Legacy FC 50As we’ve become accustomed to, AXS TV will be leading MMA fans into another weekend, as the channel will be airing Legacy FC 50 on Friday night. Although the main event of the card fell apart when Valentina Shevchenko got the promotion to the UFC (and beat former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman in her debut), the Texas-based promotion still has some interesting fights to take a look at. One of MMA’s finest action fighters, Evangelista ‘Cyborg’ Santos, will compete for the first time since April 2014. In that last outing, the rematch of his epic encounter with Melvin Manhoef didn’t quite live up to the first (to make the understatement of the century). In fact, the now 38-year-old ‘Cyborg’ has only competed twice since 2011. He’ll be facing Artenas Young in the main event, a bout where both fighters should want to just trade blows rather than pursue much on the ground. Legacy FC 50 also features a pair of lightweight main card bouts, as Jared Chaffee takes on Ray Blodgett, while longtime Legacy veterans Jonathan Harris and Justin Reiswerg square off. Saturday morning will feature another dose of fights for those so inclined, as one of the world’s best bantamweights will defend his ONE FC belt for the fourth time. It seems clear that Bibiano Fernandes won’t end up fighting in the UFC until well past his prime — if at all — which is a shame considering this was a fighter who gave Urijah Faber and Kid Yamamoto back-to-back tough fights in just his second and third professional bouts, and has truly rounded out his game since then. While Fernandes taking on Kevin Belignon will be the only lined bout, the card also features a very interesting bantamweight bout between undefeated Muin Gafurov and former (current?) Cage Warriors (R.I.P.) champ Toni Tauru. Flyweights Ray Doliguez and Asuka Mikami are also worthy of some attention. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened some betting lines for Legacy FC 50 and ONE FC 36 today at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Take a look: ——————– LEGACY FC 50 Friday, January 22nd AXS TV (10pm ET) Artenas Young -150 Evangelista Santos +110 Jared Chaffee -405 Ray Blodgett +285 Jonathan Harris -210 Justin Reiswerg +160 ——————– ONE FC 36 Saturday, January 23rd Internet PPV (7am ET) Bibiano Fernandes -855 Kevin Belignon +485 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: I really think given the chance to just strike, Artenas Young will do a number on ‘Cyborg’. As fun as the Brazilian has been to watch in the past, I don’t think he has much left to offer, and Young has a deceptive record given this style matchup. When Young doesn’t have to worry about being taken down time and again, he is a solid striker, and he’ll have a big size and length advantage over a fighter who has been extremely inactive of late. I’d prefer plus money, but anything near even is good enough. Aside from getting a feel for strength of opposition, there isn’t much to glean from simply looking at a fighter’s record. Luckily, when looking at Ray Blodgett’s record, you can see that whenever he faces a fighter who has more than one win and a winning record, he tends to lose. Jared Chaffee ticks both boxes, has a six-year age advantage, and has only ever lost in MMA via injury. As far as skills go, he’s also the better fighter. I’m trying to make a point of not parlaying fighters on regional cards in 2016, and the only thing that may keep me away from Chaffee is asking myself if I really want to make him the exception this early in the year. Justin Reiswerg always seems like he should perform better than he does, but he manages to gas out or simply find a way to blow a lot of his fights. Given that one of Jonathan Harris’ biggest weaknesses has been his chin, perhaps Reiswerg can get him out of these before any of that other stuff can become a factor, but it’s not something I’m willing to bank on by any means. I lean towards Harris to survive early, and take over late, perhaps with a submission in the second or third. Bibiano Fernandes is going to be 36 this year. His time as a top bantamweight is coming to an end (if his lacklustre competition hasn’t completely removed him from the conversation already). Luckily, Fernandes is an excellent athlete and has been able to continue to improve, somewhat mirroring the career of another BJJ stud in ‘Jacare’. While Belignon is solid, and has a bit of pop in his punches, I just don’t see him being the one to exploit Fernandes. Instead, I see Fernandes feeling his way around on the feet, switching to his ground game if he feels uncomfortable at all. Once on the mat, I don’t think Belignon will be long for this fight. The champion will retain, and if Muin Gafurov can get past Toni Tauru further down the card, that may set up the changing of the guard if they give the young prospect the next title shot.


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