Four Fights Announced for MFC 37; Rama, Southern, Harris, Maromo on Card

Smealinho Rama throws a kick at Mike Hackert at MFC 36

Smealinho Rama throws a kick at Mike Hackert (photo: Rob Trudeau)

Maximum Fighting Championship Press Release

The Maximum Fighting Championship, one of the world’s premier mixed martial arts organizations, is excited to announce four major bouts for MFC 37: True Grit taking place on Friday, May 10.

Airing live on AXS TV Fights from the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, MFC 37 will be headlined by a showdown for the Maximum Fighting Championship’s heavyweight title as Smealinho “The Prince” Rama takes on Chris “Beast Boy” Barnett.

MFC 37 will also mark the debut of the Maximum Fighting Championship’s new bantamweight (135-pound) division, and sparking that launch will be a clash of hot prospects as Anthony Birchak squares off against Ryan “Baby Face” Benoit.

Two more fights have also been finalized. In middleweight action, surging title hopeful Jason “The Savage” Zentgraf will face the biggest test of his career as he meets judo and jiu-jitsu talent Luke “Hayabusa” Harris. And in a hotly anticipated lightweight clash, Kurt “The Hurt” Southern takes on “The Afrikan Assassin” Mukai Maromo.

“Our last few events have demonstrated the priority we have put on exciting fights, and I fully expected MFC 37 to keep that momentum going in a big way,” said Mark Pavelich, Owner/President of the Maximum Fighting Championship.

“I’m excited to have Smealinho Rama and Chris Barnett battle for the heavyweight title, and I am really anticipating an electrifying debut of the bantamweight division with Anthony Birchak and Ryan Benoit. And of course, having guys like Jason Zentgraf, Luke Harris, Kurt Southern, and Mukai Maromo already signed and ready to work tells me that MFC 37 is going to keep our streak of fantastic shows rolling right along.”

For the first time since 2007, the Maximum Fighting Championship will crown a new heavyweight champion when Rama (Twitter: @SmailRama) collides with Barnett (Twitter: @Beastboy61).

Rama (6-0) is currently ranked 33rd in the world and had a spectacular 2012 campaign during which he was named Fight Matrix’s Rookie of the Year and received the MFC’s Submission of the Year. The 20-year-old from Calgary, Alberta, is coming off the sixth straight first-round victory of his burgeoning career with his knockout win over Mike Hackert at MFC 36.

Not only did Rama blast through Hackert in only 2:28, but the lightning-quick big man steamrolled through his other two opponents in MFC action, needing less than five minutes combined to finish those two bouts.

Fighting out of Tampa, Florida, Barnett (7-1) is ranked 50th in the world, and has notched five wins by way of knockout. The 26-year-old, who has won two straight fights, will be making his organizational debut at MFC 37.

A former football player with the University of South Florida, Barnett, who was born in Zaragoza, Spain, is a black belt in tae kwon do and also an extensive background in wrestling and jiu-jitsu.


Rising prospects collide in the MFC’s inaugural bantamweight bout

Anthony Birchak (9-1) was the first fighter signed to the MFC’s promising 135-pound division, and the Tucson, Arizona, product will tangle with Ryan “Baby Face” Benoit (6-1). Birchak has won three straight bouts all by knockout after opening his career with five of six victories coming via submission.

Birchak (Twitter: abirchakMMA) joins the MFC fresh off a first-round destruction of Matt Leyva, needing only 1:22 to register the third knockout of his career.

But fast-rising sensation Benoit, who fights out of Dallas, Texas, is also on a roll, having put four straight wins under his belt. Four of Benoit’s career wins were notched inside the opening round, and he has needed less than 5:30 minutes combined to put away his last three opponents.

Mukai Maromo took on Graham Spencer at MFC 36 ( photo: Rob Trudeau)

Mukai Maromo took on Graham Spencer at MFC 36 ( photo: Rob Trudeau)

Benoit (Twitter: babyfacebenoit) should be a familiar face to AXS TV Fights viewers having previously fought three times on MFC’s broadcast partner.


Middleweight fight with title ramifications

In two fights under the MFC banner, Jason Zentgraf (7-1) has racked up a pair of tidy submission wins, and the Missoula, Montana, fighter has his eyes set upon a shot at MFC middleweight champion Elvis Mutapcic.

To get that opportunity, Zentgraf (Twitter: @JasonZentgraf) will need to get past divisional stalwart Luke Harris (9-2) who is coming off his own title eliminator bout – a first-round submission loss to onetime challenger Joseph Henle at MFC 34.

Most recently, Zentgraf took a second-round submission win via armbar over Clay Davidson at MFC 36. Following a career-opening loss, Harris, who will have the home-town advantage fighting out of Edmonton, Alberta, rattled off nine straight wins before his loss to Henle. In addition to his stellar list of judo accomplishments, Harris (Twitter: @HayabusaHarris) recently added a black belt in jiu-jitsu to his resume.


Lightweights at the forefront

Kurt Southern loads up a right at Jonatas Novaes (photo: Rob Trudeau)

Kurt Southern loads up a right (photo: Rob Trudeau)

After both suffered losses at MFC 36, Kurt Southern (10-4) and Mukai Maromo (8-3) will be looking to get back to winning ways at MFC 37.

This will be a rematch between the two from a matchup back in 2010 in which Southern captured a first-round submission via triangle choke.

Southern (Twitter: @KurtSouthern), who fights out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, dominated the opening two rounds against Jonatas Novaes with a combination of strikes and wrestling prowess. But Novaes escaped with the win, capturing his opponent in a tapout-enducing armbar in Round 3 which snapped Southern’s three-fight winning streak.

Maromo (Twitter: @AfrikanAssassin) was also submitted at MFC 36 but under even greater circumstances. The native of Zimbabwe who fights out of Edmonton, Alberta, had proclaimed himself to be the uncrowned champion of the MFC’s lightweight division, but he was tapped out via North-South choke by Graham “Cracka” Spencer in the third round of their title bout.

The loss ended an impressive run for Maromo who earned his second straight MFC Fight of the Year in 2012 along with the MFC Knockout of the Year plus Inside MMA’s Rising Star Award.

Two more fights will be announced shortly for the MFC 37: True Grit main card, along with a sizeable undercard featuring numerous local standouts.

Tickets for MFC 37: True Grit are on sale now via the MFC Ticket Hotline by calling (780) 504-2024 or by going to

20 Responses to “ Four Fights Announced for MFC 37; Rama, Southern, Harris, Maromo on Card ”

  1. Adam Lorenz says:

    Sweet, go Kurt!

    Well-loved! Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  2. Don't Call Me Leon says:

    The MFC is without a doubt the craziess & disorganized of them all! First they establish the 145lbs Featherweight Division only to have one of the best Candaian Featherweights move up in weight to fight for the 155lbs Lightweight Championship after stating they weren’t having that division. Now they are establishing the 135lbs Bantamweight Division??? Hope the AFC can sign Jesse Ronson, John Fraser and Josh Hill first!

    Well-loved! Thumb up 19 Thumb down 10

  3. @Don’t Call Me Leon… I would agree that the MFC divisions aren’t firmly established. However, I would argue that the MFC is very organized in most aspects. Getting their cards publicized early, to selling tickets and sponsorships, to getting their fights on in timely fashion for AXS TV all takes a lot of organization.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 12

  4. Don't Call Me Leon says:

    @ Keith

    The areas where they are organized are probably areas where MP is not involved!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 11

  5. Mark has his shit together. If something is done by anybody else, it’s his doing to have them there anyways right?

    Manon is his secret weapon.

    MFC is organized in ways nobody else in Canada is.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 19 Thumb down 8

  6. Robin Black says:

    Gotta agree. Mark MFC has legit elite organizational skills and a crazy work ethic.

    If you wanna take stabs at his personality or whatever knock yourself out but he does operate on the highest level.

    There are so many hundreds of moving parts to putting on a show. This guy has been doing it for a decade.

    People love to hate but credit where credit is due.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 17 Thumb down 8

  7. Graham Weenk says:

    Kurt the Hurt is back!

    I agree 100% with Robin and MAD, Mark knows how to run a show.

    He’s a colorful character and if that’s something you don’t like so be it… but he deserves credit for putting on great shows, and personally I’ve been very happy with how’s treated myself and my fighters.

    There are several good organizations in Canada and can’t deny that MFC is right up there.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

  8. Fans says:

    There is no way Mukia beats Kurt.

    Mukia vs Shane Nelson makes for a better scrap.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  9. mma nerd says:

    Not a good business decision for mukai and his management team. In kurt the hurt hes basicly fighting a bigger stronger version of the Cracka man spencer, and we know how the lasr fight went.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  10. Don't Call Me Leon says:

    Anyone know where the name “Cracka” came from for Spencer?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  11. Fans says:

    Mukia is finished great kickboxer ok MMA skills.

    Fed to wolves

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

  12. Cody Rempel says:

    I really don’t think Mukai is being “fed to the wolves” here… I’m sure the Southern rematch is a fight he’s wanted since the loss, just as the Spencer fight was!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  13. AMLEHTC says:

    Mukai is still relatively young in mma and I think he can still do a lot in the sport under the right guidance. I think he is still looking for his mma niche in terms of training and can still do well

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  14. Josh Machan says:

    So trolls shit on fighters who take fights that match up well against there own skill set, now they shit on fighters who take fights that are bad stylistic match up’s for them.

    I personally give props to mukai for taking any fight given to him! Southern is a very tough fight for anyone.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  15. mma nerd says:

    Nobody is shitting on mukai. mukai is a warrior and will fight anybody you put in front of him. its his management teams obligation and duty to match him up with fights that are competitive. i along with others do not believe that by may 10 he will be able to compete at the level of grappling kurt the hurt is at. Give mukai 8-10 months of trainining with roger and the u of A wrestling team then we are possibley talking a differnt story. mukai needs to get outa his comfort zone in order to acentuate his weakness.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  16. Graham Spencer says:

    @dont call me Leon. The nickname came from a couple training partners, Nam Phan and Andre Fili. It’s cuz I’m like the Graham Cracker, hard on the outside, but all the ladies know I’m sweet like honey!

    Well-loved! Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  17. Beefstorm says:

    @graham that is a perfect nic name!!! I sure hope they get some top level 145ers so you can showcase your entire skill set. In my humble opinion the MFC should make a division and stick to it instead of forcing guy’s to fight out of their own weight clas to ‘save’ the show. Sign 6 guys at 145. Make tourney 6 man tourney to figure out champ. Then say we have a 145 division. I hate to say those guy’s at 135 are in a pile of trouble when they have to come up to 145 to fight you (which i bet will have to happen). I have been in the corner at mfc many times and pav does put on exciting fights. I think just needs to ‘organize’ the weight classes.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  18. Beefstorm says:

    Also ‘Hackert’ at 205 would be very interesting!!!

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  19. mike kent says:

    doesnt Maromo train at Tristar ? ? Id think that he would be in pretty good hands and being taught grappling by world class coaches and fighters ?

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  20. Don't Call Me Leon says:

    That’s awesome Graham! Thanks for the update, be sweet if you could fight for the 145 strap too. A two division champ at the same time would make you one of Canada’s best pound for pound, while making you a wanted comodity for the UFC!

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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