Premier FC will return to action this Friday, November 19th for the first time since making regional MMA history with its one night, 8 man lightweight tournament in September. This time, Premier will be bringing 3 veterans of the UFC as well as 6 former Bellator fighters to the regional scene. In the main event, Renan Barao (yes, that Renan Barao) will be looking to break a five fight losing streak when he takes on Alaska native, Tyson Duckworth, for the Premier FC Featherweight Title. The co-main event will pit former UFC fighter and New England MMA legend, Marcus Davis, against 19 fight veteran, Stephen Stengel. While Barao and Davis are obviously outside of their fighting prime, they are still prominent names in the sport and they are sure to provide fireworks in the cage.
Barao and Davis will share top billing on the card, but the rest of the fight line up isn’t short on big names either. Former UFC & Bellator heavyweight, Ronny Markes, will be taking on Victor Jones who will be traveling from Michigan for what is sure to be a tough test. Bellator vets Dan Cormier and Pat Casey will also be challenged by opponents who are traveling quite a distance to grace the Premier FC cage. Cormier will meet Oregon’s Steve Lantry, while Casey will battle with Missouri native, Derek Clardy. Fan favorite Kenny Champion will look to bounce back from a tough Bellator loss when he welcomes Kideby Gordon to the cage for what will be Gordon’s long awaited pro debut.
Continue below to see a full breakdown of all 11 fights on this Friday’s card:
Kenny Champion (2-1-0) vs Kideby Gordon: Featherweight
Gordon was scheduled to make his pro debut at CES earlier this month, but that fight was scrapped after his opponent pulled out. We don’t have much info on Gordon, but his Regiment Team is sure to have him ready for an incredibly tough debut against Champion. After two impressive first round finishes at Premier FC, Champion came up short in a great scrap vs Cody Law in Bellator. He will look to return to the win column by welcoming Gordon to the professional ranks.
Ronny Markes (19-9-0) vs Victor Jones (5-15-0): Heavyweight
On the surface, this looks like a pretty easy night for Markes. He is coming off of two losses in Bellator, but he takes on Jones who has lost 9 of his last 10 against far lesser competition than that of Markes. Jones has only gone to decision once in 20 professional fights, so I expect the judges will be able to take a break during this one.
Albert Tulley (1-1-0) vs Cameron Resnisky (Pro Debut): Welterweight
After having a 2019 bout cancelled due to a last minute medical scare, it is good to see Tulley now has a clean bill of health. He has gone 1-1-0 since turning pro (25 amateur fights) with the only loss coming to an extremely tough, Marty Navis. Resnisky is turning pro after compiling an undefeated amateur record and logging two impressive KO victories in 2020. This one should be a slugfest.
Pat Casey (7-4-0) vs Derek Clardy (1-3-0): Welterweight
I don’t know much about Clardy, but he’s making his return to MMA after a 3 year hiatus. During that time he has competed as a pro boxer, so one would assume he’ll be looking to stand and trade strikes with Casey. Knowing Casey, I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to oblige, although it seems grappling could be his easiest path to victory in this one.
Shaquan Moore (1-3-0) vs Cody Zappone (0-2-0): Featherweight
This one is a battle of the Empire State as two New Yorkers face off here in Massachusetts. Zappone has an impressive amateur record of 5-0-0 with 4 finishes, but he has yet to find his footing as a pro. He will look to change that as he takes on a wily veteran in Moore. Moore has an extensive amateur record and while he is only 1-3-0 as a pro, all of his losses are by decision and one of those was in Bellator on his pro debut. On paper, these two appear to be well matched.
Niyaz Ahmed (Pro Debut) vs Blaze Robinson (Pro Debut): Flyweight
Both of these gentlemen had a rough start to their amateur careers, but appear to have turned a corner. Ahmed started out 0-6-0, but has since won 4 of his last 5. Robinson lost his first 3 amateur fights, but had a KO victory in his most recent bout. He also has by far and away the coolest name on the card! One of these fighters will continue his upward trajectory, while the other will once again have to return to the drawing board.
Isaiah Sackey-El (Pro Debut) vs Dan Bunyan (Pro Debut): Heavyweight
Another pair of New York natives will face off in this heavyweight contest. Sackey-El had an extremely impressive amateur career (5-1-0) and he makes his return to the cage after a 22 month layoff, whereas Bunyon (2-1-0 am) has been a bit more active in recent months. All seven amateur victories for these combatants have come via KO, so I wouldn’t expect this one to last very long. I would also be very surprised if we see many submission attempts.
Dan Cormier (8-10-0) vs Steven Lantry (3-3-0): Straw weight
If you’re a fan of New England MMA, you know who Dan Cormier is. Through nearly 10 years as a pro, Cormier has experienced all the highs and lows that come with the sport and he’s still going strong. He will be riding high after a win in his professional boxing debut this August as he takes on Lantry who comes in on a 3 fight skid and a 3 year layoff. Based on his past fights, I expect Lantry will want to grapple in this one, so I won’t be surprised if Cormier looks to keep things standing.
Jonathan DiLorenzo (Pro Debut) vs Sage Philippe (1-1-0): Welterweight
Phillippe is coming off of a first round KO victory in September and he will look to keep the momentum going as he squares off with DiLorenzo who will be making his pro debut. Based on his wrestling background, I would expect DiLorenzo to be looking for takedowns while Phillipe tries to stand and bang.
Marcus Davis (22-11-0) vs Stephen Stengel (4-15-0): Welterweight
If it seems as though Davis has been around forever, it’s because he has! He made his pro debut 18 years ago, and at 48 years old he will enter the cage for the first time after a 7 year absence from fighting. A veteran of 14 UFC fights, Davis has faced a who’s who of lightweight and welterweight fighters over the course of his career. The 37 year old Stengel is no spring chicken himself and has been competing as a pro for just over 15 years. New England MMA fans will surely be excited to see “The Irish Hand Grenade” back in the cage, and Stengel will look to player spoiler in Davis’ return.
Renan Barao (34-9-0) vs Tyson Duckworth (12-9-1): Featherweight Championship
After losing his professional debut in 2005, Barao went on to win 32 consecutive fights over a 9 year span. During that time he became the UFC Bantamweight Champion and the consensus #1 PFP fighter in the world. However, since losing the UFC belt to TJ Dillashaw, Barao’s drop has been a precipitous one. He has lost 7 of his last 8 fights and has now been on the sideline for exactly 2 years. That said, all of Barao’s losses have been against world class competition. On paper, this fight with Duckworth seems like a layup, but fights are not contested on paper. Much like Stephen Stengel, Duckworth will be looking to play the role of spoiler in what is undoubtedly the biggest fight of his career.