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 13: Moment of Truth

Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines
Event Date: Dec. 6
Website: onefc.com
Watch Event: pay-per-view stream at Livesport.tv
Twitter: @ONEFCMMA

Spotlight Fight:
Koji Oishi (24-9-10) vs. Honorio Banario (8-2)

ONE Fighting Championship has quickly risen to the top of the heap of Asian MMA promotions. Although the organization has fighters such as Bibiano Fernandes and Shinya Aoki under contract, the biggest factor in the rise of ONE FC lies in its more homegrown stars and rivalries. In its 13th offering, dubbed “Moment of Truth,” one of its best prospects, Honorio Banario, returns to action as part of one of the promotion’s best rivalries. The other half of that pairing is Koji Oishi, the reigning ONE FC featherweight champion.

Oishi claimed the belt with a second-round knockout of Banario at ONE FC 9 in May. The 36-year-old UFC veteran only dropped to featherweight late last year, but he already holds wins over Jon Shores and Banario. His background is in karate and wrestling, but Oishi has not demonstrated much finishing ability. He has fought to a draw on 10 occasions and has gone the distance in 32 of his 43 fights, with 17 verdicts going in his favor.

Banario, the former champ, trains at Team Lakay under the tutelage of coach Mark Sangiao. Like all Team Lakay fighters, he’s known for his aggression, which has resulted in eight stoppage wins. Two of his five submission victories came via strikes, and has has also notched three wins by way of some form of knockout. Banario has a background in boxing, kickboxing and wushu. The 24-year-old has suffered two losses, the knockout courtesy of Oishi and a 56-second submission defeat in his ONE FC debut against Bae Young Kwon.

Heading into their first meeting, the biggest question mark surrounding Banario was whether he could succeed against a step up in competition. Excluding his victory over Eric Kelly, Banario has faltered whenever he’s encountered a high-level opponent. The answer to that question is still not clear. Though he won the first round of that contest, he did so with a flurry of punches in the closing half-minute of the round, and that was right after he got rocked. The remainder of the fight, right up until Oishi turned out his lights, featured Banario throwing primarily single kicks or punches and very few combinations. That was what allowed Oishi to rattle Banario in the first round and knock him out in the second.

If Banario wants a blueprint to success against Oishi, he should look to the last 30 seconds of the first round of their first meeting. When he got in Oishi’s face and stormed him with a forward-moving striking attack, Oishi had little answer and Banario landed significant strikes. That’s the approach the featherweight challenger needs to employ with more consistency in this rematch. When he was content to sit on the outside, paw away with his jab and throw an occasional kick towards Oishi’s legs or head, the veteran Japanese fighter was able to land counters.

The outcome of this fight rests on how Banario plans to fight. If he doesn’t press the action, Oishi will either score another knockout or the fight will turn into a snoozer. However, if he charges forward while firing off flurries of punches, then it will be Oishi crumpled on the mat this time around. After Banario’s previous loss, expect him to come back determined to change up the game plan and put the latter of those options into effect. He’ll reclaim the belt with a TKO victory.

Other key bouts: Kevin Belingon (11-3) vs. David Aranda Santacana (9-0), Caros Fodor (8-3) vs. Vuyisile Colossa (6-4), Eduard Folayang (12-4) vs. Vincent Latoel (14-13-2), Dae Hwan Kim (8-0-1) vs. Thanh Vu (3-2), Eugene Toquero (4-0) vs. Geje Eustaquio (4-2), Edward Kelly (5-0) vs. Major Overall (4-1)

Legacy Fighting Championship 26

Cowboy Dance Hall in San Antonio
Event Date: Dec. 6
Website: legacyfights.net
Watch Event: AXS TV
Twitter: @legacyfighting

Spotlight Fight:
Kevin Aguilar (8-0) vs. Leonard Garcia (17-11-1)

Holly Holm fights this weekend, but surprisingly it’s not within the confines of the Legacy Fighting Championship cage. While she locks horns with Angela Hayes on Friday evening at a Fresquez Productions event at the Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque, N.M., her Jackson’s MMA teammate and UFC veteran Leonard Garcia steps into the Legacy cage for the headlining bout of that promotion’s 26th offering. His opponent will be the undefeated Kevin Aguilar, and the vacant Legacy featherweight championship will be on the line.

Garcia exited the UFC on a five-fight skid and was in the midst of a 3-7-1 stretch in which all three of his wins came via split decision. His brawling style had endeared him to the UFC’s brass and MMA fans, but his controversial wins and extended losing streak had eroded some of the love he had garnered from those same fans. It’s easy to think of Garcia as a featherweight Chris Leben. He’s a fighter who presses forward and throws haymakers, but he loses a lot of fights by applying that style. However, he’s also the type of fighter who can’t necessarily top UFC competition, but can defeat just about anybody else. He’s proved as much by winning two fights in a row since his departure from the Octagon. Those wins came via third-round knockout against Rey Trujillo and first-round submission versus Nick Gonzalez.

Aguilar, a native Texan like Garcia, has maintained a spotless record since his pro debut in 2010. His amateur record does contain a five-round decision loss to Justin Houghton, but Aguilar has been victorious in his only trip to the scorecards as a pro and has logged five wins by some form of knockout and two via submission. “The Angel of Death” had no combat sports experience prior to training in MMA. He shares a pair of common opponents with Garcia. He was able to notch a decision win over Gonzalez and a submission win over Trujillo. He also submitted prospect Hunter Tucker, a Jackson’s MMA teammate of Garcia.

Garcia has turned into a brawler over the years, which has caused many people to forget that he holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has 10 submission victories in a career that extends back to 1999. Aguilar has 10 years less experience than Garcia, has yet to fight on the huge stages that Garcia called home for several years and is a BJJ purple belt. He may be advancing his boxing, kickboxing and grappling skills, but he’s going to encounter the toughest test of his young career in Garcia. Garcia has only lost once outside of the UFC and WEC, and that came on the night of his pro debut, in his second fight of the night.

Garcia has the edge in all areas, from experience to grappling to striking. In his fight with Gonzalez, though, Garcia demonstrated that he’s still prone to slugfests. Yet, he might have a more calculated approach at times, like when he chopped away at Gonzalez with leg kicks or when he worked the fight to the mat in the third round before going for a submission. Unless Aguilar can force Garcia back into his bad habits, minus the strategy, he’s going to find it a difficult task to top the 34-year-old UFC vet.

In a slugfest, either man could land a fight-ending punch. However, Garcia’s recent string of success makes him the favorite against Aguilar. Garcia will rock Aguilar on the feet, setting up a submission once the fight heads to the ground.

Other key bouts: Thomas de Almeida (14-0) vs. George Pacurariu (5-2), Patrick Ybarra (5-1) vs. Johnny Ray Rodriguez (3-1)

World Series of Fighting 7

PNE Agrodome in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Event Date: Dec. 7
Website: wsof.com
Watch Event: preliminary card via online stream at stream at wsof.com and main card on NBC Sports Network.
Twitter: @MMAWorldSeries

Spotlight Fight:
Georgi Karakhanyan (22-3-1) vs. Lance Palmer (7-0)

This is the weekend of the featherweight championship bout on the regional and international circuit. Not to be left out, the World Series of Fighting has awarded the headlining spot of its seventh event to a bout that will determine the promotion’s inaugural 145-pound champion. In his WSOF debut, star prospect Lance Palmer will vie for the crown against Bellator veteran Georgi Karakhanyan.

The 28-year-old Karakhanyan earned a spot in the title tilt with a victory in his WSOF debut versus Waylon Lowe. The native Californian locked in a guillotine choke on Lowe in the first round to add the 12th submission win to his record. The BJJ brown belt also has four victories by some form of knockout and six via decision. Now on an eight-fight winning streak, the featherweight last tasted defeat during a 2-2 stretch under the Bellator banner. Those defeats came against Joe Warren in the season-two featherweight tournament semifinals and Patricio Freire in the season-four tourney quarterfinals. The Armenian fighter has since captured and defended the Tachi Palace Fights featherweight title.

As a four-time NCAA Division I All-American, Palmer’s base is obviously wrestling. He typically brings fights to the mat and then either finishes with a submission or works towards a decision. Two of those decisions have been split verdicts. They came against his two toughest opponents, Fredson Paixao and Jared Downing. Interestingly, the Team Alpha Male fighter has defeated Chris David, the fighter who handed Karakhanyan the first loss of his career via split decision in 2008. The 25-year-old replaced Rick Glenn as Karakhanyan’s opponent in this contest.

Karakhanyan has had mixed results in the cage against high-level NCAA wrestlers. He submitted Lowe, but lost to Warren. The key for Karakhanyan is to stuff Palmer’s takedowns and to stay active from the bottom when he is taken down. Downing was able to thwart Palmer’s takedown attempts early in their fight and even scored some of his own. Furthermore, Palmer’s offense stalled on the mat against Downing on numerous occasions and was somewhat ineffective against Paixao as well.

Palmer can grind out fights with his wrestling, but he was also able to turn the tide against Downing with some urgency in his striking attack. Karakhanyan does have a handful of knockout wins on his resume, though, so Palmer may not fare as well with his stand-up in this contest. If Palmer is going to win this fight, it will come in the form of a razor-thin decision. However, the same holds true if he is to lose. Palmer survived three rounds with a World champion jiu-jitsu practitioner, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be tapped by Karakhanyan.

This one is going to be close, but Karakhanyan will be the more active fighter on the mat and should get the better of Palmer on the feet to sway the judges in his favor.

Other key bouts: Jesse Taylor (26-9) vs. Elvis Mutapcic (13-2) in middleweight tournament semifinal, Nick Newell (10-0) vs. Sabah Fadai (7-2), Kalib Starnes (15-8-1) vs. Dwayne Lewis (13-8), Josh Machan (11-4) vs. Shawn Albrecht (9-5), Richard Arsenault (9-2) vs. Mike Hill (5-2), Ryan Dickson (6-1) vs. Marcus Vinicios (9-6), Dan Ring (5-1-1) vs. Myles Merola (10-7), Brendan Kornberger (3-0) vs. Micah Brakefield (3-1)

Photo: Georgi Karakhanyan (L) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)