Who’s Next… Unified MMA 44

After a couple previous planned visits to Calgary, Unified MMA finally made their debut in Cowtown last weekend in front of a packed house of over 2,000 fans at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex in¬†Tsuut’ina Nation for Unified MMA 44.

Keep in mind, in most cases, the matchups listed here are hypothetical and have not been announced or rumoured to be taking place, unless otherwise noted.

Let us know your thoughts on who should be next for the big winners and the rest of the card, and who you think would win our hypothetical matchups.

Noah Ali (11-5-1) vs. Cole Smith (7-3)

Ali controlled the majority of the fight against Gabe Sagman last weekend en route to capturing the vacant Unified MMA bantamweight title. There isn’t a long list of bantamweight contenders in Canada who aren’t already signed to international promotions. One possibility is the UFC veteran, Smith, who would present the toughest challenge of Ali’s career.

Tom O’Connor (10-2) vs. winner of Neal Anderson (11-4) vs. Maged Hammo (10-6-1)

O’Connor may have cemented himself as the number one contender to the Unified featherweight title last weekend. In a back and forth affair with John Nguyen, O’Connor was able to secure the finish in the third round. Anderson will rematch Hammo in a couple weeks in Edmonton for the featherweight belt and O’Connor is the logical next contender, regardless of who gets the win at Unified MMA 45.

Tim Smith (16-12) vs. Nick Hrabec (8-5)

Smith has had an incredible comeback over the last couple years, overcoming addiction to return to the cage after a four-year absence. Smith set a goal to get back down to lightweight where he had the most success earlier in his career. This appears to have been just what he needed as he and Curtis Demarce engaged in a fight of the year candidate and Smith, himself, looked as good as he ever has and finally found his way back into the win column. Next up, a bout with the surging Hrabec would likely produce another action-packed and competitive matchup.

Zack Powell (6-1) vs. Pat Pytlik (7-1)

Powell added another win to his record to improve to 6-1 on his career with that one loss being a controversial split decision to the unbeaten Dario Sinagoga. With the Unified MMA super lightweight title currently sitting vacant and former title holder Pat Pytlik working towards a comeback, it just makes sense to match them up to crown a champion for one of the newest weight classes in the promotion.

Ali Charkie (3-1) vs. Colton Cronkite (4-0)

Charkie continues to show fast improvement in his young career and picked up a victory in arguably his stiffest test to date. Charkie used a leg kick-heavy attack and ultimately forced the stoppage between rounds due to a broken fibula early in the first round for Byrne. While Byrne will eventually want to get the rematch somewhere down the road, it’ll likely have to wait as Charkie will want to continue his momentum and get right back in the cage. Cronkite is in need of a challenge and passed his last test when he defeated Chris Chapman. But the rapidly-improving Charkie would pose another challenge to the unbeaten pro.

Chris Chapman (5-3) vs. Tom Theocharis (5-4)

Chapman has been one of the more active fighters in Alberta over the last year but has found mixed results in his four fights as he’s alternated wins and losses. Chapman is aiming for his first two-fight win streak since 2018 when he steps into the cage next. Theocharis is in a similar boat as he’s hovering close to a .500 record but also looking for a second straight win in his next outing. Matching these two up would determine who’s ready to take that next step and starting stringing multiple wins together.

Nick LeBlanc (2-0) vs. Evan Piercey (1-0)

LeBlanc was in total control from the opening bell against his completely outmatched opponent. It was only a matter of time before LeBlanc was able to secure the early finish by head kick. LeBlanc improved to 2-0 after a promising amateur career. Piercey is also a fresh pro who had a solid start in the amateur ranks. A bout between these proven finishers would likely produce a highlight-reel finish for whoever could capitalize on the opportunity.

Sean Michael (2-0) vs. Tyrell Giselbrecht (1-1)

Continuing the trend of hot prospects starting off their pro careers after solid amateur outings, Michael was able to push his record to 2-0 with a slick submission finish in the second round. An exciting matchup would be a Battle of Alberta matchup with the explosive Giselbrecht. Both men are finishers and love to push the action, which would almost guarantee fireworks.

Hunter Lee (1-0) vs. John Moore (1-0)

Lee was utterly dominant in his pro debut last weekend, putting up a shutout on the scorecards against Kristopher Bryan. Moore had a closer bout against Sebastian Lopez but was also able to secure a unanimous decision victory. With both men at the same weight, it only makes sense to pit them against one another and see who can take the next step in their young careers.

On the Rebound:

Gabe Sagman (7-5) vs. Michael Hay (5-3)

John Nguyen (4-3) vs. Lucas Neufeld (6-2)

Curtis Demarce (18-17) vs. Kolten Menzak (6-6)

Matt Krayco (8-10) vs. Cole Campbell (4-4)

Chris Lee Byrne (5-2) vs. Strahinja Gavrilovic (8-6)

Dylan Schellenberg (1-3) vs. Sebastian Lopez (0-1)

Quade Bujold (0-1) vs. Jeremy Grieve (0-1)

Kristopher Bryan (0-1) vs. Lorenzo Celis (1-2)

Who’s Next brought to you by Lisa McInnes – Verico Paragon Mortgage Inc.