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…

Classic Entertainment & Sports MMA: Gold Rush

Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I.
Event Date: Aug. 9
Website: cesmma.com
Twitter: @CESMMA

Spotlight Fight:
Rob Font (6-1) vs. Chris Foster (7-2)

Classic Entertainment & Sports has been a mainstay of the regional scene in the northeastern United States and regularly hosts boxing and MMA events. Its latest MMA effort, dubbed “Gold Rush,” features UFC veteran and some intriguing prospects. Among those prospects are Rob Font and Chris Foster, who will vie for the promotion’s vacant featherweight title.

A Boston native, Font trains out of Sityodtong Muay Thai Academy. He started training seriously in 2010 and posted a 3-1 mark as an amateur before turning pro in late 2011. After a 1-1 start to his pro run, he has since reeled off five straight wins, including a unanimous decision victory over Bellator veteran Saul Almeida. Outside of his MMA training, Font does not have a background in combat sports. His lone defeat came via decision and he’s also seen the judges in three of his victories. Of his other wins, two were submissions and one was a knockout.

“He’s like the black Chuck Liddell,” Font said of Foster in a recent CES press release. The four knockouts that Foster scored early in his nine-fight career might back up that statement, but the 5-foot-9 featherweight has not been much of a finisher lately. After launching his pro career in 2008 and winning four of his first six, all by some form of knockout, the Lion’s Den Connecticut product has seen the scorecards in all three fights of his current three-fight winning streak. Two of those verdicts came by a narrow margin that saw only two judges favoring Foster for the win. Foster is a boxer whose most impressive victory allowed him to utilize his striking skills and takedown defense to top BJJ black belt Kevin Roddy.

Despite the comparisons to Liddell, Foster’s resume leaves a lot to be desired. He survived against Roddy, but when he does get taken down, he’s highly susceptible to submissions. Font is a better-rounded fighter than Foster and could opt to test him on the mat. If Foster can avoid going to the ground, he does have a shot at winning this fight. Font is not a finisher on the feet and has a tendency to go the distance.

Foster’s recent victories have been too close for comfort, and Font is a step up in competition from the two fighters who pushed Foster to split decisions. This will be a back-and-forth affair. If Foster connects, he can end this with a TKO, but if he fails to land anything significant, he might find himself on the wrong end of the scorecards this time around.

Other key bouts: Chuck O’Neil (11-5) vs. Gil de Freitas (14-5), Tom Egan (5-3) vs. Aldo Santos (3-1), Charles Rosa (3-0) vs. Silvester Murataj (0-1)

Pacific X-treme Combat 38

University of Guam Fieldhouse in Mangilao, Guam
Event Date: Aug. 9
Twitter: @PXCPhilippines

Spotlight Fight:
Rambaa Somdet (10-2) vs. Robin Catalan (3-1)

If the men’s flyweight division seems to be full of obscure names at the highest levels, what about strawweight? UFC President Dana White has said the diminutive 115-pounders could be Octagon bound in the future, and if that future comes any time soon, Rambaa Somdet is sure to lead the way. The Thai fighter reigns as the No. 1 strawweight competitor in the world. This weekend at Pacific X-Treme Combat’s 38th offering, the former Shooto 114-pound champion and decorated Muay Thai striker will meet fellow Muay Thai champion Robin Catalan in a flyweight contest.

Somdet may miss out on any strawweights-in-the-UFC dreams, however, since he is already 38 years old. “M-16” has never remained very active in MMA competition either, with just 12 fights despite going pro in 2001. Somdet went 2-2 between 2001 and 2002, with losses to Darren Uyenoyama and Mitsuhisa Sunabe, then vanished from the MMA scene for more than four years. He returned in 2007 and is on an eight-fight winning streak that includes victories over Ulysses Gomez, Hiroyuki Abe and Noboru Tahara. The last time Somdet fought more than once in a single calendar year was 2008, and he was forced to vacate his Shooto crown when injuries persisted in keeping him on the sidelines. Despite his striking background, Somdet has notched just two TKO victories, and both came courtesy of a doctor’s stoppage. His other 10 fights have ended with the reading of the scorecards.

Still in his early 20s, Catalan is on the opposite end of the age spectrum from Somdet. After making his pro MMA debut with a win in 2009, Catalan went dormant in the sport until 2012, when he resurfaced to go 2-1 over his next three outings. Catalan has won two fights via decision and one by way of submission. His lone defeat was a submission loss to Geje Eustaquio, the best fighter he’s encountered thus far in his brief MMA career. The combined record of his three victims is 1-4, including two fighters who have never competed professionally outside of their fights with Catalan.

The most popular cliche in describing an MMA fight is to define it as grappler vs. striker. Lagging not too far behind, though, is the cliche of youth vs. experience. As cliched as it might be, that description is perfect for the pairing of Somdet and Catalan. Somdet is nearing the end of his competitive years in combat sports, whereas Catalan is just getting started. Does Somdet still have the skills and conditioning to overcome his much younger challenger? Will youth outweigh experience and lead Catalan to victory?

It’s hard to say. Somdet has struggled to overcome injuries and has never shown an urgency to compete in MMA, settling for a single fight per year. Catalan, whose MMA debut came when he was still a teenager, seems more committed to fighting with regular frequency, but it’s difficult to imagine Catalan, a fighter who faltered against an opponent who now sits at 4-2, toppling the No. 1 strawweight in the world. The only thing that may favor Catalan is the fact that this fight takes place at 125 pounds, but even that may not be enough. When all is said and done, this will be a Muay Thai fight conducted under MMA rules. Catalan may seek to get Somdet on the mat if the older man is getting the better of him in striking exchanges, but Somdet’s experience is too valuable of an asset to deny. The Thai fighter will do enough to earn the judges’ nods and extend his winning streak.

Other key bouts: Josh Calvo (7-3) vs. Anthony Torres (5-2), Russell Doane (10-1) vs. Kyle Aguon (5-3), Frank Camacho (10-2) vs. Koshi Matsumoto (9-4-1), Yusuke Yachi (9-3) vs. Toby Misech (3-2), Kailin Curran (1-0) vs. Emi Tomimatsu (5-6)

Predator Fighting Championship 24

Palestra Sport Club in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Event Date: Aug. 9

Spotlight Fight:
Andressa Araujo Rocha (3-0) vs. Livia Renata Souza (2-0)

On the women’s side of the sport, most fighters don’t get noticed until they’re fighting either in the United States or in Japan’s Jewels promotion. Once in a while, however, an undefeated fighter comes along in another region of the world and demands the respect of fight fans. In the case of Predator FC 24, we have two such warriors in the form of Andressa Araujo Rocha and Livia Renata Souza. Souza is defending her 128-pound Predator FC title and Rocha is looking to snatch it while keeping her own record unblemished and simultaneously tarnishing the perfect mark that Souza carries.

Rocha, a Shock Combat and HP Training Center product, made her professional debut in December 2012 and has already raked in three victories. Her longest fight lasted just under four and a half minutes and ended in a knockout. She has also scored a 86-second TKO win and a submission victory in just 2:23 of the first round. “Meg” is just 20 years old.

At 22, “Livinha” is not much older than Rocha. Souza trains out of Team Vinicius Maximo and Atos Jiu-Jitsu. She has scored both of her victories by way of submission and like Rocha, Souza has never been out of the first round. She made her pro debut in March 2013 and has already notched two wins, including a 24-second heel hook submission finish of Aline Sattelmayer.

Both of these ladies have the potential for a bright future as mixed martial artists. Souza is a grappler who can finish fights in a hurry, but she’s defending her belt against a fighter who has just as much of a chance of knocking an opponent out as she does of submitting them. It’s not advisable to blink during this fight, since there’s a high probability that it will end in quick fashion. Furthermore, Invicta should keep its eye on this fight, for the winner is certainly a hot prospect that could be recruited to further bolster Invicta’s 125-pound division.

As for the victor? Although this fight could easily go either way, the nod has to go in favor of Rocha, who has displayed a more well-rounded game and has the skills to win anywhere the fight goes.

Other key bouts: Fabio Silva (12-6) vs. Renan Fett (2-0) for the light heavyweight title, Guilherme Sarafian (5-0) vs. Neto Loucura (1-1),

Photo: Rambaa Somdet (Dean Marchand/Sherdog)