Three-time All-American Bryce Meredith (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
While the top wrestlers in the world are ready to compete at the upcoming World Championships, there are many former wrestlers who are ready to fight in MMA this weekend. This week's edition of the guide features multiple former All-Americans, a Swedish national champion and an Olympic bronze medalist.
Tuesday: Dana White's Contender Series
Jimmy Lawson vs. Kevin Szaflarski
The MMA weekend got off to an early start as the former Penn State All-American became one of the latest contestants to try to win a UFC contract on the Tuesday night show. Unfortunately, Lawson came up short and dropped a decision against Karl Williams. Interestingly enough, Williams was the one who relied on his wrestling. He scored three takedowns and spent the vast majority of the fight in control positions. With the loss, Lawson fell to 4-2 in MMA.
Friday: LFA 141
Bryce Meredith vs. Nathan Fought
Meredith is scheduled to return to the cage for his third professional fight on Friday night. While at Wyoming, he was a three-time All-American, and he made the finals of the 2018 NCAA tournament at 141 pounds. Meredith made his MMA debut in 2021 and has picked up a pair of stoppage victories over Steven Merrill and Jay Viola.
Fought will be making his professional debut against Meredith. However, the 38-year-old fighter out of the Jackson Wink MMA gym does have an undefeated 6-0 record as an amateur. Fought last fought against Richard Jennings in February and won via split decision.
The bout is scheduled to kickoff the main card of LFA 141, which begins at 10:00pm ET on UFC Fight Pass.
Saturday: KSW 74
Damian Janikowski vs. Tom Breese
The top promotion in Poland is back with a show featuring one of their brightest domestic stars. Janikowski represented his home country on the international stage in Greco. He won a silver medal at the 2011 World Championships at 84kg and followed that up with a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. Janikowski made his MMA debut in 2017 and currently holds a 7-4 record. He is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Tomasz Jakubiec last March.
Breese fought eight times for the UFC between 2015 and 2021. He went 5-3 in the promotion but left following a submission loss against Omari Akhmedov last year. Since leaving the UFC, Breese has picked up back-to-back wins in Amsterdam and pushed his professional record to 14-3.
KSW 74 will air live via Internet pay-per-view at KSWTV.com at 1:00pm ET.
Saturday: UFC 279
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz
In the main event of UFC 279, Chimaev will take his most high-profile fight to date against Diaz. After beginning his wrestling career in Russia, Chimaev migrated to Sweden in 2013. There he won the Swedish Nationals three times with his last title coming in 2018. Chimaev made his UFC debut in 2020 and has stuck to his wrestling roots in the Octagon.
Diaz rose to national prominence when he split a two-fight series against Conor McGregor in 2016. He has been fighting in the UFC since 2007 and has picked up multiple impressive victories. Diaz has fought only once since 2019 and dropped a decision against current UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
Tony Ferguson vs. Jingliang Li
During his high school days, Ferguson was a three-time all-state selection in Michigan. He continued to wrestle on the collegiate level and spent time at Central Michigan, Muskegon Community College and Grand Valley State. While at GVSU, he won the 2006 NCWA title at 165 pounds. Ferguson made his professional MMA debut in 2008 and won the 13th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" in 2011. He was long considered one of the top lightweights in the sport, but is currently riding a four-fight losing streak that dates back to 2020.
Jingliang has been fighting with the UFC since 2014. He holds a 19-7 record overall in MMA and is coming off a victory over Muslim Salikhov last July.
These two bouts will serve as the main event and co-main event of UFC 279. The pay-per-view portion of the event begins at 10:00pm ET and can be purchased through ESPN+.