10 September Tussles Worth Watching

By Tim Leidecker Sep 4, 2009
When it came to top matchups around the globe, the United States had the market all but cornered in August. Not so in September.

Fasten your seatbelts and hang on, as Sherdog.com takes you around the world for 10 tussles mixed martial arts fans must not miss, with stops in Brazil, Japan, Canada, the Czech Republic, Hawaii, England and even the West Indies.

As always, this list does not necessarily focus on the major bouts you already know to watch, but rather on fights from all over the planet that are worth seeing.

10. Jack Mason vs. Alex Reid
Ultimate Challenge UK “Mayhem,” Sept. 19 – London

For the last few months, former Cage Rage middleweight contender and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 participant Alex Reid was all over the British tabloids thanks to his fledgling relationship with highly controversial English glamour model Katie Price. Reid’s home promotion for the last five years has jumped at the chance to book him into the co-main event of its Sept. 19 event. There, he will return from a two-year hiatus to take on submission specialist Jack Mason for the vacant middleweight championship.

9. Shonie Carter vs. Derrick Noble
Vendetta Fighting Championship “A Night of Vengeance,” Sept. 5 -- Oranjestad, Aruba

The tiny island of Aruba rings a bell with every hardcore fan that has been around for longer than 10 years, as it was the site of the infamous World Vale Tudo Championship in the late 1990s. Now, a decade later, newly created promotion Vendetta Fighting Championship will use the same scene for its inaugural show. Headlining “A Night of Vengeance” will be a pair of UFC veterans with plenty of experience: Shonie Carter, 37, will fight in his 73rd recorded bout, while opponent Derrick Noble, 31, will step into the ring for the 36th time.

8. Ilja Skondric vs. Baga Agaev
Hell Cage 4, Sept. 20 -- Prague, Czech Republic

In this month’s featured heavyweight contest, Slovakian slugger Ilja Skondric will lock horns with Russian judoka Baga Agaev in a classic striker-versus-grappler confrontation. Skondric, a heavy-handed Bratislava native, has knocked out most of the opponent’s he has faced within a radius of 450 miles and will now take on arguably his stiffest test to date in Agaev, a durable submission specialist. The highly decorated ground fighter from St. Petersburg, Russia, won a 16-man tournament in a single night in 2007 and recently co-headlined an Art of War event in China.

7. Victor Valimaki vs. Lew Polley
The Fight Club 8 “Salvation,” Sept. 18 -- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

On the back of a five-fight win streak, MMA’s favorite Finnish-Canadian, Victor Valimaki, will try to continue his climb back to the major leagues, as he takes on the American Top Team- and Team Quest-trained Lew Polley. While Valimaki appears to be slightly more well-rounded going into the fight, Polley has the edge when it comes to pure submission savvy, having snatched eight of his 10 career victories on the mat. The fight for the promotion’s light heavyweight championship serves as the most high-profile bout in TFC’s brief history.

6. Brandon Visher vs. Issac de Jesus
Up N Up “Fisher vs. De Jesus,” Sept. 12 -- Honolulu

Nothing compares to two undefeated fighters going at it. Whenever it happens, a special thrill of anticipation fills the air. Such will be the case when Brandon Visher takes on Issac de Jesus. Visher, Up N Up’s defending featherweight champion, was originally scheduled to face Eddie Yagin but will now defend his strap against de Jesus, a Strikeforce veteran who took the fight on three weeks notice. Despite having fought with a more grappling-oriented approach in the past, both fighters have promised a stand-up war for this one.

5. Yusuke Endo vs. Kotetsu Boku
Shooto “Revolutionary Exchanges 2,” Sept. 22 -- Tokyo

Shooto has delivered the goods in its 20th anniversary year, putting together killer matchups like Shinichi Kojima-Yuki Shojo and Masakatsu Ueda-Edudardo Dantas, along with the stacked “Tradition Final” show in May. The oldest MMA promotion in the world continues that route, booking a rematch between second-ranked welterweight Shooter Yusuke Endo and 2007 Cage Force lightweight tournament runner-up Kotetsu Boku; their January clash ended in a draw. With 17 of their combined 38 professional fights going the distance, fans seem destined for another 15-minute grapple-fest.

Mike Fridley/Sherdog.com

"Macaco" and Carneiro will
clash at Shine II in Miami, Fla.
4. Roan Carneiro vs. Jorge Patino
Shine Fights 2 “American Top Team vs. The World,” Sept. 4 -- Miami, Fla.

Shine Fights serves up a great main event for ground fighting lovers. In a battle between Brazilians, two of the outstanding no-gi competitors in all of MMA will face each other. Jorge Patino is a third-degree black belt under Waldomir Perez Jr., while Roan Carneiro received the highest honors in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from the legendary Carlson Gracie Sr. Both men have qualified for the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships in the past and want to show their submission prowess in the cage, as well.

3. Nick Thompson vs. Dan Hornbuckle
Sengoku “Tenth Battle,” Sept. 23 -- Saitama, Japan

Two of the most underrated welterweights in the sport will square off against each other at Sengoku’s “Tenth Battle.” The fact that a fighter from Minnesota will take on an opponent from Illinois more than 8,000 miles away in a Tokyo suburb serves as a clear sign that the Japanese fight scene has begun to move again. Thompson is 2-0 inside Sengoku, with wins over Fabricio Monteiro and Michal Costa. Hornbuckle, meanwhile, raised more than a few eyebrows with his head kick knockout of beloved veteran Akihiro Gono last month.

2. Tyson Griffin vs. Hermes Franca
UFC 103 “Franklin vs. Belfort,” Sept. 19 -- Dallas

In a fight that should serve as a title eliminator, Tyson Griffin (4-0 against opponents from Brazil) will face one of his toughest hurdles to date in former lightweight championship challenger Hermes Franca. Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard and Diego Sanchez are likely on the fast track to a title shot right now. However, the winner of this battle between Griffin, the inexhaustible power plug, and Franca, the heavy-handed black belt, deserves to challenge champion B.J. Penn, as well, and probably has a better chance at upsetting the reigning 155-pound king than the aforementioned trio.

1. Ricardo Arona vs. Marvin Eastman
Bitetti Combat Nordeste 4, Sept. 12 -- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When he finally steps into the ring again, Ricardo Arona will have been away from the game for two years, five months and four days. Why one of the most dominant ground fighters in the history of the sport -- a man who can claim wins over champions like Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva and Alistair Overeem -- has taken such a long break from fighting will remain his personal secret. UFC veteran and notorious power puncher Marvin Eastman will try to spoil his eagerly awaited comeback with all his strength, grit and experience.
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