Top Maple Leaf Match Ups In January 2016

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Top 10 Maple Leaf Matchups THUMBWith 2015 now behind us, the Canadian MMA scene starts off the new year with a bang with four MMA shows going down in the great fight north this month plus Canadians getting fights in both UFC and WSOF.

For the first time, starting a new trend in 2016, the Top Maple Leaf Match Ups will now contain UFC bouts to make sure each and every Canadian fighter gets their due. Now without further ado, sit back, undo that extra tight belt from the holiday fixins, pick up and nice hot cocoa and relax, as it’s time for January 2016’s edition of the Top Maple Leaf Match Ups:

Honorable Mentions:

  • David Perron (7-6) vs. Chris Anderson (1-0) – Battlefield Fight League 41 – Vancouver – January 22
  • Cheryl Chan (2-4) vs. Chaleur Jones (2-3) – Fight Night: Calgary – January 23
  • Alexi Argyriou (3-0) vs. Nate Oses (2-1) – Hard Knocks 48 – Calgary – January 29
  • TJ Laramie (2-0) vs. Jamie Siraj (2-1) – Hard Knocks 48 – Calgary – January 29

Top Maple Leaf Match Ups

Brendan Kornberger defeated Micah Brakefield (photo: Alicia Hamilton | Red Statyk)

Brendan Kornberger defeated Micah Brakefield (photo: Alicia Hamilton | Red Statyk)

10. Brendan Kornberger @BKornberger185 (5-2) vs. Nicolae Cury (7-5)
Battlefield Fight League 41 – Vancouver – January 22
Brendan Kornberger started off his career as one of the blossoming Middleweights in the Canadian regional scene going as far as winning the Fivestar Fight League 185 lbs title. It wasn’t long before the WSOF came calling, giving the Vancouver, BC native a shot at the big show with a match up with the undefeated Krasimir Mladenov. Unfortunately, Kornberger dropped the decision but looked game in defeat. A shot a redemption came six months later in the form of a BFL title shot but again Kornberger came up short at the hands of Ryan Janes. With all that behind him, Kornberger looks to rebound against Nicolae Cury, a member of the famed Blackzilians. Like Kornberger, Cury has had difficulties in the bigger bouts of his career. Now matched up, one will finally get the much needed career defining win while the other will be sent back to the drawing board.

9. Alderic Keith @AldericKeithMMA (7-3) vs. Duncan Wilson (7-4)
Elite 1 MMA: Unleashed – Moncton – January 30
After a failed Elite 1 Middleweight title shot this past May against Adam Hunter, Alderic Keith will look to rebound at his more natural weight of 170 lbs when he takes on Duncan Wilson. Keith, who mixes training up between Team Saigo and Tristar Gym, started off his career 4-0 before he ran into Mike Kent whom he suffered back to back losses to. He managed to string together three more wins before he suffered the title loss to the aforementioned Hunter. Wilson, known as “The Heartbreak Kid”, is a member of the Fivestar Fight Gym and has amassed a 5-2 record inside his home gym’s promotion. Currently riding a two fight win streak, Wilson also carries a 100% finish rate into this bout. Both men have similar records and have faired well on the provincial scene, but this fight will determine who has the game to advance up the national rankings.

Ash Mashreghi (photo: Don Osborne)

Ash Mashreghi (photo: Don Osborne)

8. Ash Mashreghi @AshSmash (6-3) vs. Curtis Harriott @CurtisHarriott (2-0)
Battlefield Fight League 41 – Vancouver – January 22
Normally when you see a 6-3 versus 2-0 match you could be forgiven for thinking of it as a mismatch. In this case, you need to look a little deeper to get the full scope. Curtis Harriott may only be two bouts into his paid career but he has vast experience in amateur bouts going 9-1 in the BFL’s amateur scene. Ash “Smash” Mashreghi started off his pro career 0-3 but since joining BFL in 2013, he’s earned six straight wins via finishes – three by way of TKO and three via rear naked choke including his last bout where he submitted Dejan Kajic to capture the vacant BFL Welterweight strap. Two good ol’ company boys will vie for the BFL belt and either the veteran will prevail over the young buck or the prospect will continue his rise up the national ranks.

7. Ryan Machan @RyanMachan (23-9) vs. Cody McKenzie (15-8)
Fight Night: Calgary – January 23
Ryan Machan often flies under the radar as “Canadians on the cusps of a big show shot”. One could be forgiven, especially recently, since “The Sylvan Lake Strangler” took all of 2015 off.  It was not by his own doing but because most opponents find the thought of facing Machan a scary prospect or maybe it’s just his murderous nick name. What do opponents find scary about the Arashi-Do headmaster you ask? It could be his current five fight win streak or more likely it’s the fact Machan has finished all 23 of his professional wins.  Yes, not one of his “W’s” has gone to judges, impressive no? Who do you find to fight someone no one wants to fight? Well, Cody Mckenzie, of course, because “The AK Kid” fears no man and this time he actually has time to train for the fight. Machan finally gets his chance at a UFC veteran while McKenzie will look to end his four fight skid.

Lenny Wheeler (photo by Rob Trudeau |Rob T Sports Photography)

Lenny Wheeler (photo by Rob Trudeau |Rob T Sports Photography)

6. Lenny Wheeler @LennyWheeler45 (9-3) vs. Sabah Fadai @SabahFadai (11-4)
Fight Night: Calgary – January 23
Lenny Wheeler spent his 2015 as part of the second season of the Fight Xchange and getting two sub 60 second KOs. Sabah Fadai spent his 2015 TKOing Parwez Ghulam for the Unified strap and talking o’ so much trash on twitter trying to find himself a fight. Now, the fist meets the mouth for the Fight Night Featherweight title.  Fighters take notice; if you can’t spend your time knocking out the competition get on social media and throw insults like fists either way a fight will finally come knocking. Both men are currently riding a three fight streak and prior to that had gone winless in two. They each look to have found their stride in the past two years and are finally getting the respect on the Canadian scene they deserve. Now with a title shot looming, one man will wrap gold around their waist and continue to climb the Canadian top 10 ladder and get their well deserved due on the national scene.

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Sheldon Westcott at AFC 17

Sheldon Westcott (photo: Rob Trudeau)

5. Sheldon Westcott @SheldonWestcott (8-3-1) vs. Edgar Garcia @EdgarGarcia170 (14-4)
UFC 195: Lawler vs. Condit – January 2
On the regional scene, Sheldon Westcott was one of Canada’s best and he earned wins over the likes of Simon Marini, Thomas Denny and Nic Herron-Webb.  However, since making his way to the UFC, he has not been able to show his best. Edgar Garcia, just like Westcott, also has found it difficult to show his “A” game on the big stage as all four of his professional losses have come inside the UFC’s Octagon and the circular Bellator cage. Now, both men will not only look for their first big show win, but also look to avoid a pink slip from the UFC’s brass. The game plan for either man will be a rough one as neither are specialists but more jacks of all trades and one will look to eek out the win in what should be a hotly contested match up.

4. Jesse Arnett @BigCatsReal (9-4) vs. Darrick Minner @DarrickMinner (15-4)
Hard Knocks 48 – Calgary – January 29
The “Big Cat” started off his 2015 campaign by TKOing the veteran Souksavanh Khampasath.  Jesse Arnett followed that up by dispatching the Team Alpha Male prospect Vince Murdock. Arnett kept the pain train rolling with a second round finish of Roland Delorme and capped off his banner 2015 by capturing the Hard Knocks Bantamweight title. Now, on a six fight win streak, it’s hard to believe that Arnett started off his professional career by going 3-4. Awaiting Arnett is Darrick Minner, a submission wizard who has earned 12 of his 15 wins by way of tap, snap or crack. Like Arnett, Minner also has a six fight win streak of his own and will look to make Arnett his stepping stone to the big show. Come January 29th, the “Big Cat” eats or Minner strikes gold – either way someone’s career will be taking the next step.

Olivier Aubin-Mercier (photo: Mike Fischl)

Olivier Aubin-Mercier (photo: Mike Fischl)

3. Olivier Aubin-Mercier @MMAOAM (7-1) vs. Diego Ferreira @DiegoBJJTX (11-2)
UFC on FOX 18: Johnson vs. Bader – January 30
“The Quebec Kid” has looked great inside the Octagon. Besides his loss to Chad Laprise in the TUF Nations Finale, he has gone 3-0 in the world’s leading MMA promotion. Olivier Aubin-Mercier, who balances his training between H20 MMA and Tristar Gym, was able to finish off both Jake Lindsey and David Michaud before he ran into Tony Sims. After three hard fought rounds, Aubin-Mercier was able to get his hand raised but did not look his best while doing so. Olivier meets Diego Ferreira, who may currently be on a two fight skid, but prior to that was undefeated with career defining wins over the likes of Jorge Patino, Colton Smith and Ramsey Nijem. Both men have six submission wins and prefer to bring the action to the mat. It will be “The Quebec Kid’s” judo versus Ferreira’s BJJ. Olivier needs to win in spectacular fashion to keep the UFC brass looking his way, while Ferreira will be looking for a “W” to keep the UFC brass from looking his way. The pressure in this bout for both men should make it an extremely exciting one.

2. Mike Ricci @MikeyRicci (11-4) vs. Caros Fodor @CarosFodor (10-4)
WSOF 27: Ricci vs. Fodor – January 23
It had been over 12 months since fans last saw before Mike Ricci entered the WSOF one night Lightweight tournament this past November.  Unfortunately for “The Martian’s” fans, he was unable to continue, due to a hip injury, after a spectacular first round head kick KO over Joe Condon. Ricci has never had a chance to live up to the hype that has surrounded his name over the past five years. Daron Cruickshank dashed his Ringside MMA title hopes, Colton Smith spoiled his TUF 16 contract, Myles Jury helped deliver his UFC pink slip and injuries plagued his Titan FC run yet through all those bumps in the road, Ricci maintained course. WSOF sees something in Ricci and after debuting with a bang, he will headline their 27th event. Caros Fodor enters the WSOF on the heels of a 3-1 run in One FC and, like Ricci, has faltered when the pressure was on, dropping his final Strikeforce bout to Pat Healy and his only UFC outing to Sam Stout. The time for redemption is at hand and the spotlight will be even brighter than before.  While headlining an internationally televised event, one of these under achievers will finally taste the success many had pegged for them years ago.

Photo: Mike Fischl

Photo: Mike Fischl

1. Patrick Cote @Patrick_Cote (22-9) vs. Ben Saunders @BenSaundersMMA (19-6-2)
UFC Fight Night 81: Dillashaw vs. Cruz – January 17
Two veteran Welterweights go to war in a match up where both men have many similarities. Patrick Cote trains at Brazil Top Team Canada while Ben Saunders trains out of American Top Team Orlando, Cote coached TUF Nations while Saunders competed on TUF season 6. both men have 25 plus fights, both defeated Joe Riggs in their second last fight and both were cut by the UFC, but fought their way back on impressive win streaks. Cote currently has back to back wins while Saunders is riding a three fight streak, now approaching the top 15-20 in the UFC. This scrap is a fork in the road for both of their careers. The winner here will look to inch even closer to the UFC’s top 10 while the loser may need to revaluate their game and ponder to see if time has passed them by.

One Response to “ Top Maple Leaf Match Ups In January 2016 ”

  1. Buddy B says:

    Where should Bibiano Fernandes vs. Kevin Belingon OneFC Bantamweight title match slot in on this list?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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