Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Two MMA cards will hit the air waves this weekend, starting on Friday night with Bellator putting on a show in Florida and then the UFC travels to Macao in their first attempt to crack into the highly coveted Chinese market. SB Nation Tampa Bay has a full preview of both cards.
The UFC makes a bold move on the yet untapped Chinese MMA market, which is just beginning to bud. If is going to flower has yet to be seen, but the UFC wants to be there on the ground floor if it does. The UFC has precious few fighters with ties to mainland Asia, and they are using almost all of them on this card.
One such fighter is in the main event: Cung Le (8-2) was born South Vietnam and practices the Chinese style of kickboxing, Sanshou kung fu. An exciting striker, Le has blended Sanshou with the Korean art of Taekwondo as well as other forms of kickboxing to create a truly unique style. Cung will take on Ohio based fighter and former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin (29-6), a tough striker and crafty grappler. Franklin is the superior fighter on the ground and will out class Le if this fight hits the mat, and while not as technical as Le on the feet, he is tough enough to survive and wait for the much older Le to tire.
The next fight down the card features Brazilian and long time Florida fighter Thiago Silva (14-3), originally of American Top Team, and now a member of the Blackzilians. A tough Muay Thai kickboxer with a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, Silva has a highly developed killer instinct and looks to finish the fight no matter where it goes. He faces similarly aggressive Bulgarian Stanislav Nedkov (12-0) in what promises to be a firefight. Silva is the more well rounded fighter, but Nedkov has real knock out power and could very well leave Silva dazed on the canvas.
Also on the card is Korean Welterweight contender Dong Hyun Kim (15-2) taking on Brazilian special forces member Paulo Thiago (14-4). Also Miami born fighter and Ultimate Fighter veteran Alex Caceres (7-5) will fight on this card as well.
Bellator 80 (Friday, 8pm EST, MTV 2)
Bellator travels to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida to host their next card. Headlined by Joe Warren (7-3), a world champion Greco-Roman wrestler and former Bellator Featherweight Champion. The card also features this season's Featherweight tournament semi-final featuring Wagnney Fabiano (15-3) vs Rad Martinez (13-2) and Vinicius Kappke de Queiroz (6-2) vs Alexander Volkov (17-3).