When fighters are given their release from a major North American MMA promotion like the UFC, Bellator, WSOF or Titan – unless they’re a major star – they often fall into obscurity on the regional/overseas circuit unless they rack up a few wins and end up signing with one of the aforementioned promotions. In this regular feature for MMAOddsBreaker, I take a look at some regional/overseas matchups for the month of April and rather than listing off the top fights outside these major organizations, I highlight some familiar names that you might recognize on upcoming events. May 2nd – KOTC– Tribal Spirit OC (Saint Michael, North Dakota) Brock Larson (40-9-0) vs. Kyle Olsen (8-10-0) UFC/WEC veteran Larson looks for his eight win in his last 10 bouts as he meets Millennia MMA product Olsen. The 49-fight veteran Larson lost in the finals of last year’s Battlegrounds MMA one night tournament against Roan Carnero, but bouced back with a first round knockout victory over Eddie Larrea in January. Olson meanwhile has only won once in his last five fights. May 8th– RFA vs. Legacy Super Fight (Robinsonville, Mississippi) Damacio Page (19-9-0) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (15-2-0) Former WEC/UFC fighter Page looks to improve his record to 5-1 since his UFC release in 2012, as he battles RFA flyweight champion Pantoja. Page has only got the distance once in his last five fights, and should he get another impressive victory, a UFC call back may not be far off. 25-year old Pantoja hasn’t lost since 2010 and is currently riding a eight fight win streak. Mike Bronzoulis (17-8-1) vs. Dave Burrow (13-5-0) Bellator, Titan and Strikeforce veteran Bronzoulis looks for his first three fight win streak since 2011, as he battles 23-year old Arkansas native Burrow. After losing to Joe Riggs in the Fight Master finale – at Bellator 106 in 2013 – “The Greek” ended up losing two more bouts to Brandon Farran and Keith Johnson. However since returning to Legacy for the first time since 2012, he’s won two in a row, including his last win over Jonathan Harris back in February. Up and comer Burrow has won five straight, including a submission victory over UFC veteran Anthony Njokuani at Legacy 38 in February. May 9th– CFFC 48– Good vs. Burrell (Atlantic City, New Jersey) Lyman Good (17-3-0) vs. Nah-Shon Burrell (11-5-0) Former Bellator welterweight champion Good faces looks for his fourth win in his last five fights as he battles UFC veteran Burrell. The 29-year old is coming off a first round submission victory over Micah Terrill in February, while Burrell won in that same month, defeating Ryan Hodge by first round knockout. May 9th– PRO Fighting – PRO FC 10 (Taipei, Taiwan) Chad Reiner (31-17-0) vs. Takenori Sato (17-10-7) Former UFC and Bellator fighter Reiner looks to get back in the win column as he faces Japanese fighter Sato. The Nebraska native Reiner has struggled with consistency in recent fights, going 5-5 in his last 10 bouts. Reiner also hasn’t competed since a 25 second knockout loss to Miles Marshall in September of 2013. Sato meanwhile is fresh off his UFC release, losing both of his octagon appearances to Erick Silva and Hyun Gyu Lim. Will Chope (23-7-0) vs. Taivan Narantuya (0-0) UFC veteran Chope aims for his fifth win in a row as he’s paired Narantuya, who is making his professional MMA debut. Since his controversial UFC release last April, Chope has amassed an impressive 4-1 record, including three straight submission victories. May 16th– Superior Challenge 12 (Malmo, Sweden) Cody McKenzie (15-7-0) vs. David Bielkheden (20-12-0) McKenzie competes for the first time since his headbutt DQ loss to Andrew McInnes at WSOF 18 in February. His opponent, UFC veteran Bielkheden looks for his fourth victory in a row. Fans will remember the Swedish fighter was released from the UFC in 2009 and had a rough stretch between 2010-2012 where he won just once in six fights.
May 22nd– HKFC – School of Hard Knocks 43 (Calgary, Alberta)
Nick Ring (13-3-0) vs. Jason Zentgraf (8-2-0) TUF 11’s Ring competes for the first time since December 2013 as he welcome’s 27-year old Montana native Zentgraf. After losing back to back fights against Chris Camozzi and Caio Magalhaes, the Canadian Ring earned his UFC walking papers. Injuries have kept Ring on the sidelines since then, and he faces an up and comer in Zentgraf who has won five of his last six fights.
May 23rd – KSW 31 – Materla vs. Drwal (Voivodeship, Poland) Tomasz Drwal (21-4-1) vs. Michal Materla (21-4-0) Six time UFC veteran Drwal aims for his fifth win in a row, as he battles fellow Polish fighter Materla. Since his UFC release in 2010, the 33 year old Drwal hasn’t lost a fight and has finished three of his last five opponents. Materla has won four of his last five fights, including wins over UFC veterans Jay Silva, Rodney Wallace and Kendall Grove. Rolles Gracie (8-3-0) vs. Mariusz Pudzianowski (8-3-0) Gracie competes for the first time since a 2013 knockout loss to Derrick Mehmen, as he battles World’s Strongest Man winner Pudzianowski. Prior to the loss to Mehmen, Gracie was on a five fight win streak and was previously undefeated since his UFC realise in 2010. 38-year old Pudzianowski meanwhile is looking for the first four fight win streak of his career. Peter Graham (11-8-0) vs. Karol Bedorf (11-2-0) Bellator veteran Graham looks to bounce back from his loss last month to Denis Goltsov, when he faces Polish heavyweight Bedorf. After losing last month, Graham has now lost three of his last four fights, while 31-year old Bedorf has won five in a row. Attila Vegh (29-5-2) vs. Goran Reljic (14-4-0) Former Bellator light heavyweight champion Veigh competes for the first time since his release, as he battles UFC veteran Reljic. The 29-year-old Veigh lost his title to Emanuel Newton last March at Bellator 134 via split decision and prior to that, had won nine in a row. Reljic meanwhile has gone 5-1 since his UFC release back in 2010, with his only loss coming to current UFC light heavyweight fighter Jan Blachowicz. Jay Silva (9-9-1) vs. Aziz Karaoglu (7-6-0) UFC and Bellator veteran Silva looks for his first win since 2013 as he battles German fighter Karaoglu. The 33-year old Silva has won just once since 2012, losing three of his last four fights. Karaoglu meanwhile hasn’t competed since a Mar 16th 2013 victory over Piotr Strus at KSW 22. May 31st – Pancrase 267 (Tokyo, Japan) Kazuki Tokudome (13-6-1) vs. J.J Ambrose (21-5- 2 NC) Four time UFC veteran Tokudome looks for his first two fight win streak since 2012 when he battles Bellator veteran Ambrose. The 28-year old Japanese fighter went 1-3 during his UFC tenure between 2013-2014 and has gone 1-4 in his last five fights. Ambrose went 1-2 in Bellator, losing to David Rickels and Brent Weedman and looks for his third straight victory.