Ohio State's national qualifier Mark Martin in a 2014-15 dual meet (photo/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
A few high-profile wrestlers were scheduled for fights this weekend, but those fights fell through. However, that by no means, indicates a lack of former wrestlers in action. On Friday and Saturday, there will be several fights that will likely be of interest to wrestling fans. The following previews those fights and lets fans know where to watch.
Austin Vanderford vs. Gegard Mousasi
In the main event of a rare afternoon card from Bellator, Vanderford will challenge Mousasi for the promotion's middleweight title. During his college days at Southern Oregon University, Vanderford was a two-time NAIA All-American and won a national title at 184 pounds as a senior in 2012. He made his professional MMA debut in 2017 and won his first five fights, including a bout on Dana White's Contender Series, before signing with Bellator in 2019. Vanderford has won five-straight contests in the promotion to earn a shot. Mousasi won the vacant middleweight title over former welterweight champion Douglas Lima in 2020 after previously dropping the belt against Rafael Lovato. He successfully defended the title against another NAIA champion, John Salter, last August.
The main card of Bellator 275 will air live on Showtime on Friday starting at 4pm ET.
Legacy Fighting Alliance 125
LFA 125 was set to be packed with former wrestlers as Taylor Cahill, Jimmy Lawson and Gavin Teasdale were all originally scheduled to compete on the card. However, all three of their bouts were canceled.
Alex Moher vs. Anthony Pilot
The card retains some wrestling flavor as Moher has represented Canada on the international scene. He finished seventh at the 2018 Pan American Championships after losing to Thomas Gilman. Moher's best international result was a fifth-place finish at the 2019 Grand Prix of Spain, at a weight that was ultimately won by Josh Rodriguez. The Canadian is currently competing as an amatuer and holds a 2-1 record. Pilot made his amateur debut last July and fell via third-round stoppage.
The bout is expected to be part of the preliminary card, which is scheduled to air live starting at 7pm ET on Friday on LFA's Facebook page.
PFL Challenger Series 2
Mark Martin vs. Dilano Taylor
Martin was a three-time NCAA qualifier for Ohio State at 174 pounds. As a senior, he moved up to 197 and came up short of the tournament. In 2015, he was a part of the Buckeyes team national championship. Martin turned professional in MMA back in 2018. He lost his second fight via split decision, but has since built a 7-1 record. Taylor also holds a 7-1 record and is coming off a split-decision victory over Marcus Edwards at Titan FC 73.
The four-fight PFL Challenger Series 2 show, which is designed to sign prospects for upcoming PFL tournaments, airs live on Friday at 9pm ET on both Fubo TV and PFL's YouTube page.
UFC Vegas 49
Bobby Green vs. Islam Makhachev
Despite being unranked in the UFC's own rankings, Green will step into the main event slot against Makhachev. The California native has a very striking heavy style, but he was a two-time state placer for A.B. Miller High School in Fontana. Green will likely need to rely on that wrestling as Makhachev is a protege of former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and one of the better takedown artists in the lightweight division.
Terrance McKinney vs. Fares Ziam
McKinney was a two-time state champion in Washington at the high school level. He started his college career at North Idaho before eventually transferring to Chadron State. In 2016, he finished second at the RMAC conference tournament. McKinney made his UFC debut last June and scored a seven-second knockout over Matt Frevola. The competition will likely get tougher this weekend as he meets Fares Ziam, who is 12-3 as a professional and coming off back-to-back wins in the UFC.
McKinney's bout will be part of the preliminary card scheduled for Saturday at 4pm ET, while Green will be on the main card that kicks off at 7pm ET. Both parts of the show will air live on ESPN+.
Fury FC 58
Mo Miller vs. Evers Anderson
Miller was a three-time NCAA Division II qualifier for Notre Dame (Ohio). He finished fourth in 2013 as a sophomore and third in 2015, as a senior, to become a two-time All-American. Miller made his professional MMA debut in 2019 and won his first four fights before earning a shot on Dana White's Contender Series. Despite winning on the show over Brandon Lewis, he was not awarded a contract. Miller returned to action last November, but suffered his first MMA defeat as he fell via submission against Jose Johnson. Anderson is 4-2 and coming off a loss against John Pham last October.
Miller's fight will be part of the Fury FC 58 main card, which airs live on Saturday at 5:30pm ET on UFC Fight Pass.