Top Maple Leaf Match Ups In May 2016

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Top 10 Maple Leaf Matchups THUMBWhat a month in Canadian MMA! Even without a single Canadian UFC booking, we still have international ranking implications especially within the WMMA. Both Julia Budd and Angela Lee will be vying for important WMMA titles while Charmaine Tweet will be looking to put herself back into Invicta FC title contention. Along with many top 10 ranked Canadians and even with only a handful of shows in the great fight north this month, it’s an exciting time to be a Canadian MMA fan. Add in the fact that eastern Canada is starting to heat back up with two shows this month and both BC and Saskatchewan getting cards, the usually slow spring in Canadian MMA is roaring and may be proving our national 5 ounce fisticuffs may no longer be on life support.

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 nothing but good news on the Canadian MMA front and nothing but fantastic match ups in front of us, let’s crack a beer, grab a patio chair and check out this month’s Top Maple Lead Match Ups.

Honorable Mentions:

Keven Morin took on Kyle Prepolec (photo: Jeremy Penn | Pennography)

Keven Morin took on Kyle Prepolec (photo: Jeremy Penn | Pennography)

10. Alex Morgan (4-2) vs. Keven Morin (8-7)
LAMMQ 5 – Quebec City – May 21
With Quebec MMA events becoming fewer and far between, it is a friendly sight to see LAMMQ returning to action in “Le Belle Province” along with preparing to crown their inaugural Featherweight champion. The story line behind this intriguing championship bout is pitting the young upstart Alex Morgan against the tough, durable and proven veteran Keven Morin. Morgan, who splits his training time between his home gym Gladiateur Fight Club and the famed Tristar Gym, will enter the title match up with a three fight win streak under his belt. Morgan’s record is somewhat deceptive, he lost his pro debut against seven fight veteran Tommy Cote and his other loss came against Canadian top 10 ranked Adrian Vilaca. Combine that with his 11-2-1 amateur record and you can see Morgan definitely is title worthy. Morin, on the other hand, will be entering this bout on the heels of a two fight skid.  Granted those losses do come against some top Canadians in the form of Tristan Johnson and Kyle Prepolec. Nicknamed “Guede”, Morin has fought most of career at both Lightweight and Welterweight and has come up short against the likes of Alex Ricci, Jesse Gross and Jason Saggo. Now, slimmer and in the best shape of his career, the 15 fight veteran will look to start a new chapter in his career at 145 lbs. With Featherweight slowly becoming one of the slimmest divisions in Canadian MMA, a win here for either man will be a huge boost for the victor’s career.

9. Malcolm Gordon @Malcolm_X_MMA (6-2) vs. Andrew Cseh @AndrewCseh (7-5)
Global Warriors 3 – Brantford – May 28
In late 2013 and 2104, Malcolm Gordon turned the Canadian Flyweight division on its head with huge wins over Mike Davis and Chris Kelades. During that same timeframe, Andrew Cseh had almost decided to hang up the gloves and stepped away from the sport. Now 24 months later, Gordon has recently bounced back from a pair of defeats at the hands of Randy Turner and Austin Ryan, while Cseh made the drop to Flyweight and captured the Global Proving Ground Flyweight title with a win over prospect Dez Moore. Coming into this extremely important match up, Gordon has returned to the winning track with a decision win over the then undefeated Shawn Mack, while Cseh tried to up his ante by challenging the experienced Sean Santella but came up on the losing end by way of unanimous decision. It’s been a tale of two cities as these top 10 ranked Canadian Flyweights have tried to negotiate a still burgeoning division. Now set to face off in the cage in a bout that could steer the course of both of their careers, they will need to put the past behind them and focus hard on training as the winner here will find themselves back near the top of the Canadian Top 10.

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

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

8. Brendan Kornberger @BKornbrger185 (6-2) vs. Mike Jasper @StuJasperMMA (9-3)
Battlefield Fight League 43 – Coquitlam – May 7
BFL’s number #2 ranked Middleweight, Brendan Kornberger, will look to snowball one win into a streak and return back to his winning ways when he meets RFA veteran Mike Jasper. Kornberger,pok a member of Ryan’s MMA, started off his career with a five fight win streak capping it off by capturing the Five Star Fight League Middleweight title by defeating Brad Stewart. That title win gave Kornberger his biggest stage opportunity to date – a WSOF match up against then fellow undefeated Krasimir Mladenov. Unfortunately, a game Kornberger was defeated by decision. That fight led to a BFL title shot but again Kornberger suffered a setback losing to champion Ryan Janes by submission in the fourth round. However, the BC native did rebound this past January with an absolute beat down of Nicolae Cury. Mike Jasper, who trains out of Bas Rutten’s Elite MMA, tried out for TUF 17 and made it to the preliminary fight stage but lost to Colin Hart. Since then, Jasper has gone 3-3 including his most recent two fight stretch with RFA where he went 1-1 TKOing Blake Troop before being submitted in his most recent bout by Gabirel Checco. Jasper himself will be looking to return to the win column and prove he can hang on the inernational scene while Kornberger will be looking for an exciting win to nail down a rematch with reigning BFL champ Janes.

7. Alex Ricci @AlexRicciMMA (10-3) vs. Kyle Prepolec @KPrepolec (9-4)
Global Warriors 3 – Brantford – May 28
Fighting for a living is no easy chore and it becomes especially more difficult if you are a Canadian fighting at 155 lbs. Even UFC fighters like Mitch Clarke, Jason Saggo and Kajan Johnson only seem to get booked once a year while a top prospect like Mandel Nallo has the same issue of only picking up a paycheque every 12 months. So what do you when you are Alex Ricci and Kyle Prepolec and you just faced off 12 months ago? Well, instead of biding your time, you rematch and do it all over again to make that cheddar. Alex Ricci, the victor in the first meeting, got back in the win column with that win and turned it into a streak with his recent decision win over Kieran Joblin at last month’s Triumph FC debut. Kyle Prepolec also recently righted his ship after the Ricci loss in highlight fashion KOing then unbeaten prospect Adrian Hadribeaj with a spinning back fist. Their first meeting was definitely not a blow out but Ricci did use his Muay Thai background to control the stand up and superb takedown defence to win via unanimous decision.  Prepolec showed heart after being hurt in the first round – the same heart and durability he showed in he aforementioned Hadribeaj fight. A win here for Ricci and he has a three fight win streak under his belt while Prepolec will be looking to avenge the first loss. With fights coming few and far between for these two, a win is an absolute must.

Lyndon Whitlock vs Michael Spoenlein (photo: Martin Blais | Aggro Photography)

Lyndon Whitlock vs Michael Spoenlein (photo: Martin Blais | Aggro Photography)

6. Lyndon Whitlock @LyndonWhitlock (10-5) vs. Jonathan Brookins @J_Brookins (15-7)
Global Warriors 3 – Brantford – May 28
Lyndon Whitlock will hope the third time is the charm as he again meets an extremely experienced and dangerous international foe as he looks to continue his career resurgence at Bantamweight. Whitlock has twice faced stiff international competition in the form of Rick Glenn and Mike Hernandez and in both outings Whitlock came out defeated by TKO. Granted the Hernandez loss came during his 135 lbs. stint, the Hamilton, Ontario native has gone 3-1 in his slimmest form with victories over the likes of Ryan Connor, Michael Spoenlein and, most recently, Noah Ali. Jonathan Brookins is probably best known for defeating Michael Johnson en route to winning the 12th installment of The Ultimate Fighter. After a 2-3 stint in the UFC, Brookins received his pink slip and signed with Legacy FC where he competed once at Flyweight earning a submission win but quickly returned to 135 lbs. Since then, he has gone 1-1 with a decision loss to prospect Austin Lyons but righted the ship at Pancrase 262 with a decision win back in November 2014. With Brookins extended lay off and the fact that Whitlock has been fighting regularly and has recently added trips to the Blackzillians for training, all signs point to Whitlock finally notching his signature career win.

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Angela Lee (photo: One FC)

Angela Lee (photo: One FC)

5. Angela Lee @Unstoppable_Lee (5-0) vs. Mei Yamaguchi @V_VMei (15-8-1)
ONE Championship 42 – May 6
Vancouver, BC native and ONE championship poster child, Angela Lee, will face her toughest and most experienced challenger to date when she meets 20 pus fight veteran Mei Yamaguchi for the promotion’s vacant WMMA Strawweight title. Lee, who trains out of Evolve MMA alongside fellow ONE alumni Shinya Aoki and Ben Askren, has fought her entire pro career with ONE after compiling a 3-0 amateur record. She was a highly sought prospect, due to her grappling prowess, when she made her decision to turn pro in 2015 and was quickly snatched up by the Singapore based promotion where she has finished all five of her professional bouts by way of submission. Yamaguchi, a former Valkyrie Featherweight champion, has fought professionally since 2007. A long time mainstay of the Japanese WMMA scene, she holds notable wins over the likes of Emi Fujino and Kyoko Takabayashi. Lee has long been targeted as a major player for ONE but prior to this match up her wins have come against others early in their pro career while this match up will not only pit her against a proven competitor, but a win will cement her as one of the brightest 115 lbs prospects. Even though Yamaguchi will come into this bout with a tremendous advantage in experience, she has lost her only two submission grappling matches and with Lee’s very tricky ground game, Yamaguchi’s experience may be all for not.

4. Jeremy Kennedy @JeremyKennedyWC (7-0) vs. Drew Brokenshire @EternalFireMMA (15-6)
Battlefield Fight League 43 – Coquitlam – May 7
One of Canada’s hottest and brightest prospects at 145 lbs will be making his return to the cage after a 16 month layoff as Jeremy Kennedy takes on 20 plus fight veteran Drew Brokenshire, albeit in a non title bout. Jeremy Kennedy captured the BFL Featherweight strap by defeating his toughest opponent to date, Mario Pereira, by decision in January 2015. “JBC”  has found a new training home in the last couple years making the trek to Thailand to sharpen his skills at Team Quest Thailand even spending 2014 fighting inside Thailand gaining two wins over international competition. Drew Brokenshire is one of the top Featherweights fighting out of the northern USA and has spent most of his career fighting in the regional scene in that area earning wins over the likes of Enoch Wilson and Gabriel Solorio. Despite this being a non title affair, this is actually an important bout for both men as Kennedy may be undefeated but has yet to face an opponent with more than five pro bouts. While Brokenshire does have “good” wins, he has struggled when facing top tier opposition suffering losses to the likes of Daniel Swain, Alexander Sarnavskiy and Julian Erosa. Each man may be at a separate point in their careers, but a win here is a must to advance themselves and get the look from the bigger promotions.

Charmaine Tweet (photo: Prestige FC)

Charmaine Tweet (photo: Prestige FC)

3. Charmaine Tweet @NotSoSweetMMA (8-5) vs. Latoya Walker @BlackMambaATX (5-0)
Invicta FC 17 – May 7
With Invicta’s Featherweight champion Cristiane Justino set to make her UFC Octagon debut, this match up between the number 4 (Walker) and 5 (Tweet) ranked Featherweights has just got a whole lot more interesting. Charmaine Tweet may not have the glossiest of records but her losses come against some of the top names in the business including Ronda Rousey, Julia Budd and the aforementioned Justino. Most recently, Tweet captured the inaugural PFC Featherweight title by defeating top 15 Featherweight Jessica Miele by decision this past March putting her on a two fight win streak. The currently undefeated Latoya Walker, known as “Black Mamba”, trains out of Team XFC in Austin, Texas. Known as devastating striker with big power punches, she has won two of her five bouts by way of TKO/KO and has earned big wins over the likes of Gabriele Holloway and, most recently, UFC veteran Peggy Morgan. With the chance that Justino may be vacating her Invicta FC crown, the weight of this match up has gotten a whole lot heavier as the winner would move themselves into number 1 contendership for the potentially vacated title.

2. Josh Hill @GentlemanJHill (14-1) vs. Bill Kamery (13-4)
Global Warriors 3 – Brantford – May 28
With no WSOF opportunities on the horizon for Josh Hill, he needs to fight to earn a paycheque to survive. Sadly, that has put him in one of the worst situations for a highly ranked fighter – take higher risk, no reward fights against lesser named or no name opponents in order to make a living. Currently ranked as the number 1 contender on the WSOF website, Hill has only fought once in the WSOF’s Decagon since his close loss to Marlon Moraes at WSOF 18. Bill Kamery a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been fighting professionally since 2007 having found success on the regional midwest circuit. He was given shots in both Titan FC and RFA respectively but unfortunately came up short against both LC Davis and Pedro Munhoz. Returning back to the Iowa regional scene where he is the defending Pinnacle FC Bantamweight champion, he has amassed a three fight win streak. For Kamery, this is a great opportunity to unseat a high ranked fighter and use him as a stepping stone back to the bigger promotions. For Hill, this is a must win bout as a loss would kill any chance of a slim but potential rematch with the WSOF’s reigning king pin or, if his contract can expire, a look from either Bellator of the UFC.

Julia Budd

Julia Budd

1. Julia Budd @JuliaBudd (8-2) vs. Marloes Coenen @MarloesCoenen (23-6)
Bellator 155: Carvalho vs. Manhoef – May 20
With the dominance of women like Ronda Rousey and Cristiane Justino, fighters like Julia Budd and Marloes Coenen were lost in the shuffle when the UFC purchased Strikeforce where woman’s MMA once dominated the promotion. For WMMA’s finest who were heavier than 135 lbs, fights were few and far between. When Bellator announced their intentions of introducing a WMMA Featherwight title, it was no surprise that Budd and Coenen quickly signed with the promotion in early 2014. Sadly, for these women currently ranked number 2 (Coenen) and 3 (Budd), Bellator took longer than expected to have their plans come to fruition as they have only fought twice since the signing equating to basically one fight a year. Now, the match up most of us expected two years ago has finally come to realization as Budd and Coenen have signed on the dotted line and will be headlining the Belletor 155 online undercard for the promotion’s inaugural Featherweight title. Budd will enter this bout on the heels of a six fight win streak while Coenen will only have two back to back wins under her belt, granted Coenen did fight Justino in late 2013. With Justino signed to make her UFC debut, this match will determine who is the number one WMMA Featherweight outside the UFC and with the sponsorship dollars that Bellator have access at getting, this will not only do wonders for the winner’s MMA career but also be a huge boost to the winner’s pocket as well.

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

  1. EPerez says:

    Props to The Gentleman and The Whitlock.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

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