9 Under-the-Radar Fights to Watch in September

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2012

9 Under-the-Radar Fights to Watch in September

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    The month of September is jam-packed with MMA events, ranging from the top dogs like Strikeforce and UFC to the regional promotions like Legacy Fighting and Titan Fighting Championship.

    The beginning of the month is light on top company fights, but hardcore MMA fans can stay in the loop by watching smaller promotions. Many of these fights will provide fireworks and entertain the masses.

    Here are nine fights that you may not know about that you should watch in September. 

    Note: Main event status fights in the UFC and Strikeforce were not considered, as they have considerable amounts of media spotlight. Also, one event per fight was the limit.

Casey Olson vs. Ian Loveland

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    When: September 7

    Where: Tachi Palace Fights 14: Validation

    If title fights are your bag, Tachi Palace Fights is playing host to an intriguing bantamweight title bout between Casey Olson and Ian Loveland.

    You may best remember Loveland (15-9) from his three-fight stint in the UFC, where he owned one victory over Tyler Toner. Loveland is a well-rounded fighter that is most feared for his surprisingly powerful striking.

    His opponent, Olson (14-3), is another well-rounded guy who is flying under the radar. A win here, especially over a tough guy like Loveland, could earn him a call from the UFC eventually.

Antonio Banuelos vs. Josh Sampo

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    When: September 14

    Where: Legacy Fighting Championship 14

    UFC veteran Antonio Banuelos is making his flyweight debut with the Legacy Fighting Championship promotion in September. This will be interesting, as Banuelos was a talented bantamweight, and he could make waves at 125.

    Banuelos, who lasted just one fight in the UFC, got his walking papers after losing to Miguel Torres. After that, The Pit representative had a three-fight stint in Dream, where he fell short in a tournament when he lost to Bibiano Fernandes. 

    His opponent could be a good test and offer stiff resistance. Josh Sampo is 7-2 and has only lost to tough opponents. 

    Being Banuelos' first flyweight adventure, this fight could be interesting, as Sampo has great submission ability.

Jan Blachowicz vs. Houston Alexander

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    When: September 15

    Where: KSW XX: Fighting Symphony

    KSW is Poland's top promotion, and it is bringing a very attractive card in September. Among the attractions is a light heavyweight tilt between UFC veteran Houston Alexander and the underrated Jan Blachowicz.

    Alexander was once a promising 205-er who is now attempting to work his way back to stardom. Since his release from the UFC, Alexander has hit a few bumps in the road. He has been knocked out by Joey Beltran, Steve Bosse and Gilbert Yvel.

    Alexander is a gifted striker but tends to cushion blows with his jaw. He cannot do that when facing Blachowicz.

    Blachowicz is 15-3 and on a great winning streak. During this streak, he has defeated UFC veterans Rameau Sokoudjou and Mario Miranda.

    This should be an interesting bout, as Blachowicz can stand and bang with Alexander. But his submission ability is likely better, should he try to incorporate it.

Rob Sinclair vs. Andre Winner

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    When: September 15

    Where: BAMMA 10: Sinclair vs. Winner

    Former Ultimate Fighter runner-up Andre Winner is one tough dude. That much is certain.

    Winner's end in the UFC saw him get lit up on multiple occasions by superior strikers. This is a feat, as Winner is a good boxer in his own right.

    Winner finds himself in a war as he takes on top British prospect Rob Sinclair. Sinclair himself is a knockout artist who is most notable for his razor-thin decision loss to Paul Sass.

    Expect this to be a stand-up war. Both men can throw hands with great effect, and it should be no different here.

    Sinclair is talented and looking for a UFC contract. A win over Winner would be a start.

Cub Swanson vs. Charles Oliveira

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    When: September 22

    Where: UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort

    The road that Charles Oliveira has traveled in the featherweight division has been an exciting one, as he has thrown his name in the hat as a possible contender.

    The same can be said about Cub Swanson, his opponent at UFC 152.

    Oliveira is 2-for-2 in submission wins at 145 pounds. He owns a calf slicer win over Eric Wisely, as well as a modified guillotine win over Jonathan Brookins.

    Oliveira is well-rounded but is facing a surging contender that has shown no fear recently.

    Swanson has won decisively in his last two wins. He earned knockouts of lanky striker George Roop and brawler Ross Pearson, effectively sending him back to lightweight.

    This should be an amazing fight. Both men are very good on the feet, but if the fight goes down, Oliveira will work his magic. 

Marius Zaromskis vs. Nordine Taleb

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    When: September 28

    Where: Bellator 74

    Bellator's season-seven welterweight tournament commences at Bellator 74, and no fight is more interesting than the bout between Marius Zaromskis and Nordine Taleb.

    Both men are gifted strikers.

    Zaromskis owns 13 career knockouts, including a somersault kick of Bruno Carvalho. Taleb is a hot prospect with five knockouts, including a knockout of UFC veteran Pete Sell.

    Expect for this to be a striking fan's dream. Both men are considered elite in the kickboxing category, so there is a chance somebody will not make it out of the cage conscious. 

Jeff Monson vs. Todd Duffee

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    When: September 29

    Where: Super Fight League 4

    Love it or hate it, Super Fight League is playing host to a very interesting heavyweight affair between former hot commodity Todd Duffee and legendary badass Jeff Monson.

    Duffee is a gifted boxer with sickening power.

    Although he is likely best known for his seven-second stoppage of Tim Hague, he is more recently associated with his knockout loss to Mike Russow, which followed up a one-sided ass-kicking on Russow and a quick knockout loss in Dream to Alistair Overeem.

    Monson is a long-time veteran of MMA, but he's past his prime. Nevertheless, he is still a dangerous adversary and may test Duffee's ground game.

    Styles make fights, and this fight is pitting a striker against a grappler. Tune in to see which style prevails.

Josh Thomson vs. Caros Fodor

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    When: September 29

    Where: Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy

    Strikeforce is headlined by Gilbert Melendez and Pat Healy, but a fight between former title challenger Josh Thomson and prospect Caros Fodor seems to be an interesting fight.

    I am very high on Caros Fodor and his abilities. Fodor is well-rounded, but his striking is exceptional. His 13-second blitz of Justin Wilcox demonstrated his dangerous arsenal of power.

    Thomson has long been underrated, demonstrating his worth in a split-decision loss against Melendez. Thomson owns notable wins over talents like KJ Noons, Gesias Cavalcante and Pat Healy, proving he is no joke.

    It is veteran against prospect. Either the guard will change, or the old dog will put away the new blood.

Brad Pickett vs. Yves Jabouin

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    When: September 29

    Where: UFC on Fuel: Struve vs. Miocic

    In all honesty, I am actually looking forward to UFC on Fuel in the UK more than I am UFC 152. It has nothing to do with my recent displeasure with Jon Jones, but rather the amount of sick fights the card offers. 

    Among those sick fights is a bantamweight bout between Brad Pickett and Yves Jabouin.

    Pickett is the hometown boy, looking to get back into contention. He is a solid striker with underrated submission ability.

    Jabouin is a dynamic striker who always comes to the cage ready to fight. The Haitian-Canadian has been in a number of memorable bouts, including his stoppage loss to Mark Hominick, which is one of my favorites of all time.

    Fuel card or not, the entire card is a must-see.