On the Cage Fury Fighting Championships 63 main card, six fighters’ hands were raised. Three Champions defended their titles and four out of six fighters finished their opponents. NJ MMA News Editor Connor Northrup will take a look at all six winners and make his choices for who they should fight next.
Stephen Regman, CFFC Lightweight (6-3 MMA, 5-2 CFFC)
CFFC 63 result: Defeated Dave Marfone by TKO in round 3.
Next Opponent: Joe Solecki (3-0 MMA, 3-0 CFFC)
In my opinion, there are not many better ways to start off a main card than by finishing an opponent in a come from behind victory. Marfone (5-2 MMA, 1-2 CFFC) continued to take Regman down, but the lightweight came into the third and punished Marfone with a right hand when he shot in for a takedown.
I know I made this choice the last time Joe Solecki won, but Regman vs. Solecki makes sense. Regman rebounded from back-to-back losses after beating Marfone.
Also fighting last night, Solecki submitted Kevin Perez, his third first-round rear-naked choke finish. By the way, he only has three fights.
When I spoke to Solecki after the bout, he made it clear he wants the title, but will settle for a step up in competition
“I don’t want to fight guys going out for that lucky shot anymore or throw the one big shot and we grapple,” Solecki said. “I want to be tested.”
I feel this bout could be good for both guys. Regman gets a chance to stack up two wins over skilled opponents and Solecki gets takes to step to the next level.
Another fun fact, Regman’s head coach Kurt Pellegrino, coached Derrick Kennington, the head coach of Joe Solecki. Man, that is a lot of use of the word coach.
Joe Lowry, CFFC Lightweight (5-0 MMA, 5-0 CFFC)
CFFC 63 result: Lowry defeated Daisuke Yamaji by TKO in round 2.
Next Opponent: CFFC Lightweight Champion Mike Pope (7-2 MMA, 2-1 CFFC)
Staying with the lightweights, Lowry finished Yamaji (2-1 MMA, 01 CFFC) in the second round by TKO. Lowry played it safe, he continued to strike with Yamaji and never followed his opponent to the ground.
Yamaji came into the bout with a strong submission game and Lowry took no chances of being submitted. When Lowry defeated the current Ring of Combat Lightweight Champion Bradley Desir by unanimous decision at CFFC 59 July 9, 2016, I knew he is a legit threat to anyone he faces.
Not only does he carry the skill set, but he showed he has the mind for fighting in his bout with Yamaji. As for his next opponent, Lowry called out for the belt after his latest win.
Undefeated with three finishes and two unanimous decisions, I think Lowry earned it. As for Pope, he is a newly crowned champion who will need to defend his belt against a relevant opponent.
I think Lowry could be the guy.
Tim Williams, Middleweight (15-3 MMA, 9-3 CFFC)
CFFC 63 result: Defeated Jay Silva by unanimous decision.
Next Opponents: Eric Roncoroni (5-2 MMA, 1-1 CFFC), Kevin Casey (9-5-2 MMA, 0-0 CFFC) or move to World Series of Fighting.
A 12-time CFFC veteran, Williams fought many of the best the promotion has to offer. With that said, Williams was scheduled to meet former ROC Middleweight Champion, Roncoroni.
Roncoroni suffered an injury and Silva stepped in. The fight made sense before and I think it still does. A win against a former champion would look good for Williams and a win against Williams would arguably be Roncoroni’s most impressive win to date.
As far as making it to the UFC or a bigger promotion, Williams may have to fight someone with more history.
Now here is where fantasy comes into play. The CFFC may have a tough time making this bout, but I’ll say it anyway. The UFC released Casey after he suffered two defeats and a draw.
In his first fight outside of the UFC, Kasey’s bout with Keith Berry was ruled a majority draw. The man is desperate for a win over a well known fighter and Williams can fit the slot.
For Williams, it is another chance to beat a former UFC fighter.
Here is my last option for Williams. World Series of Fighting Champion David Branch recently left the promotion.
No, I am not saying he shout fight Branch, so slow down. Williams could go to WSOF.
Nick Pace, CFFC Bantamweight Champion (8-3 MMA, 2-0 CFFC)
CFFC 63 result: Defeated Ahmet Kayretli by submission (rear-naked choke) in round 3.
Possible Opponent: Dominic Mazzotta (12-1 MMA, 0-0 CFFC) or Brian “Boom” Kelleher (16-7, 4-4 CFFC)
After taking kick after kick from Kayretli (6-3 MMA, 0-1 CFFC), Pace showed how patient he could be and it paid off. As soon as Kayretli made one mistake of rolling, giving up his back, the champion went for the choke and got it.
With his win last night and another RNC choke against Ricky Bandejas in October 2015, the champion is following the right path to return to the UFC. If it doesn’t happen before his next bout, here are my picks.
First pick, Mazzotta. Mazzotta is riding a nine-fight win streak. In those nine fights, he finished seven of his opponents by submission.
His only career defeat is a second-round TKO loss to current UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandtt. Mazzotta and Pace were supposed to fight at CFFC 60, but injury kept Pace out of the bout.
My second choice is former Ring of Combat Bantamweight Champion Brian “Boom” Kelleher. Kelleher won six straight fights and finished four of those.
He is a legit threat and could be a good test for Pace.
Jared Gordon, CFFC Featherweight Champion (12-1 MMA, 8-1 CFFC)
CFFC 63 result: Defeated Bill Algeo by unanimous decision.
UFC President Dana White made this pick very easy for me because he signed Jared Gordon after his win last evening. So, I am going to make a bold prediction here and say his next bout will be with someone on the UFC roster.
Zu Anyanwu, CFFC Heavyweight Champion (13-4 MMA, 9-2 CFFC)
CFFC 63 result: Defeated Shawn Teed by TKO in round 2.
Next Opponent: Greg “Ribz” Rebello (21-7 MMA, 0-0 CFFC)
A three-time CFFC heavyweight champion, Anyanwu has fought many of the best heavyweights the region has to offer. He could possibly be signed by the UFC, but nothing is for sure.
The champion’s last two opponents Joe Pinto (2-1 MMA, 2-1 CFFC) and Teed (3-1 MMA, 3-1 CFFC) have a combined seven total fights. If Anyanwu stays in the CFFC, I think a more experienced opponent would be his best option.
Rebello would be a tough fight to put together. Considering his last nine fights were for Classic Entertainment and Sports.
The reason I pick Rebello is because he has more fights than Anyanwu and finished 13 opponents by TKO/KO. Anyanwu showcases a strong striking game, but this fight could show what he has to offer when it comes to the ground.
*Note: All these picks are predictions for opponents are are not official match-ups.