Top 3 Maple Leaf Match Ups In January
Welcome back MMA fans, I hope Santa Claus treated you all well. It seems all fans have come out of their turkey induced comas; too bad the Canadian MMA scene hasn’t with only a single pro card scheduled in the great fight north this month.
Luckily we have a couple international bouts that round out the month, however the January list has been unceremoniously whittled down to a top three. Even though we have two Canadians fighting in the UFC this month, as always this list is solely reserved for match ups outside the giant elephant in the room.
Without further ado, let’s get to what will hopefully be the only abridged TMLM of 2013.
- Roger Hollett (13-4) vs. Wagner Prado (8-1) – UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs. Bisping – January 19
- TJ Grant (19-5) vs. Matt Wiman (15-6) – UFC on Fox 6: Johnson vs. Dodson – January 26
3. Mark Holst (11-4) vs. Matt MacGrath (11-8)
Elite 1 MMA: Unstoppable – Moncton – January 19
With Richard Arsenault sidelined with a knee injury, the long-awaited MacGrath versus Arsenault title bout will have to wait just a few more months. In the mean time, Elite 1 MMA has put together a tasty Welterweight match up that is sure to satisfy Canadian MMA fans cravings as UFC veteran Mark Holst will lock horns with grizzled vet Matt MacGrath. Both men have most recently defeated Nabil Khatib and will each look to build on that performance and increase their win streak to two in a row. Holst, a OAMA protegé, has gone 3-1 since his quick departure from the UFC with is only loss coming at the hands of BJJ guru Leonardo Santos at CWFC this past September. MacGrath, a member of Wulfrun MMA, has had a rough last two years going just 2-4 in his last six bouts but his competition was much higher than Holst with world renown opponents like Marcus Aurelio, Kalib Starnes and top Canadian prospects Alex Garcia and Nordine Taleb. Both men are in need of a win to string some consistency together. To win, either Holst will use his stand up advantage to overwhelm on the feet or MacGrath will close the distance and use the clinch and takedowns to were down his opponent. No matter what, the Moncton MMA fans will be treated to the best match taking place on home soil this month.
2. Guillaume DeLorenzi @IlToroMMA (10-1) vs. Patricky Freire @PatrickyPitbull (10-4)
Bellator 87 – Michigan – January 31
DeLorenzi finally returned after a serious knee injury sidelined the rising star for over two years to quickly batter and submit the over matched Johnny Carson at Bellator 79. With Bellator set to debut on Spike TV with their new season of tournaments, DeLorenzi has been matched up with a brutally tough opponent in Patricky Freire. DeLorenzi, a member of the Nordik Fight Club, was a top 10 Canadian Lightweight and RingSide champions prior to his injury with big wins over Nordine Taleb, Ryan Machan and Lindsey Hawkes. The hulking 155er has finished 90% of his wins between the bells with grueling wrestling featuring ground and pound style. Freire, trains out of Team Nogueira, is a devastating power puncher who has finished 70% of his wins by via of vicious KO/TKO and his list of victims include Toby Imada, Rob McCullough and Kurt Pellegrino. 2012 was not a kind year to “Pitbull” who went 0-2 losing to Bellator standouts Lloyd Woodard and Eddie Alvarez. Considering Freire’s pedigree, this is actually a great match up for “Il Toro” as Freire’s recent losses to Michael Chandler and Woodard show he is susceptible to wrestlers and takedowns which is right up DeLorenzi’s alley. If DeLorenzi can keep the pressure up and put Freire on his butt numerous times, we’ll finally have a Canadian in the Bellator semi-finals! With the rest of the field in the tournament not as devastating as “Pitbull”, a win in the first round for “Il Toro” could mean our first Canadian Bellator tourney winner.
1. Alexis Davis @AlexisDavisMMA (12-5) vs. Shayna Baszler @QoSBaszler (15-7)
Invicta FC 4 – January 5
Two of the top women Bantamweights in the world will square off to see who will get a chance to tussle for an Invicta title. After dropping a spectacular fight to Sarah Kaufman then returning to the win column with a sweet submission over Hitomi Akano, Davis has emerged as one of top Bantamweights in Invicta. Baszler, besides a tough unanimous decision loss to Sara McMann, has been on a steady run as of late going 5-1 in her last six including a two year hiatus from the sport between 201o to 2012. For Davis this is not only a chance to emerge as a top contender, but it’s also a chance at redemption as Baszler holds a March 2010 decision win over “Ally-Gator”. With 93% of Baszler’s wins coming via submission Davis will look to keep this match on the feet and use her striking advantage to mark up “The Queen of Spades” in the stand up department. Honestly, no matter where this fight goes fans will be treated to 3 rounds of non stop action, both combatants are known for their gas tanks and a 3 round brawl for it all is almost an undeniable certainty.