Top Maple Leaf Match Ups In February 2016

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Top 10 Maple Leaf Matchups THUMBThis is an odd month for the Top Maple Leaf Match Ups as not one of the fights listed below takes place in the great white north. Campbell and Moras need wins to secure their big show contracts, Laramie and Cirkunov need wins to continue their meteoric momentum, while Garcia and Prepolec will be looking to prove that they can take out big name competition. No matter the fight this month, all have huge consequences for the Canadian athletes.

As always, the fighter’s twitter handles have been included in the list, so do these guys a favor and give them some followers and watch as they progress through training camp to weigh ins to the night of their big fight. Now sit back and relax and enjoy this month’s Top Maple Leaf Match Ups.

6. TJ Laramie @LaramieTJ (3-0) vs. Vince Murdock @VinceMurdock (6-2)
Triple X Cagefighting: Legends 7 – February 20
Booking two fight in a row, especially less than 30 days apart, never seems to work out well.  TJ Laramie is a different story as three fights into his pro career, he has yet to take a punch flush on the face. Now, days removed from a 25 second KO of Yvon Agenord at Hard Knocks 48, he is already back in the gym prepping for Vince Murdock. Murdock, a native Detroit, Michigan, spends time training at Team Alpha Male and will look to get back on the winning track after tasting defeat at the hands of Jesse Arnett at Hard Knocks 42. Prior to that, Murdock was riding a three fight win streak all by way of first or second round finish. Both men have 100% finish rates with the majority by way of TKO/KO and one submission each. This is a big bout for both men as Laramie is a scorching hot prospect and he needs the victory to continue his meteoric rise, while Murdock will be looking to bounce back and two losses in a row could really hamper his MMA career’s progression.

Kyle Prepolec (photo: Mike Fischl | Great Fight North)

Kyle Prepolec (photo: Mike Fischl | Great Fight North)

5. Adrian Hadribeaj @TheEagleMMA (5-0) vs. Kyle Prepolec @KPrepolec (8-4)
Triple X Cagefighting: Legends 7 – February 20
Typed words cannot express how excited fans should be for this scrap. Kyle Prepolec‘s record does not do justice to just how competent of an MMA fighter he is and he has improved leaps and bounds due to the many fighters that have made their to way to the Maximum Training Centre over the past 12 months. Adrian Hadribeaj is easily one of the best kept secrets outside the UFC. His pin point striking and super fast footwork are light years ahead of where a 5-0 fighter should be. With both men’s penchant for chucking leather, these will almost certainly evolve into a kickboxing fight with small gloves. Prior to his loss to Alex Ricci in May of last year, Prepolec was riding a three fight win streak and was starting to really show off his game, so a win here is must as it will get him back in the “W” column while getting him a victory over a heavily hyped prospect. For Hadribeaj, he needs to continue his winning ways as he is a mere one or two fights away from a big show contract.

4. Sarah Moras @SarahCheesecake (4-2) vs. Lauren Murphy @LaurenMurphyMMA (8-2)
UFC Fight Night 82: Cerrone vs. Means – February 21
For Sarah Moras, waiting has been the name of the game since joining the UFC ranks. She made TUF 18, which was filmed in early 2013, where she earned wins over Tara Larosa and Peggy Morgan. From there, she was not seen again until July 2014 where she earned her first official UFC win over Alexis Dufresne at the TUF 19 Finale.  Twelve months passed before her next Octagon outing, which was a lopsided decision loss to Jessica Andrade in July 2015. Finally, “Cheesecake” gets another bite at the Octagon against Lauren Murphy, who is only eight months removed from her last bout. Murphy didn’t have it much better than Moras as she made her UFC debut in August 2014 and did not fight again until April 2015. So with such long layoffs, these ladies need to get at it and a win is the best way to get the UFC’s brass attention.  With both coming off losses, the win is even more important as the loser could receive the dreaded UFC pink slip.

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Misha Cirkunov (photo: Jeremy Penn)

Misha Cirkunov (photo: Jeremy Penn)

3. Misha Cirkunov @Misha_Cirkunov (10-2) vs. Alex Nicholson @SpartanLife32 (6-1)
UFC Fight Night 82: Hendricks vs. Thompson – February 6 
Fresh off a spectacular 2015 where he scored two amazing finishes in Hard Knocks along with making a triumphant UFC debut, Misha Cirkunov will look to continue rolling into 2016 when he meets UFC newcomer Alex Nicholson. When the MMA game finally clicked for the former BJJ competitor, things really started falling into place as Cirkunov has not lost since 2012.  During his five fight win streak, he’s finished each opponent in the first round mixing submission wins with TKO victories. Nicholson, just like Cirkunov, had a three fight win streak in 2015 and will be dropping down from heavyweight to 205 lbs when he makes his first UFC appearance. With Nicholson having finished all six of his victories and Cirkunov’s recent rash of quick stoppages, there is little doubt this fight will not go the distance and fans should definitely enter this bout with a “don’t blink” disclaimer.

2. Shane Campbell @ShaolinStyleMMA (12-3) vs. James Krause @TheJamesKrause (22-7)
UFC Fight Night 82: Cerrone vs. Means – February 21
It only took a three fight wins streak and a viral hadouken finish for “Shoalin” to earn himself a spot in the world’s premier MMA organization. Shane Campbell‘s Octagon debut was against fellow Canadian and multi UFC fight veteran John Makdessi that did not go the Kelwona, BC native’s way. Failure is never an option for Campbell, who rebounded with a stellar decision win over Elias Silverio at UFC Fight Night 74 this past August. Now standing opposite of the Canadian will be six time Octagon veteran James Krause. “The James Krause” has traded wins and losses since entering the UFC but holds notable wins over the likes of Sam Stout, Jamie Varner and Daron Cruickshank. This will definitely be a classic grappler versus striker match up as even though Krause has shown flashes of brilliance with his hands, he’s earned 14 of his 22 wins by way of submission.  This list is not long enough to get into Campbell’s Muay Thai/Kickboxing credentials.

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia (photo: Eric Gaudreault)

1. Alex Garcia @AlexGarciaMMA (13-2) vs. Sean Strickland @SStricklandMMA (16-1)
UFC Fight Night 82: Cerrone vs. Means – February 21
During his time on the Canadian regional scene, Alex Garcia was utterly dominant with victories over the likes of Matt MacGrath and Ryan Dickson. When “The Dominican Nightmare” joined the UFC, things kept rolling with a blistering quick KO of Ben Wall and a split decision win over UFC vet Sean Spencer. Unluckily for Garcia, he ran into Neil Magny during Magny’s impressive seven fight streak. But Garcia did not let that get him down as he returned to defeat TUF 1 veteran Mike Swick. Sean Strickland, like Garcia, is 3-1 in the UFC and to continue with the similarities won his debut by way of finish – a decision victory in his sophomore effort, a loss in his third bout, and rebounded in his last outing with a decision over Igor Araujo. Both men have shown flashes of greatness in the UFC’s cage but have also showed a slow grinding game to continue their movement up the UFC’s Welterweight ranks. They will not only need a win but a dominant one to keep the UFC’s match makers looking their way.

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