Top 10 Maple Leaf Match Ups In March

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Top 10 Maple Leaf Matchups THUMBThis is a fantastic month to be a Canadian MMA fan from Grand Prairie, Alberta to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  MMA is in full swing for the month of March. With eight regional pro cards going down on great fight north soil, plus the Canadapolooza UFC 158 card going down in Montreal., there is no shortage of top notch fisticuffs. With so many amazing fights going down it was hard to whittle it down to the top 10 but as always we separated the wheat from the chaff and came up with the top 10 throw downs of the month.

With UFC 158 on tap, the usual Zuffa disclaimer rings truer then ever.  As always, this list is reserved for fights taking place outside he UFC umbrella as those fights will be broken down and dissected ad nauseum in separate columns.

Now without further ado, sit back, relax and take in this month’s Top Maple Leaf Match Ups:

Honorable Mentions:

10. Curtis Demarce @DemonDemarceMMA (12-10) vs. Adam Lorenz @AdamLorenz1 (6-3)
AFC 16: Uprising – Winnipeg – March 23
Both men are coming off disappointing last outings as Adam Lorenz was quickly submitted by Lenny Wheeler while Curtis Demarce lost a decision to a car windshield. Its been almost 15 months since Demarce last set foot in the cage where he scored a TKO victory over Peter Neufeld at RITC. Now, returning after a bad car accident and arduous physical recuperation, “The Demon” debuts at 145 lbs. Lorenz, a member of Alliance Martial Arts Systems, is currently Canada’s 6th ranked Featherweight even though he is currently on a two fight losing skid. Both men are known for their hard-nosed, gritty style and come March 23rd the lucky fans who pack  the Winnipeg Convention Centre will witness a tremendous battle between two fierce competitors.

Josh Kitchen beats Mike Scarcello

Josh Kitchen (photo: Rob Trudeau)

9. Michael Hill @MMAmike (4-0) vs. Josh Kitchen @Kitchen_Josh (5-1)
AFC 15: The Ides – Calgary – March 15
Two Canadian Welterweights with glossy records will make their long-awaited return to the cage to main event AFC 15. Michael Hill, a member of Toshido MMA, is fresh off his stint on The Ultimate Fighter Nelson vs Carwin where the BC native made it to the Quarter finals before Mike Ricci spoiled his run. Prior to TUF, “The Messenger” had not competed since September 2011 where he defeated Mike Scarcello by decision. Josh Kitchen, who trains out of Champion’s Creed, is currently sporting a four fight win streak and has finished all five of his wins within the first round. Just like Hill, Kitchen has had an extended leave from the cage having last fought in May 2012 when he also beat Scarcello albeit more quickly than Hill as he won via triangle choke in the first round. Take away their long layoffs between fights and your left with two impressive Welterweight prospects that are looking to become relevant.  Can Hill use his wrestling and punching power to nullify Kitchen or can Josh throw everything and the sink at him? “Let me bang bro!”

8. Sheldon Westcott @SheldonWestcott (6-1-1) vs. Nic Herron-Webb @NaptimeNic (12-3)
AFC 17: Anarchy – Edmonton – March 23
It’ll have been over a year since Sheldon Westcott last stepped in the cage when he faces TUF season 16 alumni “NapTime” Herron-Webb. Westcott, who trains out of Complete Martial Arts & Fitness, is currently riding a six fight undefeated streak that includes wins over Thomas Denny, Simon Marini and Tim Smith. “Naptime”, a member of Greatland Martial Arts, has won 8 of his last 9 bouts but hasn’t fought since his time on The Ultimate Fighter where he was eliminated in the opening round of the tournament by Igor Araujo. This is an important tilt for both men due to their impressive win streaks.  With their fight finishing mentality, one will take the next step in their career with a win here. Even in such an important bout, don’t expect either man to play it safe as they share another similarity – a penchant for choking their opponents.

The Real Deal

The Real Deal (photo: Rob Trudeau)

7. Ryan Ford @RyanFordMMA (19-4) vs. Brendan Tierney @Tiny_Shorts (10-4)
AFC 17: Anarchy – Edmonton – March 23
A tune up fight gone wrong is what happened to Ford when he met the then 18-9 David Hulett in late 2011. Prior to making his triumphant Bellator MMA debut, Ryan Ford succumbed to a guillotine choke just 95 seconds into the first round. Ford, who trains out of the famed TriStar gym, rebounded with a vengeance after that fateful night brutally dispatching Ricky Goodall and Luis Santos then trouncing Kyle Baker for 15 minutes in his last outing at Bellator 79. Ford will take on Brendan Tierney, part of the Power MMA Team, who has been a long time mid western journeyman fighting with KOTC, RITC, Sho XC and Bellator throughout the middle states. “Tiny Shorts” has finished 8 of his 10 wins via either choke or torque and considering “The Real Deal’s” aforementioned last loss, it appears Tierney has the tools to detune this tune up tilt. Ford’s game has matured leaps and bounds since that brisk September 2011 night and he will use all of those finely tuned skills to put on a fight that will leave his hometown crowd feelin’ “G’d Up”

6. Tim Smith @ShadyTimeMMA (12-7) vs. Merrick Duggan @DuggyDugganMMA (6-1)
Unified MMA 15 – Edmonton – March 29
Unified MMA’s Lightweight title is up for grabs when two of Edmonton’s top 155 pounders throw down in a show down in E-town. Defending champion “Shady” Smith, who fights out of Kamikaze Punishment, is not a fan of decisions winning 10 of 12 between the bells while all of his seven losses also came before the 15 minute mark. Merrick Duggan, who shares Smith’s distain for the judges’ score cards, earned his shot at the title on the heels of a five fight win streak all of which came before the five minute mark. Fans expecting a dazzling display of technical prowess and savvy submissions will be disappointed as these two men have burned more barns than the Amish can raise on a Sunday afternoon. Sadly, this early candidate for fight of the month will not be televised or streamed so as always only the lucky few who pack the Mirage Banquet Hall will be treated to this delicatessen of destruction.


Stephen Beaumont wins LW Title (photo: Rob Trudeau)

Stephen Beaumont wins LW Title (photo: Rob Trudeau)

5. Stephen Beaumont @StephenBeaumont (6-1) vs. Sabah Fadai @SabahFadai (7-2)
AFC 17: Anarchy – Edmonton – March 23
Two of Canada’s top prospects at 155 lbs will look to prove who’s for real and who’s a pretender when former AFC Lightweight champion Beaumont takes on the well-traveled Fadai. Stephen Beaumont, a member of the Hayabusa Training Centre, burst on the scene in 2010 quickly amassing a 5-0 record which earned him a shot at the inaugural AFC Lightweight strap which he earned in a five round slugfest with Evan Sanguin. “Big Bad” made his first title defence against Muay Thai master Shane Campbell and, oddly enough, Beaumont succumbed to a guillotine choke just 2:50 into the first round. Sabah Fadai, a protegé of Kultar Gill, is a BC native who started his career toiling on the local scene in 2007 where he amassed a 3-1 record. “The Persian Warrior” then took his fight game to South East Asia where he went 3-0 before signing a contract with MFC in late 2011 where he hit a skid going just 1-1-1 during his tenure there. Now both men will look to put their money where their mouth is and show the great fight north who is the true 155 lbs prospect.

4. Tim Chemelli @TimChemelli (10-3) vs. Razak Al-Hassan @RazorRazak (11-4)
AFC 17: Anarchy – Edmonton – March 23
Canada’s 8th ranked Light-Heavyweight Chemelli will go for the AFC title and hope the third times the charm against UFC veterans. Tim Chemelli, a member of Team Sparta, is currently riding a two fight win streak since his 0-2 slump early last year against UFC veterans Nick Penner and Victor Valimaki. Razak Al-Hassan, who trains out of Roufusport, took a year and a half off after a two fight losing skid to the likes of Dwayne Lewis and Houston Alexander. For Chemelli, this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of a named fighter coming off a long lay off and hopefully for Chemelli the rusted shackles will slow Al-Hassan’s wrestling. Stylistically this will be a tough match for Tim who is known for his power punching and grizzly cage work.  If he can keep the fight on the feet by defending “Razor’s” takedowns, he’ll delight the hometown fans with a brutal win while wrapping gold around his waist.

A cut Horodecki grapples with Cardinal (photo: Mike Fischl)

A cut Horodecki grapples with Cardinal (photo: Mike Fischl)

3. Brad Cardinal @BonesawCardinal (16-8) vs. Michael Karkula (4-0)
Xcessive Force Fighting Championship 1 – Grande Prairie – March 30
XFFC’s inaugural event will culminate with an intriguing Lightweight pairing as Brad Cardinal, one of Canada’s longest standing top Lightweights, tests his mettle against the undefeated up and comer Michael Karkula. “The Bonesaw”, who is full time at CMAC Lethbridge, has fought professionally since 2004 and has been in and out of the national top 10 rankings more times than can be counted. Most recently, Cardinal accepted a short notice fight against Chris Horodecki at SFS 6 but unfortunately for both men the fight ended in an early NC after an inadvertent head butt opened up a large gash on Horodecki’s forehead. Karkula, a protegé of Tap Star under Sam Zakula, has quietly amassed a 4-0 record all of which ended via submission in the first round. For Cardinal, this is a tricky bout as he has much to lose and not much to gain, while Karkula has a huge opportunity as a win over a long time divisional contender will assert him as one of the top prospects in the country. As both men are known for finishing fights, the Grand Prairie judges will definitely not be needed for this outcome.

2. Brent Fryia @Bbomber135 (6-2) vs. Louis Fisette @L_PetitPain (5-1)
AFC 16: Uprising – Winnipeg – March 23
Two Bantamweights that have quietly flown under the national radar will finally get a chance to announce themselves when they compete in a high stakes match up with national ranking implications. Brent Fryia, who trains out of Steel City MMA, has quietly amassed a three fight win streak where he finished all three opponents via submission in the first round. WAMMA’s Louis Fisette earned his biggest win to date in his last outing where he quickly KO’d former national top 10 Bantamweight Diego Wilson in just 36 seconds. Besides losing his pro debut, “Le Petit Pain” has won five in a row finishing all opposition before the eight minute mark. These two hot commodity prospects are looking to take the next step in their career and a win here will easily move them up the national rankings ladder but also inch them ever closer to a shot at AFC’s Bantamweight gold.

Mike Adams submits Graham Spencer (photo: Jason Bouwmeester)

Mike Adams submits Graham Spencer (photo: Jason Bouwmeester)

1. Curtis Brigham (10-5) vs. Mike Adams (7-1)
AFC 16: Uprising – Winnipeg – March 23
Two long time veterans of the sport will square off for the inaugural AFC Bantamweight title. Curtis Brigham, head coach at WAMMA, made his triumphant return to the cage after an eight year hiatus when he submitted Matt Trudeau at AFC 11 this past September. Mike Adams, a protegé of Toshido MMA who is as wide as he is tall, returned from a two year absence in 2012 to go 1-1 with a disappointing loss to Cory Vombaur before returning to the win column by quickly submitted Roy Bradshaw at BFL this past November. Both men are known for what they can do on the ground as Brigham has won 9 of 10 victories via submissions while Adams has won 3 of his 7 by choke and another three by wrestle smothering decision. With a glossy brand new belt and national top 10 ranking on the line, expect these two grizzled veterans to put on one helluva show come March 23rd.

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