Top Maple Leaf Match Ups In May 2014


Top 10 Maple Leaf Matchups THUMBMay has arrived and, along with the long overdue heat, has brought an insane amount of tasty fights for the Canadian MMA fan. This month this list could have easily been a top 20 and not affected its credibility at all. Every single fight on this list has serious rankings implications from the very top of the Heavyweight and Bantamweight divisions to the just outside the top 10 in the Featherweight and Welterweight divisions. We have five titles up for grabs,  four men testing their toughest international competition to date, three of the country’s top big men duking it out, two men looking to keeping their undefeated records intact and one explosive rematch.

Honestly, as a fight fan what more could you expect to have packed in 31 short days?

As always this list is conducted VIP style and since all UFC talent (except for Rory MacDonald) see fit to attend without their proper attire, they will be on the outside looking in and the top 10 will be reserved for bouts taking place outside the exaggeratedly dressed Octagon.

Now with 100% less bad metaphors, welcome to this month’s edition of the Top Maple Leaf Match Ups:

Brandt Dewsbery (photo: Rob Trudeau)

Brandt Dewsbery (photo: Rob Trudeau)

10. Chase Maxwell (9-3) vs. Brandt Dewsbery @DewsberyMMA (11-3-1)
Unified MMA 19 – Edmonton – May 23
Unified’s perennial top contender at 170 pounds will look to finally wrap the promotion’s gold belt around his waist but standing in front of him is one of his toughest matches to date. Chase Maxwell burst on the scene with Unified and quickly amassed a 6-0 record before his first shot at the gold but was defeated by then current champ Travis Briere. Since then, “Red Dawg” has gone 3-3 in his last six outings but has only fought twice in the past two years dropping a decision to Jarod Milko then rebounding with a TKO win over Jordan McKay. Between September 2011 and October 2012, Brandt Dewsbery went on tear earning five straight wins over the likes of Nabil Khatib, Chris St Jean and Benjamin Smith. When he upped his competition level, he suffered back to back losses to Ryan Dickson and Sergej Juskevic but most recently he earned his way back to the win column with a first round submission of Mark Drummond. Now these two young Welterweight studs will collide to see who will separate themselves from the rest of the Canadian 170 pounders and rise to the top. Both men are incredibly talented and a big win here coupled with wrapping some gold around their waist will put the rest of the division on notice.

9. Michael Karkula (6-0) vs. Mike Malott @MainAAttraction (3-0)
Substance Cage Combat 2 – Toronto – May 30
Two of most highly touted Featherweight prospects in the country will put their “0” on the line in this incredibly intriguing match up. Michael Karkula burst on the scene and quickly amassed a 4-0 record but it was 2013 that put this Toronto based fighter on the map. He submitted the always tough Brad Cardinal in the first round then defeated the heavily favoured Jesse Gross by split decision. An impressive finisher, Karkula has earned 5 of his 6 wins by way of first round submission. Mike Malott is the unknown stud from the East Coast who is also known for his penchant for quick finishes as he has earned all three of his professional wins within the first two minutes, including an arm bar submission over Karkula’s teammate Michael Imperato. This is a huge bout for both men as the victor will leave the cage with one of his biggest wins to date while the other will suffer their first loss and see the first blemish on their record. Come May 30th someone’s “0” has got to go.

Matt Dwyer (photo: Hassan Behgouei)

Matt Dwyer (photo: Hassan Behgouei)

8. Matt Dwyer @MattDwyerMMA (6-1) vs. DaMarques Johnson @DaMarques_UFC (15-13)
Battlefield Fight League 30 – Richmond – May 23
BFL has done a tremendous job building up their Welterweight champion and that trend continues as he faces his toughest test to date as Matt Dwyer will take on UFC veteran DaMarques Johnson at a 175 pound catchweight bout. Dwyer, who trains out of the famous Toshido MMA dojo, has constantly built up solid wins since beginning his pro career earning experience with wins over the likes of Ryan Chiappe, Colin Daynes and, most recently, Shonie Carter. The hype surrounding the Kelowna, BC native is well founded as he has earned all six of his victories by way of TKO, five of which he finished in the very first round. Johnson, a UFC veteran, had a long run in the world’s largest promotion but failed with stringing consistent wins together amassing a combined 4-6 record in his 10 appearances in the Octagon. “Darkness” who trains under the mat master that is Jeremy Horn does hold notable wins over the likes of Brad Blackburn, Clay Harvison and Michael Guymon. With a four fight losing streak on his back, Johnson will stop at nothing to earn a few final wins inside the cage while BFL title holder Dwyer will want to continue his win streak and prove he can topple a UFC veteran. Don’t blink as Dwyer will look to put his stamp on the fight in  his normal viciously quick fashion.

7. Ryan Machan @RyanMachan (21-9) vs. Richie Whitson @RichieWhitson_ (12-4)
Havoc FC 5 – Red Deer – May 2
One of Canada’s most experienced Welterweights will look to continue his winning streak, defend his title, and add a TUF veteran to his resume. Ryan Machan, a pillar of MMA in Red Deer, has really tuned his career around going 6-1 in his last seven bouts including a three fight win streak over the likes of Nathan Gunn, William Sriyapai and Brendan Tierney. Even more impressive is the fact that in his 21 wins he has never gone to the judges finishing 14 bouts by submission and 7 by way of TKO or KO. “Hellboy” Whitson has had a rougher go of late going 1-3 in his last four bouts including a pair of losses to Canadians Kajan Johnson and Mark Holst. Fortunately for Whitson, he rebounded in his last bout submitting Hiroki Nagaoka in the first round at  Pancrase’s 20th anniversary show. Even though he has had the more impressive showings of late, this is still a must win for Machan as he looks to continue his string of wins and make a run at the big show while Whitson needs this “W” to keep himself relevant on the international scene. Both men are very competent standing and trading or exchanging holds on the floor, so expect this match up to take place everywhere and be a very exciting throw down to boot.

photo: Mike Fischl

photo: Mike Fischl

6. Alex Ricci @AlexRicciMMA (7-2) vs. Jason Saggo @JasonSaggo (9-1)
Substance Cage Combat 2 – Toronto – May 30
It should go without saying but when you have a great matchmaker, you get great fights and SCC proves that as the two best Lightweights from Ontario not signed to the UFC will duke it out to see who is big show worthy. It’s been a rough road lately for Mecha MMA’s Alex Ricci as he started off his career with a bang going 6-1 in just over two years between 2010 and 2012. Since then, Ricci has only fought twice earning a unanimous decision over Luis Felix and most recently dropping a split to durable veteran Ryan Healy. Wulfrun MMA’s Jason Saggo has had the same issues as he has fought only once in the last 15 months quickly submitting Stephen Beaumont and earning a crack at the now defunct AFC Lightweight belt. With fights coming so infrequently, both men knew what had to be done, they have to fight the best competition around and that means squaring off against each other. It’s a clash of styles as Ricci brings his destructive Muay Thai game while Saggo is a wizard on the canvas. Both men have incredibly high finishing rates with Ricci (71%) and Saggo (100%) but this match up will come down to who can work their game. Can Ricci keep it on the feet and earn the TKO? Or will Saggo drag it to the mat and finish the submission? No matter what happens this fight has highlight reel written all over it.

5. Kurt Southern @KurtSouthern (13-5) vs. Tom Gallicchio @TomGallicchio (18-8)
MFC 40: Crowned Kings – Edmonton – May 9
.2 pounds isn’t much and usually wouldn’t be cause for many issues. However, in an MMA title fight, .2 lbs can be the difference between strapping a gold belt around your waist or an immediate rematch and with the MFC .2 pounds caused the latter. Tom Gallicchio weighed in at 155.2 lbs for his Lightweight title fight with Southern and even though he won the fight by way of second round rear naked choke, he wasn’t crowned champ and now will have to beat “The Hurt” a second time to gain that belt. Kurt Southern earned the nod in the first round on our MFC 39 play-by-play but Gallicchio had the superior grappling in the second round which lead to him nailing the submission near the end of the second. Down side for Gallicchio is Southern is 3 for 3 in rematches and always seems to come out as a completely different fighter in the second bout. It all depends on who took the most from the first bout and who’s disappointment bubbled over in the training room in preparation for this throw down. Will Southern continue his rematch madness and splatter Gallicchio all over the ring or will “Da Tank” be so embarrassed over his weigh in debacle that he spent the last four months salivating at the chance to punish Southern for a second time.

Kalib Starnes

Kalib Starnes (photo: Rob Trudeau)

4. Kalib Starnes @KalibStarnes (16-8-1) vs. Dave Herman (21-6)
Titan Fighting 28 – May 16
In 2013, Kalib Starnes completely rebuilt himself as a fighter and earned four straight wins across three different weight classes and now he looks to continue the roll off the heftier Starnes as he takes on former UFC Heavyweight Dave Herman. Prior to 2013, Starnes continued to battle top opposition but couldn’t put it together as he found himself on a three fight skid dropping bouts to Patrick Cote, Joe Doerksen and John Salter. Between Starnes loss to “El Dirte” and his win over David Perron, something clicked in Starnes’ head because since then he has used much better striking with a very aggressive style that has complimented him well and lead to his current four fight win streak. “Pee Wee” Herman is a veteran of many promotions and was very successful in his time with Bellator, Sengoku and EliteXC but when it came time to perform in the big show he went 1-4 in his 5 octagon appearances. Now the two men who have a lot to prove on the international scene will look for their shot at redemption on national TV with Titan FC and NBC Sports. With Starnes new aggressive approach and Herman’s willingness to sling it out on the feet, this will definitely end with one man staring up at the stars.

3. Chris Horodecki @ChrisHorodecki (20-4-1) vs. Marlon Sandro @351Marlon (24-5-1)
Bellator MMA 119 – Rama – May 9
One of Canada’s most experienced fighters will face one of the stiffest tests of his career when he meets former Sengoku and King of Pancrase champion Marlon Sandro. 2013 was a solid year for “The Polish Hammer” as he righted his ship with two solid wins earning the XFFC Lightweight title by submitting Tim Smith and defeating American journeyman Frank Caraballo. This will be Chris Horodecki‘s second stint with Bellator and hopefully a more successful one as he was KO’d by Mike Richman and fought to a draw with Mike Corey in his first foray with the tournament based promotion. Sandro, on the other hand, has been successful in two Feathrweight tournaments making the finals in both but losing to two Bellator champions Pat Curran and Daniel Straus respectively. More recently, “The Gladiator” has gone 0-1-1 in his last two being TKO’d by Magomedrasul Khasbulaev and fighting to a draw with Yojiro Uchimura. Now these two men who have already peaked once in their respective careers will look to bring themselves back to relevance with a win in the Bellator cage. With both men enjoying the stand and trade mentality, this is easy choice for one of the biggest crowd pleasers this month.

2 .Bibiano Fernandes (15-3) vs. Masakatsu Ueda (18-2-2)
One FC 15 – May 2
Canada’s number 1 ranked Bantamweight will look to continue his divisional dominance when he defends his One FC title against the promotion’s number 1 contender. Bibiano Fernandes, probably the top Bantamweight fighting outside of the UFC, is currently riding a seven fight win streak that spans almost four years while going 14-1 in his last 15 bouts. “The Flash” holds notable career wins over Joe Warren, Hiroyuki Takaya, Yoshiro Maeda and Joachim Hansen. Masakatsu Ueda, who trains out of Paraestra Toyko, earned his shot at “The Flash” by going 3-0 in the One FC ranks defeating the likes of Kevin Belingon and Jens Pulver. The native of Tokyo, Japan has some very impressive names on his resume like Eduardo Dantas, Rumina Sato and Royler Gracie just to name a few. Both men are ranked very high in the world wide rankings and this match up will determine who continues to climb and who will suffer a tremendous fall. Fernandes has proved he can be one of the world’s best while fighting outside the UFC but he will need this victory to keep himself mentioned among the top men on the planet.

(photo: Rob Trudeau | Rob T Sports)

(photo: Rob Trudeau | Rob T Sports)

1. Smealinho Rama @SmealinoRama (7-1) vs. Tim Hague @Tim_Hague (16-8)
Unified MMA 19 – Edmonton – May 23
The Heavyweight fight that Canadian fans have been waiting for is finally coming to fruition as Canada’s top dog Smealinho Rama will take on former divisional head honcho Tim Hague. Rama, who trains out of Independent MMA, recently returned to the win column when he defeated highly touted prospect Steve Mocco at WSOF Canada’s inaugural event this past February. “The Prince” suffered his only career loss to recent UFC signee Anthony Hamilton, prior to that Rama was on a 6 fight win streak which included victories over Ryan Fortin, Mike Hackert and Lee Mein. Hague also recently righted the ship with a first round TKO of Lee Mein at the aforementioned WSOF Canada debut event. “The Thrashing Machine” was Canada’s last Heavyweight to make the UFC where he went 1-4 with his lone win coming against Pat Barry by way of first round submission. This fight is 2 years in the making as since Rama made his pro debut he quickly dethroned Hague as the top Canadian Heavyweight. Now we finally get to see if Rama can challenge the man that put the modern Canadian Heavyweight division on the map.

19 Responses to “ Top Maple Leaf Match Ups In May 2014 ”

  1. TimHague says:

    Very proud to be a part of this fightt for canadian mma

    Well-loved! Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  2. Just Sayin says:

    Can’t believe Hudson vs Stuart didn’t make the list.
    I call bs!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  3. Jeremy Kennedy says:

    I want to fight the winners of either Karkula vs Mallot or
    Robinson vs Nelson

    Well-loved! Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  4. Vince Todarello says:

    I like saggo as a person but I’m sorry I gotta say it if saggo can’t take al Ricci down he’s fucked Ricci’s striking is on an other planet

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  5. Kyle "The Monster" Nelson says:

    Jeremy kennedy sounds good to me

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Cody Saftic says:

    ^^^ I like it

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. Graham Weenk says:

    That’s allot of quality Canadian mma in may

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. john alessio says:

    hmmmm….. seem to be forgetting someone

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

  9. Just Sayin says:

    They seem to be forgetting alot

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  10. Junior says:

    Maybe TMN could add an honourable mention section, like they do with rankings

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Cody Saftic says:

    Lol it would be HUGE

    -Craig Hudson (4-3) vs. Stuart Austin (7-0)
    -Kyle Nelson (5-0) vs. Ainsley Robinson (5-2)
    -John Alessio (34-17) vs. Eric Wisely (22-8)
    -Dwayne Lewis (13-9) vs. Clay Davidson (8-6)
    -Todd Stoute (5-1) vs. Jeremy Osheim (4-0)
    -Vaughn Anderson (16-2-1) vs. Marius Zaromskis (19-8)
    -Shane Campbell (6-2) vs. Jerrid Burke (6-3)
    -Victor Valimaki (17-8) vs. Bill Wilder (8-5)
    -Adrian Woolley (7-3) vs. Jeimeson Saudino (8-3)

    Literally at least five more good ones this month too

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  12. Just Sayin says:

    And now I hear Malcolm Gordon is Fighting May 9 on the Bellator card as well!

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  13. RickRoll says:

    RIP Tim Hague. Rama takes him out anyway he wants!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 11

  14. TimHague says:

    I have tickets for sale if youd like to witness it live Rick

    Well-loved! Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  15. B2J says:

    Good month for fans of canadian MMA

    Well-loved! Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  16. RickRoll says:

    Timothy, I will be there if I can get off work.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  17. RickRoll says:

    Tim, my prediction for your fight with Rama is PAIN

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  18. Though on paper one would surmise that hague vs rama is a complete mismatch, except you can not exempt the equalizer in this equation that being tims big overhand right which the War Dog Hudson was previously and PAINFULLY a recipient of.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  19. give your head a shake! says:

    The dog would not get caught with that shit again!

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

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