Not everybody will be watching college basketball’s conference tournaments this weekend, especially with two straight days of mixed martial arts on the horizon.
The MMA weekend begins this Friday night as Titan Fighting Championships returns to UFC Fight Pass with Titan FC 53 (8 p.m. EDT, 5 p.m. PDT, live from Xtreme Action Park in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.)
In total, nine contests will be fought on the night, including a first for Titan FC. Besides the championship twin-bill to headline the evening, a grappling match will be held between Gilbert Burns and Gleison Tibau in the Middleweight ranks.
This grappling match will be contested in a single, eight-minute period. The only methods in which to win are by submission, disqualification of a fighter, or referee stoppage.
If no winner is determined during the eight minutes, a tiebreaker shootout will be held. The full rules are laid out here.
As far as the championship fights are concerned, Friday night’s co-main event will feature 7-1-2 Mike Graves vs. 12-2 Jared Gooden for the Titan FC Interim Welterweight Championship.
The main event features incumbent Flyweight champion Juan Perta (16-6) vs. challenger Gustavo Balart (8-1) for the belt in a rematch of a fight during Titan FC 48 in 2018.
Co-Main Event: Mike Graves vs. Jared Gooden (Titan FC Interim Welterweight Championship)
Contender Comparison: Both fighters come in at six feet tall heading into Friday’s title fight.
Graves has posted a 2-1-2 record in his last five fights, winning last time out against Gregg Ellis on Dec. 21 (unanimous decision) in Titan FC 51 from Almaty, Kazakhstan on Fight Pass.
In the other corner, Gooden has posted a perfect 5-0 record in his last five appearances, including a unanimous decision win on Feb. 1 against Steven Newell during LFA 59 on AXS TV.
The Tale of the Tape: Graves has a 72-inch reach heading into the fight, as per Tapology, with no reach information for Gooden accessible.
Prediction: Gooden by first-round KO.
Main Event: Juan Perta vs. Gustavo Balart, Part II
Contender Comparison: Perta is the taller fighter in this contest, standing 5-foot-6, compared to Balart’s 4-foot-11 frame.
Perta has posted a perfect 5-0 record in his last five MMA fights, including a third-round submission win (D’arce choke) vs. Kazbek Ashimov last time out during Titan FC 51 on Dec. 21 on Fight Pass.
In the other corner, Balart has gone 4-1 in his last five fights, including a first-round knockout of Wascar Cruz during Titan FC 52 Jan. 25 on UFC Fight Pass.
The Tale of the Tape: Perta owns an 11.5-inch reach advantage (71.5 inches to 60 inches) over Balart heading into the main event.
Prediction: Puerta by first-round KO.
Other MMA fights on Friday night’s card:
Lazar Stojadinovic (12-6) vs. Irwin Rivera (6-4) [Featherweight]
Mohammed Usman (3-1) vs. Frank Tate (6-6) [Heavyweight]
Gregg Ellis (4-1) vs. Giannis Bachar (2-2) [Welterweight]
Lucie Bertaud (1-1) vs. Celine Anderson (1-1) [Women’s Bantamweight]
Jason Santana (2-2) vs. Giannis Simeondis (1-0) [Lightweight]
Nurbergen Sharipov (8-1) vs. Paulo Sergio Santos (6-2) [Bantamweight]
The scheduled fights between Collin Luberts and Eric Alequin, Danny Sabatello and Raymond Ramos, and Ruslan Kamsaev and Italo da Silva Goncalves were canceled prior to the card.
Titan FC 53 at a Glance:
Card: Friday, 8 p.m. EDT, 5 p.m. PDT, UFC Fight Pass
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