Today is the first day of summer. In this column, I’m going to take a look at some events coming up this summer in SoCal. No, I’m not talking about pro wrestling events. I’m talking about upcoming professional MMA events in SoCal! Plus a word from Joshua Shibata and the Fight of the Column!
We start off with Bellator 201, set to take place on June 29th at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula. Headlining the event will be a Women’s Flyweight Championship bout as defending champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (MMA Record: 7-0) faces Alejandra Lara (MMA Record: 7-1). Both women will go into this bout with high finishing percentages. Of the 14 total professional victories between the two, only three of those wins came by way of decisions. This fight could end up being an exciting one.
Also set to take place at Bellator 201 on the main card will be a bout between two SoCal based fighters as former three-division King of the Cage champion Juan Archuleta (MMA Record: 18-1) goes up against UFC, Strikeforce, and WSOF veteran Robbie Peralta (MMA Record: 19-8 (1)). Peralta goes into this bout coming off a win after having lost four fights in a row. His opponent, Juan Archuleta, will look to get his 15th win in a row, and his second under the Bellator banner. Archuleta is a highly touted prospect to be on the lookout for, so I’m personally looking forward to seeing this bout.
Bellator 201’s main card is also set to feature Valerie Letourneau (MMA Record: 9-6) vs. Kristina Williams (MMA Record: 2-0), and Saad Awad (MMA Record: 22-9) vs. Ryan Couture (MMA Record: 11-5). You can catch Bellator 201 airing live on the Paramount Network and streaming live on the Paramount Network App on June 29th. Check your local listings for airtime.
California Xtreme Fighting returns to the Burbank Marriott Convention Center on July 6th for CXF 13: Heavy Hitters. In the past few years, CXF has become the most entertaining regional MMA promotion in Southern California. Every time I’ve watched a CXF event, I was always left entertained. The fighters of CXF tend to put on exciting bouts full of action. If you’re a fan of MMA and haven’t seen a CXF card yet, I highly recommend you check them out.
CXF 13 is currently set to be headlined by a CXF Featherweight Championship bout, as current champion A.J. Bryant, Jr. looks to successfully defend his title against Derion Chapman. The event is also scheduled to feature Giovanni Sarran, Darren Smith Jr., Marcos Bonilla, Arut Pogosjan, Julian Baez, and Niko Ruiz in undercard bouts. The promotion is also advertising that “special celebrity guests” will be in attendance that night. In the past, CXF events have been attended by various UFC and MMA stars, as well as Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis. It should be interesting to see who shows up to CXF on July 6th.
If you’re not going to be in town, I highly suggest you check out CXF 13. If you can’t make it out to Burbank, I recommend checking to see if the event will be streamed or broadcast. At the moment, there is no word as to whether this event will be streamed, but most CXF events in the past have been made available on various internet pay-per-view platforms and on their Facebook page. Be sure to keep an eye on the CXF Facebook page for updates on possible broadcasting information and event news.
The Legacy Fighting Alliance returns to the Morongo Casino, Resort, & Spa in Cabazon for LFA 45 – Silva vs. Barnes on July 20th. LFA 45 is currently scheduled to be headlined by a Welterweight bout as UFC veteran Erick Silva (MMA Record: 19–9 (1)) makes his LFA debut against Nick Barnes (MMA Record: 12-3). This will be Silva’s first fight since his contract with the UFC expired. During his time with the UFC, Silva won several performance bonus awards including four bonuses for finishes and three bonuses for Fight of the Night honors.
In the co-main event of LFA 45, Jordan Winski (MMA Record: 9-1) will face Dana White’s Contender Series Season 1 competitor Kyler Phillips (MMA Record: 5-0) in Bantamweight action. LFA 45 is also set to feature Bellator veteran Moses Murrietta (MMA Record: 6-1) going up against Casey Ryan (MMA Record: 9-3). So far in his professional MMA career, all of Casey Ryan’s victories have come by way of finish with 8 coming by way of submission. Murrietta will also go into this bout with a high finishing rate, having won four out of six of his pro bouts by way of KO/TKO. With these factors considered, I imagine Murrietta/Ryan could end up being a show stealer.
LFA 45 – Silva vs. Barnes airs live on AXS TV at 7:00 PM PT. Other bouts currently set to take place include Blake Troop (MMA Record: 7-5) vs. James Cannon (MMA Record: 7-2) and Luc Bondole (MMA Record: 5-2) vs. Taylor Johnson (3-0).
Rumble on the Water 4 and 5 in Long Beach, CA (Canceled)
Last year, Roy Englebrecht Promotions/SoCa Fights, the group behind the Fight Club OC events in Costa Mesa, launched a new brand called Rumble on the Water. Rumble on the Water events are held next to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. The new MMA brand started out as an amateur promotion but is now featuring professional bouts. The next two scheduled Rumble on the Water events are scheduled to take place on July 28th and September 8th.
I don’t know what these events are like as I’ve never seen anything from them, so I can’t comment on the atmosphere. However, another member of the SCU family was in attendance at a Rumble on the Water event last year. Here with a description of his experience at Rumble on the Water last year is Joshua Shibata.
Josh, take it away.
There is no better experience for live MMA in SoCal than the Rumble on the Water shows. Now the show itself was very typical of a amateur MMA event; unknown fighters, and a small turnout. Yet the fights were very entertaining and the fans that were in attendance (mostly friends or families of the fighters) kept the energy high throughout the night.
What also added to the allure of the show was being held in the shadows of the world famous Queen Mary (a retired British Liner that is permanently docked at the Long Beach Harbor and converted into a hotel). A very unique atmosphere which added to the charm of the show also being held outside on a very comfortably cool spring evening. Highly recommend all MMA fans should make a point to attend any future Rumble on the Water shows.
Rumble on the Water 4 on July 28th is currently scheduled to feature UFC veterans Alp Ozkilic and Walel Watson, Invicta FC and UFC veteran Christina Marks, WSOF veteran Gil Guardado, LFA veteran Craig Wilkerson, UFC and Strikeforce veteran Eddie Mendez, and more. Rumble on the Water 5 is currently scheduled to take place on September 8th. Be sure to keep an eye out for updates on that card.
The Rumble on the Water events has been canceled.
The UFC returns to the Staples Center on August 4th with a card set to be headlined by two championship rematches.
First, current UFC Bantamweight Champion T.J. Dillashaw (MMA Record: 15-3) will defend his title against Cody Garbrandt (MMA Record: 11-1). The rematch between the two rivals comes less than a year after their previous bout that took place on November 4th, 2017 where T.J. Dillashaw defeated his former teammate Cody Garbrandt in the second round of their first bout to regain the championship. In the co-main event, UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson (MMA Record: 27-2-1) will defend his title against challenger Henry Cejudo (MMA Record: 12-2) in a rematch of their April 23rd, 2016 bout that saw Johnson defeat Cejudo in the first round to retain his title.
One thing many people complain about when it comes to the UFC these days is the number of rematches the promotion books in main events. I can understand that frustration, as people want to see fresh fights they haven’t seen before. Personally, I don’t mind the Johnson/Cejudo rematch as Cejudo has fought and won since his last bout with Johnson, but I feel like Cody Garbrandt getting a rematch too soon after losing decisively to Dillashaw for the title. Raphael Assuncao would’ve been a good challenger for Johnson, but he’s already lined up for a fight at UFC 226 against Rob Font.
Earlier this year, reports had been going around that a Superfight between Dillashaw and Johnson was being negotiated. In March, UFC president Dana White told the Los Angeles Times that the bout would not be taking place. One factor mentioned by Dana White was that Johnson was recovering from an injury and would be unable to fight for a while. Fast forward to today, where we have both fighters scheduled to compete on the same card. When I think about it, I can’t help but to be disappointed as a Dillashaw vs. Johnson Superfight could’ve taken place in Los Angeles. In my opinion, they’re two of the most exciting fighters in the promotion, and a bout between them would’ve been great.
Even though it sucks that we aren’t going to be getting a Superfight between two of the most exciting champions in the UFC, I’m still looking forward to UFC 227. Cub Swanson (MMA Record: 25–9) vs. Renato Moicano (MMA Record: 12–1–1) has the potential to be really fun, and Ricardo Ramos (MMA Record: 11-1) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (MMA Record: 14–7 (1)) could be a show-stealing fight. The promotion has yet to finalize the lineup, so the chances of a featured main card bout with well-known names could end up being added at a later date. While the undercard is lacking in star power at the moment, UFC 227 still looks as if it could end up being a pretty solid card.
UFC 227: Dillashaw vs Garbrandt 2 goes down on August 4th, 2018 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. The main card is currently scheduled to air on pay-per-view, while prelim bouts will air on a Fox network to be announced and UFC Fight Pass.
Along with the above-mentioned events, there is still a chance we could see more pro MMA in SoCal during summer 2018.
- While Combate Americas doesn’t have anything announced, the California State Athletic Commission event schedule has an event listed for July 27th, 2018 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. On the event schedule, TS-1 Promotions is listed as the event promoter. In the past, TS-1 Promotions has been listed by the CSAC as the promoter of Combate Americas events. The schedule also states that the event will air on Univision and ESPN Latin America, who broadcast Combate Americas events. While nothing has officially been announced, this could mean the promotion is running on that date. It should be noted that the CSAC event schedule hasn’t been updated since June 5th, so who knows if things have changed. If Combate Americas does run on July 27th, SCU will keep you posted on possible news and announcements. (UPDATE) The CSAC event schedule lists this event as canceled, but does have a tenative event scheduled for September in Long Beach at the Walter Pyramid.
- So far King of the Cage has yet to announce a summer event in SoCal. Much like with Combate Americas, SCU will keep you posted on possible news and announcements.
- Along with their Rumble on the Water events, Roy Englebrecht Promotions/SoCal Fights will be holding a Fight Club OC event at the Hangar at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, CA on August 23rd with a night of Boxing and MMA action. Roy Englebrecht Promotions will also be holding several amateur MMA events under the Summerfist banner with events taking place on June 24th at the San Diego Fair, and on July 15th at the Orange County Fair. For more information, visit socafights.com.
- Southern California is also set to play host to many amateur MMA events. If you’re interested in checking out some amateur fights, visit camo-mma.org for upcoming amateur MMA events.
Match Fight of the Column
In this edition
Match Fight of the Column, we go back to Combate Americas’ Combate Estrellas I in Los Angeles on April 13th, 2018. José “Froggy” Estrada goes up against Rudy Morales in what was a wild and exciting brawl. Skip forward to 8:40 for the start of the fight.