Top Maple Leaf Match Ups In April 2016


Top 10 Maple Leaf Matchups THUMBThis month may be the epitome for any Canadian MMA fan as we have seven impressive cards this month taking place in the great fight north. Each card is unbelievably stacked with a total of 13 title fights spread out among the promotions. Add in the plethora of amateur title fights and two full amateur cards this month is chock full of unbelievable MMA fights.

In fact, there are so many amazing fights this month guys like Ryan Machan, Josh Hill, Kalib Starnes, Tim Hague and Adam Hunter who were left off the list along with many others as the match up or the opponent did not cut the mustard. As always, there is no exact formula to the Top Maple Leaf Match Ups so be sure to include your version of this month’s top 10 fights in the comment section below. With this many great tussles this month, there could be hundreds of different versions of this list.

As always, Twitter handles have been included and with most promotions stressing the importance of social media, do your favorite fighters a favor and follow them through training camp, weigh ins and even post fight to see how they handle the outcome of these important bouts.

Now with further ado sit back, relax and enjoy this month’s Top Maple Leaf Match Ups:

Honorable Mentions:

Top 10 Maple Leaf Match Ups

Wolfgang Janssen lands a flying reverse triangle submission

Wolfgang Janssen lands a flying reverse triangle submission. (photo: Darryl Delamont)

10. Clay Dixon (4-0) vs. Wolfgang Janssen @AirWolfMMA (5-2)
Triumph FC 1: Inception – Edmonton – April 22
An undefeated wrestler who’s been able to string together 4 wins in just under four months will step up in weight to finally challenge himself against stern competition. Clay Dixon, a native of Alberta, was a fairly successful wrestler on the provincial circuit before transitioning to MMA where under the tutelage of Kamikaze Punishment he has used his wrestling base to become one the new Canadian prospects at 145 lbs. In a division full of prospects, Dixon has put an impressive record together in his first year as a pro albeit against less than stellar competition. Stepping up to Lightweight and taking on Janssen shows Dixon’s willingness to improve. Wolfgang Janssen gained his first bit of notoriety when his flying reverse triangle submission on Aaron Armstrong went viral (watch HERE). Known as “Jedi” or “Airwolf”, Janssen continued to demonstrate his submission prowess earning four of his five wins by way of tap out. Janssen will look to capitalize on Dixon’s lack of experience to get back in the win column as he enters this bout coming off a TKO loss to Criag Shintani. Janssen has never lost back to back bouts in his career. If none of the above is compelling then how bout The “Demon Knight” versus The “Jedi” that just sounds awesome and another reason why this is a must watch fight for the month of April.

9. Noah Ali @TheNoahAli (6-3) vs. Sean Quinn @SeanQuinn4Real (8-6)
Hard Knocks 49 – Calgary – April 22
There may be fights that mean more on Hard Knocks 49 but none will be more exciting then this match up as the always energetic Noah “The Chosen Defender” Ali tangles with the returning Sean Quinn. In the Bantamweight division, it’s rare to find finishers but these two have a combined 12 finishes between their 14 wins. In fact, each man has finished all but one of their wins. For Ali, he needs this win to get back on track after a disappointing decision loss to Lyndon Whitlock, while Quinn just recently returned from a three year lay off and devastated Chris Day with a first round submission and will look to string back to back wins together for the first time since 2008. With Quinn looking for one last shot at the game and Ali looking to rebuild his career at 135 lbs while adding in Quinn’s much improved boxing and Ali’s penchant for always moving forward and chucking leather, this is easily the must watch fight scrap for Hard Knocks 49.

8. Jonathan Meunier (5-0) vs. Joe Merritt (6-2)
Fight Night: Medicine Hat – April 9
After the recent Fight Night fiasco, it’s really hard to give the promoter any kind of props but one look at Fight Night: Medicine Hat shows a stellar card with five title fights on the docket including this intriguing Welterweight title between Canada’s undefeated Meunier and UFC veteran Merritt. Jonathan Meunier is one of Canada’s brightest prospects but has mostly flown under the radar while amassing five straight wins with five finishes – four of which came in the first round. Even though “District” only has five paid bouts under his belt, he has a ton of amateur experience going 11-1 with his only loss coming in his first unpaid contest.  Notching an 11 fight win streak as an amateur with 10 finishes under Quebec’s restrictive amateur rules is very impressive. Prior to getting the call from the UFC, Joe Merritt had earned six straight professional wins all by way of KO/TKO. Along with his impressive pro record, Merritt fought for 12 months as an amateur going 6-0 and earning all of his wins by TKO/KO as well. Merritt only lasted in the UFC for one outing – a decision loss to Alex Oliveira at UFC Fight Night 70. Even though Merritt enters the bout on the heels of a two fight skid, he brings with him extreme punching power at 170 lbs. Match that with the finishing prowess of Meunier and you have a powder keg of a scrap. The big question is can Meunier finally emerge from the shadows and not only wrap gold around his waist but notch a signature career win over a UFC vet?

Spencer Jebb (photo: Rob Trudeau | Rob T Sports Photography)

Spencer Jebb (photo: Rob Trudeau | Rob T Sports Photography)

7. Spencer Jebb @SpencerJebb (11-4) vs. Michael Hill @MMAMike (8-4)
Xcessive Force FC 9 – Grande Prairie – April 15
In a span of 17 months between 2013 and 2014, Spencer Jebb went on an incredible seven fight win streak before a thunderous knee by Mark Drummond put a halt to it on the biggest stage of his career at WSOF 18: Moraes vs. Hill. “The Judge” returned a mere 38 days later and defeated the 20 plus fight veteran Cody Krahn and followed that up with a victory over the durable David Perron. Now Jebb looks to build another win streak and standing in front of him is his toughest test to date – the TUF alumni Michael Hill. “The Messenger” may not have the glossiest record but look at his losses, guys like Joel Powell, Ryan Ford and Matt MacGrath, and only Ford during his amazing run was able to finish him and that took him 24 minutes to do so. At only 26, Jebb is still a young buck in the game and a huge draw for XFFC yet Darren Cliffe is doing him no favor in this fight. For Jebb to take the next step in his career he needs tough fights like this one and, make no bones about it, this is an incredibly tough out as Hill is as durable as they come.  Hill already has another fight booked so he has nothing to lose in this bout and, as everyone knows, fighting someone with nothing to lose is as dangerous as they come.

6. Shawn Wallace (6-0) vs. Mandel Nallo @NoTweetMandel (4-0)
Elite 1 MMA: Meltdown – Moncton – April 23
Seriously, someone give the Elite 1 matchmaker a huge pat on the back for putting this spectacular match up between two undefeated killers, backed by two great camps, looking to make their name by wrapping the Elite 1 Lightweight title around their waist. Shawn Wallace trains with beasts likes Jason Saggo and Matt MacGrath at Wulfrun MMA under the tutelage game planning master Paul Abel. Between 2011 and 2013, Wallace amassed a 4-0 record with three finishes before taking a leave of absence from MMA. He returned two years later and has not lost a step earning back to back stoppage wins over Jeremy Henry and Trent Moses. Mandel Nallo, a member of the famed Tristar gym, is one of the original Tristar dorm crew with the likes of Kajan Johnson, Louis Sanoudakis and Aiemann Zahabi which goes to show the level of training partners along with the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Rory MacDonald and formerly Kenny Florian. Following an impressive amateur career going 5-1 with his only loss coming at the hands of his now teammate Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Nallo transitioned to pro without missing a beat going 4-0 and recently dispelled the talk of his sub par competition by submitting the extremely durable veteran Jose Rodriquez. With Canada’s Lightweight division starting to rejuvenate itself, a win here for either man will not only propel them to bigger pay days but also into the Canadian top 10.


__________________________________________________________________________Andrew McInnes

5. Andrew McInnes @TheSubArtist (6-1) vs. Tom Gallicchio @TomGallicchio (19-8)
Triumph FC 1: Inception – Edmonton – April 22
It’s not the east coast versus west coast rap scene, but there is some major beef between Andrew McInnes and Tom Gallicchio going into this scrap. This is a fight McInnes has been chasing down since early 2015 at the end of the MFC era. Now that both men have signed on the dotted line, we will finally get to see these two men locked in a cage and do battle. McInnes, no matter what you think of the Cody McKenzie out come, is currently riding a six fight win streak and adding to his “Sub Artist” nickname he has finished five of those wins by way of snap, tap or crack. After defeating Kurt Southern for a second time and capturing the MFC Lightweight title, Gallicchio got his chance at the UFC by participating on season 22 of TUF where he won his elimination bout over Mike Flach but lost his only in house bout too Marcin Wrzosek by decision and was not given shot at a true Octagon bout. Coming off the show, Gallicchio now looks to get his shot at the UFC by returning to the regional scene while McInnes looks to prove he belongs in the big show by taking out a TUF alum. Add in the hatred these two men seem to have against each other through social media and the point each man is in his career, fans should expect an explosive finish to Triumph FC’s debut main event.

4. Strahinja Gavrilovic (5-1) vs. Todd Stoute @BlackHulkNation (7-3)
Fight Night: Medicine Hat – April 9
Explosive, violent, devastating and fun as hell are thoughts that come to my head when I think of this bout. Two proficient strikers known for devastating power are about to be locked into a cage for 15 minutes with the sole purpose of using all four of their limbs to produce the most damage they can on each other. It’s been over 12 months sine fans last saw Strahinja Gavrilovic and that fight served as his first professional loss along with being the most boring outing of his career as prior to that he had gone 5-0 with four finishes. Speaking of finishes, check out Todd Stoute‘s destruction of Anton Tokarchuk (HERE) and his almost beheading of William Carriere (HERE). Both these men have a penchant for finishing fights along with being at a crossroads in their careers. Neither man is getting younger and both have their sights set on the big stage.  While the winner may not get the call right away, they will get a look while the loser will be forced to return to the drawing board and rebuild. Now these guys in a cage in a must win fight scenario is a must watch fight in any true fan’s book.

Yoni Sherbatov

Yoni Sherbatov

3. Yoni Sherbatov (5-0) vs. Tyson Nam @TysonNam (14-8)
 Triumph FC 1: Inception – Edmonton – April 22
Yoni Sherbatov has been an absolute beast since debuting in 2014 and quickly climbed to third on the Canadian Flyweight rankings. Not only has the Sherbatov MMA product finished four of his five wins, which is almost unheard of at 125 lbs, but he consistently improved his competition each time out. Even though he is young in the game, he wants the best out there and that trend continues with his upcoming bout with Tyson Nam. Nam garnered the biggest win of his career when he defeated then Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas in what was supposed to be a tune up fight for the champ outside of Bellator. That win propelled Nam into WSOF where he was not able to capitalize on his past success and was cut after back to back losses to future champ Marlon Moraes and title challenger Cody Bollinger. The Hawaiian native has rebounded and is currently riding a two fight win streak going into his bout with Sherbatov. With his career continuing to progress, Sherbatov could use a win over Nam to make the jump to a bigger promotion whether WSOF, Bellator or even the UFC. The Flyweight division is fairly weak and an undefeated prospect with big wins under his belt are in short supply.

2. Chris Kelades @KeladesMMA (9-2) vs. Sergio Pettis @SergioPettis (13-2)
UFC 197: Cormier vs. Jones II – April 23
After defeating Adrian Woolley at ECC 21, Chris Kelades earned himself a short notice fight at UFC Fight Night 54 against Paddy Holohan. “The Greek Assassin” made the most of his UFC debut winning a hard fought unanimous decision in front of a loud and raucous hometown crowd while padding his wallet with a Fight of the Night bonus. Even though Keladas took a short notice fight, the UFC did him no favors pitting him against rising prospect Ray Borg, where the Fit Plus MMA product lasted into the third round before succumbing to a Borg submission. Even after a loss, the UFC lined Kelades up against another prospect in the form of Chris Beal and this time Kelades withstood the early barrage and eeked out a split decision over the powerful Flyweight. Now again, Kelades is done no favors as the UFC has booked him against the once wunderkind Sergio Pettis. The brother of former Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, Sergio made his UFC debut at UFC 167 earning a decision victory over Will Campuzano. In total, Pettis has amassed a 4-2 Octagon record but only 1-1 since making the drop to 125 lbs. With The UFC’s Flyweight division fairly weak, a solid win in the division can do a lot for the victor’s career and with both men entering this contest coming off a win, putting a streak together will jump either men up the UFC rankings.

Matt MacGrath (photo: Martin Blais | Aggro Photography)

Matt MacGrath (photo: Martin Blais | Aggro Photography)

1. Matt MacGrath @MattMacGrathMMA (17-8) vs. Jesse Ronson @Ronsoff (15-6)
Xcessive Force FC 9 – Grande Prairie – April 15
MacGrath is looking to finally get his shot, while Ronson is looking to fight anyone to get his return ticket and standing between that is each other. The pressure for each man going into this match up is palpable as neither man can stand to take a loss here. Matt MacGrath has seemed to reach an unbeatable stride in his career with a seven fight win streak with wins over the likes of Michael Hill and Mark Holst. Since receiving his UFC pink slip, Jesse Ronson has looked to fight the toughest bouts out there to get back to the big show. Forget the decision loss to Alexander Sarnavski and look at the bouts that fell through, through no fault of “The Body Snatcher”, guys like Mark Holst, Frodo Khasbulaev and Stephen Beaumont. Ronson will literally fight anyone and this match up proves that as MacGrath will not only have a size advantage but his grinding wrestling is the kryptonite style to Ronson’s striking offence. Throwing all that out the window, the reason this will be a must watch scrap is MacGrath needs an exciting fight to continue his build and Ronson is the man to give it too him.  Add in the aforementioned pressure on the shoulders of both men and this tussle will be more explosive than a Canada Day fireworks show.

2 Responses to “ Top Maple Leaf Match Ups In April 2016 ”

  1. mmafan says:

    Stoute gets the nod at #4 and Baker vs the former bellator light heavy champ doesn’t make the list? Either of those guys would smash Stoute!

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  2. mmafan says:

    1. Ronson vs Mcgrath -great striker vs grapple matchup

    2. Kelades vs Pettis -its the ufc

    3. McInnes vs Gallicchio – these guys really dont like eachother been going at it for years, its the main event for a reason

    4. Hill vs Jebb – Hill always comes to bang bro, and both really need to win this fight.

    5. Baker vs Newton – former bellator LHW champ

    6. Hill vs Casmir – Hills one of the top BW’s in Canada, would like to see him get another shot at Moraes

    7. Sherbatov vs Nam – elite prospect and Nams a tough guy, has some nice wins. This fight should really be higher on the list.

    8. Starnes vs Hague – two ufc vets, want to see what tim looks like after being ko’d 3 times in a row and only 6 weeks ago, personally I dont think he should be fightin but ill still be watching.

    9. Machan vs Mckenzie

    10. Nallo vs wallace

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