Every week, 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…

Fight Nights: Battle in Minsk

Minsk Arena in Minsk, Belarus
Event Date: Nov. 29
Website: fightnights.ru
Twitter: @Fnsofficial

Spotlight Fight:
Andrei Arlovski (20-10) vs. Andreas Kraniotakes (17-8-1)

The Russian Fight Nights promotion has made frequent appearances in this feature, and it’s in large part due to the promotion’s ability to book at least one fight featuring names that resonate with the MMA fan base as a whole. For its latest offering, that pairing comes in the form of former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski and well-known journeyman heavyweight Andreas Kraniotakes.

Arlovski, who has been fighting professionally since 1999, saw his last Zuffa stint end in disappointment, following losses to Brett Rogers, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Sergei Kharitonov. By mid-2011, the Belarusian fighter was handed his pink slip. Since then, however, he’s found new life thanks to not only Fight Nights, but also ProElite, ONE FC and the World Series of Fighting. “The Pit Bull” is 5-1 with one no-contest (which should have been a win over disgraced UFC champ Tim Sylvia) over his last seven fights. His lone loss came via decision to UFC veteran Anthony Johnson, whereas he notched wins over Ray Lopez, Travis Fulton, Devin Cole, Mike Hayes and Mike Kyle. Arlovski is an International Master of Sports in sambo, but he has developed a strong kickboxing and boxing base. He has 14 wins by some form of knockout, but his questionable chin and tendency to move straight back when avoiding punches has led to seven losses by way of some form of knockout as well.

The German Kraniotakes is looking to rebound from a decision loss to prospect Christian Colombo in his last outing. The loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for the 32-year-old, who has scored eight victories by way of some form of knockout and nine via submission. “Big Daddy” has eight losses on his record, and prior to the Colombo loss, his three most recent defeats were handed to him by Ricco Rodriguez, Mike Hayes and Tim Sylvia. Other than a five-fight winning streak from his debut in 2005 through a good portion of 2008, the 6-foot-3 heavyweight has never won more than three consecutive fights.

Kraniotakes has done enough on the international circuit to make him a relevant name, but he has failed to garner much attention from the big promotions. A large part of the reason for that lies in the trends shown in his resume. Kraniotakes has failed to string together a series of impressive victories, and he often loses to the best competition he has faced (Nandor Guelmino stands as the most notable opponent over whom Kraniotakes has emerged victorious).

Arlovski may not be the same top heavyweight he was when he captured UFC gold, but his recent run has featured fighters at or above the level of Kraniotakes, and yet Arlovski has mostly found success. Kraniotakes can grapple or strike, but he’s far out-matched in either area by his counterpart in this contest. Arlovski is fighting in his native Belarus for the first time as a professional, and, much to the delight of his countrymen, he’ll deliver a convincing submission win after slowing Kraniotakes with his superior striking game.

Other key bouts: Magomed Magomedov (4-0) vs. Allan Love (10-4)

War Fight Combat

Rio Branco Social Service of Industry (SESI) Gymnasium, in Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil
Event Date: Nov. 30

Spotlight Fight:
Fabio Luiz “Bolinho” Vital da Costa (9-0-1) vs. Renilson Castro Carvalho (3-0)

Brazil is always a hotbed from which countless MMA prospects emerge. War Fight Combat plays host to a pair of potential up-and-comers in the form of Fabio Luiz “Bolinho” Vital da Costa and Renilson Castro Carvalho.

Bolinho participated in the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, but came up short in the qualifying round, where he dropped a decision to fellow middleweight contestant Renee Forte. The undefeated fighter made his debut in 2003, but has seen action on just 10 occasions. His last official fight took place in 2009 and ended in a TKO victory. That was Bolinho’s first stoppage win. His other nine fights, including the remaining eight of his wins, all went the distance. He has fought and defeated some longtime veterans of the Brazilian circuit. Bolinho is a product of Nova Uniao Kimura.

Carvalho is a much newer face to the MMA scene. The Nova Uniao Manaus fighter made his pro debut in 2012 and has racked up three wins, two by decision and one via knockout. He has a decision win over 17-fight veteran Fabio Lima Ferreira, but his other two wins come against fighters whose only pro appearance came against Carvalho.

Bolinho’s TUF appearance came at middleweight, but he’s normally a welterweight, as is Carvalho. Bolinho has been rather inactive since 2009, but he’s a tough fighter who still managed to last a full two rounds with Forte in the qualifying round. Carvalho certainly has the potential to develop into a prospect, but his record is too short and features only one proven opponent. Bolinho has experience on his side and is no easy out. This one is headed for the judges, and it will be Bolinho who emerges with his hand raised.

Other key bouts: Deroci Barbosa (3-0) vs. Jesus Ocampos da Costa (1-1)

Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation 11

Hongkou Indoor Stadium in Shanghai, China
Event Date: Nov. 30
Website: ruffchina.com
Watch Event: free online stream at ruffchina.com
Twitter: @RUFFChina

Spotlight Fight:
Bekbulat Magomedov (11-0) vs. Guan Wang (12-0-1)

Bekbulat Magomedov was expected to fight Will Chope at UFC Fight Night 34, a January card that takes place in Singapore. However, the Russian is under contract with China’s Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation and must fulfill his obligations to the only promotion permitted to operate in mainland China before he can move on to the Octagon. He’ll do so at the promotion’s 11th offering when he locks horns with the promotion’s featherweight champion, Guan Wang, in a non-title affair.

Magomedov’s UFC dreams have been thwarted by the Chinese promotion, which stuck to its guns and refused to release the Russian from his contract. Gone is his opportunity to fight in Singapore against Chope, who will have a new opponent in Max Holloway instead. Meanwhile, Magomedov, who made his pro debut in June 2011, enters into his eighth fight of the 2013 calendar year. After a 4-0 start that saw him claim two TKO victories, a submission win and a split decision in a set of fights that all lasted into at least the second stanza, Magomedov has only seen the second round on one occasion through his last seven fights. In that span, he has scored five TKO victories and two submission wins. The 23-year-old has faced mostly competition with sub-.500 marks or very little experience, but he has notched wins over 15-fight veteran Gabriel Solorio and 16-fight vet Vugar Bakhshiev.

Wang is a striker with a background in Muay Thai, Sanda and kickboxing. His skills have carried the 27-year-old featherweight to a European championship in WKA kickboxing and a reign as the RUFF featherweight champion. “The Dongbei Tiger” is an Art of War veteran who made his pro debut in late 2006. After four wins and a draw under the Art of War banner, Wang helped usher in the RUFF with a first-round TKO of Ramsey Dewey at the promotion’s inaugural event. After a stop in Legend FC, he returned to RUFF, where he has competed in his last six fights, four of which have ended in strikes and two of which went the distance in unanimous decision wins for Wang. The Xian Sports University product has seven wins by some form of knockout and two via submission, but both submissions were due to strikes. Wang’s biggest tests thus far have come in the form of a draw against Haotian Wu, who now sits at 12-5, and a split decision win over the now 8-3 Koji Ando.

Wang’s striking has overwhelmed many of his opponents, but it couldn’t get him past Wu or Ando, which is of great concern with the champ entering into a bout with someone the UFC deemed worthy of a chance inside its Octagon. Wang also went the distance against the now 2-5 Chunbo Yuan and Sandro da Silva, a .500 fighter whom Wang did knock out in a rematch. Yuan and da Silva are both listed as bantamweights, only further casting doubt on Wang’s MMA skill level.

Where Wang does excel is in striking. His kickboxing background has led him to victory throughout his career, and his 5-foot-11 frame will give him a length and height edge against the 5-foot-7 Magomedov. However, Magomedov represents the level of competition against which Wang has struggled. As a Russian fighter, Magomedov will certainly have a strong base for taking this fight to the mat. He may prefer to strike, but he’ll certainly enjoy an edge if he can plant Wang on the canvas. Yet, Magomedov may also have enough weapons in the striking department to give Wang a difficult time on the feet.

Magomedov knows he’s extremely close to a UFC contract, which will further fuel his determination in a fight that favors him to at least a small degree. The Russian will avoid Wang’s one strength and expose the Chinese fighter’s weaknesses en route to a submission victory.

Other key bouts: Meixuan Zhang (6-1) vs. Rijirigala Amu (7-2) for the flyweight title, Rodrigo Caporal (10-4) vs. Iftikhor Arbobov (10-1) for the lightweight title, Haotian Wu (12-5) vs. Tom Woodfin (2-1)

Photo: Andrei Arlovski (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)