The Top Fights That Can Be Booked: Canadian MMA 2020

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Canadian MMA 2020
Credit: Dylan Bowker/Cageside Press

As we approach the new year, Canadian MMA 2020 is looking pretty bright. Manitoba had a rare mixed-martial arts event take place (Teofista: Fight for the Troops). Ontario MMA is ever-growing and BTC Fight Promotions continued to maintain their momentum with other players like Prospect Fighting Championships also killing it with some great shows. Alberta and Quebec kept up their pace that marries quality and quantity for great MMA events.

BC has been carving out their path with the stalwart BFL and the compelling new kid on the block Rise FC. Virtually every province in the country got a taste of MMA action this calendar year. We head into 2020 with a lot of compelling prospective match-ups to make from fighters who impressed during a strong 2019. In no particular order, here are the top fights that can be booked for Canadian MMA 2020.

Canadian MMA 2020

Chad Anheliger vs Jamie Siraj

Chad Anheliger vs Jamie Siraj is such a hotly anticipated fight that it was already booked at one point. Siraj had to withdraw from their November 2019 Rise FC 5 bout with Anheliger defeating replacement Brady Hiestand via second-round TKO. Anheliger is riding an eight-fight win streak with two Rise FC belts (flyweight and bantamweight) to his credit while Siraj is on a five-fight tear. Beyond holding Canadian MMA hardware, the winner of this bout could easily jettison themselves towards a bigger stage in the future.

Tony Laramie vs James Clarke

Laramie vs Clarke is one of the most compelling flyweight bouts that can be made for the new year. It’s one of the most intriguing MMA bouts you can book in Ontario, pound for pound. Clarke won the BTC 125lb belt in his last outing while Laramie was in a position to become PFC’s flyweight champion at PFC 12. Despite that bout falling through, it conveys where Laramie is at in the nation’s flyweight hierarchy. Either BTC or PFC would be most likely to book this barnburner should the fight come to fruition.

Shane Campbell vs Jake Lindsey

Both men are reigning titlists within Unified MMA as Campbell holds the lightweight belt while Lindsey is the super-lightweight champion. Campbell also became interim super-lightweight champion against Dawond Pickney at Unified MMA 39. This puts put him on a direct collision course with Lindsey. While Campbell is already booked for a January 2020 fight in another promotion, he could very likely find himself fighting Jake Lindsey later on in the new year for Unified MMA.

Teddy Ash vs Todd Stoute

Ash kind of has his hands cuffed for matchmaking opportunities internally with his core promotion Unified MMA. Graham Park and KB Bhullar both hold the belts that Ash did when he was concurrently holding gold prior to his UFC bid on Contender Series. These aforementioned individuals are teammates of Ash. Ash vs Stoute was also supposed to happen at Prestige FC 9 but Stoute had to withdraw from the March 2018 bout due to injury. Also, it looks like a guaranteed fight of the night on paper considering the respective track records and styles of both men.

Canadian MMA with a WWE Twist?

Dustin Joynson vs Christian Larsen

Both Joynson and Larsen hold some regional hardware as the sitting Havoc FC and Unified MMA champions respectively. This fight would do a lot to clear up who is the best regional heavyweight plying their trade on the Canadian circuit. Both men have five professional victories with Larsen recently avenging the lone blemish on his record. Larsen did this by defeating Jared Kilkenny in his last outing where he captured UMMA gold. Perhaps this fight can serve as the first title defense for Larsen under the Unified MMA banner.

Lee Mein vs Jake Hager

The Twitter dialogue about a fight between these two occurred via Ariel Helwani’s platform weeks ago. Helwani indicated Mein reached out to him with an interest in pursuing this fight. Hager’s public profile in the past with WWE and presently with AEW coupled with his recent Bellator appearances would draw a lot of eyeballs to this bout.

When I interviewed Hager and asked about a fight with Lee Mein, Hager succinctly stated “I don’t see any benefit to me fighting a 52-year-old man.” On a stylistic level though, the submission grappling acumen of Mein coupled with the wrestling pedigree of Hager could make for an entertaining, well-matched fight on-paper.

Canadian MMA 2020 cont.

KB Bhullar vs Brendan Kornberger

Bhullar’s rise to the Unified MMA middleweight title creates question marks about what’s next. There’s the aforementioned dynamic with Teddy Ash where he is a former titlist. But the fact he’s training partners with Bhullar throws cold water on the idea of a fight between the two. One compelling name for Bhullar can come in the form of another former titlist though.

Brendan Kornberger actually defeated Teddy Ash to claim the UMMA 185lb title and he never lost it in the cage. Though Kornberger has been inactive for close to two years, a match-up with Bhullar would be hugely compelling.

Tom O’Connor vs Craig Shintani

O’Connor vs Shintani coming to fruition in 2020 would be a case of “third time’s the charm.” Two prior attempts to book this fight happened at XFFC 20 and XFFC 21. Alas, neither time did things pan out well. O’Connor last competed in July 2018 and has been out due to lingering injury issues. Conversely, Shintani has collected three regional belts from three separate promotions in two different weight classes since July 2018.

O’Connor is one of the best featherweights in the nation when he’s healthy. Shintani has proven himself as well and tensions have been building for these two to clash. It’s easy to see O’Connor defending his undisputed belt against interim titlist Shintani under the Xcessive Force Fighting Championship banner.

Honorable Mentions

Michael Hill vs Jesse Ronson

Lindsay Garbatt vs Rayanne Amanda III

Neil Berry vs Steven MacDonald

Jamey-Lyn Horth Wessels vs Jasmine Jasudavicius

Alyssa Krahn vs Lupita Godinez

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