematch right away and just being young and stubborn I took it. Felt insulted they did so and took fights to think I had something to prove and still think Bibby is dying for his cause they all think they could beat me in a rematch or do.

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  18. Mike Davis says:

    enough with this I am amped about Josh Hill vs. Eric Wilson, if Hill gets a win I hope to see him get his shot in UFC.

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  19. Robin Black says:

    I love the Davis vs. Lautischer fight but there’s no way the winner is ahead of Remi. Remi also has a win at 25 and has too many legit opponents and legit wins at 35 and they don’t.

    Good fight tho

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  20. Its a good debate, Robin. When ranking, we only really look at the past 2 years or so. In that time, Remi has fought tough guys and lost most of those fights. He is 2-4 in last 2 years with best win over Reilly.

    Davis and Lautischer have better records in that time, but have not faced anyone noteworthy to date. My opinion is Daniel Mark is the best guy that either of these two have beaten as of now and he is relatively new so Reilly is a better scalp right now.

    However, when considering that when we do rank, Davis will have beaten Lautischer, or vice versa, I think that win may be better than any of Remi’s in the past 2 years.

    As for tough losses by Remi, my argument is that getting a fight against a tough opponent and losing does nothing for your rank. If Davis or Lautischer fought Delorme, they would lose too.

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  21. Robin Black says:

    Great insight.

    You gotta rank everyone using the same criteria (which you clearly do), so those points are sound and that makes sense to me.

    If I fought and lost decisions to GSP, Diaz, Condit and Ellenberger in the last 2 years in my only 4 fights, would I still be ranked lower than JoeBlow who went 1 and 3 with a win over Coletti?

    Obviously an extreme example. But, just for fun, would JoeBlow be ranked ahead according to this criteria?

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  22. steve hill says:

    thanks mike …I do too !!

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  23. @Robin Black… I just saw your reply.

    We have had guys move into the ranks on losses over guys who have had wins. Demarce comes to mind after losing razor thin decisions to big names. We don’t like doing this though and it usually is a result of people leaving the division rather than the fighter winning his spot (Wadsworth’s rank comes to mind after losing to Lowe)

    I wish we had a hard and fast rule for this, but your JoeBlow example takes ranking into real subjective areas. Despite losing 5 consecutive fights in the UFC, I would never even consider ranking a guy like Jordan Murray (3-3 in the same time frame) over Steve Cantwell.

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  24. booboo says:


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  25. booboo says:


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