While UFC 186 – despite the loss of several planned bouts – will garner much of the headlines this weekend in the mixed martial arts world, it isn’t the only show planned.
ONE, the premier promotion in Asia, heads to the Philippines with Ben Askren defending his welterweight title, while Invicta FC brings the ladies of MMA to the forefront on UFC Fight Pass.
Here’s a look at what to expect from each card, as both go down this Friday:
ONE: Valor of Champions
It all starts with Ben Askren, as the former Bellator champion and ex-Olympic wrestler tries to remain unbeaten vs. Luis Santos.
Askren surprised many when he signed with ONE instead of returning to Bellator or agreeing to a deal with the UFC, but the change in venue – and location of his fights – has yet to cause him any troubles.
“Funky” will be taking on his most experienced foe to date, as Santos has fought over 70 times professionally and has won 61 of those.
Interestingly enough, Askren and Santos could have met before. Back in 2011, Santos lost in the Bellator Season 5 tournament semifinal that was being held to crown a No. 1 contender to Askren.
The card also features intriguing bouts in Mark Striegl vs. Casey Suire and Anatpong Bunrad vs. Geje Eustaquio.
Also, keep an eye on Amir Khan – the fighter, not the boxer – as he is a potential future champion.
Invicta FC 12
Now that the UFC has decided to begin working with strawweight fighters, those that still compete in Invicta FC are getting an up-close-and-personal job interview.
One of those that could be headed to the UFC soon is Katja Kankaanpaa, as the reigning 115-pound champion defends her title vs. Livia Souza.
A 30-year-old from Finland, Kankaanpaa has won two in a row and is 10-1-1 in her MMA career, falling only to UFC fighter Joanne Calderwood. She holds a win over Aisling Daly to her credit.
Souza, meanwhile, is 7-0 with six submission wins to her credit. The Brazilian will be trying to add to that on Friday.
Veterans of female MMA, Roxanne Modafferi and Vanessa Porto, collide in the co-main event, while Amanda Bell-Faith Van Duin, Ediane Gomes-Raquel Pa’aluhi and Peggy Morgan-Latoya Walker all try to bring the house down in Kansas City.