The focus of the MMA crowd on Saturday night mostly goes to UFC events. In rare instances, it goes to Bellator. But this week, neither will get the spotlight. Instead, regional promotion CFFC will be the biggest show of the day. The 12-fight card was originally set to have a title fight in the main event, although that was removed from the lineup after challenger Christian Rodriguez got the call to compete on TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.”
Instead, undefeated featherweights Deandre Anderson and Jose Perez will headline the show. The lineup features many interesting prospects and includes many fighters at different levels of the game.
Here’s a preview of the show, which is going down at the Fitz Casino Hotel in Tunica, Mississippi, USA.
Preliminary Card (6:00PM EDT / 5:00PM CDT) (Facebook)
Bout 1: Gannon Hayes (1-1) vs. Jonny Morales (1-1) (Amateur Featherweight)
In the first of five amateur fights on the card, Gannon Hayes and Jonny Morales will meet in the opening bout.
Morales lost his CFFC debut last time out, not being picked in a split decision against Cameron Phillips in September. Seven months before then he submitted Jeff Thompson for his sole amateur win.
Hayes’ story is the other way around. After losing his debut in 2018, he returned in 2019 to submit Austin McVay and even his record. His bout on Saturday is the first time he fights in the CFFC cage.
Bout 2: Harrison Pait (1-0) vs. Noah Waalk (1-1) (Amateur Catchweight)
Coming back after both scoring their first amateur win, Harrison Pait and Noah Waalk will meet. They’re fighting at a catchweight that isn’t known at the moment, although records show that both fighters compete around lightweight.
Pait made his debut in May, stopping Dylan Latreille within a round with strikes.
Waalk scored a submission earlier this year, defeating Johnie Hudson to bounce back from his only loss, which was back in 2017.
Bout 3: Brennan Glass (1-1) vs. Gilbert Cuzdey (1-1-1) (Amateur Lightweight)
Amateur fighters Brennan Glass and Gilbert Cuzdey will make their respective returns on Saturday night.
Both fighters have been outside of the cage for at least a year.
Cuzdey is returning after his first loss, which he took to Drew Croegaert about a year ago. His previous draw and win came in 2019.
Glass had a quick start to his career, earning a win and a loss within a two-month period in early 2019. However, he has not competed since then.
Bout 4: Lucas Hoffman (0-0) vs. Harvey Mardis (1-1) (Amateur Featherweight)
Lucas Hoffman will compete in an MMA cage for the very first time when fighting Harvey Mardis in an amateur bout.
Mardis debuted in February with a decision loss. He only needed a round in his last fight, stopping Adryan Grundy with strikes in May.
There is little information on Hoffman due to how new he is in MMA.
Bout 5: Jartavis Jackson (5-1) vs. Evaniel Johnson (4-2) (Amateur Bantamweight)
Rightfully so, the two most experienced amateurs on the card will be the last of the pack on the prelims. In a bantamweight bout, Jartavis Jackson and Evaniel Johnson will battle.
Jackson is coming back a year after he was submitted for his sole amateur loss. Before then, he strung together five wins from 2019 to 2020, including three fights via stoppage.
Johnson has been on the amateur scene since early 2019. While he has flipped between wins and losses recently, he is entering Saturday night with the momentum of a stoppage victory from earlier this year.
Bout 6: Frankie Shughart (1-2) vs. Joe Pass (1-1) (Catchweight)
The sole pro fight of the prelims features Frankie Shughart and Joe Pass.
Shughart has a negative pro record, although he has a chance to even it with another win. He kicked his career off with two losses in 2019, although he finally broke into the win column in early 2020 with a win against Kenny Gray.
Pass’ last fight was all the way back in 2019, where he stopped Jeremy Rogers within a minute with strikes.
Main Card (8:00PM EDT / 7:00PM CDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 7: Joe Tran (0-0) vs. Ben Coyle (0-1) (Flyweight)
In the first of three pro debuts on the card, Joe Tran will face Ben Coyle in the main card opener.
Coyle had a highly successful amateur career, although he has yet to win as a pro. He lost his debut last year to now-CFFC champ Phumi Nkuta, getting submitted by him in October.
Tran is turning pro after an extensive amateur run. He has competed since 2017, and departs the amateur scene with a record of six wins and two losses.
Bout 8: Lydell Poag (0-0) vs. Stavros Moustakakis (0-0) (Middleweight)
A double debut will happen on the main card when Lydell Poag faces Stavros Moustakakis
MMA database Tapology has documented two wins in Poag’s pro career. Both wins have come via stoppage, including a performance over Deryl VanNostrand in March.
There is little information online about Moustakakis. He is being represented by the Warrior’s Den gym in Tennessee.
Bout 9: Timothy Cuamba (2-0) vs. James Lyons (2-0) (Featherweight)
Homegrown CFFC rookies Timothy Cuamba and James Lyons will test their undefeated streaks on Saturday night.
Lyons has been a pro for even less time, with his debut being a win against Cody Zappone on the same card that Cuamba earned his second victory. The first win for Lyons came in just under two minutes with strikes. Only a month later, he returned and scored a submission against Beau Samaniego in just over two minutes.
Bout 10: Da’Mon Blackshear (9-4) vs. Mateo Vogel (5-1) (Bantamweight)
Returning after winning his CFFC debut earlier this year, Mateo Vogel will fight Da’Mon Blackshear at bantamweight.
Vogel scored a submission win in his first appearance in the promotion earlier this year, stopping Garrett Armfield in the second round with a rear naked choke. The win was his U.S. debut, with his five previous appearances all taking place on the Canadian regional scene.
He now fights Blackshear, who enters with a significant experience advantage over him. Blackshear has performed in numerous promotions, including Titan FC, CES, CFFC and Bellator. He is returning to CFFC after securing a guillotine choke win over Joe Penafiel in April.
Bout 11: Nah-shon Burrell (17-11) vs. Khetag Pliev (5-1) (Catchweight 175 lbs)
Returning quickly after being part of a gruesome viral moment, Khetag Pliev will face vet Nah-shon Burrell in the co-main event.
Pliev last competed in April against Devin Goodale. That fight was abruptly stopped before the third round as Pliev had suffered a hand injury. As detailed visually on the broadcast, Pliev was seemingly missing a finger while in his corner. To make things worse, nobody at the time knew where the finger went.
It was eventually discovered that the finger was inside his MMA glove. In a miraculous example of what modern medical practices can do, he was able to get a surgery later that night and have his finger reattached without much issue. The incident went on to go viral online, reaching far beyond the usual MMA circles that follow regional cards.
With his previous CFFC fight being ruled a no contest, Pliev gets a fresh start in the promotion when facing Burrell on Saturday.
Burrell is an experienced former UFC fighter who has fought since 2010. He made his return last year, coming back and snapping a four-fight losing streak that he had developed from 2017 to 2018. He has since had two stoppage wins, defeating Ryot Waller and Moses Murrietta on CFFC shows.
Bout 12: Deandre Anderson (4-0) vs. Jose Perez (4-0) (Featherweight)
Deandre Anderson and Jose Perez will put their flawless MMA records on the line when meeting in the main event of Saturday night.
Perez has made a name for himself as a submission specialist in CFFC. He most notably pulled off a banana split late last year for a win over Jacob Dorman. After a victory outside of CFFC early this year, Perez came back to the promotion in May with a first-round rear naked choke win against Jaleon Reid.
Anderson is actually returning to MMA in this fight, as his last time in the cage was back in 2019. He hasn’t been fully out of combat sports since then, as he appeared in boxing twice last year.
All four of Anderson’s pro wins have come in King of the Cage.