(Unconfirmed reports say the guy on the left is Jose Figueroa, who fights in the main event of a televised show this weekend. Care to guess which one? Pic: Sherdog)
Holy bejesus, there’s a lot of fighting on television this weekend. We already pulled your coat to the fact Bobby Lashley is fighting a middleweight at Titan FC on HDNet tonight. We assume you also already know that one of the most exciting young lions of the light heavyweight division (no, not Jon Jones, but close) will fight an old school warrior of the bygone Pride days (no, not Shogun Rua, but close) Saturday night in the UFC cage on SpikeTV. On the other hand, we totally forgive you if you forgot M-1 Global is also set to make its debut on Showtime on Friday night while Bellator offers up another show on MTV2 on Saturday. God knows we did, until we saw it on some random dude’s Twitter this afternoon.
It kind of begs the question: We know you really, really like MMA, but doesn’t four shows in two days seem kind of … dunno … excessive? After the jump, some things you’ll need to know to make an informed choice about where to set your DVR during this weekend’s other two shows …
M-1 Challenge: Damkovsky vs. Figueroa
Where you can find it: On Showtime, Friday night, 11 p.m. EST, 8 p.m. PST
Timeslot: 2 ½ hours
Fighters you may have heard of: Well, holy shit, Vinny Magalhaes! Remember when he fought Ryan Bader for the championship of “TUF 8” and then washed out of the UFC after a loss to the recently re-re-fired Eliot Marshall? Since then, he’s gone 4-1, including a win in M-1 a while back. He’ll take on somebody named Jake Doerr who is 6-0 fighting exclusively in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Doerr, listed on the Dog’s Fight Finder as a middleweight, got his most recent win at something called “Brutaal – Fight Night” and scored four of his other five career victories during single-night tournaments at events called (we shit you not) “Battle at the Barn.”
Aside from Vinny, we’ve never really heard of any of these dudes. Don’t tell that to M-1 Global spokeshipster Evgeni Kogan though, as he really got his fashion scarf in a bunch this week when Ariel Helwani suggested as much on Twitter. In the main event Artium Damkovsky will take on Jose Figueroa for the vaunted M-1 Global lightweight title. After starting his career 3-4, Damkovsky has won five straight against a string of opponents whose names look like an eye test chart: Martiros Grigoryan, Shamil Abdulkerimov, Arsen Ubaidulaev , Mairbek Taisumov. Figueroa meanwhile is listed as 6-foot-3, lost three in a row in 2009-10 and has suffered career defeats at the hands of Jonathan Brookins and Edson Barboza. So never let it be said M-1 doesn’t know championship material when they see it.
Why you should give a shit: Because frankly you’re as curious as we are to see how M-1 Global pulled off this broadcast deal. More and more, we’re tempted to say being buddies with Fedor Emelianenko is all you need to get a recurring gig on Showtime, even though that does nothing to explain David Duchovny’s continued success with “Californication.” Plus, Pat Miletich is in the booth, so at least the color commentary will be well done.
Where you can find it: MTV2, Saturday night, 7 p.m. EST, 4 p.m. PST
Timeslot: 2 hours. C’mon, you’ve got two hours to spare.
Fighters you may have heard of: Daniel Gracie? The cousin of Renzo, Ralph, Charles and Ryan makes his second MMA appearance after a TKO loss to Alan Goes in the IFL prompted him to take four years away from the sport. In November of last year he returned with a rear naked choke victory over Sweden’s Martin Wojcik at Israel Fighting Championship. (Ed. Note: C’mon fight promoters, there’s got to be a happy medium between picking out a random word and then adding the phrase “Fighting Championship” behind it and calling your show “Battle at the Barn.” We’re just asking for a little creativity here.)
Gracie takes on the heavily tattooed Tim Carpenter who is undefeated and took out IFL veteran Jamal Patterson in his Bellator debut last October. This one could actually be a fun little fight, although – and the analysis doesn’t get any more shallow than this, people – we see that three of Carpenter’s six wins are by submission. That’s not a good sign when you’re set to take on anyone named Gracie.
Why you should give a shit: Well, at first we thought Bellator’s deal with MTV2 could bring continued mainstream acceptance to MMA, but now that we’ve seen how hard it is to find it on our TV dial and how easy it is to forget about, we don’t see that as a valid reason anymore. Aside from that, this is the opening round of the Bellator light heavyweight tournament and word on the street is that we MMA fans loooove a tournament. Also, it starts so early on the West Coast that it really will only help you pre-party until the start of UFN 24. Hard to argue with that.