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…

Legacy Fighting Championship 24

Allen Event Center in Dallas
Event Date: Oct. 11
Website: legacyfights.net
Watch Event: AXS TV
Twitter: @legacyfighting

Spotlight Fight:
Chris Feist (8-0) vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira (7-0)

With Holly Holm and Henry Cejudo on its roster, Legacy Fighting Championship has developed into a must-watch promotion, even if it’s just for the purposes of keeping tabs on two potential future stars of the sport. However, despite the presence of those two fighters on the promotion’s 24th offering, it’s a pair of lightweights that take center stage on Friday evening. Those two men are Chris Feist and Carlos Diego Ferreira.

Feist is a 29-year-old wrestler who fights out of Team Takedown alongside the likes of UFC welterweight contender Johny Hendricks, the Rosholt brothers, Shane Roller and Chas Kelly. Feist is undefeated through eight fights since turning pro in 2010. He has one win by TKO, five via submission and two by way of decision. Though the earliest part of his resume contains a number of fighters with losing records, he has progressed to fighting opposition with records above the .500 mark in his last several bouts.

Ferreira scored big with an upset of UFC veteran Carlo Prater at Legacy FC 20 in May. The 28-year-old has five submission wins, including a first-round finish of Hector Munoz and a second-round stoppage of Danny Salinas, and two decision victories, including the upset of Prater. Now residing in Texas, Ferreira was born in Brazil and earned his black belt while training at Amazonas BJJ. The Silverback Fight Club product has taken numerous honors in BJJ tournaments and has performed well against the likes of Jorge Patino and Andre Galvao in the grappling arena.

Ferreira didn’t just edge out Prater, he took all three rounds in their fight. His striking is improving, he can score with takedowns or judo throws and he has a dangerous submission attack. He won’t be as effective in scoring takedowns against Feist, but that’s what he’ll want to do. Ferreira’s striking may indeed be improving, but he’s surrendering several inches in height to the 6-foot-tall Feist and will likely suffer in terms of reach. Feist’s striking game isn’t proven by any means, but he will want to use his wrestling to keep the fight standing, where he can attempt to outpoint Ferreira. If the Team Takedown fighter does opt to shoot for takedowns, he’s going to find himself playing defense while Ferreira hunts for submissions.

Despite an undefeated mark of his own, Feist is an unknown commodity when compared to Ferreira. Feist’s biggest win came against a 6-3 opponent, whereas Ferreira has picked off prospects, upset Prater and rolled on the mats with world-class grapplers. Ferreira will overcome any height or reach disadvantage and eventually find a way to submit Feist.

Other key bouts: Ryan Benoit (6-2) vs. Cody Fuller (10-6), Henry Cejudo (4-0) vs. Ryan Hollis (4-1), Holly Holm (4-0) vs. Nikki Knudsen (2-1), Mike Jasper (7-0) vs. Charles Byrd (4-3), Damon Jackson (6-0) vs. Javier Obregon (5-6), Klayton Mai (5-0) vs. Matt Lozano (3-1), Eli Tamez (5-0) vs. Eliazar Rodriguez (4-2), Hunter Tucker (5-1) vs. Douglas Frey (10-10)

Championship Fighting Alliance 12

BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla.
Event Date: Oct. 12
Website: cfafights.com
Watch Event: AXS TV

Spotlight Fight:
Joshua Sampo (9-2) vs. Sam Thao (7-1)

The leap to AXS TV for Championship Fighting Alliance came at the time of Fallon Fox’s participation in the promotion’s women’s featherweight tournament. However, CFA is more than deserving of its spot in the AXS promotional roster for reasons other than Fox, who competes in the tourney finals opposite Ashlee Evans-Smith at the promotion’s 12th offering. Before CFA was home to Fox, it was already enlisting veterans and prospects to headline its events. This most recent show continues that trend by bringing in UFC veteran Efrain Escudero to fight Luis Palomino and featuring rising flyweight Joshua Sampo in a title defense against Sam Thao.

Sampo has come a long way since a 2011 decision loss to Mike French, who now holds career mark of 9-10. Sampo was then just four fights into a pro career that began in 2009 and had moved up in weight to fight French, but he rebounded with six wins and just one loss after returning to flyweight. The St. Charles MMA product has impressed since the start of 2012. Despite a knockout loss to fellow rising flyweight and UFC vet Will Campuzano, Sampo has managed an impressive resume in that span that features a unanimous decision victory over longtime Zuffa-employed fighter Antonio Banuelos and a fifth-round submission finish of world-class wrestler Alexis Vila in the fight that earned Sampo his current championship status. The 29-year-old is a former college wrestler and has scored five wins via submission and four by way of decision.

In the past, Sampo has been the unheralded prospect in a number of his fights, but now the tables are turned. Sampo is the champ and the known commodity, whereas Thao is the fighter that fans won’t know. Sam, who trains at Rising Son MMA under older brother and head coach Lah Thao, learned kung fu and taekwondo at an early age, but also has a background in wrestling. He made his pro debut in 2007 and notched three wins, including two victories over Roufusport fighter Omar Choudhury, before suffering a submission loss to fellow prospect Daniel Otero. Thao reeled off three more wins by 2010, but has only seen action once in the subsequent years, with a 2012 decision win over Nate Williams. Thao, who is in his early 30s, has notched four wins via some form of knockout and the remainder on the scorecards.

Thao has the potential to become a top flyweight, but the biggest concern is his lack of activity. He’s coming off a one-year layoff that was preceded by a two-and-a-half-year layoff prior to his 2012 fight. Sampo, meanwhile, has remained active since his pro debut and has notched a number of wins against significant names, albeit primarily fighters on the downside of their careers. On the upside, Thao’s recent winning streak includes opponents with increasingly better resumes, though still far from the levels seen in Campuzano, Banuelos and Vila.

Sampo needs to avoid Thao’s striking. The champ suffered a knockout loss to Campuzano, and Thao could try to test the vulnerability of Sampo’s chin. The good news for Sampo is that he has a wrestling base that far exceeds that of Thao. Sampo seeks to get fights to the mat and work for a submission, whereas Thao wants to use his fists. Sampo’s wrestling skills and experience against fighters like Campuzano and Banuelos who have seen the UFC spotlight will be enough to tilt this in his favor. He’ll rely heavily on takedowns and ground control to wear Thao down before submitting him midway through the fight.

Other key bouts: Fallon Fox (3-0) vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith (1-0) in the women’s featherweight tournament final, Efrain Escudero (20-7) vs. Luis Palomino (21-8)

Road Fighting Championship 13

JH Park Stadium in Gumi, South Korea
Event Date: Oct. 12
Website: roadfc.com
Twitter: @ROADFC

Spotlight Fight:
Yui Chul Nam (16-4-1) vs. Takasuke Kume (15-2-4)

If this seems like deja vu, that’s because it is. Following a lightweight tournament final that ended in controversy, Road FC opted to grant Takasuke Kume an immediate rematch with Yui Chul Nam for the belt that Nam won in that April encounter. The two headline the South Korean promotion’s 13th offering, which also features Pride veteran Ikuhisa Minowa and UFC castoffs Riki Fukuda and Issei Tamura.

Nam might not have the most impressive striking game, but his fists have led to eight victories by some form of knockout. He also has seven decision wins and just one victory by way of submission. Nam’s takedown defense is subpar, but he can threaten opponents with his guard game. Since turning pro in 2006, the 32-year-old has faced a number of significant opponents. He scored a decision win over current UFC fighter Hacran Dias in 2009, suffered losses to Mikhail Malyutin, Dave Jansen, Adrian Pang and Jadamba Narantungalag and also fought to a draw with Pang. The Team Posse fighter just edged Kume on the scorecards in their first meeting, but Kume was in control in the extension round before the referee called for a questionable stand-up. Nam is 6-1 over his last seven fights extending back to July 2011.

Kume was extremely close to leaving with the title in the pair’s first meeting, and he’ll hope to fare better in this rematch. The 28-year-old made his pro debut in 2007 and was on a nine-fight winning streak prior to the loss to Nam. He is able to mix in striking that sets up his ground attack. Kume has fought for the Shooto Pacific Rim middleweight (167-pound) title, losing to Yoichiro Sato. His grappling prowess is evident in his 11 submission victories. His remaining wins have been divided between decisions (three) and a doctor’s stoppage TKO. His only two defeats have come on the judges’ scorecards.

It would seem as if Kume would be the more proficient takedown artist in this contest, but that may not be the case. In their first meeting, Nam was the more persistent fighter in putting his opponent on the mat. Kume attempted a guillotine choke in that fight, but also had to fend off Nam’s rear-naked choke attempts. The fight remained close throughout, even in the fourth round.

Rematches can either play out in a completely different way from the earlier match or they can seem as nothing more than an extension of the first fight. This match-up favors the latter. Neither man is going to suddenly look leaps and bounds better than the other in the stand-up, which will probably be a wash. They will also keep it close on the ground. Nam was able to successfully defend—and sometimes reverse—Kume’s takedowns, which is the biggest indicator of what we can expect in the rematch.

Kume does his best work on the mat, but he has to find a way to get the fight there first. Nam has demonstrated that Kume doesn’t have what it takes to plant him on the mat. Be prepared for another extremely close fight that goes to the judges. This time, without controversy, Nam will take a clear-cut decision win.

Other key bouts: Ikuhisa Minowa (56-35-8) vs. Hoon Kim (9-9-1), A Sol Kwon (16-7) vs. Koji Nakamura (11-8-3), Bae Young Kwon (8-3) vs. Kosuke Umeda (13-12-3) in featherweight tournament semifinal bout, Issei Tamura (7-4) vs. Min Jung Song (5-6), Riki Fukuda (19-7) vs. Kim Hee Sung (6-1)

Photo: Joshua Sampo (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)