When CFFC debuted in the state of Florida, USA last year, a new champion was crowned. At that card, Blake Smith pulled off a third-round submission over Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov to claim the promotion’s lightweight belt. Six months later, Smith is headlining the promotion’s return to the state.
In the main event of CFFC 106, on Thursday night, Smith will take on undefeated prospect Paris Artis in a title bout. Their fight is scheduled to headline an 11-fight card from the Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Tampa, Florida, USA.
Here’s a preview of the show.
Preliminary Card (7:00PM EDT) (Facebook / Youtube)
Bout 1: Argenis Castro (3-1) vs. Riley Palmer (3-0) (Vacant Amateur CFFC Bantamweight Championship)
In the sole amateur fight on the card, Argenis Castro and Riley Palmer will meet at the bantamweight limit.
Palmer has scored three wins in CFFC since making his amateur debut in July 2021. His last two wins both came in October 2021. This upcoming fight is a significant step-up in competition for him, as Castro has more experience than any of his previous opponents combined.
Castro will be appearing in CFFC for the first time. He scored his first-ever finish win just last month, stopping Brandon Holloway in 38 seconds with strikes.
Bout 2: Jorge Molina (0-0) vs. Itso Babulaidze (0-0) (Welterweight)
A double debut will happen next, as Jorge Moline and Itso Babulaidze will both compete as a pro for the first time.
Babulaidze honed his skills as an amateur in CFFC from 2020 to 2021. He finished his amateur career with three wins and two losses.
Molina had a longer amateur career, attaining eight wins and four losses from 2017 to 2022. While he flipped between wins and losses for most of that time, he is making the switch to competing as a pro after going on a four-fight winning streak.
Bout 3: Thomas Picciano (0-0) vs. Vinny Oristaglio (1-1) (Featherweight)
Thomas Picciano will get his first chance in a pro fight when facing Vinny Oristaglio.
Picciano had a very successful amateur run from 2016 to 2021. Mainly fighting for New York-based promotion Triton Fights, Picciano put together six wins and just one loss.
Oirstaglio is riding the momentum of his first pro victory. This win came in October 2021, scoring a third-round submission against Duane Shields.
Bout 4: David Romano (0-1) vs Tyler Keating (0-0) (Lightweight)
Both searching for their first pro win, David Romano and Tyler Keating will meet on the prelims.
Romano had a brutal pro debut in September 2021, suffering a loss in 56 seconds due to a head kick from Brandon Murphy. This was his first pro appearance following an amateur run of six wins through nine appearances.
Keating attained a record of four wins and three losses in amateur bouts before joining this card.
Bout 5: Jesus Hernandez (1-1) vs. Solomon Maldonado (1-0) (Welterweight)
The prelims will wrap up with a welterweight bout between Jesus Hernandez and Solomon Maldonado.
Maldonado is returning after a long layoff. His first fight came in 2018 when he won due to disqualification. This came due to his opponent, Gergo Szucs, landing an illegal knee in the third minute of the fight.
Hernandez’s two pro fights came in the same night on a regional card in January, per MMA database Tapology. While he won the first bout on the night, he later took a loss to even his record up to where it stands now.
Main Card (9:00PM EDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 6: Dean Hancock (4-4) vs. Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov (5-2) (Lightweight)
Appearing for the first time since losing a title bout, Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov will face Dean Hancock in the opening fight of the main card.
As mentioned at the top of this article, Kamchybekov suffered a submission loss to Blake Smith last year. This halted a strong run he had in the promotion before, scoring three consecutive finish wins due to strikes. He can get back to his winning ways with this fight.
Hancock is returning for the first time in over two years. His last fight was a quick stoppage loss to Brian Del Rosario on an LXF card in 2019.
Bout 7: Brandon Lopez (4-3) vs. Jonathan Fernandez (1-2) (Welterweight)
Jonathan Fernandez has the chance to even his record when facing Brandon Lopez.
There is little information online about Fernandez. Per databases, it looks as if this is his first fight since 2007. Of the three fights that he had over a decade ago, one of them was against Tom Lawlor, who would go on to fight in the UFC.
Lopez snapped a two-fight losing streak last month, scoring a stoppage victory over Rich Carsten. He’s still looking for his first CFFC win, as his debut for the promotion last year resulted in a finish loss against Charlie Radtke.
Bout 8: Charlie Radtke (4-3) vs. Jonathan Piersma (3-0) (Welterweight)
Undefeated Jonathan Piersma will search for his fourth win when facing Charlie Radtke on Thursday night.
Piersma has shown off his ability as a grappling specialist since debuting in 2020, scoring three consecutive submission wins. He almost scored his fourth win last year against Kris Vereen, although that fight was later ruled a no-contest due to a botched ruling from the referee during the fight.
Radtke picked up a finish win in his CFFC debut last year, stopping Brandon Lopez with strikes. He has three losses as a pro, although they all came against high-profile names. In 2018, he lost to Austin Hubbard, who would go on to join the UFC. In 2019 and 2021 respectively he lost to Chris Gonzalez and Justin Montalvo, two names that are now Bellator prospects.
Bout 9: Brandon Lewis (5-1) vs. Josh Smith (11-7) (Bantamweight)
Appearing for the first time since taking his first pro loss, Brandon Lewis will face Josh Smith on Thursday’s main card.
Lewis appeared on the most recent season of the UFC TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.” He was unsuccessful in his appearance on the show, taking a unanimous decision loss to undefeated Mo Miller. Before then, Lewis had picked up five wins as a pro, including two in notable promotion LFA.
Smith had a busy 2021, fighting three times in the year. He got a CES title fight in September of that year, although he lost that fight to Jay Perrin. He has since bounced back with a victory, defeating Kyle Estrada on an XMMA card in October 2021.
Bout 10: Hugh Pulley (8-4) vs. Eric Alequin (6-0) (Vacant CFFC Welterweight Championship)
Before the main event, Hugh Pulley and Eric Alequin will fight to become the next CFFC Welterweight Champion. The last titleholder was Yohan Lainesse, who vacated the belt last year to sign a contract with the UFC.
Pulley is competing for the first time since 2019. He has many high-profile fights on his record, having faced many now-UFC fighters like Jason Witt, Drakkar Klose, and Grant Dawson.
Alequin has yet to lose as a pro. Half of his record came in 2021, as he scored three wins in notable promotion Combate Global.
Bout 11: Blake Smith (6-2) vs. Paris Artis (5-0) (CFFC Lightweight Championship)
Blake Smith will look to defend his CFFC Lightweight Championship for the first time when facing Paris Artis in Thursday night’s main event.
Smith took the belt off Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov last year, securing a third-round submission win. This was his first appearance in the promotion, getting the call after attaining five wins from 2016 to 2020.
Artis has shown his finishing skills through five pro fights. Since debuting in 2018, Artis has earned five wins via finish. He joined CFFC in 2020, scoring a first-round head kick knockout against Ryan Rizco.
Artis’ last win was at CFFC 100, where he secured a third-round submission against Feraris Golden Jr. That fight, which came in the 14th minute of the battle, was his longest fight as a pro.
A night of firsts is inevitable for Artis An appearance on Thursday night could see Artis fight three full rounds or more for the first time ever. And the result that the fight produces could make him a champ for the first time, or hand him his first-ever loss.