UFC veteran Clay Guida (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
The college wrestling season is in full swing. The attention of most fans will be locked in on the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, all the big duals this weekend, and of course, the top-notch coverage here at InterMat. However, the MMA machine stops for nobody. As always, there are a variety of cards loaded with former wrestling talent. If wrestling fans are able to catch a break, check out some of the following fights.
Friday - Bellator 272
On Friday, Bellator returns with a card featuring a main event between bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis and former champion Kyoji Horiguchi. Kicking off the main card of Bellator 272 is a middleweight fight between former Missouri wrestler Johnny Eblen and Collin Huckbody. At Missouri, Eblen spent multiple seasons in the starting lineup. As a senior in 2015, he won the MAC tournament and qualified for the NCAA tournament.
Eblen made his professional MMA debut in 2017. He went 4-0 under the Shamrock FC banner before signing with Bellator in 2019. Eblen then won his first five fights in the promotion, including a decision victory over Travis Davis in his last outing at Bellator 262 this past July. The bout will be Huckbody's Bellator debut. He will bring a 10-3 record into the cage.
Former Oklahoma State wrestler Kyle Crutchmer will start off the preliminary portion of the card against Oliver Enkamp at welterweight. In his last fight, he bounced back from his first professional defeat with a decision victory over Levan Chokheli at Bellator 260. Crutchmer was a two-time All-American for the Cowboys who finished his eligibility in 2017 with a seventh-place finish.
This fight on Friday will be a big step up in competition for Crutchmer. Enkamp has a 10-2 professional record but washed out of the UFC in 2018 after dropping fights against Nordine Taleb and Danny Roberts. He has turned things around with Bellator and is now riding a three-fight winning streak.
The Bellator preliminary card will air live and free on YouTube at 7:00pm ET, while the main card begins at 10:00pm ET on Showtime.
Friday - LFA 119
Also on Friday night, Legacy Fighting Alliance will host LFA 119. In the main event, former Arizona State wrestler Josh Silveira will take on Jared Revel. Silveira is better known in MMA circles as the son of old-school fighter and coach Marcus "Conen" Silveira. Despite this, he also made a name for himself on the wrestling mats. As a senior in 2016, he went 22-11 and qualified for the NCAA tournament through the Pac-12.
Silveira made his professional MMA debut in 2019 and currently has a 6-0 record, His opponent on Friday, Revel is 11-2 and coming off a decision victory over UFC veteran and grappling ace Sergio Moraes, but he has been out of action since 2020. LFA 119 airs live on UFCFightPass.com at 10:00pm ET.
Saturday - Art of War Cage Fighting 21
While most of the attention in the MMA will be focused on the UFC show on Saturday, former Cornell wrestler Mark Grey will continue his amateur MMA career The former four-time National Prep champion and three-time NCAA qualifier will take on Chris Kwiatkowski at Art of War Cage Fighting 21. Grey has won all four of his amateur fights since making his MMA debut this past March. The card airs live at 7:00pm ET via internet pay per view (https://starfund.app/organization/awcf).
Saturday - UFC Vegas 44
In the main event of this weekend's UFC card, former featherweight champion Jose Aldo continues his bantamweight campaign against Rob Font. Also on the main card, former Harper College wrestler Clay Guida will look to extend his extensive MMA career against fellow veteran Leonardo Santos. Guida is coming off a competitive defeat against Greco Roman silver medalist Mark O. Mardsen. The 39-year-old wrestler has been fighting professionally since 2003. His opponent on Saturday is a decorated submission grappler who has also been fighting for years as his MMA debut came back in 2002.
William Knight was a state champion wrestler for Manchester High in Connecticut. The "Knightmare" made his UFC debut in 2020 after winning a spot via Dana White's Contenders Series. He is now 2-1 in the promotion and coming off a first-round knockout victory over Fabio Cherant. On Saturday, he faces former college football player Alonzo Menifield who holds an 11-2 professional record and enters this fight off back-to-back wins.
The entire UFC Vegas 44 card is scheduled to air live on ESPN. The preliminary card begins at 7:00pm ET, while the main card starts at 10:00pm ET.