Every Thursday, The MMA Corner will take a look at three regional or international cards, previewing from each a single fight to which people should pay close attention. We will also list other significant bouts from the card, as well as information on how to follow each promotion and watch the events.

Let’s discover those prospects that fight in the obscurity of the regional and international circuits, waiting for their shot at the bright lights and big stage of the UFC, and those veterans looking for one more chance at stardom. It all begins here, in the small convention centers and high school gymnasiums. It all begins with promotions such as these…

BAMMA USA: Badbeat 7

Commerce Casino in Commerce, Calif.
Event Date: Oct. 12
Website: bammausa.com
Watch Event: free live stream via New LiveStream
Twitter: @BammaUSA

Spotlight Fight:
Sevak Magakian (12-3) vs. Nick Piedmont (6-3)

Plenty of fight fans know BAMMA as a top British promotion, but there’s a completely separate BAMMA that adds the letters “USA” after it that operates in southern California. The organization’s latest effort was to feature Strikeforce veteran Virgil Zwicker, but Zwicker was forced out of the headlining bout with an injury. Undefeated Chris Beal’s fight with veteran Shad Smith might have been the bout promoted to main event status, but the most intriguing fight actually takes place further down the card, where TUF alum Sevak Magakian meets Nick Piedmont.

Magakian’s name should sound familiar. After all, he was one of Jonathan Brookins’ victims en route to Brookins taking home the Ultimate Fighter trophy on the 12th installment of the reality series. In fact, the Armenian succumbed rather quickly to Brookins via rear-naked choke. Magakian has bounced around between lightweight and featherweight, the division he competed in on the reality show and will compete in for this fight.

Piedmont’s name isn’t quite as familiar, but he comes out of the Alliance MMA camp, which is home to current UFC bantamweight kingpin Dominick Cruz. Piedmont has twice fought for Bellator, but went just 1-1 under that promotion’s banner. He’s also just 1-2 in his last three outings, which isn’t a good sign coming into this fight with a prospect who is trying to take the next step towards the Octagon.

Magakian has a talented set of training partners of his own at the Hayastan camp, including current Strikeforce women’s 135-pound champion Ronda Rousey and fellow TUF alum Manny Gamburyan. Obviously, Magakian’s base consists of judo, though he also possesses a background in sambo and has used his grappling skills to notch nine submission wins. Magakian’s only loss since 2007 (not counting the exhibition bout on TUF) was to Strikeforce’s Bobby Green by way of a TKO.

Although Piedmont has not fared well in some of his more recent outings, he’s only competed once since his move to San Diego and the Alliance camp. In that scrap, he needed less than two minutes to knock out Ivan Herrera, a fighter who was 2-0 at the time they met but is now 2-2. Training with Alliance has to equate to an improved skill set for Piedmont, but less than a year with the camp might not be enough to prepare him for Magakian.

Piedmont likes to do his work standing, but it’s easy to picture Magakian’s judo and sambo skills bringing a quick end to that strategy. Piedmont needs to look for the early knockout, because once Magakian gets a hold of him, this one is headed to the mat. And there, it’s the Armenian’s world. As a former lightweight, Magakian will have size to his advantage, in addition to possessing the superior grappling and the needed judo to get his opponent down. The combination of those three assets spells a submission victory for Magakian in this affair.

Other key bouts: Chris Beal (6-0) vs. Shad Smith (12-15-2), Steve Magdaleno (9-3) vs. Jason Williams (4-4), Mike Jasper (5-0) vs. Kyle Bolt (4-1)

Fight Festival 32

Töölön Kisahalli in Helsinki, Finland

Event Date: Oct. 13
Website: fightfestival.com

Spotlight Fight:
Juha-Pekka Vainikainen (19-5-1) vs. Antun Racic (10-3)

Many weeks, two or three fight cards vie for the right to be declared the deepest regional or international offering of the week, but this week, it’s the Finnish Fight Festival promotion that stands head and shoulders above the competition with regards to the depth of talent set to fight. Although UFC veterans Yoshiyuki Yoshida and Lucio Linhares will compete in separate bouts at the organization’s 32nd offering, it’s the fight between top European lightweight prospect Juha-Pekka Vainikainen and Croatian submission specialist Antun Racic.

Vainikainen has gone undefeated through his last nine fights, with eight victories and a draw. His victims include UFC veterans Kyle Watson, Steve Lopez and Brian Geraghty. Striking is the Finnish prospect’s weapon of choice, though he has also submitted five opponents. Most of those submission wins came early in Vainikainen’s career, and throughout the years he has been exposed on the ground—of his five losses, four came by way of submission.

That’s where things get interesting. Racic has picked up all ten of his victories via some form of submission. Racic’s biggest strength is Vainikainen’s biggest weakness. The question is whether 5-foot-5 Croat can drag the six-foot-tall prospect to the mat. That significant size differential should translate into a reach differential that may pay dividends for the taller fighter. If Vainikainen can utilize his jab effectively and keep Racic from closing the distance, this could turn into a decision win for Vainikainen. However, if Racic can score takedowns, a submission could be soon to follow.

Outside of the size and striking of Vainikainen, the other important factor is the prospect’s endurance. Racic will undoubtedly work hard to get takedown, and stuffing them will sap Vainikainen’s energy. The fighter has a bit of a reputation for fading in the later stages of fights, so if Racic can stay persistent, he might gain the upper hand in the closing minutes of the contest.

It’s hard to tell if Racic can keep the pressure on late into a fight, as he tends to submit his opponents in the first or second stanza. Vainikainen has already dealt with UFC veterans—albeit the bottom of the barrel guys—and has found a lot of success. But Racic’s game is heavily focused on grappling, which might leave him exposed against a striker of Vainikainen’s talents. This fight could go either way, but the Finnish fighter has size, experience and a superior striking game on his side. As long as he avoids the ground game of Racic and paces himself to have enough left in his gas tank to go the distance, Vainikainen should emerge with his hand raised.

Other key bouts: Niko Puhakka (26-11) vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida (14-6), Lucio Linhares (17-8) vs. Jake Doerr (6-2), Moktar Benkaci (8-2) vs. Joni Salovaara (10-5), Mikael Silander (7-1) vs. Wade Choate (14-13), Johan Vanttinen (8-2) vs. Vincent del Guerra (17-7)

Made For War 1

Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock, Colo.
Event Date: Oct. 13
Website: mfwmma.com

Spotlight Fight:
Josh Cavan (5-2) vs. Joe Riggs (37-14)

Colorado has long been a hotbed for regional MMA promotions. Now, another such entity is set to make its debut. Made For War travels to the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock for a card that features the likes of undefeated female fighter Darla Harris and TUF alum Tommy Speer. Topping the card is a battle between a grizzled vet, Joe “Diesel” Riggs, and Team Wildman fighter Josh Cavan.

Whereas Riggs has competed in more than 50 pro fights, Cavan is just seven fights into his MMA career. Riggs is a UFC veteran, Cavan has been a mainstay of Fight To Win.

If it isn’t obvious yet, the name of the game here is experience. It’s hard to believe that Riggs is only 30 years old. The man has been fighting since 2001 and has spent time in the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator. He’s riding a three-fight winning streak with stoppage wins over journeymen Aaron Brink and Shannon Ritch. Before that, Riggs had dropped three straight against Kendall Grove, Bryan Baker and Jordan Mein. He’s fought as big as heavyweight (his resume includes a 2002 knockout loss to Wesley “Cabbage” Correira) and almost every loss on his record comes to an opponent whose name is at least vaguely recognizable to fans.

Cavan doesn’t have any of that. His most recent outing ended in disappointment, as he dropped a split decision to debuting pro Josh Cole. He also fell victim to a 20-second knockout courtesy of 5-4 fighter Chris Holland. Cavan’s expertise comes in the area of submissions, but he’s yet to face someone with the ring savvy of Riggs.

Cavan is looking for a breakthrough fight, and this could be it, assuming he can win. But that’s a big assumption to make. Cavan couldn’t convince three judges that he defeated a rookie fighter, so how will he handle an opponent that stood in the same cage with Matt Hughes and defeated fighters such as Rob Kimmons, Kendall Grove and Joe Doerksen? The answer is that it won’t go well for Cavan.

Riggs has the ability to finish the fight regardless of where it goes, but given Cavan’s grappling skills and the knockout loss he suffered, it’s likely that Riggs’ fists will do the job here. Riggs ends Cavan’s night in the first round via TKO.

Other key bouts: Darla Harris (3-0) vs. Diana Rael (3-3), Tommy Speer (19-6) vs. Jeremy Kimball (6-3), Ricky Musgrave (7-2) vs. Lowrant-T Nelson (5-1)

Photo: Juha-Pekka Vainikainen (red shorts) (Heikki Hujala/Sherdog)

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