Possibly the most popular promotion in Canada for MMA, Maximum Fighting Championship returns this weekend with an intriguing card headlined with a title bout.

For the lightweight championship, Mukai Maromo meets Graham Spencer to see who takes home the gold.

Beyond that, a number of top up-and-comers grace the card from different corners of the globe. Canadians, such as Mike Hackert, will pad the card with homegrown talent, while imports such as American Sam Alvey and Brazilian Jonatas Novaes bring some diversity to this exciting card.

Here is a preview of the fights, which take place at the Shaw Conference Center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Friday. You can catch the main card at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV.

LW Championship: Mukai Maromo(8-2) vs. Graham Spencer (9-1)

Spencer (Sherdog)

The main event of the evening has gold on the line when Muay Thai specialist Mukai Maromo meets submission specialist Graham Spencer. This will be your classic striker vs. grappler match-up, which could lead to an interesting chess match.

The most intriguing aspect of this fight is that Spencer actually owns a win over Maromo back in 2010. Spencer won the fight via unanimous decision, but since then Maromo has looked like a different fighter. His striking is clean and devastating, and he uses his athleticism and speed to keep fighters off balance.

Spencer is a grinder with fantastic submission abilities. His latest bout saw him earn an upset win over the scrappy Shane Nelson at the latest installment of MFC. Spencer’s best chance of winning this fight comes on the ground, just like in their first encounter.

Maromo is a better fighter than when these two squared off the first time. He will be ready for Spencer’s takedown attempts and use his quickness to move away from his shots. Maromo will score points with his striking en route to a decision win for the belt.

MW Championship: Elvis Mutapcic (12-2) vs. Sam Alvey (19-4)

Mutapcic (Paul Hernandez/Sherdog)

Vicious striker Elvis Mutapcic is set to defend his middleweight crown when he takes on Bellator and Ultimate Fighter veteran Sam Alvey. Mutapcic has looked to be UFC quality, and he can prove that if he is impressive in his fight with the former TUF competitor.

The champion is an extremely well-rounded individual who is coming off a sickening TKO win over Joseph Henle. The stoppage came via leg kick, as it was brutal enough to buckle Henle’s leg and render him unable to continue. Mutapcic also owns notable wins over TUF alums Jacen Flynn, Cezar Ferreira and Zak Cummings.

Alvey is a heavy-handed striker who returns to 185 pounds after his stint on the reality show at 170. He looked incredibly drained at welterweight, so this figures to be a nice homecoming for him. Alvey will want to stand and bang with Mutapcic, but that is a mistake, as Mutapcic bangs with the best of them.

Expect Mutapcic to wipe the smile off Alvey’s face in the form of some vicious striking. It may take a few shots, as Alvey has a solid chin, but Mutapcic should be able to break through midway into the fight.

LW: Jonatas Novaes (10-4) vs. Kurt Southern (10-3)

Southern (Al Quintero/Sherdog)

One of the most interesting match-ups on the card may be the one least thought of when MFC 36 is mentioned. That fight takes place between Kurt Southern and late replacement Jonatas Novaes.

Novaes is a submission specialist who is coming off the biggest win of his career against Drew Fickett. That win came in the form of a knockout in less than a minute. The development of his hands is finally evident, but his bread and butter is still his ground game. The Brazilian has never been finished in a fight, which makes this a great challenge for Southern.

Speaking of Southern, the Canadian is a bit of a submission specialist himself. The difference between him and Novaes is that even though both men are great offensive submission artists, Southern lacks the defense that Novaes possesses. Of Southern’s three losses, all have come via tapout.

This is where the problem lies for the Canadian. Novaes may be the best grappler he has yet to face in his career. Therefore, I could see Novaes securing a mid-round tapout to move one step closer to a UFC contract.

MW: Jay Silva (8-6) vs. Wes Swofford (7-3)

Silva (Maciej Okraszewski/Sherdog)

Jay Silva has gone through several opponents, but he has finally settled on a middleweight scrap aganist the unheralded Wes Swofford. Before Swofford, Silva had been linked in bouts against Jacen Flynn and Leo Bercier.

Silva has been an enigma in his career. Just when it looks like he is headed to big things in the middleweight division, he crashes back to earth just as fast as he ascended. He has bookended a win against Kendall Grove with losses to Bristol Marunde and Michal Materla in his last three fights. Stepping up in competition has been the biggest issue for Silva. However, he does have heavy hands and can end a fight in an instant.

As for Swofford, he did not get much time to prepare for this fight, as he is a very late replacement. He is also a striker who owns six wins via knockout. He has been searching for a marquee name to pad his resume, and this is his chance to do that.

Silva’s higher-level experience and readiness to fight for this card should carry him. He will drop Swofford and choke him out to finish the fight.

HW: Mike Hackert (6-1) vs. Smealinho Rama (5-0)

Canada’s two best heavyweights will collide when Mike Hackert and Smealinho Rama throw down. The winner of this contest should have done enough to earn a UFC contract, assuming they win in impressive fashion and not in a snoozer.

Hackert is known for his boxing ability, as he usually uses his hands to outpoint opponents. He only has one finish in six wins, but he has been dominant in those wins. He owns two wins over UFC veteran Tim Hague, which is a nice feather in the Canadian heavyweight’s cap.

Rama is a newer face in the sport of MMA, but he has been wildly successful so far. The undefeated prospect has laid waste to his first five opponents, finishing all via knockout or submission. This includes fellow Canadian heavyweight standout Ryan Fortin.

This fight is really a tossup, because Rama has yet to face a guy as skilled as Hackert. Inexperience will play a factor here, and Hackert will walk away with a satisfying decision win.

Undercard

MW: Jason Zentfraf (6-1) vs. Clay Davidson (7-3)

At the last minute, Jason Zentgraf has switched opponents, as Clay Davidson has agreed to step in for Luke Harris. Both men are submission artists that will be looking to tap each other out, but Zentgraf is better prepared and has higher-level experience. Zentgraf may earn the tap, but expect him to take home a clear-cut decision instead.

MW: Marcus Hicks (10-3) vs. Paul Grandbois (5-4)

WEC veteran Marcus Hicks will have his hands full when he faces a much larger opponent in Paul Grandbois. Grandbois is a power striker who has finished all his fights via knockout. Hicks is a submission specialist giving up a significant amount of size. However, Grandbois’ resume is nothing too impressive, and Hicks is powerful for his size. There could be another submission win on the horizon for Hicks.

WW: Chris Mattock (2-0) vs. Elvis Vukaj (0-0)

Two young guns of the sport are set to square off at 170 pounds when Chris Mattock meets the debuting Elvis Vukaj. Mattock is undefeated professionally and at the amateur level, finishing every fight by submission. Vukaj won both of his amateur bouts via decision, but will suffer from pro jitters. Mattock will submit him early.

LW: Garret Nybakken (4-5) vs. Keenan Feeney(2-2)

Garret Nybakken is a submission specialist with questionable submission defense. Keenan Feeney is a striker that has been outstruck before. This is a really interesting match-up in that these are two low-level guys looking to gain exposure and show they have improved. Nybakken will get Feeney down and tap him at some point.

Top Photo: Mukai Maromo (Arnold Lim/Sherdog)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.