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…

Tachi Palace Fights 14: Validation

Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif.
Event Date: Sept. 7
Website: tachipalace.com
Watch the Event: live stream on the Sherdog website
Twitter: @Tachipalace

Spotlight Fight:
Ian Loveland (15-9) vs. Casey Olson (14-3)

Over the last two years, Tachi Palace Fights developed into the home of the flyweight. However, with the UFC finally learning to count as low as 125, the California promotion now finds itself featuring slightly bigger fighters at the top of its cards once again. Earlier this week, Rob Tatum provided an in-depth analysis of the featherweight title tilt between Georgi Karakhanyan and Micah Miller in his Fight of the Week feature, so here we’ll look at Ian Loveland’s bantamweight title defense against Casey Olson.

Olson enters this fight sporting the better winning percentage. His only loss in the last four years came in 2009 versus UFC veteran Eddie Yagin. However, “The Underdog” has only fought once in the last two-plus years. The Pit product is a veteran of the WEC and Strikeforce. His nemesis, Loveland, has competed in the IFL and won just one of three fights in a recent stint with the UFC. “The Barn Owl” is 28 years old and trains out of the Sports Lab.

Loveland might have only managed one victory in three Octagon appearances, but he demonstrated an ability to hang in there until the final bell against the likes of Tyler Toner, Yves Jabouin and even Joseph Benavidez. Although Loveland has an almost even amount of submissions and (T)KO victories, he’s clearly shown a preference lately for using his fists to win fights. That might be in part due to the fact that submission defense is his Achilles’ heel.

Olson’s game relies on positional control and wrestling, but working at The Pit, his striking should be more than adequate as well. He’ll look to put Loveland on his back and work from top position. With both fighters possessing a background in wrestling, this will turn into a test of who can get the upper hand in the clinch and with takedowns.

Loveland certainly has faced the higher level of competition, and he’s shown an ability to go the distance with a fighter of the caliber of Benavidez. Olson won’t let Loveland cruise to a victory, though. Instead, we’re likely in for a hard-fought war where every minute of the fight counts. It will be close, but Loveland should edge this one out on the judges’ scorecards.

Other key bouts: Georgi Karakhanyan (18-3-1) vs. Micah Miller (17-4) for the featherweight title, Brad McDonald (8-2) vs. Art Arciniega (11-4), Andre Fili (9-1) vs. Chris Saunders (9-3), Brandon Bender (10-0) vs. Rolando Velasco (6-2-1)

Bitetti Combat 12: Paqueta

Rocinha Sports Complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Event Date: Sept. 8
Website: bitetticombat.com.br
Twitter: @bitetti_combat

Spotlight Fight:
Andre Santos (29-6) vs. Cassiano “Tytschyo” Freitas (22-11)

First there was Shooto Brazil’s Fight for BOPE 2, and now, for the second time in the span of a month, a Brazilian promotion has put together an excellent effort—and has even included a few participants who fought just weeks ago at the Fight for BOPE event. Bitetti Combat’s show will feature a featherweight and bantamweight grand prix, but the main attraction is a welterweight championship showdown between champion Andre Santos and challenger Cassiano Tytschyo.

Santos captured the Bitetti welterweight crown with three victories in a single night, including wins over Ivan Jorge and UFC veteran Edilberto de Oliveira. “Chatuba” prefers to do his work on the mat—he has finished 17 of his opponents via submission—and he proved in his welterweight tournament run that he can be very effective in scoring takedowns.

The downside for Santos in this affair is that he faces another submission specialist in Tytschyo. And unlike Santos, who has lost three times by way of submission, the younger Tytschyo has never been submitted. However, the Chute Boxe fighter has been far from consistent in his career.

Santos’ run to the Bitetti 170-pound belt was a coming out party for a fighter that was already considered a prospect heading into that grand prix. His gas tank is bottomless, which means that the further into the fight, the better Santos’ chances to take the upper hand. Santos does leave his chin exposed to counterpunches too often, but Tytschyo isn’t exactly a powerhouse on his feet.

If this fight stays vertical, it’s up for grabs. Tytschyo could capitalize on Santos’ wreckless striking style, but Santos is also capable on his feet. The ground game is where both men excel, but it’s Santos’ knack for dominating his Brazilian opponents with superior takedowns that gives him an advantage. Tytschyo’s submission defense will make it extremely difficult for Santos to finish this fight, but he’ll do enough through multiple takedowns and stifling top control to earn the nod from the judges.

Other key bouts: Gleristone Santos (20-3) vs. Marcos Vinicius (8-3-1), Cylderlan Silva (24-6) vs. Bruno Machado (7-6), William Vianna (14-7) vs. Pedro Nobre (11-0-2), Rodolfo Marques Diniz (14-2-1) vs. Sheymon Moraes (2-0), Rafael Dias (16-9-2) vs. Guido Cannetti (2-1)

Ranik Ultimate Fighting Federation 5

Hohhot People’s Stadium in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China
Event Date: Sept. 8
Website: ruffchina.com
Watch the Event: Worldwide: PPTV (Instructions). China only: CSPN, Hubei Sports, Jiangxi Sports, Jiangsu Sports and Guangzhou Sports
Twitter: @RUFFChina

Spotlight Fight:
Tuerxun Jumabieke (12-0) vs. Longyun Jiang (4-1-1)

Tuerxun Jumabieke has emerged as one of the top prospects in China’s burgeoning MMA scene. The 26-year-old student of China’s elite Xian Physical Education University has posted a spotless record through 12 professional bouts.

Jumabieke is in for a tough challenge from Longyun Jiang. Jiang stared his career at 1-1-1, but he has strung together three straight wins, including a submission of WBA boxing titlist Yodsanan Sityodtong and a doctor’s stoppage TKO of former Legend FC bantamweight champion Honggang Yao, who has also lost to Jumabieke. The big issue with Jiang is his lack of activity. His first two fights came in 2007, the next three in 2010 and he’s fought once in 2012 prior to this bout.

This might be the toughest challenge yet for Jumabieke. Jiang tends to finish fights in the first round, and is dangerous regardless of where the fight goes. That makes this match-up even more precarious for Jumabieke, whose habit of letting fights go the distance could be his undoing. If Jumabieke isn’t careful, he could find himself staring up at the lights within the first five minutes of this affair. However, “The Wild Wolf” has gained a lot of experience in those extended affairs, and it should pay off against Jiang. Jumabieke will use his wrestling to take down Jiang and work for a submission, ending this fight in the final frame.

Other key bouts: Haotian Wu (10-2-1) vs. Rodrigo Caporal (6-4), Guan Wang (9-0-1) vs. Chunbo Yuan (1-2)

Photo: Tuerxun Jumabieke (Liu Xiao Ming/Sherdog)

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