This Friday night, Legacy Fighting Championship comes to Duluth, Ga. for Legacy FC 40. The card sees Legacy heavyweight champion Cody East defending his belt for the first time against Brice Ritani-Coe, who has been as hot as anyone that’s ever walked into Legacy’s heavyweight ranks. The co-main event sees Tommy Jones in middleweight action against Dave Vitkay, who will be only the second of Jones’ career opponents to contend with him at middleweight.

The card, which also features former UFC veteran Clay Harvison, former WOCS and Bellator sensation Rodrigo Lima, and a host of other hungry fighters, will feature live at 10:00 PM ET on AXS TV as part of its “Friday Night Fights” programming.

Cody East vs. Brice Ritani-Coe

In only East’s first heavyweight title defense since winning the vacant strap from one Vernon Lewis, the 9-1 New Mexico sensation takes on the vaunted knockout artist Ritani-Coe. All four of Ritani-Coe’s wins have come by a form of knockout, and to add to Ritani-Coe’s favor, the man has never been knocked out or stopped by strikes in his entire career. The champion has his work cut out for him, but expect this bout to go past the first five minutes, with East finding a big shot that sticks and following up with a barrage that leads to stopping Ritani-Coe.

Prediction: East def. Ritani-Coe by TKO (strikes). Round 3.

Tommy Jones vs. Dave Vitkay

Jones and Vitkay represent two very interesting dynamics in regards to the state of Georgia. On one hand, Jones is a welterweight who has only had one middleweight contest prior to this bout, and on the other, the highly-experienced Vitkay is seen as one of the state’s top middleweights. There may not be a substitute for experience in the realm of combat sports, but there is always a downside to it when a majority of the losses have come by knockout. Against any other foe, that might be a non-issue, even on paper, but against a man in Jones, who owns two of his six by a TKO stoppage due to strikes, that spells trouble.

Prediction: Jones def. Vitkay by TKO (strikes). Round 1.

Matt Betzold vs. Rodrigo Lima

What brought “Ratinho” to the dance was primarily his penchant for grappling and his expertise in submissions, though an ability to stop fights with strikes certainly helped. Either way, he faces a largely unheralded threat in Betzold, who has had his share of success in the sport up until now, and we say “threat” because like Lima, Betzold owns five wins by submission. This means that Lima must both prepare for a fifteen-minute affair and make sure he can put Betzold on his back. The latter may not happen, but the former will, and the end result will be a lengthy battle that will see the Brazilian get back on track in convincing fashion.

Prediction: Lima def. Betzold by unanimous decision

Joe Elmore vs. Clay Harvison

Harvison may have been slept on some time after his brief time in the UFC, but by accumulating a three-fight winning streak, he has gotten some people to wake up. Elmore, in contrast, saw a three-fight winning streak snapped in his most recent outing, and will give up four inches of reach against Harvison. Unless Elmore can stick and move while inside, Harvison picks Elmore apart and gets the job done in what could be the “sleeper” bout of the main card.

Harvison def, Elmore by TKO (strikes). Round 3.

Rusty Crowder vs. Gui Curry

The last place any fighter wants to be in their career is in the position where they are fighting to stay above .500, but alas, Crowder finds himself in that very spot. Curry is still fairly new to the sport himself, sitting at only a 4-3 record, which isn’t much, but it still will cause Curry to want to fight with everything he has against Crowder. Both, in fact, will bring all they have to this bout, and that could create a rather fun contest, but at the end of all three rounds, this one ends in a close call with Crowder taking the “W”.

Prediction: Crowder def. Curry by split decision

Aaron Conway vs. Doug Usher

Much like Crowder, Florida’s Conway runs with a 4-4 record, but it has been over two years since Usher lost. Add in the fact that Usher has finished just about every fight he has had since then, and it seems like a foregone conclusion. Usher will likely be tested in some respect, but he will outclass Conway everywhere en route to yet another finish.

Prediction: Usher def. Conway by TKO (punches). Round 1.

Wesley Barnes vs. Amir Dadovic

With Barnes and Dadovic both at 2-1, it might be interesting to learn that those aware of this fight firmly side with Barnes. Both men own split-decision defeats and both men have finished at least one opponent via a TKO or knockout, but with some sleeping on Dadovic, Barnes will have to work his tail off for the win, and if he does get it, it may be closer than however it gets scored cageside.

Prediction: Barnes def. Dadovic by unanimous decision.