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…

Jungle Fight 48

Portuguesa Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Event Date: Jan. 25
Website: junglefight.net.br
Twitter: @junglefc

Spotlight Fight:
Ivan Jorge (22-3) vs. Lindeclecio “Bruto Batista” Oliveira (3-0)

Although the Jungle Fight promotion has served as a launching pad to send Brazilian talent to the UFC, some fighters have yet to receive the attention they deserve. One such fighter is Ivan “Batman” Jorge, who will compete against the much less experienced Lindeclecio Oliveira this weekend.

The 32-year-old Jorge has an outstanding grappling game and has finished 11 of his bouts via submission. The decorated grappler is 8-1 over his last nine outings, with the only loss coming by way of decision and all eight victories coming via submission (including a submission due to strikes). His only career losses have come to Yuri Ivlev, Luis Santos and Andre Santos.

Oliveira’s experience pales in comparison to Jorge’s 10-plus years in the sport. “Bruto Batista” has seen combat as a pro on just three occasions in a little over a year, though he has emerged victorious each time. The 22-year-old is a striker and has captured gold in the kickboxing world.

This fight really comes down to experience and skill. Oliveira, who tried out for TUF Brazil 2, is an up-and-coming prospect, but he has yet to truly prove himself in the MMA world. And if there’s one thing that a kickboxer needs to prove, it is that he can hang with someone of Jorge’s experience and skill.

Jorge will have to be cautious and avoid Oliveira’s power. It’s quite possible that Batman could get caught and ends up staring up at the lights. However, Jorge is a savvy veteran and has met plenty of competition of varying skill levels. Only two men have stopped him, but both did so via strikes. The real question lies in just how good Oliveira really is. If he gets past Batman then he’s worthy of a look from either the UFC or Bellator. However, Jorge’s submission skills should prove to be too much for the youngster. Batman will drag Oliveira to the mat, where he will finish the kickboxer by way of a submission.

Other key bouts: Mario Israel (6-0) vs. Atila Oliveira Pininga (8-5), Jorge Luis Bezerra (18-7) vs. Antonio dos Santos Jr. (3-1)

Ring of Combat XLIII

Tropicana Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
Event Date: Jan. 25
Website: ringofcombat.com
Watch Event: live pay-per-view stream at GoFightLive
Twitter: @ringofcombat

Spotlight Fight:
Deividas Taurosevicius (15-5) vs. Frank Caraballo (11-4)

Ring of Combat has experienced an unusually lengthy layoff due to the harsh weather that hit the shores of New Jersey late last year. Now, the promotion is back with its latest offering, which features a battle between WEC and IFL veteran Deividas Taurosevicius and Bellator veteran Frank Caraballo. Taurosevicius’ featherweight title will be on the line when the two meet.

Despite Taurosevicius’ success in the IFL and a 2-1 run—including wins over Mackens Semerzier and Javier Vazquez—in the WEC, Zuffa opted not to bring the Lithuanian fighter into the UFC fold. Instead, Taurosevicius exited Zuffa following his majority decision loss to L.C. Davis. He followed that up with a split decision defeat at the hands of Wilson Reis under the Bellator banner. The 35-year-old has since righted the ship with three victories under the Ring of Combat banner. He picked up the promotion’s featherweight title in the process.

He’ll be defending that belt against Caraballo, a fighter who had no prior combat sports experience prior to leaping into mixed martial arts in 2006. Despite the lack of a combat sports background, Caraballo has posted 11 career victories to just four defeats. The 28-year-old can get it done on the mat or standing. Currently the reigning NAAFS featherweight champion, Caraballo is riding a six-fight winning streak.

When Caraballo started his amateur career, he was competing against guys much larger than himself. Now, he’s fighting at a more appropriate 145 pounds. That’s helped him find success and build a name for himself as a prospect. The Cleveland native has twice appeared under the Bellator banner, emerging with his hand raised on both occasions, and has fought in losing efforts against the likes of Waylon Lowe and Daniel Straus.

The thing is that Taurosevicius is the toughest test that Caraballo has faced since his loss to Straus. The Lithuanian has been on a tear in Ring of Combat and there could be an argument made that he never should have been released by Zuffa. Caraballo’s relative inexperience is going to hurt him against Taurosevicius. The second-degree black belt has a well-rounded game and should be able to get the better of the stand-up exchanges before looking for a takedown. Caraballo has been prone to both striking and grappling attacks in the past, but this one is bound to hit the mat at some point, where Taurosevicius holds the biggest advantage. Once Caraballo ends up in a grappling battle, it’s only a matter of time before Taurosevicius finds a way to make him tap out.

Other key bouts: Ryan LaFlare (6-0) vs. Andrew “Ozzy” Osborne (5-4), Chris Wade (4-0) vs. Mike Medrano (10-9)

Dakota Fighting Championship 14: American Dream

Scheels’ Arena in Fargo, N.D.
Event Date: Jan. 26
Website: dakotafc.com

Spotlight Fight:
Phillipe Nover (7-4) vs. Tony Martin (4-0)

One of the best ways for a fighter to get noticed is to post a victory over a known UFC veteran. Prospect Tony Martin (not to be confused with UFC veteran Terry Martin) will get his opportunity to post such a win this weekend at the 14th offering from the Dakota Fighting Championship promotion. Martin will put his unblemished record on the line against The Ultimate Fighter 8 finalist Phillipe Nover.

Nover was at one time hailed by UFC President Dana White as the next coming of Anderson Silva. He ran through three opponents during the reality series, winning all three contests via submission. But in the finals, he dropped a unanimous decision to Efrain Escudero and followed that performance up with two more losses inside the Octagon to earn his pink slip. He’s gone just 2-1 since, with a loss to Marcin Held under the Bellator banner.

Martin has only seen four professional bouts in his career, but he has secured a submission win in each of those outings. Thus far, Martin’s most significant wins have come against veterans Bruce Johnson and Jay Ellis, both of whom hold extensive losing records. The young Minnesotan demonstrated knockout power during his amateur career, but he has relied heavily on his grappling skills since turning pro.

Nover is one of the bigger disappointments among TUF finalists, considering the praise he received from White. Despite his three wins on The Ultimate Fighter, Nover is nothing but an extremely low-level gatekeeper at this point. He does hold a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so he presents the most danger to Martin if this fight heads to the mat.

Martin’s combination of knockout power, wrestling and aggressive submissions makes him an all-around threat. Nover has a long way to go to build towards another shot at the big show, but he will be a real test for Martin. However, Martin is capable of grinding out Nover for three rounds. Nover has never been submitted and Martin would be foolish to go to the ground with the black belt. Instead, look for Martin to test Nover’s Muay Thai skills by feigning the takedown and then changing levels to connect with punches. Kyle Bradley scored a TKO of Nover, and Martin is quite capable of doing the same.

Other key bouts: Cameron Ramberg (6-0) vs. Doug Jenkins (6-3) for the featherweight title, Brett Murphy (5-1) vs. Brian Heden (23-11)

Photo: Deividas Taurosevicius (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)