The Prelims: More Show Than Most Full Shows And That’s Just The Prelims

By Jonathan King, The Clinch Report

Georgie Garcia (4-2 MMA) vs
Kyler Phillips (2-0 MMA)
Both Georgie Garcia and Kyler Phillips have and continue to grow as fighters inside of the CXF cage. Garcia, has rattled off four wins in his last five fights, and continues to improve by leaps and bounds, as evident in his last fight that ended in less than 2 minutes, with Garcia choking his opponent into submission. The win propelled Garcia into the title picture for the bantamweight division, but also put him in the sights of another quickly rising prospect as well. Kyler Phillips has been nothing short of dominant in both of his CXF appearances. The undefeated amateur has continued his winning ways as a pro, and looks to remain perfect while chiseling his name in the 135lbs title mix at the same time. With the winner of this fight being considered for a title shot, you can expect the best versions of these warriors come December 17th!

Tihomir Blagovestov (5-0 MMA) vs
Derion ‘DC’ Chapman (4-5-1 MMA)

Perfect as a mixed martial artist, Tihomir Blagovestov needed just over 2 minutes to choke out his first win on American soil over Fard Muhammad at CXF 2. Blagovestov blasted Muhammad early and often before quickly submitting his overwhelmed opponent. The win certainly opened some eyes within the promotion, and now Blagovestov is back to impress once again. His opponent ‘DC’ Chapman is one of the most entertaining fighters on the scene. Known for his creative ring entrances, and his equally creative striking, ‘DC’ always leaves the crowd on their feet, as evident from his highlight reel head kick KO on the same show that Blagovestov made his CXF debut. Keep your eyes peeled on the action in the cage, as this is another fight that could easily end up producing either the Knockout of the Night or the Fight of the Night.

Marcos Bonilla (4-2 MMA) vs
AJ Bryant (2-2 MMA)
Marcos Bonilla and AJ Bryant are both very familiar with the CXF cage. Bonilla may maintain a slight reach advantage over his slightly shorter opponent so look for him to establish the range early with his jab. Bryant, who seemingly enjoys the brawl, will have to get inside that reach to inflict the most damage. When you have that kind of style differential, it very often comes down to who can impose their will first. This might end up being one of the most entertaining bouts of the evening.

Leon Shahbazyan (1-0 MMA) vs
Akkim Lee (0-1 MMA)
Coming off his pro debut victory in the CXF cage, Leon Shahbazyan is quickly becoming one of the most talked about prospects in the 155 lbs division. At nearly 6’4 inches tall, Shahbazyan casts quite an ominous shadow in the lightweight division. When you add in his vicious striking and his suffocating Brazilian Jiujitsu, that shadow can quickly become a nightmare. His opponent Akkim Lee will not seem intimidated at all. Fighting out of Systems Training Center in Hawthorne, Lee is regularly tested by some of the best young martial artist in the area. This preparation will certainly have Lee in prime form for December 17th. Expect an all out war in this battle of talented young prospects.

Madisson McElhaney (Debut) vs
Bryanna Fissori (2-2 MMA)
Only 4 fights into her professional career and Bryanna Fissori is already a veteran of big fights. Having fought for Bellator MMA and the Japanese promotion Pancrase, Fissori has a world of experience packed into her still blossoming career. The experience advantage will certainly be something to consider when analyzing this fight. Her opponent, Madison McElhaney may lack the type of experience that Fisorri possesses, but she certainly makes up for that in pedigree.  Although still raw, there is no denying McElhaney’s combination of power and talent as she makes her professional MMA debut. Will it be the experience of Fissori or the power of McElhaney that wins the day? Who knows, but once these two are locked inside the CXF Cage, all hell is going to break loose.

Sergei Minasyan (6-8 MMA) vs
Ronnie Borja (5-4 MMA)
Sergei Minasyan and Ronnie Borjas were supposed to mix it up at the previous CXF event but an unfortunate injury prevented that fight from taking place. But once the combat gods have their eyes set on a bout, they must be appeased. Thus we have the second incarnation of this very intriguing match up. Minasyan is a very compact and explosive striker. He has vicious jump knees and likes to make the fight dirty by getting right in your face. Which is just fine with his opponent, the Muay Thai specialist Ronnie Borja, who is more than happy to fight in a phone booth. Coming off a huge win over a top ranked prospect, Borja is looking to write his own name in the CXF history books at Minasyan’s expense. Both of these two gentlemen have bad intentions with every punch they throw. Someone very well may go to sleep.

Matt Hagge (7-5 MMA) vs
Christian Bizarretty (2-4 MMA)
In his promotional debut for the boys that bring to you CXF, Matt Hagge found himself on the wrong end of a Thor Skancke right hand in the third round of a very close and VERY entertaining fight. Since that tough loss Hagge has gone on a tear, winning 5 of his last 6 bouts, raising his stock in every outing. He returns to the CXF cage with newfound confidence and is looking to carve himself a niche in the lightweight division. In Hagge’s way is CXF veteran Christian Bizarretty. Bizarretty was victorious in his last CXF bout but has since lost a subsequent bout for a different promotion. Now Bizarretty is back and looking to return to the win column in his home cage. Long as the day is, Bizarretty can touch his opponents from anywhere inside the cage. His opponent Matt Hagge will need to neutralize that length to establish himself on the inside. If he can, look for Hagge to bring this fight to the mat. Should Bizarretty establish his range, it could be a long night for Hagge at the end of those punches. We have a feeling early control will end up dictating the finish of this fight.

Anthony Nealy (Debut) vs
Keith Cutrone (1-1)
In his pro debut Keith ‘T Bone’ Cutrone was able to turn some heads with his IQ changing knee that removed Edgar Khachatryan from his senses. The win propelled Cutrone all the way to Bellator MMA, where unfortunately he found himself on the wrong side of a three round decision. Fresh off that experience, Cutrone returns to the CXF MMA cage in hopes of righting the ship at Anthony Nealy’s expense. Coming into his pro debut, Anthony Nealy brings an unblemished record as an amateur. With both of his wins coming by decision, Nealy’s durability seems to be his strong suit. Entering the fight as somewhat of a wildcard, Nealy could end up being a prospect killer and establishing himself as one along the way. The path to CXF glory starts with fights like this one so expect an all out battle when these two young men get locked inside the cage.

CXF: NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS presented by In Sync Productions, Lights Out Promotions, and Bash Entertainment, takes place on Saturday, December 17, 2016 at Sportsmen’s Lodge Event Center located at 4234 Coldwater Canyon Ave. (cross street Ventura Blvd.) in Studio City, California.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling
(626) 388-8888.
Tickets start at $50 for General Admission. A limited number of Cageside and VIP bottle service tables are also available.

Doors Open at 6:00pm; First Bout at 6:30pm.

All bouts are subject to change.


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