Top Maple Leaf Match Ups In May 2013


Top 10 Maple Leaf Matchups THUMBThis month’s Top Maple Leaf Match Ups really goes to show how far the state of MMA in Canada has come. Sure, in the past there was fun, exciting and even intriguing match ups but only one or maybe two had ranking implications. Now, this month every single bout could either secure or increase the winner’s rank. MMA in Canada has come a long way and the fact that every month we see the very best this country has to offer face off against each other in the cage, as true MMA fans we could not ask for anything more. With that being said, this month’s announcement of a possible Canadian Ultimate Fighter just goes to show how our sport is blossoming on our beloved soil.

This month was not a hard month to pick which fights belonged in the top 10 but ranking one over another was where the difficulty was. I’m sure the comment section below will show everyone’s own ranking of this list. In the end, it’s all about the excitement everyone feels when anticipating these fights and this month could literally put hard core fans in a frenzied tizzy of excitement.

As always, the usual “Zuffa Disclaimer” since any and all UFC bouts featuring Canadians receive their fair share of coverage, this list is reserved for fights outside the official octagon. Now let’s get on with show as we anticipate one of the strongest months in Canadian MMA.

10. Michael Imperato @MikeImperato89 (5-1) vs Dimitri Waardenburg (7-6)
Challenge MMA 1 – St-Jean sur Richelieu – May 11
Two men trained by old hands (no insult intended) in the Canadian world of combat sports, Sam Zakula and Dirk Waardenburg respectively, will test their honed skills against each other. Michael Imperato, a prodigy of Zakula and Tapstar, is a proven finisher only going the distance once in his five wins will be taking a huge step up in competition when he meets Dimitri Waardenburg, a competitor with over twice the amount of experience as Imperato. “No Stress”, who trains under his father Dirk at Speedy Gym, has faced some of the best in the biz in Canada’s Bantamweight division including Mitch Gagnon, Remi Morvan, Eric Perez and Stephane Pelletier. A devastating striker, Waardenburg recently decided to test his skills at pro boxing between MMA bouts. Waardenburg has hovered around the Canadian Bantamweight rankings for most of his career while Imperato is still looking for his career defining win. Now the two will step in the cage to see who’s career will see a boost and who we’ll return to the drawing board. Will Waardenburg land the knockout blow? Or will Imperato submit the veteran?

Sean Quinn (photo: Sean McManus)

Sean Quinn (photo: Sean McManus)

9. Sean Quinn @SeanQuinn4Real (7-5) vs. Eric Wilson (5-3)
Fivestar Fight League 6 – Dawson Creek – May 10
Fivestar Fight League has decided to mint some gold belts and to throw down for their Bantamweight title they not only picked two of the top western 135 pounders but also two of the most exciting to watch. Sean Quinn, affectionately know as “Tink”, has fought some of the biggest names in Canada’s Bantamweight division including Eric Perez, Remi Morvan, Nick Denis, Tyler Davis and Roland Delorme. Eric Wilson, a member of Outlaw MMA, has also fought a who’s who of Canada’s Bantamweight like Roland Delorme, Mike DavisJohn Fraser and Josh Hill. Considering both men have fought the best this country has to offer, it makes perfect sense they tangle for the right to wear FFL’s inaugural title belt. Not only are these combatants known for fighting the best in the biz, they’re also known for putting on some of the most exciting tilts. Fans will either witness a fast paced hold for hold submission cornucopia or a 25 minute mixed martial arts masterpiece.  Either way, the video footage (if found) will belong in the National Gallery of Canada.

8. Kalib Starnes (12-8-1) vs. David Perron (5-1)
AFC 18: Mayhem – Victoria – May 19
AFC has begun to put together some of the best Canadian match ups and now two of the top Middleweights from British Columbia will square off as the old guard Kalib Starnes will tangle with the young gun David Perron. Starnes, who trains out of Aegis Athletics, competed on TUF season 3 before being eliminated by eventual winner Kendall Grove. Starnes went 2-3 in the UFC, losing to top ranked fighters Yushin Okami, Alan Belcher and, one time contender, Nate Quarry. Since leaving the UFC, Kalib fought some of the best outside the octagon including Hector Lombard, Falaniko Vitale, Patrick Cote and Joe Doerksen, albeit in losing efforts. Perron, a member of Creative Fighting Guild, started his career in 2009 but has seen large gaps in his career fighting only once a year in 2011 and 2012. “Showtime” has finished all five of his wins between the bells and holds signature wins over Nolan Clark and Dan MacIver. For AFC, this is stellar way to determine a top contender for a potential Middleweight title.  Either Starnes proves he’s still in top form or Perron earns his career defining win. When someone moves up the ladder someone else has to fall off.

7. Mukai Maromo @AfrikanAssassin (8-3) vs. Kurt Southern @KurtSouthern (10-4)
MFC 37: True Grit – Edmonton – May 10
Which cheesy MMA cliché rings truer in this tilt? ‘Styles make fights’ or ‘It’s a classic striker versus grappler match up’? Either way, what fans will witness is two top Canadian Lightweights going toe to toe. Mukai Maromo, who sharpens his skills at House of Champions, is the former MFC Lightweight champion, a highlight reel machine and who just last year was crowned AXS TV’s Rising Star. “The Afrikan Assassin” was riding a five fight win streak before being derailed by Graham Spencer at MFC 36 this past February. Kurt Southern, a member of Alliance Martial Arts Systems, who holds a submission win over the aforementioned Maromo made his MFC debut and long awaited return to the cage after a two year absence but unfortunately fell short when he was submitted by Jonathan Novaes at MFC 36. Will “The Hurt” prove that he still has Maromo’s number? Or will “The Afrikan Assassin” land the kill shot and prove he’s still in contention for MFC gold?

Luke Harris with the sub (photo: Rob Trudeau)

Luke Harris with the sub (photo: Rob Trudeau)

6. Luke Harris @HayabusaHarris (9-2) vs. Jason Zentgraf @JasonZentgraf (7-1)
MFC 37: True Grit – Edmonton – May 10
Last August, Canada’s 8th ranked Middleweight tasted his first loss since 2007 when Joseph Henle finished him off with punches early in the first. Now 9 months later, Luke Harris looks to rebound against one of his toughest opponents to date, someone who can go hold for hold with the submission mastermind. Harris, a founding member of Hayabusa Training Centre, one of Canada’s most talented 185 lbs. fighters was riding a 10 fight unbeaten streak before being derailed by Henle. Prior to the derailment, Harris had finished all nine of his wins between the bells by way of choke or torque. Jason Zentgraf, who trains out of Great Northern Fight Club in Missoula, Montana, has already finished some tough Canadian Middleweight beef including Dan Chambers, Cody Krahn and Clay Davidson. Just like Harris, Zentgraf has achieved all 7 of wins via tap out. These two submission artists will now tangle to see who’s the official MFC submission ace and who will get the next chance to dethrone “The King” Elvis Mutapcic.

5. Mike Kent @Mike_The_Titan (9-1) vs. Elias Theodorou @EliasTheodorou (6-0)
ECC 17: Rise of Champions – Halifax – May 11
All is now right in the Canadian MMAverse as Mike Kent has returned to his weight class of excellence and will tangle with another top contender in Canada’s Middleweight division. Kent originally set Canada’s Middleweight ranks ablaze when he debuted in 2010 amassing an unblemished 8-0 record before he decided to move up a weight class where he tasted defeat for the first time in a KO loss to Tim Chemelli. After settling some bad blood in a catch weight bout with Cody Krahn, the Titans MMA product will look to once again climb the Canadian 185 lbs. rankings. Elias Theodorou, a member of Mecha MMA, burst onto the MMA scene in 2011 and has not stopped his winning ways earning some big wins over Simon Marini and Ali Mokdad. Both men have faced stern competition but none tougher or higher ranked than each other and this match up will prove once and for all who is the new blood big daddy of Canada’s Middleweight division.

4. Michael Hill @MMAMike (5-0) vs. Joel Powell (6-3)
AFC 18: Mayhem – Victoria – May 19
An AFC Welterweight title eliminator features a very intriguing match up between a young fighter who almost tasted the spotlight and a seasoned veteran still in search of that shot.  Luckily for a both men, a win here will set up a series of events that could see them receiving that big show call. Mike Hill, who trains at Toshido MMA, competed on season 16 if TUF where he made it to the quarter finals before being dispatched by fellow Canadian Mike Ricci. After the show and without a UFC contract, “The Messenger” signed with AFC and debuted at AFC 15 where he defeated Josh Kitchen via TKO in the first round. Joel Powell, who now trains out of Discipline MMA, started his career in 2008 only going 1-2 before hanging up the gloves. Joel returned in 2011 with a bang where he defeated top Canadian contenders Brandt Dewsbery and Advin Omic before trying his hands at Middleweight where he lost a fight of the year candidate to top Canadian ranked Joe Doerksen. Following the loss, Powell returned to his winning ways notching victories over Andrew Buckland and TUF veteran George Lockhardt. Now these two top contenders will vie for a chance to tangle with Ryan Ford and a shot at AFC gold. Considering what a win in this fight will do for either man and a potential win over Ryan Ford,  the winner in this match up has the potential to take fate in their hands a make a serious run for a shot at the UFC.

Smealinho Rama (photo: Rob Trudeau)

Smealinho Rama (photo: Rob Trudeau)

3. Smealinho Rama @SmailRama (6-0) vs. Chris Barnett @BeastBoy61 (7-1)
MFC 37: True Grit – Edmonton – May 10
When Smealinho Rama put the final stamp on a downed Mike Hackert, he instantly became Canada’s top ranked Heavyweight and earned a shot a MFC gold. When he steps in the cage on May 10, he will meet his American counterpart. Barnett, who trains out of Hardcore MMA, started off his career with a decision win over 70+ fight journeyman Jonathan Ivey then continued to earn “W”s with between the bell stoppages of mid-level Heavyweights, such as Mario Rinaldi and Kenny Garner. Both men possess incredible speed for 250+ lb athletes and have used that skill to quickly dispatch their opponents. Given how similar both men compete, ring rust will be the biggest the factor in this tussle as Rama’s entire career has taken place since Barnett last competed. As both men enjoy getting to it as soon as the bell rings, look for “The Prince” to have that extra jump that will bring home the gold to Independent MMA.

2. Jesse Gross @GhostGross (7-3) vs. Tristan Johnson (8-3)
ECC 17: Rise of Champions – Halifax – May 11
Sometimes a fight gets announced and you’re excited, then the more you contemplate it, the better and better it gets! That’s exactly what we get when Canada’s 4th ranked Featherweight Johnson meets 10th ranked Gross. Johnson, who’s under the tutelage of Fit Plus, used the Score Fighting Series to bolster his career with huge wins over Will Romero twice and Lyndon Whitlock. Jesse Gross, a long time member of ATC, started his career at Lightweight going 6-0 before a 0-3 skid soured his taste for the sport. “The Ghost” returned almost 12 months later at 145 lbs putting an absolute beating on top 15 ranked Seiji Sugiman-Marangos and now he’s ready to put the spook on the rest of the division. Tristan Johnson is known as being one of the best well-rounded fighters at Featherweight in Canada while Gross is a ball of athleticism and energy.  Either Johnson will use his skills to out work and out point his foe or Gross goes full steam ahead and puts the stamp on Tristan. No matter the outcome the result for the fans will be a highly exciting tussle between two top 10 featherweights. ECC not offering this card on iPPV is a absolute shame and should be crime against MMA.

Ryan Dickson (photo: Mike Fischl)

Ryan Dickson (photo: Mike Fischl)

1. Alex Garcia @AlexGarciaMMA (8-1) vs. Ryan Dickson @RydMMA (5-0)
Challenge MMA 1 – St-Jean sur Richelieu – May 11
Anyone who has followed Canadian MMA over the last two years needs no explanation why this fight is a must see for any fan of the sport. Alex Garcia, a member of Tristar Gym, has finished all eight of his wins without the need of three judges including some tough Canadian talents like Ricky Goodall, Tyler Jackson and Matt MacGrath. “The Dominican Nightmare” suffered a serious injury after the MacGrath fight but returned 11 months later in top form with a sub two minute submission of Stephane Lamarche at SLAMM 1 last November. Ryan Dickson, a prodigy of Jeff Joslin, also has finished all of his fights between the bell never once seeing the third round. The submission ace from Burlington, Ontario holds notable wins over Chris St Jean and Brandt Dewbery. Both men are proven finishers, highly ranked and on the verge of big show offers. That means there’s a lot on the line when these two meet in the cage on May 11th. Considering the value a win holds here, both men will stop at nothing to have their hands raised and for the lucky fans in attendance that means pure unbridled action.

14 Responses to “ Top Maple Leaf Match Ups In May 2013 ”

  1. Woodrow says:

    What a mOnth of fights. #1 and #2 Wow

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  2. Woodrow says:

    And #4 i wish i could watch some of these, any video feed online?

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. Joe Doe says:

    holy shit, dickson vs garcia. mother of god

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. Cody Rempel says:

    @Woodrow… #4 and #8 will stream online at

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  5. Robin Black says:

    Killer fights this month top to bottom!

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Woodrow says:

    Awesome, thanks cody

    Dissapointing gross/tristan isnt online:(

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  7. Cody Rempel says:

    “Just like Harris, Zentgraf has achieved all 7 of wins via tap out. These two submission artists will now tangle to see who’s the official MFC submission ace and who will get the next chance to dethrone “The King” Elvis Mutapcic”

    I think Mutapcic’s deal with WSOF is exclusive so he most likely has vacated his MFC Title.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. Shane BTP Mountney says:

    shitty Hudson Vs Fortin didn’t make list…but hey you can’t have everything…;)…Can’t wait for Dickson vs Garcia…awesome test for Dickson!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  9. Rated-R says:

    Baker vs Stewart was a pretty badass fight the first time around and I expect their second fight to be pretty good as well…ill throw that one in the honorable mentions for this top ten list.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. Joey says:

    Where’s Derek Gauthier vs Keven Morin on that list? :(

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  11. “shitty Hudson Vs Fortin didn’t make list” – Looks like they tried to keep it to people with winning records.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  12. Shane BTP Mountney says:

    Fortin has a winning record…;)…and fyi comment was made in jest…

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  13. PUCK says:

    Ya , fully shocked Baker vs Stewart ani’t on here?

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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