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…

ONE Fighting Championship 10: Champions & Warriors

Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia
Event Date: Sept. 13
Website: onefc.com
Watch Event: prelims stream live on Sherdog, main card pay-per-view stream live on Livesport.tv
Twitter: @ONEFCMMA

Spotlight Fight:
Caros Fodor (7-3) vs. Seung Ho Yang (6-0)

With Andrew Leone forced to withdraw from his flyweight bout with Shinichi Kojima that was slated to headline ONE FC’s latest offering, it’s a preliminary card match-up that now stands out as the most intriguing fight of the night. The bout pairs UFC castoff Caros Fodor against South Korea’s Seung Ho Yang.

Fodor was once riding high on a 7-1 record that included five straight wins under the Strikeforce banner. Then he ran into Pat Healy, who finished Fodor via submission in the third round of their Strikeforce bout. Despite the loss, Fodor, who made his pro debut in 2009 after an amateur career that extends back to 2005, was brought into the UFC fold once Strikeforce closed its doors. Although he was barely edged on the scorecards by veteran Sam Stout, “The Future” found himself unemployed following the contest. The Washington native is now on a two-fight losing streak, but hopes to make his ONE FC debut a rebound performance. Fodor has a well-balanced record of two wins by some form of knockout, three via submission and two by way of decision. In the loss column, he has twice been submitted and lost once via decision in the aforementioned affair with Stout. Fodor wrestled in high school and also has a background in Muay Thai. The 29-year-old trains under the tutelage of Matt Hume at AMC Pankration.

Yang is undefeated through six fights. The Korean fighter is yet another rising prospect out of Phuket Top Team. The 23-year-old has earned three wins on the scorecards, plus two via submission and one by way of TKO. Yang has not maintained a consistent streak of activity in the MMA world. He made his pro debut in 2007 and fought twice that year, appeared just once in 2008, twice in 2010 and once so far in 2013.

Fodor is a decorated striker and grappler coming off a tough loss to Stout. He arguably should still be on the UFC’s roster, but the top show responded to the influx of Strikeforce talent with a liberal set of roster cuts where losing a fight meant a trip to the unemployment line. Yang, meanwhile, has a lot of gaps in what at first glance appears to be a stellar resume. Dig deeper, however, and that resume crumbles. Four of his opponents were making their pro debuts and currently sport 0-1 records—that’s right, their first and last opponent as a pro was Yang. One of Yang’s other opponents was making just his second appearance after a 1-0 start, but still sits at just 1-1 after the loss to Yang. That leaves only one opponent that Yang has faced who sports a significant record. Unfortunately, that record now sits at 18-21, giving Yang yet another win over a sub-.500 adversary. Looking on the bright side, that opponent, David Gardner, has faced a number of UFC veterans and holds victories over the likes of Rich Clementi and Ryan Schultz.

Yang has yet to prove himself against a fighter with a winning record, but he’ll get a chance against Fodor. His decision win over Gardner stands as his best performance to date, and Fodor is a significant leap up in competition for the Korean prospect. Yang is a grappler, but he’s faced with a foe who has emerged as a champion in that realm. Fodor’s striking is also far superior to that of Yang. In fact, the Korean’s biggest advantage might be the long trek that Fodor must make for the fight in comparison to Yang, who resides in the region. Fodor’s superior skills in all aspects of the game, combined with Yang’s on-again, off-again MMA career, leaves this as Fodor’s fight to lose. The Strikeforce and UFC veteran should use strong clinch work and striking to set up Yang for a finish, likely in the form of a TKO or a rear-naked choke once Yang turtles up from the punishment.

Other key bouts: Kotetsu Boku (20-8-2) vs. Vuyisile Colossa (5-4)

BAMMA 13: Nunes vs. Jones

Birmingham Indoor National Arena in Birmingham, England
Event Date: Sept. 14
Website: bamma.com
Watch Event: AXS TV (USA), The Fight Network (Canada), Red Media (Russia), TV Esporte Interativo (Brazil), Setanta (Africa)
Twitter: @bammauk

Spotlight Fight:
Max Nunes (11-0) vs. Jason Jones (19-10)

BAMMA may not have the hectic event schedule of fellow British promotion Cage Warriors, but the lineup for its 13th show suggests that the promotion is putting an emphasis on quality over quantity. The promotion has gathered together a strong list of recognizable names and faces, including Ultimate Fighter alums Colin Fletcher and Eddy Ellis, UFC vet Curt Warburton, Bellator vet Jim Wallhead, undefeated Scott Askham and prospects Mansour Barnaoui, Tim Newman and Jack Marshman. The promotion has four title bouts lined up, including a light heavyweight title showdown between undefeated Max Nunes and 29-fight veteran Jason Jones.

Sweden’s Max Nunes has been a dominant force on the international circuit since making his pro debut in 2010. Through 11 fights, he has yet to see the scorecards. Nunes has six wins by some form of knockout and five via submission. The 24-year-old trains alongside UFC veteran Nick Osipczak at New Wave Academy MMA. The 6-foot-4 light heavyweight has drawn comparisons to the early career performances of UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones in how his athletic ability allows him to get by without a refined skill set. Nunes’ grappling skills and knockout power are evidenced by his record of stoppage victories, but, as with many European fighters, his wrestling is one of his weaker spots. Nunes’ most notable victories thus far in his career include a third-round TKO of Marcin Lazarz that accounts for the prospect’s lone loss, a first-round TKO demolition of veteran Justin Davis on U.S. soil and a first-round TKO of 13-6 fighter Kevin Thompson in his last appearance under the BAMMA banner.

Jones is a Golden Glory product with a background that includes a black belt in judo. Jones made his pro debut in 2004 and ran up a five-fight winning streak before suffering his first defeat. Since then, he’s never strung together more than four consecutive victories en route to a 19-10 career mark. Jones has locked horns with such notable names as Daniel Weichel, Riki Fukuda, Marcus Vanttinen, Emil Zahariev and Murilo “Ninja” Rua. He has eight wins by some form of knockout, seven via submission and four by way of decision. Meanwhile, he has suffered four losses by some form of knockout, two via submission and four on the judges’ scorecards. After tallying four straight wins, Jones lost his most recent outing via knockout against Maciej Browarski.

Jones has claimed that he’s a step up in competition for Nunes, but that’s hard to believe. In reality, Jones is more likely on a similar level to the last three opponents Nunes has seen. Lazarz was an undefeated prospect when Nunes confronted him, and Davis is a bit closer to the .500 mark than Jones. The 32-year-old Dutch fighter will face a disadvantage in height and is outgunned on his feet, despite his time spent at Golden Glory.

The only test for Nunes here is in how he handles Jones’ judo. Jones will have to look to get Nunes off balance and execute throws to put Nunes on his back and out of his comfort zone. If Jones fails, it’s game over for him. Nunes might not have crisp technique on his feet, but he has the knockout power to send Jones crashing to the canvas. The Swede also may lack wrestling ability, but if he can land in top position on the mat, he has a combination of ground-and-pound and grappling that can get the job done.

Nunes is a solid prospect, whereas Jones has experienced a roller-coaster ride’s worth of ups and downs throughout his career. Jones’ experience and judo skills give him a small chance to play spoiler, but Nunes has the athletic ability and knockout power to make this a rough night for Jones. Nunes will add to his body count here with an annihilation of Jones in the stand-up game.

Other key bouts: Jim Wallhead (24-7) vs. Eddy Ellis (18-15-1) for the welterweight title, Curt Warburton (12-3) vs. Mansour Barnaoui (9-2) for the lightweight title, Colin Fletcher (8-3) vs. Tim Newman (10-3), Scott Askham (11-0) vs. Jorge Luis Bezerra (18-9) for the middleweight title, Jack Marshman (12-3) vs. Ion Pascu (6-3), Daniel Missin (4-1) vs. Rany Saadeh (4-1), Mahmood Besharate (4-0) vs. Joe Laurence (4-5)

Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 59

Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales
Event Date: Sept. 14
Website: cagewarriors.com
Watch Event: Fight Now TV (USA), Premier Sports (United Kingdom), Setanta Sports 1 (Ireland), Fight Network (Canada, Portugal, Turkey, Angola, Mozambique) and ESPN (Middle East, Africa, Caribbean, Pacific Rim). Main card live stream on MMA Junkie (USA/Canada), PremierSports.tv (United Kingdom), JOE.ie (Ireland), ESPN (Brazil) and cagewarriors.tv (rest of the world).
Twitter: @CageWarriors

Spotlight Fight:
Jim Alers (10-1) vs. Martin Svensson (12-3)

Not many promotions maintain as rigorous of a schedule as Britain’s Cage Warriors. Just weeks after its last show, the promotion returns this weekend with its ninth event of the year and the 59th numbered event in the promotion’s history. The focus of this latest show is on the smaller weight classes. The promotion will host a four-man single-night bantamweight tournament with a bracket full of prospects. The tourney final serves as the co-headliner before Jim Alers and Martin Svensson step into the cage for a featherweight title tilt.

Alers is the promotion’s defending 145-pound champion. The 26-year-old has never seen the scorecards through 11 outings, with a TKO loss, two wins by some form of knockout and eight victories via submission. Alers succeeded Conor McGregor as the Cage Warriors champ when he captured gold in his most recent outing with a submission win over fellow prospect Joni Salovaara. The former high school wrestler is an accomplished grappler who is coached by World champion Bruno Malfacine and trains out of Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Orlando.

Svensson trains out of Frontier MMA and made his pro debut in 2008. He has one knockout victory and three decision wins, but usually ends fights via submission. The Swede has been stopped on three occasions, once by way of a TKO and twice via submission. The 28-year-old is currently riding a two-fight winning streak and is 7-1 over his last eight fights. Svensson’s background is in jiu-jitsu and, like Alers, he has a multiple-time World champion in his corner in the form of Bobby Sundel.

This fight could turn into a grappling clinic between two men who prefer to hunt for submissions. Svensson’s 6-foot-1 frame gives him a four-inch edge against the 5-foot-9 Alers, and that extra length could play a factor in this fight. Alers’ wrestling will put Svensson on the mat, so the Swede may have to hunt for triangles and armbars.

The Cage Warriors featherweight title was the launching pad for Conor McGregor’s rise to the UFC, and it certainly could spell the same thing for the winner of this affair. Svensson was on the verge of signing with the promotion prior to his most recent loss, and it’s likely that Alers is on the UFC’s radar. A spectacular win could be all it takes for one of these men to land inside the Octagon. Given Alers’ track record of stoppages, win or lose, and Svensson’s tendency to not go the distance either, it should be an exciting affair. Svensson has lost via submission on two occasions, and Alers will add to that total by coaxing a tapout from the Swede midway through the contest.

Other key bouts: Mats Nilsson (10-2) vs. Denniston Sutherland (20-11), Kris Edwards (8-5) vs. James Pennington (8-1) in a bantamweight tournament semifinal bout, David Haggstrom (7-1) vs. Brett Johns (6-0) in a bantamweight tournament semifinal bout, Tommy Maguire (14-5) vs. Lewis Long (7-2), Dave Hill (10-3) vs. Brian Moore (7-2), Lee Caers (8-3) vs. Aaron Thomas (4-1)

Photo: Caros Fodor (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

  • Robby C.

    You went a little mainstream this week, man. But still nice picks. I can’t wait to see Alers fight again. As for BAMMA, I’m more excited about the Warburton/Barnaoui fight. Great card top to bottom though–maybe their best ever.