With a slew of fights this weekend, it shouldn't come as a shock that several compelling matchups have quietly floated under the radar. Here are four bouts that may not be listed as main events but are well-matched, relevant and undoubtedly worth your time.
Nine fights. Nine wins. Eight knockouts. Not bad. With a ledger like
Competing just five weeks after earning a dominant decision over
A 10th win for Kaufman (her second under the Strikeforce banner) could very well put her at the front of the line to meet
Expect Kaufman's strength to overcome Baszler's skill, giving Strikeforce another promotable female fighter.
Also appearing Friday on the Strikeforce Challenger Series card, established welterweight
Based on records and opponents -- 38-10-1 for Thompson (16-2 starting in 2006) versus Kennedy's 9-2 tally -- Thompson walks into the fight pretty clear favorite. But he's no sure thing against Kennedy, whose big frame is augmented nicely by the kind of mental makeup that helped him thrive through Ranger school and several tours on the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Competing mostly at middleweight in a campaign that began two weeks before 9/11, Kennedy, 29, is now a very large welterweight, which should come in handy against Thompson, who fits the same description.
If Thompson is truly deserving of a top-10 ranking he will get past Kennedy. Yet this fight is intriguing because there's no guarantee that'll happen.
It's been a busy 12-week run for upstart Bellator Fighting Championships, and the ESPN-affiliated promotion's first season comes to a close Friday evening in Hollywood, Fla., with two title fights.
While most of the card's focus has been heaped on the culmination of the lightweight tournament, which features heavy pre-event favorite Eddie Alvarez against a compelling underdog in Toby Imada, the middleweight final isn't so bad either.
Cuban born judo player
The way Lombard has plowed through opponents, the assumption is that he'll swarm over Hess in the early going. If he doesn't, Hess could have a shot of pulling what would be a significant upset. Lombard is one of these guys who's a bull at the opening bell, but his pace and muscled frame has betrayed him late in fights. He's gone the distance enough to know what it's like, and even fought into the fourth round last September.
Expect Lombard to win, but Hess (9-0-1) has yet to experience a loss and he should walk into the cage with confidence.
What is a bout between a former UFC lightweight title contender and a winner of
Well, in the wake of a main event between
This is must-win for Stevenson. Having lost three of his last four -- both
While there hasn't been any official indication that a loss would be crippling for Stevenson's career inside the UFC, it's not outside the realm of possibility. As a winner of T.U.F. 2, Stevenson's job security wouldn't seem imperiled. Yet another snoozer, like the one Stevenson put together against Sanchez in February, isn't good for anyone.
Considering the breakneck pace Diaz brings into fights, Stevenson (29-10) should be forced to exchange. He's one of these guys that seems to have forgotten what made him a difficult fighter to beat. But if he can get back to wrestling -- and he's definitely a better wrestler than Diaz -- he should be able to avoid submissions while working strikes on the ground.
With the 24-year-old Diaz, you never really know. Like his older brother