In recent memory, the best way for Canadian fight fans to get their fix was through TKO MMA; an unofficial UFC farm-system of sorts that went on hiatus in 2008, returning in 2016. Now, this may be the worst time for the Quebec promotion to be taking a break from the Canadian scene (they haven’t held an event since May 2019).
Not only are two of TKO’s top stars partaking in their second and third bouts in the UFC (Charles Jourdain & Marc-Andre Barriault on Fight Night: Busan) two young, Ontario, Canada promotions are putting together top-notch cards that seem to indicate they are really listening to their Canuck fans.
PFC 12: Laramie vs. Cruz (Dec. 6th) is chock-full of fan favourites and scary talent. You may recognize defending 145-pound Champ T.J. Laramie as the former TKO Champion who defeated now-UFC fighter, the aforementioned Charles Jourdain. T.J. “The Truth” is easily the #1 featherweight in the country and is known to fans as ‘the guy who no-one is quite sure as to why he isn’t in the UFC’. With wrestling and cardio usually too advanced for his opponents, another dominant win will only add fuel to the fire.
On November 5th, Elias Theodorou made shocking news that he would sign with PFC to fight on this card. The 16-3 middleweight whose style has been scrutinized (hence a release from the UFC after just one loss in previous four fights) faces Hernani Perpétuo, a former UFC, ONE and Shooto fighter. An impressive performance from Elias could certainly be a smack to the face of the UFC, while a poor effort could only prove them right.
Tony Laramie (T.J.’s younger brother) fights too, with the 125 lb. belt on the line vs. Claudio Ledesma. Tony’s credentials are much like his brother’s, along with what I call an iron skull. The cardio and chin of both brothers certainly assist in the comparison to the Diaz brothers, just at lighter weights. If both come away with their third consecutive wins, an argument could easily be made that they are simply too talented for this promotion. Personally, I think if that happens it would be a smart move for Bellator to attempt to package a marketing campaign around the two in 2020. Just a thought.
You’d also be remiss to ignore Melissa Karagianis vs. Randi Field. As Field says in a recent promo (below), “Who doesn’t want to watch two hot chicks beat the s*** out of each other?”. Karagianis returns after a year off, while Field looks to get her second win in as many fights. Why are these two popular? Because they are crossing over two genres: fitness model and cage fighter (Instagrams here and here), something that is much less commendable when done in reverse and, unlike others, these two seem to be okay with getting punched in the face on a Saturday and showing off the bruises on Sunday.
BTC 8: Eliminator (Nov. 30th) features three championship bouts, with notable Lindsay Garbatt fighting for the Women’s Strawweight title. At 6-5 you might wonder why all the hype…it’s because fans have had to literally beg Garbatt to get back in the cage before BTC signed her in mid-2018. “Lethal” Lindsay’s legendary cardio combined with a willingness to brawl that is rarely seen at 115 lbs. has her fighting in her fourth bout for BTC, in Niagara Falls, Ontario vs. an undefeated Lupita Godinez.
Mid-card you’ll find Tyler Wilson, a Hayabusa fighter whom this writer would rank around 6 or 7 in terms of Canadian Bantamweights. Wilson should be noted for shocking people with RNCs across promotions like TKO and KOTC, while collecting finishes in five different promotions. Wilson will fight nine-year pro Matthew DiMarcantonio at 145 lbs., however.
Both cards loudly parrot two things that fight fans in the ‘great white north’ have been screaming for years:
- We need more promotions
- These promotions need to give fans what they want if they wish to survive/get support
It would be wise of TKO MMA to return in 2020 with a stellar card, or risk being drowned out by these up-and-coming promotions who benefit from their proximity to the U.S. border, as well as having an ear to the ground on social media.