Top 10 Maple Leaf Match Ups In April
Welcome back friends, it may be April but I’m not foolin’ when I say this month is stacked with fabulous match ups from coast to coast. From BFL 15 in Nanaimo to ECC 14 in Halifax and everything in between April is filled to the gills with amazing MMA action.
As always, any match up taking place under the Zuffa fold will only be mentioned and not broken down as they will be discussed to nausea on the radio and in their own breakdowns.
Now without further ado, let’s get to what you all came here for the top Canadian match ups in April.
- Rory MacDonald (12-1) vs. Che Mills (14-4) – UFC 145 – April 21
- Mark Hominick (20-10) vs. Eddie Yagin (15-5-1) – UFC 145 – April 21
- John Alessio (34-14) vs. Mark Bocek (10-4) – UFC 145 – April 21
- John Makdessi (9-1) vs. Anthony Njokuani (14-6) – UFC 145 – April 21
- Chris Clements (10-4) vs. Keith Wisniewski (28-13-1) – UFC 145 – April 21
10. Karel Bergen (5-0) vs. Adam Smith (3-0)
AFC 8 – Victoria – April 14
Two undefeated combatants put their “0” on the line in AFC’s co-main event, and in the end someone’s “0” has to go. However, this is
an odd match up as the 3-0 Smith actually started his career in 2005 and fought his last match in 2008, while the 5-0 Bergen has only competed professionally since 2010. Not quite sure who’s the prospect and who’s the veteran or maybe they’re both prospects? Bergen has shown all around skills in his first few matches garnering wins by TKO and submission as well as going the distance twice. Smith, was or is more of a submission fighter and even holds a notable win over Chad Freeman albeit over 4 years ago. Obviously ring rust will be a huge factor for Smith as his last fight was also over 4 years ago but the winner here will certainly put themselves in the AFC’s spotlight and set themselves up for an even bigger test. With Bergen training out of Island MMA and Tristar, you have to favour him coming into this match up.
9. Marcus Aurelio (5-1) vs. Matt Dwyer (2-0)
Battlefield Fight League 15 – Nanaimo – April 27
The excitement factor is a great way to crack the top 10 for the Top Maple Leaf Match Ups and this battle has excitement written in bright yellow highlighter all over it. Sure Aurelio isn’t a world a beater but he is on a five fight win streak while finishing all his opponents between the bells including finishes via Spinning Capoeira kick and Flying Switch kick. Then you have top flight prospect Matt Dwyer, a Toshido MMA protégé, who’s currently riding a two fight win streak and he also finished both opponents via stoppage. Since you were already smart enough to pick up tickets to Hinchliffe vs. Huveneers, this is your icing on the cake. Somebody is going down hard in this one either Aurelio will be jumping around teeing off on Dwyer’s face or Dwyer catches Aureilo in mid air and pounds him out on the mat. No matter what, someone is being finished off in highlight reel fashion and that’s the epitome of the excitement factor.
8. Syd Barnier (4-3) vs. Brent Fryia (5-2)
Freedom Fights – Sudbury – April 21
Two of Canada’s best kept secrets at 135 lbs go to war in northern Ontario. Fryia, a Steel City MMA trained fighter, has quietly amassed a winning record by grinding through competitors on the northern USA KOTC circuit. Barnier, an old school TKO veteran, is currently riding a two fight win streak since returning to professional MMA in 2011. This is a classic stylistic match up of striker versus grappler and should prove to be an exciting tilt. Both men have yet to notch their signature win and by facing off against each other, their signature match is set. A win here will not boost either competitor into the nation’s top 10 but will certainly put the winner on the nation’s map and will set up some interesting and intriguing match ups in the future. With both men flying under the radar for so long, it’s great to see them garner some national attention and hopefully we’ll see the winner propel themselves into the spotlight. Expect fireworks in this affair and mark down this match up as a must see if you live in Sudbury area.
7. Behrang Yousefi (4-0) vs. Josh Machan (8-4)
Unified MMA/KOTC Super show – Grande Prairie – April 28
Two great Canadian MMA promotions come together to deliver some amazing match ups for the Canadian combat enthusiasts, none more interesting or intriguing then Yousefi vs. Machan. Yousefi, a relatively unknown prospect from Team Red Dragon, caused a stir in KOTC Canada in 2011 stringing together a four fight win streak in the first twelve months of his professional career. While Yousefi was stringing together wins, Machan had relatively quiet 2011 competing only once defeating Nick Heynen by heel hook. Now a new year and new weight class for Machan as he tries to dominate at 145 lbs and earn a respected title in his first match up at his new weight. Not only will these two great warriors have a chance to show off their wares against top notch competition but the winner could find themselves inching ever closer to a spot in the national top 10 rankings.
6. Nabil Khatib (11-7) vs. Brandt Dewsbery (8-1-1)
WRECK MMA 9 – Gatineau – April 20
This is the young pup facing off against the old guard – the analogy may be old and faded but this fight certainly is not. Khatib is coming off a Fight of the Year candidate performance against Nathan Gunn and Dewsbery is coming off his biggest win to date over the surging Chris St Jean. Both men are extremely well rounded with wins coming via TKO/KO and submission. Khatib, a seven year veteran of the sport, has faced off against some of the nation’s toughest including Ryan Ford, Carlos Newton and Mark Holst. “The Thrill” has also added to his camp by splitting his time between Tristar and his home camp of Team Bushido. Dewsbery, a CMAC protégé, is currently riding a three fight win streak and will look to cement himself as one of Canada’s top Welterweights with a win over the wily veteran. This could easily be the most entertaining fight of the month as both men are known to be tougher than nails and don’t have a weak spot in their game. Even though Khatib is on the latter side of his career, he has proven that he can still go hard for five rounds and proved his recent Tristar training has given him his second MMA wind. Either Dewsbery proves he’s the next big thing in the Canadian Welterweight division or Khatib proves he still has one more run left in him. Any fans in the Ottawa/Gatineau area, your silliness will not be excused if you miss this one.
5. Randy Turner (5-2) vs. Eric Perez (7-2)
WRECK MMA 9 – Gatineau – April 20
With John Fraser now stripped of his Wreck MMA Bantamweight title, the gold is up for grabs as Canada’s 10th ranked 135er Eric Perez will challenge Randy Turner. Perez, undefeated since his return to MMA in 2009, has defeated some Canada’s best Bantamweights including Dimitri Waardenburg, Remi Morvan and most recently he submitted the ever tough Tony Bibby. Turner, an OAMA protégé and former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, has faced off against Josh Hill and has even earned wins over Bantamweight prospects Andrew Cseh and Clint Kingsbury. This will be a five round slobber knocker as both men have proven their conditioning is beyond reproach, so action is expected bell to bell for 25 minutes. With Perez on the top 10 bubble, the winner here will most certainly secure themselves as one of the nation’s best. Also considering the heritage of the Wreck MMA Bantamweight division (Nick Denis, Ian Loveland, John Fraser and Nick Mamalis) not only will the winner be among some of the best in the business, they will secure themselves some great fights in the future to continue their run up the nation’s 135 lbs ladder.
4. Chris Horodecki (18-3-1) vs. Mike Richman (11-1)
Bellator 64 – Windsor – April 6
Sometimes you have to wonder what Bellator has against “The Polish Hammer”, this will be Chris’ third fight for Bellator and this will be his third thankless fight in a row. First Chris Saunders, a then 9-1 fighter who Horodecki narrowly defeated and then entered TUF Live, next up Mike Corey, a then 12-1 fighter who’s draw with Horodecki got him entrance into Bellator’s most recent Featherweight tournament. Now Horodecki is set to make his Featherweight debut against Mike Richman an 11-1 fighter training out of Minnesota Fight Factory with a 91% finishing ratio. It doesn’t matter what Horodecki does, he continually is given tough guys nobody has ever heard and he still has yet to get a shot at a Bellator tourney. Horodecki will have to dig deep against Richman, as Corey proved last fight that Horodecki has some difficulty with top position wrestlers which is a skill Richman posses in excess. Being the Canadian draw on Bellator’s first Canadian card in 2012, let’s all cross our fingers and hope Horodecki can pull off the victory and finally get the tournament invite he so rightly deserves.
3. Nick Hinchliffe (18-8) vs. Bastien Huveneers (9-3-1)
Battlefield Fight League 15 – Nanaimo – April 27
Just the match up here is enough to get fans excited. Their first battle in December 2010 was an absolute war – the definition of a Canadian classic. It ended with Huveneers getting the split decision nod but fans were split on who they actually thought won. Now, at a catchweight of 180 lbs, both men will be leaner and quicker for this battle. Hinchliffe has since dropped down to Welterweight and has gone 1-1 since his original battle with Huveneers. Bastien hasn’t fought since the war and will look to knock off some ring rust before stepping back into the cage with Hinchliffe. Don’t expect a ground battle here as this will definitely be the excitement filled slobber knocker everyone expects. Congrats to BFL for being able to put this fantabulous tussle together. Nothing warms the cockles of hardcore MMA fans than a rematch of an exciting fight, so if you live within 500km of this event you’d be silly not to pick up some front row seats for this one.
2. Roger Hollett (13-3) vs. Jeremy Horn (89-21-5)
Extreme Cage Combat 14 – Halifax – April 27
Wasn’t everyone under the impression that Hollett was looking to take an easy fight prior to being entered into the next Bellator Light-Heavyweight tournament? Sure, Horn is a natural Middleweight and may be just a tad past his prime, but in no way is this incarnation of Jeremy Horn an easy fight. I have to admit I admire and respect Hollett’s decision to accept this great task as it could be his biggest win to date. The ‘could’ factor is what should scare all Canadian fans, Hollett hasn’t necessarily faced top notch grapplers in his career. In fact, the last time he lost was via Guillotine to David Heath, not really the definition of a grappling ace. Now that loss was three years ago and Hollett has improved leaps and bounds since then, even spending most of his training time at the world famous Jackson’s MMA. The plus side to this great tilt is Horn hasn’t necessarily fought the upper echelon of late and Hollett will be Horn’s toughest test in three years. It really is a tremendous bit of matchmaking by ECC as either Horn will chop Hollett back down the ladder or Hollett win earn his biggest win to date and solidify himself as a true top 205er on the international stage. Either way, the arena will be filled with butts in seats to see the rise or fall of the hometown superstar.
1. Brad Causey (10-1) vs. Jesse Ronson (8-2)
AM Ford Fight Night – Trail – April 14
This is the type of fight that should warm any MMA fan’s cockles, as two of Canada’s best kept secrets and rising stars at Lightweight will finally lock horns. Causey, British Colombia’s home grown gladiator, has quietly amassed a 10-1 record but has been off the radar as of late with only fighting once a year in 2010 and 2011. “The Body Snatcher”, an Adrenaline Training Center protégé is currently riding a three fight win streak since his loss to Mike Ricci last April. Both men are currently sitting just outside Canada’s top 10 Lightweight rankings and a win for either could bolster them into the top 10. For Ronson this is just another fight, but for Causey this is a big fight as he never leaves his home soil of BC and never gets a chance to showcase himself against Canada’s biggest and brightest stars. Now with the paperwork signed and the ink dry, Causey will finally step onto the national scene and have a chance to show if he is indeed one of the best Lightweights in Canada or just a provincial monster. Fans in and around Trail, BC would be silly to miss a fight as big as this.