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Curry getting his main event shot at LFA 20 on Friday night at Mystic Lake Print E-mail
Written by Ben Pherson   
Monday, 21 August 2017 11:19

Chad "Blitz" Curry is considered one of the top-ranked prospects in North America, and Friday night he's getting his first main-event shot with a major promotion. And he'll get to do it in his home state.

Curry is fighting in the main event of Friday's Legacy Fighting Alliance 20 at Mystic Lake Casino near Prior Lake. Curry comes into the bout having won two consecutive fights, and he's the top-ranked 170-pounder in Minnesota.

Curry brings a 9-1 record into his showdown with Nick Barnes, who's 10-2. Barnes is a Bellator vet, and he's taken on some of the sport's top fighters.

As usual, the main portion of Friday's LFA 20 will be carried live on AXS-TV at 8 p.m. The undercard starts at 5:30 p.m. sharp. One fight fell off this week, so the card has seven pro fights and three amateur bouts. Tickets are available online through cagetix.com (select your favorite fighter ... they receive a portion of all ticket sales), and they'll be available at the Mystic Lake box office Friday night.

Today Minnesota MMA News breaks down the entire card, and we catch up with matchmaker Jeremy Bjornberg to get his thoughts on each matchup. Our favorite fight predictor also returns; the anonymous Hawkeye Fighter offers his predictions for each bout.

AMATEUR UNDERCARD

BRYAN BAUTISTA VS TYLER MANNING

WEIGHT: 135.

RECORDS: Bautista is 3-1, while Manning is 3-2.

STATE RANKING: Manning is from out of state, and Bautista is from Wisconsin.

BJORNBERG'S THOUGHTS: "Manning trains with Matt Lagou up in northern Minnesota, and he's a very good prospect at 135 pounds. This will be a huge test for

him, and it's the kind of challenge he needs right now before taking another big step forward. Bautista is a Duke Roufus product, a good, hard-working kid who is considered a legit prospect. I'm excited for this one. Both coaches rave about these kids, so it's a perfect way to kick off the night."

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: I know Manning a bit, but man I can't go against the Roufusport kid. My connects there say he's super solid. Bautista wins by third-round TKO.

CALEB MERTH VS CHRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ

WEIGHT: 140.

RECORDS: Merth is 4-1, while Rodriguez is 3-1.

STATE RANKING: Merth is unranked, and Rodriguez is from Wisconsin.

BJORNBERG'S THOUGHTS: "Rodriguez is another Roufusport product, and he's considered another top amateur prospect there. Duke always wants his amateurs taking on tough fights, so this one is no different. I expect this one to be a war. Merth is very slick, good on the ground and he can take a punch. He seems to be better after getting hit a few times, and he likes to move forward."

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Love this fight. Rodriguez wins a decision.

ANGEL PACHECO VS VANYU XIONG

WEIGHT: 145.

RECORDS: Pacheco is 6-4, while Xiong  is 3-1.

STATE RANKING: Both fighters are unranked.

BJORNBERG'S THOUGHTS: "This is an under-the-radar pick for fight of the night. Both guys are fantastic strikers. Vanyu is more of the kickboxing, Muay Thai style, while Angel is an excellent boxer. Angel has always fought the best of the best for us. He's way better than his record indicates. With a decent camp and down at 145, he's going to be a beast. Vanyu improves every time he's in there, too. He's a great prospect out of Spartan, a hard worker and just a great kid to deal with."

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Best fight on the undercard fo sho. FOTN. One of those bangers you hope goes all three. Pacheco by late second-round KO.

 

PRO MAIN CARD (AXS, 8 p.m.)

KELLY KOBOLD VS CHRISTINE STANLEY

WEIGHT: 125.

RECORDS: Kobold is 16-3-1, while Stanley is 5-3.

STATE RANKING: Stanley is from California, while Kobold is unranked (due to inactivity).

BJORNBERG'S THOUGHTS: "Minnesota has been waiting a long, long time for Kelly to return to MMA. She was a women's MMA pioneer, not just in Minnesota but in the sport, period. She's fantastic in all phases of the game, and she's Tom Schmitz's significant other, so my guess is her ground game has improved a ton since she was last in the cage. Kelly has put in the work at Spartan for this comeback, so I know she's ready. I'm very excited to see her live for the first time. Stanley is an Alliance product. She's a vet, too. She's been around, fought some very tough females, so I don't think she's going to be intimidated. From the sound of it, she's well-rounded and I expect this to be another Fight of the Night candidate."

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Come on dog, Alliance or not, I'm not going against Kelly. Kobold by second-round submission.

MELVIN BLUMER VS SHAWN WEST

WEIGHT: 145.

RECORDS: West is 13-8, while Blumer is 12-3.

STATE RANKING: West is from Iowa, and Blumer is unranked (due to inactivity).

BJORNBERG'S THOUGHTS: "Man, again, I'm excited to see Melvin back in there. His game continues to improve, and now he's finally healthy and ready to get back in there and bang. Melvin was always considered the ground guy out of the Bash Brothers, but then he rattled off three straight KO wins. He's back in there for the first time since March of 2016, so I'm sure he'll look to shake off some rust. But the Blumer boys are never in a boring fight. ... Shawn West comes up from Iowa, and he's a stud, too. He's already fought some of the best the Midwest has to offer. He fought UFC vet Rob Emmerson, and he beat former Minnesota prospect Andre Tieva. It's a tough fight for both guys, but it's a sick fight. Probably my pick for fight of the night, and that's saying something considering a few of these other fights."

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Crap, toughest one for me to pick. West is my boy. Both dudes are finishers Shawn never goes the distance, dude finishes fights. But, this hurts to say ... Blumer by split decision. Give the dude the nod at home.

TRAVIS PERZYNSKI VS CARL WITTSTOCK

WEIGHT: 155.

RECORDS: Perzynski is 15-7, while Wittstock is 9-1.

STATE RANKING: Perzynski is No. 2 in Minnesota at 155, while Wittstock is from out of state.

BJORNBERG'S THOUGHTS: "It's great to have Perzynski back in the game. He's a way more complete fighter than he ever was back in the day; training with a legit team like Spartan has done wonders for his game. He's well-rounded, solid wrestling, solid striking, great chin. He's damn near impossible to finish. Wittstock is a serious prospect, too, and he's mostly fought in Iowa. His 9-1 record speaks for itself, and he hasn't lost a fight since 2014. This will be a big step up in competition for him, though. He'll put that record to the test.

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Carefree Perzynski gets the job done, third-round submission.

JEFF PETERSON VS BRANDON JENKINS

WEIGHT: 155.

RECORDS: Peterson is 7-4, while Jenkins is 10-4.

STATE RANKING: Peterson is from out of state, while Jenkins is ranked No. 4 at 155.

BJORNBERG'S THOUGHTS: "Tough, tough fight to pick. Man, this is a good one. Peterson is a warrior, a tough dude who continues to improve at Alliance. He took some bad fights back in the day, but now that he's taking it seriously, training hard and everything, he's just a beast. He's on the verge of something big. But, Brandon Jenkins is no joke. He had an issue with his weight cut last time and ended up in the hospital because of it. He's never had problems cutting, so I think it was just a fluke. But Jenkins, good luck finishing him. He's tough, he hits hard, and he's another guy who seems to be better after he gets hit a few times. Love, love this fight."

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: I think Peterson stays smart and grinds one one, wins a unanimous decision. But never write off Jenkins. Dude's a stud, fun to watch.

NATE JENNERMAN VS ROBERT MOFFETT

WEIGHT: 145.

RECORDS: Both Jennerman and Moffett are 9-2.

STATE RANKING: Both fighters are from out of state.

BJORNBERG'S THOUGHTS: "Moffett is coming up from Illinois, and he's already fought some of the best dudes in the world. He fought Raoni Barcellos for the title, and he's fought Kenny Jordan, Bellator vet Bo Harris and he has a win over Minnesota's own Dan Moret. He's been in a world title fight before with RFA, so the big stage is nothing new to him. He's a beast on the ground. It's tough to avoid his submissions for three rounds. Jennerman is yet another prospect out of Roufusport. He is coming off wins over Shawn West and Damion Hill, so we know he has the skills to stick with top talent. This is a fight with national implications, both guys are main-event type fighters."

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Jennerman is my guy, but gotta go Moffett in this one, third-round submission.

BOBBY LEE VS ASHKAN MORVARI

WEIGHT: 155.

RECORDS: Lee is 6-1, while Morvari is 11-5.

STATE RANKING: Lee is No. 3 at 155, while Morvari is No. 7.

BJORNBERG'S THOUGHTS: "Morvari is another guy who took a bunch of time off. He's with ATT of Savage, and he's a good wrestler. We will see how much he's improved. Lee will be looking to bounce back after his first defeat. I know he seems more focused than ever. He's also an outstanding wrestler, and LFA considers him a legit prospect. It'll be interesting to see how he comes back after the setback. I really think it's a great fight for both guys. The wrestling probably equals out, so we'll see what happens after that."

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Come on, Lee is my dude; second-round submission win for the Ginja Ninja.

CHAD CURRY VS NICK BARNES

WEIGHT: 170.

RECORDS: Curry is 9-1, while Barnes is 10-2.

STATE RANKING: Curry is No. 1 at 170, while Barnes is from California.

BJORNBERG'S THOUGHTS: "Curry is really the top prospect out of Minnesota, and a win here could or should propel him into an LFA title shot. His lone loss is to Landon Vannata, who's holding his own in the UFC now. Chad has great wrestling, and he's an elite athlete. He trains at the Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Rochester. He's better on the ground, but his striking continues to improve. Barnes is a Bellator vet, and he fought twice for RFA, including against UFC vet Brian Camozzi. He also had a fight against Jesse Taylor, another UFC vet. So it's a big spot for both guys. Barnes isn't flying all the way out here to lose to the hometown guy, so I'm sure there will be fireworks."

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Curry, first-round submission.

 

•••••••••••

LFA 20

Mystic Lake, Friday

PRO

170 — Chad Curry vs. Nick Barnes.

155 — Bobby Lee vs. Ashkan Morvari.

145 — Robert Moffett vs. Nate Jennerman.

155 — Jeff Peterson vs. Brandon Jenkins.

155 — Travis Perzynski vs. Carl Wittstock.

145 — Melvin Blumer vs. Shawn West.

125 — Kelly Kobold vs. Christina Stanley.

AMATEUR

145 — Angel Pacheco vs. Vanyu Xiong.

140 — Caleb Merth vs. Christian Rodriguez.

135 — Bryan Bautista vs. Tyler Manning.