Top 10 Maple Leaf Match Ups In April
It’s a new month and the pink floppy eared Easter Bunny has delivered oodles of pastel colored MMA this month. From the Waterhen vs Davis rematch, to the “Queen of Canada” making her Invicta debut, to the gong show that is Goodall vs Rogers, and Arsenault vs MacGrath finally squaring off, this is an amazing month in the great fight north with Canadian MMA talent strutting their stuff from Yellowknife to California every weekend. Not only is Canadian MMA in full swing this April so is the UFC, who will hold no less than four shows this month but as always the TMLMU are solely for donnybrooks that take place outside the eight sided cage. Now without further ado let’s get right down to business and dive head first into the Top Maple Leaf Match Ups in April:
Canadian UFC Round Up:
- Jordan Mein (27-8) vs. Matt Brown (16-11) – UFC on Fox 7: Henderson vs. Melendez – April 20
10. Wolfgang Janssen @AirWolfMMA (3-0) vs. Rolando Cespedes @RolandoFights (3-2)
Hard Knocks 32 – Calgary – April 26
Returning to the cage after an international submission of the year candidate (watch submission HERE) cannot be easy, the pressure for a repeat performance has to weigh on a fighter’s shoulders. The pressure can only get heavier when across the cage stands your toughest test to date. Cespedes, who trains out of Fight Legion out of Las Vegas, Nevada, has already beaten some tough guys and also is very adapt when it comes to the submission game. Now with fans’ expectations high, an undefeated record and a savvy opponent, “Air Wolf” is expected to fly into battle guns’ a blazin’. It’s not all bad for Wolfgang Janssen as he trains with one of the fastest rising camps at Arashi-Do Martial Arts and has already dazzled the Hard Knocks crowd with three submission wins over durable opponents since joining the pro ranks a merely 16 months ago. Luckily for the fans across the nation asking “Can he do it again”, the good people at Hard Knocks Fighting Championships and Go Fight Live always make their cards available for streaming so everyone can tune and expected the unexpected.
9. Kyle Prepolec @KPrepolec (5-2) vs. Kevin Lee @FirstNameKevin (3-0)
MFL 29 – Indiana – April 13
One of the great fight north’s fastest rising Lightweight prospects will look to come back after a disappointing loss to upstart Jason Fischer at Bellator 76 last October. Kyle Prepolec, a member of Maximum Training Centre, possesses a 100% finishing percentage in his five victories and has already defeated tough talents like Kevan Pellerin and Jason Meisel. Standing across from Prepolec will be the pride of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Kevin Lee. Lee is no stranger to Canadian fans already having earned two of his three professional victories inside the Instinct MMA cage. Not known for his exciting style or for a great deal on his fight purses as Lee always seems to take 15 mintues to earn his win. Not noticed in his drawn out wins is the fact that Lee seemingly dominates his opponents with technique throughout his three round affairs. Similar to Lee, Prepolec also is a miser for technique as his boxing and submission are picture perfect, almost torn directly from a fight magazine’s “how to” section. Can Lee stay unbeaten and dash Prepolec’s comeback hopes or does the Windsor native say “Your O must go”.
8. Matt Veal @KidLightning86 (10-8) vs. Cameron Ramberg (7-0)
DFC 15 – North Dakota – April 20
On Canadian soil it’s been a rough time for Veal who has suffered some losses to the best little guys in Canadian MMA like Will Romero, Greg Welsh and Roland Delorme. However, when “Kid Lightning” crosses the border he brings the storm with him going 9-1 in all of his south of the border encounters. Now an undefeated prospect stands between Matt Veal and chance to wrap DFC gold around his waist. Ramberg, a member of Academy of Combat Sports, sports a glossy record but all his wins have come against opposition with less the .500 records. Given the lower quality of opponents, it’s no surprise Ramberg has finished all but two matches in between the bells. “Kid Lightning” also lives up to his nickname striking down 80% of his wins without going to the judges. Now with gold on the line each man’s true colours will surface and on happiest of days, 4/20, the baddest man in North Dakota will be crowned.
7. Julia Budd @JuliaBudd (4-2) vs. Mollie Estes (1-1)
Invicta FC 5 – California – April 6
With WMMA finally hitting the big stage and superstar Ronda Rousey bellowing the rise of the UFC’s Women’s Bantamweight division, the women’s Featherweight division isn’t getting much love. That being said, right in our own back yard one of the most potent strikers at 145 lbs lives in Port Moody, BC. Trained by (and married to) Canadian MMA legend and pioneer Lance Gibson, Julia Budd has fought the who’s who of WMMA in her short career stepping in the cage with the likes of Ronda Rousey, Amanda Nunes and Shana Nelson. On the surface this is a walkthrough fight as Budd’s opponent Estes is 1-1 and started her pro career less than 20 months ago. But things aren’t always as they appear. Estes, who trains out of Crawford’s MMA, had a very successful amateur career going 7-1 finishing all her opposition between the bells. Estes turned pro in 2011 defeating Lacie Jackson and everything was going good untill she ran into Olympic silver medalist Randi Miller at Invicta’s inaugural event. Can Estes get back on track or will “The Jewel” continue to shimmer and shine at 145 lbs?
6. Ricky Goodall @RickyGoodall (9-7) vs. Steven Rogers (6-4)
Elite 1 MMA – Moncton – April 20
Was Rogers’ wearing a cup? Was it regulation? Could Goodall have intentionally tried to end Rogers parental hopes (see first fight HERE, read Goodall’s statement HERE). Yes, sure and probably not are the logical answers but the reasons for this infamous rematch are not necessarily logical. Longtime reader’s of the site are undoubtedly familiar with the Rogers’ brood (Jana and Steven) and their long drawn arguments on the comment sections with Ricky and everyone else that doesn’t share their point of view on all things east coast MMA related. Like ’em, love ’em or hate ’em, they do provide entertainment. Since the infamous May 2011 groin shot neither man’s career has blossomed. Goodall has gone 3-4 since their last outing but worse than his record his reputation has been tarnished with various weight discrepancies. Rogers, now with Wulfrun MMA, briefly retired after scoring a win over Jason Mackay then returned in 2012 to swap a win and loss with east coast St Pierres, Phil and Eric. Now, for better or worse, we will finally get to know who really should have won on that fateful night of May 7th 2011.
5. Adam MacDonald (3-0) vs. Peter Nolan (4-1)
Fivestar Fight League 5 – Yellowknife – April 13
Two of Canada’s top upcoming Light-Heavyweights will throw down for the inaugural FSFL 205 lbs strap. Peter Nolan, a Tap Star protege, was on an impressive four fight streak before he met up with Grudge Training Center’s Cody Donovan who submitted “The Bus Driver” in the first round. After the win, Donovan received the call to the UFC where he dispatched another top 10 ranked Canadian 205er Nick Penner in the first round. Adam MacDonald, a member of Yellowknife MMA, burst on the scene in 201o and has destroyed one tough Canadian for every year of his MMA career including Nick Campbell and Jon Ganshorn. Both men have finishing percentages of 100% in their victories with Nolan submitting everyone in the first round while MacDonald prefers to pound out his opponents in the first. The old saying “opposites attract” has never rung truer when the unstoppable force MacDonald meets the immovable object Nolan.
4. Ryan Machan @RyanMachan (17-9) vs. Jarod Milko @JarodMilko (6-2)
Hard Knocks 32 – Calgary – April 26
The milk business seems to have been good to “The Milkman” of late going 2-1 against tough opponents Tyson Steele, Chris Stranger and Chase Maxwell. Now training out of WAMMA under the tutelage of Curtis Brigham, Jarod Milko has seen a rise in his matchmaking and performances and a win over Machan woud give him a case to knock on the door to the Canadian top 10 rankings. Ryan Machan, one of the pillars of Arashi-Do Martial Arts success, has seen his up and downs in his own fighting career of late amassing win streaks but losing the tough ones. Known for his many come from behind submission finishes, Machan has not been able to put it together when facing top competition. With their careers at the opposite end of the spectrum, it still somehow feels right that these two will meet at this exact point in their respective careers.
3. Sarah Kaufman @MMASarah (15-2) vs. Leslie Smith @LeslieSmith_GF (5-2-1)
Invicta FC 5 – California – April 6
A Canadian superstar taking on a tough as nails member of the Caesar Gracie fight team, sound familiar? Let’s just hope decimal points, “funny” hand wraps and unwitnessed drug tests don’t get in the way of this match up. In all seriousness, this tilt is a comeback fight for the “Queen of Canada”. Granted both women possess 60% + finishing percentages via TKO or KO so frantic fisticuffs should be expected. But Sarah Kaufman has over double the amount of fights under her belt and has faced the best WMMA has to offer. Leslie Smith, being no slouch herself, has faced some heavy hitters during her career suffering losses to Ednes Gomes and Kerry Vera while earning victories over Kaitlin Young and Raquel Pennington. With UFC opening their castlesque doors to top female talent, Kaufman has all the tools and talent to be knighted with a big show contract. The only question that remains is, can Smith spoil the induction ceremony?
2. Elmer Waterhen (13-16) vs. Garett Davis (15-12)
KOTC: Monster Smash – Edmonton – April 5
Considering how entertaining their last fight was just less than five months ago, there is no doubt the rematch will live up to the hype. Elmer Waterhen became a dual KOTC Canada champion when defeated Davis last November by unanimous decision adding the Welterweight strap to his already full mantle. Prior to their last tilt, Garett Davis had only competed once in two years with a uninterrupted 18 month lay off going into the bout. Their last match may have been full of fireworks but Waterhen did win a unanimous decision winning a total of four rounds on all three judges’ scorecards but the rematch has a lot of potential for a different outcome. With rumors of an imminent retirement circulating around Waterhen and with Davis having shaken off the ring rust, fans are bound to see the best both have to offer. Can Waterhen turn in another five round trouncing or does “One-Two” live up to his nickname?
1 a) Joel Powell (5-3) vs George Lockhart (10-4)
Wild Bill’s Fight Night – Atlanta – April 12
Canada’s best fighter with a 5-3 record takes on the MMA dieting wunderkind George Lockhart in Hotlanta at Wild Bill’s Fight Night. Joel Powell, Canada’s 10th ranked Welterweight, has knocked some of the country’s top 170 lb talents in Advin Omic, Brandt Dewsbery, and Andrew Buckland. Powell’s opponent, George Lockhart, made a brief TUF 16 appearance when he lost to Bristol Marunde. Lockhart has faced tough UFC veterans Shonie Carter and Edwin Dewees. In a matchup of two well-rounded MMA tacticians, only one can prevail. Will Powell continue his meteoric rise through Canada’s Top 10 or will Lockhart play the role of the dastardly spoiler?
1. Richard Arsenault (8-2) vs. Matt MacGrath (12-8)
Elite 1 MMA – Moncton – April 20
It’s finally happening, the battle to see who is the east coast Welterweight Kingpin will go down on 4/20 at the Casino New Brunswick in Moncton. Richard Arsenault won the Elite 1 MMA Welterweight strap and the respect of Canadian MMA hardcores with his FOTY performance over Ricky Goodall. Matt MacGrath, the mercenary of Wulfrun MMA, has had a rough career, fighting the best the division has to offer from top ranked superstars in Jonathan Goulet, Claude Patrick and Kalib Starnes to next generation prospects in Alex Garcia and Nordine Taleb. But MacGrath’s career has seen some bright lights of late earning his shot at Elite 1 gold with back to back wins over Nabil Khatib and UFC veteran Mark Holst. Now the match ten months in the making will finally come to fruition. Arsenault will come into the bout riding high on the back of a six fight win streak while Macgrath’s two in a row shows he still has the stuff. Can Arsenault prove he is a top 10 ranked Canadian Welterweight? Or will MacGrath derail the Arsenault hype train?