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…

Xtreme Fighting Championships 25: Boiling Point

Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M.
Event Date: Sept. 6
Website: officialxfc.com
Watch Event: AXS TV
Twitter: @OfficialXFC

Spotlight Fight:
Stephanie Eggink (3-1) vs. Angela Magana (11-5)

Although the UFC and Invicta FC hold a virtual monopoly on female fighters, there are some regional promotions still seeking to capitalize on the rising popularity of women’s MMA. From the CFA and its tournament featuring Fallon Fox, to Legacy FC’s signing of superstar female boxer Holly Holm, these promotions are attempting to carve their own place in the landscape. However, before CFA and Legacy FC ever got involved in promoting feature bouts involving the ladies, there was the XFC. The promotion has touted its women’s division over the last year or two, constantly announcing prospect signings and constructing fights featuring the likes of Stephanie Eggink and Angela Magana, who will square off for the strawweight title at XFC’s 25th event.

Eggink is 2-0 under the XFC banner, with unanimous decision wins over Heather Clark and Brianna VanBuren. Prior to those fights, Eggink was coming off a vicious seven-second knockout loss to Kaline Medeiros. The Gracie Tampa product made her pro debut in 2011 with a submission win over Trisha Clark. A former top-ranked amateur boxer, “Snowflake” competed at the 2007 Pan Am games in Brazil and amassed a 1-0-1 mark as a pro. Despite Eggink’s boxing background, she can get careless and leave her hands down, as she did versus Medeiros.

Magana’s biggest struggle could be making it to the cage on Friday night. The 16-fight veteran has a history of pulling out of fights. Magana has only fought once since August 2011. If the 30-year-old does manage to avoid any car accidents (a commonly cited reason for her withdrawals) and walk out to the cage in Albuquerque, then Eggink will have a real fight on her hands. Magana has lost five fights since debuting in 2007, but the two losses early in her career came to Jessica Aguilar, and her two most recent losses came against former Invicta champ Jessica Penne and former Bellator champ Jessica Eye. Her only other loss came against 4-0 prospect Lisa Higo. Meanwhile, the Team Four Corners fighter and New Mexico native has notched wins over Aguilar, Barb Honchak, Meghan Wright and Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc, to name a few. Magana has been a largely hyped member of the XFC roster, but this will mark her promotional debut, and in a title fight, nonetheless.

The 5-foot-4 Magana will give up four inches in height to Eggink and will likely be at a disadvantage in reach as well. Where she won’t be at a disadvantage is in her experience and her mat skills. Whereas Eggink is a boxer, Magana’s background is in wrestling and grappling. The 16-fight veteran has utilized her submission skills to put away six opponents. Meanwhile, she has scored just two TKO wins. Although Magana has also lost via submission, those losses were to some of the best in the sport in the form of Aguilar and Penne. In order to prepare for this outing, Magana traveled to Phuket Top Team, a move that should help her improve her all-around skill set..

Magana’s tendency to withdraw from fights has made her a polarizing figure among both fans and fighters. It raises questions about her mental game, as well as the possible lingering injuries that could hamper her performance. And that’s not even to mention the ring rust that comes with competing in just one fight—a loss—over the last two years. Through experience and skills alone, Magana should have the upper hand in this fight. However, those x-factors could play as big of a role as anything in determining the outcome of this fight.

Despite the factors working against her, Magana should be able to emerge with her hand raised in this fight. Eggink has had momentum on her side lately, but she already has a loss as a pro and also suffered a defeat as an amateur, so she is far from invincible. Magana will use her wrestling to put Eggink in positions where the 25-year-old is not comfortable. The end result will be either a late submission win or a victory on the scorecards for Magana.

Other key bouts: Dhiego Lima (8-1) vs. Ricky Rainey (6-1), Angelica Chavez (4-2) vs. Stephanie Skinner (2-4), Ryan Thomas (16-7) vs. Ian Stephens (2-0), Stephen Bass (10-1) vs. Farkhad Sharipov (13-5), Joby Sanchez (4-0) vs. Eric Moell (3-1)

Iron Fight Combat 4

Ney Braga Gymnasium in Sao Jose Dos Pinhais, Parana, Brazil
Event Date: Sept. 7
Website: Facebook/Iron Fight Combat
Twitter: @IronFightCombat

Spotlight Fight:
Bruno Dias (16-4) vs. Irmeson Oliveira (8-2)

The stream of quality events from Brazil seems to be never-ending. Despite a long list of well-established shows featuring ex-UFC talent and up-and-coming prospects, a new promotion seems to emerge with each passing month. In just its fourth effort, Iron Fight Combat is the latest Brazilian banner to construct an impressive lineup of fighters and fights. Among the best contests from the show is a bantamweight title showdown between Bruno Dias and Irmeson Oliveira.

“Jacare” Dias came extremely close to qualifying for the second installment of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. In his fight against Cleiton Duarte to make it into the TUF house, Dias ended up on the wrong side of a split decision verdict. The 26-year-old Macaco Gold Team product has been fighting professionally since 2006. He has 11 submission wins, but has also suffered all four of his losses via submission. Dias is on a three-fight winning streak (not counting the exhibition loss to Duarte), but that comes on the heels of a three-fight skid. Those losses came against significant competition, whereas his wins have come against opponents who sit at or below the .500 mark.

Oliveira made his pro debut in 2008, but went 1-2 over his first three outings, including a loss to Dileno Lopes. Like his adversary in this contest, Oliveira tends to lose to the best opponents he meets. The 26-year-old Evolucao Thai fighter is on a seven-fight winning streak, but he hasn’t competed since May 2012. Oliveira prefers to hunt for the rear-naked choke, a method by which he has secured five of his wins. If he doesn’t get the choke, he usually goes the distance, sometimes in very closely contested bouts.

Dias has preyed almost exclusively a low-level talent, so Oliveira marks a small step up in competition for “Jacare.” Although Oliveira appears to fight longer than Dias, it’s actually Dias, at 5-foot-8, who enjoys a five-inch height advantage. Whereas Dias prefers to use punches and move straight forward and back, Oliveira stays more active on his feet. He’ll look for angles and mixes a good number of kicks into his arsenal. If he can lands something and staggers Dias, there could be an opening for Oliveira to finish the fight via rear-naked choke. However, Dias is at home on the canvas, where he’ll throw up submission attempts all day. He does get careless, though, and can end up giving up positions or opening for his opponent to slap on a submission.

Dias has suffered three of his four losses via rear-naked choke, which just happens to be Oliveira’s favorite submission. Dias has the edge in experience, but he continually fails to come through against the best opposition he encounters. With a more dynamic striking game and a submission attack to complement it, Oliveira is capable of bringing an early close to Dias’ night. Oliveira will use his kicks to open up the striking game, then land a punch that rocks Dias. From there, he’ll wrap up the victory with a rear-naked choke finish.

Other key bouts: Daniel Acacio (29-13) vs. Silmar Nunes (24-8), Wagner Prado (8-2) vs. Rafael Monteiro (5-2), Evandro Oliveira (13-4-1) vs. Rodrigo Cavalheiro Correia (12-2), Marcelo Santos Gomes (7-1) vs. Emiliano Sordi (10-4), Diego Marlon (22-8) vs. Francisco Cylderlan Lima da Silva (32-10)

Jungle Fight 57

Para State University Gym in Belem, Para, Brazil
Event Date: Sept. 7
Website: junglefight.net.br
Watch Event: Canal Combat; ESPN Deportes
Twitter: @junglefc

Spotlight Fight:
Giovanni Soldado (12-2) vs. Rildeci Lima Dias (12-1)

The talent pool at flyweight remains somewhat shallow, but that’s simply because the UFC has not mined all the talent out there. The Zuffa-owned promotion does seem to be giving the 125-pounders more love these days, and that bodes well for the division’s prospects. If the UFC is seeking more talent in its smallest weight class, it should certainly keep its eyes on Brazil and the Jungle Fight promotion. Jungle Fight’s 57th offering serves up a flyweight bout between Giovanni Soldado and Rildeci Dias, a pair of fighters who have a combined 24 wins and just three losses.

After going 3-2 to start his career after making his professional debut in 2006, Soldado has strung together nine straight wins. The Hikari product tends to end fights with strikes, though he has notched submission wins in his two most recent outings and has not scored a TKO since 2010. The longtime Octagon Fight veteran took part in the inaugural season of TUF Brazil, but lost in the elimination round (by way of an armbar versus John “Macapa” Teixeira). Soldado was a bantamweight champion in Demo Fight and fought exclusively at 135 pounds (outside of his attempt to make TUF Brazil as a featherweight) before entering Coliseu as a flyweight. He needed just over two minutes to secure a rear-naked choke submission victory over Rafael Santos in the semifinals of Coliseu’s flyweight tourney and submitted Stenio Silva Barbosa via rear-naked choke in the second stanza of the tournament finals. Soldado is unusual for a Brazilian mixed martial artist in that his specialty is wrestling.

Dias has fought as large as featherweight, but he’ll head to flyweight for this fight. The Bulldog Naldao Team fighter made his pro debut in 2009 and went 2-1 over his first three outings. Since his 2010 submission loss to Benedito da Silva, Dias has been perfect through 10 fights. The problem is that Dias has never fought an opponent whose record sits above the .500 mark. Da Silva, who now sits at 4-5, had the most wins and the best winning percentage of any fighter Dias encountered, and Dias didn’t fare well in that fight. Dias is a striker, with seven wins by way of some form of knockout and just three via submission.

After winning the Coliseu tournament, Soldado has strayed to Jungle Fight with the intent of adding more wins to his record and showcasing his skills in a promotion that just sent a whole list of champions to the UFC for UFC Fight Night 28. This is the Jungle Fight debut for both men, but Soldado has the better track record and has already had a small taste of the Octagon. With his unique wrestling base, he should be able to take Dias to the mat. The only thing Soldado needs to be cautious of is the strong striking of Dias. Look for Soldado to close the distance quickly and turn this into a grappling affair. Dias’ biggest weakness seems to be his submission defense, and that will be his undoing in this contest. Soldado will dictate where the fight takes place and use his wrestling to set up a fight-ending submission.

Other key bouts: Fabiano Silva da Conceicao (19-5-1) vs. Rafael Miranda (5-3) for the interim featherweight title, Juan Puig (9-2) vs. Alan Barros (3-2),

Photo: Stephanie Eggink (bottom) works for a triangle (Keith Mills/Sherdog)