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LFA strap on the line Friday at Mystic Lake Print E-mail
Written by Ben Pherson   
Wednesday, 20 February 2019 08:33

Legacy Fighting Alliance returns to Minnesota on Friday night at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake.

LFA 61 is set to start at 6 p.m. with a whopping 14-fight card that features a world-title fight as the main event.

The middleweight belt is on the line when Moses Murrietta and Brendan Allen clash in the main event. Murrietta comes in at 8-1, while Allen is 10-3. Allen is the current champion after his win over Tim Hiley at LFA 50.

The co-main features Minnesota fan favorite Brandon Jenkins, who will return to action against veteran Mike Plazola at a catch weight of 160.

The main card, as always, will be broadcast live on AXS-TV starting at 9 p.m. The undercard is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

Tickets are available through the Mystic Lake Casino box office or online at this link.

Enjoy the show!

PRO MAIN CARD (9 p.m. on AXS-TV)

MOSES MURRIETTA VS BRENDAN ALLEN

WEIGHT: 185 * five-round title fight.

RECORDS: Murrietta is 8-1, while Allen is 10-3.

RECENTLY: Allen has won two straight since falling by decision in his first LFA title fight against Anthony Hernandez, who’s now in the UFC. Allen most recently beat Tim Hiley at LFA 50 for the vacant middleweight belt. Murrietta is on a three-fight winning streak, with his last two wins coming under the LFA banner (he’s also a Bellator vet).

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “Allen is tough. I don’t know a ton about him other than what I’ve seen in his LFA fights, but he’s right there on the verge of the UFC, and I’m guessing a win here would put him in line for that promotion. Murrietta is a game challenger, though. He’s a finisher, and he’s already fought several times for LFA and Bellator. He’s a dangerous opponent for anyone.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: It’s Brendan Allen’s time. He gets a fourth-round submission finish.

MIKE PLAZOLA VS BRANDON JENKINS

WEIGHT: 160.

RECORDS: Plazola is 16-9, Jenkins is 12-6.

 

RECENTLY: Jenkins has alternated wins and losses for his last four fights. He downed Luke Gwaltney in his last bout at LFA 41. Plazola has won two straight, finishing both opponents.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “This one should be an absolute war. I’m legitimately excited for this fight. It’s going to be a brawl. It’s a banger of epic proportions. I can’t wait for these fireworks. I expect this war to end with one of these guys going to sleep, it’s that kind of brawl. This has fight of the night written all over it.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Jenkins, back on the grind, second-round KO.

KEN BEVERLY VS NATE JENNERMAN

WEIGHT: 145.

RECORDS: Beverly is 8-3, Jennerman is 12-4.

RECENTLY: Jennerman’s last six fights all have been under the LFA banner. He’s coming off a loss to Damon Jackson. Beverly has won three straight and five of his last six. He’s a Bellator vet.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “Beverly is from Kentucky. He’s a tough, well-rounded kid. LFA really likes him. But Jennerman is a submission machine. He’s coming off a title loss to Damon Jackson, so I know he’ll be looking to bounce back strong and hopefully get himself right back in that title picture.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: You can’t bet against Nasty Nate. This will be a war, though. My dude claims a decision W.

SID BICE VS LLOYD MCKINNEY

WEIGHT: 125.

RECORDS: Bice is 8-2, McKinney is 13-5.

RECENTLY: McKinney has won four straight since a 2017 loss to Mitch White. He’s fought for both Bellator and LFA during that winning streak. Bice is coming off a loss to Maikel Perez, but he’s already fought for LFA, RFA and Titan. His last three fights have been for LFA.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “Bice is a top prospect. He’s in the conversation for moving to the UFC pretty quickly. But he has a tough opponent in front of him in Lloyd McKinney. Lloyd has been around a while, I’m sure he’s looking at this as his big chance to move up the ladder, too. There’s a lot on the line for both guys. I would expect this to be a very high-paced fight. Both guys are great athletes.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Albie is my dude, but Bice is a beast, he wins by second-round submission.

JAKE CHILDERS VS JOSH MARSH

WEIGHT: 145.

RECORDS: Childers is 5-0, while Marsh is 5-1.

RECENTLY: Childers had a lengthy, successful amateur career and has now started his pro career with five straight wins, including four finishes in five fights. Marsh has won four consecutive fights, all over opponents with winning records. His last two wins came under the LFA banner.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “Childers is an undefeated kid from down South. We don’t know a ton about him, but I know LFA has very high hopes for him. Marsh is ready for anyone, though. He is on the fast track to the UFC. He’s getting better and better with each fight, and he has a well-rounded game. This will be a great challenge for both guys.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Marsh has faced tougher competition, so I’ll give him the nod, second-round submission.

DIONISIO RAMIREZ VS NICK AMMERMAN

WEIGHT: 170.

RECORDS: Ramirez is 7-4, Ammerman 4-1.

RECENTLY: Ramirez has been out of MMA since 2013. He had a three-fight winning streak snapped in his last bout. Ammerman suffered his first setback in his last bout, falling by decision to Bobby Lee at LFA 34.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “This is a crossroads fight for both guys. They’re both vets, both have been around for a while. They’re two veteran fighters who obviously have hopes of moving up that ladder quickly. Ramirez is from Omaha, and Ammerman trains at Iron Works in Wisconsin. It’s a big fight for both guys.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Ammerman too skilled, third-round submission win.

PRO UNDERCARD

BROCK SMITH VS JOEL BAUMAN

WEIGHT: 175.

RECORDS: Smith is 3-0, Bauman is 1-0.

RECENTLY: Bauman, who is a former Gophers wrestler, was tested but won a majority decision over Corey Davis in his pro debut. Smith has opened his career with three straight wins, including two finishes. His lone decision win came at LFA 48.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “This is two absolutely stud wrestlers going at it. Both wrestled collegiately. Both guys are still fairly new to MMA, but both have already had tough fights. Neither guy has lost yet, this one should really be a lot of fun.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Bauman getting a stiff test from my dude, but Bauman wins a decision.

SEAN MCPADDEN VS JASON HUNTLEY

WEIGHT: 135.

RECORDS: McPadden is 1-0, Huntley is 5-7.

RECENTLY: In his pro debut in December, McPadden/Strube/Lucky submitted Jesse Wannemacher in the first round. Huntley has lost two straight and five of his last six, though every single loss came against an opponent with a winning record. His lone win during that span came over a previously unbeaten foe.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “This is a classic version of top prospect vs. wily veteran. McPadden/Strube took some time off but made a successful return to MMA recently as a pro. He’s dangerous on the feet and on the ground. Huntley has been around the block, though. He’s fought many, many tough guys. He has a way of making guys fight his style. I think Huntley can offer a nice challenge to Sean.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Huntley is a vet, been around the block. But Lucky is too athletic, he wins by second-round submission.

ERIC KEMPER VS SEAN STEBBINS

WEIGHT: 125.

RECORDS: Kemper is 3-6, while Stebbins is making his pro debut (11-2 as amateur).

RECENTLY: Kemper has lost two straight and has been out since May of last year. Stebbins is making his pro debut after a stellar amateur career. His only two amateur losses came at the Unified World Amateur Championships.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “After a fantastic amateur career, Stebbins is ready to make the move to the pro ranks. He’s a great wrestler. Stebbins is taking on an experienced professional in Eric Kemper. Eric is always great to work with. I think it’s a nice test for both guys.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Stebbins is a grinder; he wins by decision.

AMATEUR CARD

DUSTIN KLAPPERICK VS YAMAH SADOZAI

WEIGHT: 155.

RECORDS: Klapperick is 5-2, while Sadozai is 4-3.

RECENTLY: Klapperick has lost two of his last three, though both losses were against Driller amateur champions (Coty Milhausen and Jay Paulson). … Sadozai also has lost two of three, again with both losses coming to top competition, including Juan Hernandez.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “Yamah is just a great guy to be around. He works hard in the gym, and he’s always willing to take on tough opponents. He has a well-rounded game. Klapperick has shown off a great skill set down on our Austin shows, and he’s another guy who never turns down a tough opponent. He’s fought for our Driller Promotions title before, and he continues to improve each time out. I’m excited to see what he does on the big stage.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Love both dudes. Klapperick always finds a way to get it done, I’ll take him in a last-second TKO.

SHANNON CLARK VS JORDAN KAAZE

WEIGHT: 125.

RECORDS: Clark is making her debut, while Kaaze is 5-1.

RECENTLY: Kaaze (Nickelatti) has been on fire since a loss to Helen Peralta, winning four straight, including three by way of strikes. … Clark is fighting for the first time.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “I love this fight. We sent the list of potential opponents to (ATT of Savage coach) Eric Aasen, and he felt with Shannon Clark’s training and BJJ competitions and kickboxing fights, she was ready to compete with someone like Jordan despite her 5-1 record. I’m very excited to see this as Eric always makes sure people are ready before they enter the cage. Jordan is a top prospect; she’s definitely someone to watch moving forward. In six fights, she’s improved a ton.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Kaaze is a beast, she keeps rolling with a decision win.

KYLE ZIMICK VS HAYDEN BUCKNER

WEIGHT: 155.

RECORDS: Zimick is 4-0, while Buckner is 2-1.

RECENTLY: Buckner has not fought since 2014. His last win was via submission over Victor Cabadas. Zimick has three finishes in four fights, but this will be his toughest competition to date.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “Buckner is now a coach at the Academy in Eden Prairie. Great guy, skilled fighter and teacher. Zimick is a great, unbeaten prospect out of Rising Sun MMA. I really don’t know which way this one goes or who has the advantage. Good, even fight.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Buckner back in the game, he’ll be too much to handle, slight upset alert, Buckner by second-round submission.

BRADY MINNER VS JOEY HART

WEIGHT: 170.

RECORDS: Minner is 7-2, while Hart is 5-1-1.

RECENTLY: Hart has won three straight since his loss to Ben Ross. In five wins, Hart has five finishes. … Minner has won two straight since his two-fight losing streak. Minner beat quality opponents in both fights.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “Joey Hart is one of the most exciting amateurs to watch here in Minnesota. He’s a natural athlete with outstanding striking. He was pretty green at first, but now he’s been working hard with a real gym, and I’m excited to see his progress. Minner is the brother of pro Darrick Minner. Darrick is an outstanding wrestler, but oddly, Brady is more of a striker. That should be a perfect match for Hart’s skills; this could be an all-out war.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Joey “All” Hart, third-round TKO.

TYUS WHITE VS GRANT BOLDUAN

WEIGHT: 135.

RECORDS: White is 3-0, while Bolduan is making his debut.

RECENTLY: White has opened his career with three consecutive wins, including back-to-back decision wins. He handed Minnesota’s Daniel Soriano his lone defeat. … Bolduan is making his debut after a stellar wrestling career.

BJORNBERG’S THOUGHTS: “Interesting fight. Both guys are elite wrestlers, both are from great gyms (White is with Pura Vida and Bolduan with the Academy). Tyus is moving up from 125 for this fight and he has the experience edge, but will it be enough? Tyus is a state champion wrestler from Wisconsin. Bolduan took this fight the instant it was offered to him. He says he’s never had a problem with a Wisconsin state champ. I’m excited for this one; two guys with bright futures in this sport.”

HAWKEYE FIGHTER PREDICTION: Gotta think the wrestling equals out, right? When it comes to elite wrestling, I’m usually gonna take the bigger kid. But here, experience pays. White gets it done, decision.