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…

M-1 Challenge 35

Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia
Event Date: Nov. 15
Website: m-1global.com
Twitter: @OfficialM1

Spotlight Fight:
Rashid Magomedov (14-1) vs. Alexander Yakovlev (18-3)

Reading a press release on M-1 Global’s latest offering, M-1 Challenge 35, is like reading about the cancellation of an entire event and the announcement of a whole new event. The recent wave of changes included the rescheduling of two fights from the November event to the December show in Moscow, plus a change in opponents for Mairbek Taisumov, with M-1 Challenge lightweight champion Musa Khamanaev out due to illness and Leon Del Gaudio stepping in to replace him. Fortunately for fans, the new card looks better than the old card, with championship contests set to take place in three divisions, including the 170-pound weight class, where champion Rashid Magomedov defends his crown against challenger Alexander Yakovlev.

Magomedov claimed the belt in his most recent outing by defeating Yasubey Enomoto via unanimous decision at M-1 Challenge 31. The 28-year-old Russian has only suffered defeat once in his career, losing by way of split decision against Magomedrasul Khasbulaev, an opponent he’d previously beaten via unanimous decision. In addition to the win over Enomoto to claim M-1 gold, Magomedov holds victories over former champion Shamil Zavurov, Rafal Moks and current TUF competitor Igor Araujo.

Magomedov is a Master of Sports in boxing and hand-to-hand combat, and he has earned national honors as Russia’s hand-to-hand combat champion. His striking-oriented game is apparent in his resume, as he tends to win via knockout when he manages to finish his opponent.

Unfortunately for the Russian champ, his 28-year-old fellow countryman and opponent, Yakovlev, shows more of a susceptibility to submissions than to striking attacks. All three of Yakovlev’s losses have come by way of submissions targeting his arms. Meanwhile, he has put together a balanced attack that has earned him the same amount of wins by submission—eight—as by strikes. Yakovlev fought to a draw against former welterweight kingpin Zavurov.

At 6-foot-1, Yakovlev has a four-inch height advantage over the champion, and he also holds the experience edge with 21 professional fights to Magomedov’s 15. However, Magomedov has been among the top welterweight fighters in the promotion and has seen a consistently higher level of competition throughout his career. With only one loss to his name, and that defeat coming via a close split verdict from the judges, the champion won’t be easy to stop.

It’s doubtful that the challenger will want to test Magomedov’s boxing, so he’ll more than likely look for the takedown. If he can effectively take the champion to the mat and work a top game, he’ll have a chance to pull out the victory. If not, then this one is going in the champ’s favor. Given Yakovlev’s performance against Zavurov plus Magomedov going the distance with Enomoto, it’s hard to see this ending any other way than with the reading of the scorecards. It’ll be a close one, but Magomedov should emerge as the victor.

Other key bouts: Aleksander Emelianenko (21-5) vs. Jeff Monson (46-13-1), Mario Miranda (14-4) vs. Ramazan Emeev (8-2) for the middleweight title, Marut Gafurov (6-0) vs. Vugar Bakhshiev (9-5) for the featherweight title, Akhmed Sultanov (12-4) vs. Deniss Smoldarev (3-0) in the M-1 Selection heavyweight tournament finals, Mairbek Taisumov (17-4) vs. Leon Del Gaudio (5-1), Mikhail Malyutin (23-10) vs. Olivier Pastor (17-11), Ivica Truscek (20-12) vs. Artiom Damkovsky (14-7), Ilya Ovechkin (3-0) vs. Pavel Vitruk (5-0)

Tachi Palace Fights 15: Collision Course

Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif.
Event Date: Nov. 15
Website: tachipalace.com
Twitter: @Tachipalace

Spotlight Fight:
Carson Beebe (12-1) vs. Rolando Velasco (7-2-1)

Between UFC 154, Bellator, a Legacy FC event on AXS TV and Pacific Xtreme Combat streaming live on Sherdog, one card that has been lost in the mix is the latest offering from prominent regional promotion Tachi Palace Fights. With the flyweight division’s best no longer calling the California-based promotion home, its cards don’t hold rankings-altering bouts anymore, but that doesn’t mean the promotion doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of talent. Among the lineup for its 15th event is former TUF 14 hopeful Carson Beebe, who failed to make it into the TUF house after meeting Johnny Bedford in the show’s qualifying round fights. Here, the bantamweight locks horns with California’s own Rolando Velasco.

Velasco might not be a familiar name, but he’s an intriguing prospect. He has defeated current UFC fighter Darren Uyenoyama and prospect Antonio Duarte, but he did suffer a TKO loss to another current UFC competitor in Chris Cariaso. The Oakdale MMA product was absent from active competition for roughly two-and-a-half years before returning to action in 2012 with two first-round submission victories, including the win over Duarte.

Outside of his submission loss to Bedford in the attempt to make the TUF house, Carson Beebe, younger brother of former WEC champion Chase Beebe, has only tasted defeat once. That loss came via submission to Giovanni Moljo, a fighter who currently holds a 4-5 record.

At 24 years old, Beebe still has plenty of time to grow and develop as a fighter. However, his submission losses are concerning. Velasco has lasted three rounds with Uyenoyama and emerged victorious, and he’s picked up three submission wins in his career. He’s exactly the type of fighter that could expose Beebe’s weaknesses in the grappling department.

Beebe hasn’t truly excelled in any particular area of his game. He’s grinded his way to decision victories in most of his recent outings, though he has sprinkled in a pair of submissions during his current six-fight winning streak. But Velasco’s ground game could very well be Beebe’s undoing. Beebe will remain cautious enough to last one full round, but he won’t get out of the second, as Velasco will find a way to submit him.

Other key bouts: Anthony Ruiz (29-17) vs. Angel Deanda (10-2), Art Arciniega (12-4) vs. Alexander Crispim (7-4), Andre Fili (10-1) vs. Chris Saunders (9-4), Poppies Martinez (23-8) vs. David Hayes (6-5), Anthony Avila (9-1) vs. Darren Crisp Jr. (9-6), Josh Appelt (8-2) vs. Freddie Aquitania (4-1)

Pacific Xtreme Combat 34

Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, National Capital Region, Philippines
Event Date: Nov. 17
Website: pacificxtremecombat.com
Watch Event: live stream on the Sherdog website
Twitter: @PXCPhilippines

Spotlight Fight:
Guy Delumeau (16-7-3) vs. Dustin Kimura (8-0)

For its 34th event, Filipino promotion Pacific Xtreme Combat has chosen a theme pitting the pride of two islands against one another. It’s time for Japan vs. Hawaii. Oddly, one of its themed match-ups involves a fighter originally from Hawaii who now lives in Japan. That man is Shooto and Pancrase mainstay Guy Delumeau. The 31-year-old will meet undefeated Hawaiian prospect Dustin Kimura in a featherweight affair.

Delumeau is one of those rare successful veterans to never have appeared in a major promotion on either side of the Pacific. Deep, Shooto and Pancrase have been his homes throughout his six-year professional career. In fact, venturing outside of Japan is not something Delumeau has done, and it might be one of the biggest factors in this fight. Delumeau, who teaches English in Japan, uses his wrestling to put opponents on the mat, where he delivers a ground-and-pound attack to score TKO finishes.

The ground is where his foe, Kimura, does his best work as well. Unlike Delumeau, who relies on a ground-and-pound attack, Kimura focuses on submissions. Thus far in his career, the Hawaiian has finished six of his eight opponents via submission. And travel could impact his performance as well, as this will be the X-1 veteran’s international debut.

The big question here is whether Delumeau can implement his attack without succumbing to a submission. The Gutsman Dojo product has twice fell to submissions, including in an August 2010 loss to Shinji Sasaki. However, Delumeau should be motivated after dropping a unanimous verdict to Jon Shores in his last fight.

Kimura has eight wins in eight outings, but he’s never faced anyone with the level of experience and skill as Delumeau. Delumeau has to be wary of Kimura’s submission skills, but as long as he doesn’t make a huge mistake, the veteran of the Japanese circuit should have his hand raised at the end of this affair after scoring a TKO midway through the fight.

Other key bouts: Harris Sarmiento (35-23) vs. Mark Striegl (11-0), Russell Doane (8-0) vs. Michinori Tanaka (5-0), Jerome Wanawan (3-0) vs. Eugene Toquero (3-0)

Photo: Guy Delumeau (center) (Taro Irei/Sherdog)