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Premier FC 31: The Preview

Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"

It's been a year and a half since the crew of New England MMA sat cageside for our very first event as a team at Premier FC 30 and if feels amazing to say that 19 months later we will finally be back at the MassMutual Center tonight to witness Premier FC make regional MMA history with a first of it's kind (here in New England) one night, eight man, Lightweight Tournament to crown the Premier FC Lightweight Champion! With twenty fights locked and loaded following yesterday's weigh-ins, Premier FC comes back with a BANG and a line up that includes some of the country's top fighting talents including numerous UFC and Bellator veterans as well as some of the New England region's brightest stars. Premier FC 31 will kickoff tonight at 6 pm from the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts and here is a look at some of the biggest match-ups on an absolutely stacked card put together by the Premier organization!

Lightweight Tournament Opening round matchups have been set; after all eight men came in on weight yesterday the promotion drew names at random to determine the opening round matchups. The tournament's opening round will consist of four fights, one round each and here are your matchups.

Fight #1 D'juan Owens vs. Anthony Pike: Known to some New England hardcore MMA fans for his scraps with Nate Andrews and Joe Giannetti, D'Juan "Dirty South" Owens (18-16-1) finds himself back in New England looking to capture a title once again. Owens draws a virtually unknown commodity in fellow Lightweight Anthony Pike, one thing I can say about Pike is he brings the best mustache to the tournament but beyond that I will be anxious to see what Pike brings to the cage when the pin drops on his opening round scrap with D'Juan Owens.

Fight #2 Ali Zebian vs. Kody Murray: Westfield, Massachusetts' Ali Zebian (6-2) will be looking to capture the Premier FC Lighteight title for the second time in his professional career and further his case for a call up to a top promotion Saturday night. That journey starts with his first round bout with Vermont's Kody Murray. Murray burst on to the New England MMA scene last time out with a dramatic upset of Premier FC veteran Miguel Cuevas in his professional debut, Murray looks to continue his upset strategy tonight when he matches wits with former Champion Ali Zebian.

Fight #3 Jacob Bohn vs. Sam Watford: New York's Jacob "Jaguar" Bohn (10-7) is back on the New England scene and looking to leave with yet another strap. Already the Reality Fighting Lightweight title holder, Bohn would love to further his case as one of the top unsigned fighters in the Northeast tonight by capturing yet another regional title. Bohn draws fellow New Yorker and Bellator veteran Sam Watford (2-2), who looks to put an end to his current two fight losing skid by dispatching Bohn on his way to the second round of the Premier FC tournament.

Fight #4 Estevan Payan vs. Dylan Salvador: Fan will recognize the name Estevan Payan (17-14) from his run with Strikeforce, Bellator and the UFC. Payan definitely comes into this tournament as the most experienced of the 8 competitors having tested his skills against some of the best in the world. If Payan hope to add a Premier FC belt to his already storied career he will have to get through Georgia's Dylan Salvador (3-0) to do so. Salvador is reletively new to the MMA scene competing as a kickboxer for the first three years of his professional fighting career. With just three MMA bouts under his belt, he makes his run at the Premier FC strap tonight, and that run starts with Estevan Payan.