LFA 90: Steele vs. Lazishvilli Preview – Undefeated bantamweight title fight set for main event

The UFC’s most frequented talent developer, Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA), has another top-notch card this weekend.

Filled with undefeated prospects looking to make a name for themselves and get the attention of the sport’s biggest stages, LFA 90 takes place this Friday, September 4th.

The main card opens with the MMA return of Tabatha Ricci (2-0), who makes the walk for the first time since 2014. Ricci is a training partner of the UFC’s Mackenzie Dern (8-1), and, like Dern, is an excellent ground fighter, holding a black belt in Judo. Ricci has one submission win as a professional mixed martial artist. Ricci will face Kelsey Arneson (1-0 am.), who is making her pro debut out of Colorado.

Undefeated bantamweight Sean McPadden (4-0) returns to the LFA cage for the fourth time in his young career in the second bout of the main card. The 25-year-old has finished all of his fights (3 by submission, 1 by TKO), with three of those coming in the first round. Opposing McPadden will be a fellow undefeated prospect, Allan Begosso (3-0-1). Begosso trains out of 011 MMA Team in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and began his professional career with a draw. Since, he has two submissions and a unanimous decision victory.

The undefeated trend continues into the next bout, which remains at the 135lb weight class. Maurice “Mo” Miller, 28, looks to remain unbeaten as he has been at both the amateur and professional level. Miller fights out of StrongStyle MMA, which houses legendary names like current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (20-3). Miller has won his last two bouts via finish (KO/TKO).

Miller will meet Mando Gutierrez (4-0) at LFA 90. Gutierrez won in impressive fashion (rear-naked choke) in his LFA debut only a month ago at LFA 86. Gutierrez is slick with his jiu-jitsu, as he has won all of his fights, all in the first round, by way of submission. Look for this one to be one of the best fights of the night in my book.

MMA-Prospects’ Shawn Bitter broke down the bout between Miller and Gutierrez, and MMA-Prospects’ Michael Fiedel spoke with Miller ahead of the fight. Those articles are linked above. 

In the fourth of six main card fights, Chris Brown (5-2) takes on Ignacio Bahamondes (9-3). Brown, a JacksonWink MMA product training with the likes of Jon Jones (26-0, 1 NC), Aaron Pico (6-3), and Carlos Condit (30-13), is coming off a loss at LFA 80. Brown was on a back-to-back KO streak before his decision loss to begin his 2020 campaign.

Brown’s opponent, Bahamondes, is also coming off a loss back in November of 2019. The 23-year-old only had one amateur fight before turning pro, and had won five straight before the loss. A training partner of UFC’s Yair Rodriguez (13-2), the 23-year-old looks to get back to his winning ways and one day join his good friend on the UFC roster.

In the co-main event of the evening, welterweight Devin Smyth (9-2) will meet Maycon Mendonca (9-4). Mendonca, fighting out of Brazil, has won three straight in LFA after a rough 0-3 start with the promotion. Mendonca trains at Black House MMA with former UFC champion and Bellator contender Lyoto Machida (26-9) and UFC title challenger Brian Ortega (14-1).

Smyth, meanwhile, is coming off a loss on Dana White’s Contender Series to signee Brok Weaver (15-5) in 2019. Smyth has finished seven of his fights, five via submission and two by TKO. A winner of nine straight after losing his pro debut, Smyth is looking to show yet again he is UFC ready with an eye-catching performance at LFA 90.

The main event brings us back to the bantamweight division, this time with LFA’s vacant title on the line, as Ricky Steele (6-0) takes on Georgia’s Zviad Lazishvilli (12-0) after LFA’s last bantamweight champion, Jimmy Flick (15-5), just earned himself a UFC contract competing on DWCS.

Steele may sound familiar to MMA fans, as “The Karate Kid” was featured on The Ultimate Fighter: Season 27. Steele went 1-0 on the show before an injury derailed his UFC hopes, ending his time on the show. Steele is undefeated and his last win came on DWCS via split decision over Phil Caracappa (9-1). Steele, 32, has faced an impressive list of opponents over his first six fights.

Lazishvilli, also undefeated at 12-0, was born in the country of Georgia, and now resides in Washington D.C. The Georgian is a finisher, with eight of his twelve wins coming by way of submission. The 5’6 28-year-old will definitely be facing his toughest test in Steele, though Lazishvilli handled his last toughest test, LFA’s Josh Huber (24-11), with ease.

As these two undefeated prospects know, the LFA gold at any weight comes with many eyes, including those of the UFC brass. LFA 90 takes place from the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, airing on UFC Fight Pass.