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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    The Wrestling Fan's Guide to the MMA Weekend (8/5/22)

    Old Dominion 2x All-American Chris Mecate (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    The summer of international wrestling is kicking into high gear. While that is going on the MMA world continues to turn. This weekend several former collegiate stars are heading into action, and on Tuesday one of the biggest stars in recent memory takes a significant step forward in his MMA career.

    Friday: PFL 7 2022 Playoffs

    Josh Silveira vs. Omari Akhmedov

    After entering the PFL light heavyweight tournament as a late replacement, Silveira has now made his way into the final four. The former Arizona State wrestler will face off against the UFC veteran Akhmedov with a spot in the finals on the line. Silveira signed with the PFL earlier this year and has won his first two fights via stoppage. A win here would set him up for a bout against the winner of Rob Wilkinson and Delan Monte with a million dollars on the line.

    During his time at Arizona State, Silveira won the 197-pound Pac 12 title and qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2016.

    Marthin Hamlet vs. Cory Hendricks

    Hamlet was regular on the Greco-Roman circuit for Norway from 2011 to 2016. He won multiple Nordic Championships at 98 kg, but his best finish was a bronze medal at the 2014 European Championships. Hamlet finished fifth at the Olympic Qualification Tournament for the 2016 Olympics and then decided to focus on MMA. He has gone 3-3 with PFL since joining the promotion last year and is coming off a loss against Silveira.

    This will be a non-tournament bout against Hendricks. Hendricks has a 2-1 record with PFL and scored a third-round submission over Hamlet last year.

    Silveira's fight will be part of the main card which airs live on ESPN at 7:00pm ET. Hamlet will compete on the preliminary card, which begins at 6:00pm ET on ESPN+.

    Friday: LFA 138

    Chris Mecate vs. Motaz Askar

    Mecate wrestled for the now-defunct program at Old Dominion. He was a three-time NCAA qualifier and a two-time All-American. His best finish came in 2016, where he finished fifth at 141 pounds. During his senior season, he picked up wins over the likes of Kevin Jack, Seth Gross and Joey Ward.

    The former ODU wrestler made his professional MMA debut in 2020. He now holds a 4-1 record, and he will be returning to LFA for the first time since losing in his second pro fight. Mecate will face off against Askar who holds a 3-0 record but has fought only once since 2020.

    The two fighters will kick off the main card of LFA 138, which is set to air on UFC Fight Pass at 9:00pm ET.

    Saturday: UFC Vegas 59

    Terrance McKinney vs. Erick Gonzalez

    McKinney was a two-time Washington state champion on the high school level. For college, he split his time between North Idaho and Chadron State. While at Chadron he finished second at the 2016 RMAC conference tournament. He currently holds a 12-4 record as a professional. This will be his first fight back after losing for the first time in the UFC. He should be a heavy favorite against Erick Gonzalez who lost against veteran Jim Miller in his UFC debut last October.

    This bout will be part of the preliminary card, which is scheduled to start at 7:00pm ET on ESPN.

    Tuesday: Dana White's Contender Series 6.3

    Bo Nickal vs. Zachary Borrego

    After only one professional fight, Nickal appears to be on the brink of signing with the UFC. He will face off against Borrego, and if he performs well could receive a contract offer from the promotion's president. Nickal won a pair of amateur fights in 2021 before turning professional last June. In his professional debut against John Noland, the former Penn State wrestler scored a 33-second knockout.

    Borrego is 3-0 as a professional with all of his bouts coming this year under the Fury FC banner. In his last fight, he scored a decision victory over Tommie Britton who fell to 4-9 with the defeat.

    During his collegiate days at Penn State, Nickal was a four-time finalist and a three-time champion. He then lost to J'den Cox at Final X in 2019 and finished second at the 2020 Olympic Trials. Nickal brought home a gold medal from the 2019 U23 World Championships.

    The event will air live on UFC Fight Pass starting at 8:00pm ET.

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