CFFC 85 Preview: TUF veteran Mike Hill and Bobby Lee seek interim welterweight gold

Mike Hill earns a championship title. Credit: Joel Griffith/MMA Empire

Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC), one of the more prominent promotions on the regional MMA scene, is taking a trip from its usual Northeastern territory down to Mississippi this week for a pair of events featuring potential future big stars in MMA.

The second of these two cards at the Horseshoe Tunica Hotel & Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, comes on Friday, Sept. 18, with CFFC 85.

An interim welterweight title fight will headline the card as the result of current champion Jeremiah Wells (8-2-1) competing in the UFC this weekend. Wells will meet unbeaten Miguel Baeza (9-0) as part of the preliminary card of UFC Vegas 11 on Saturday, Sept. 19. Wells originally won the title by defeating Marco Smallman (6-3) almost exactly one years ago at CFFC 78.

All in all, CFFC 85 will feature 10 fights — two amateur — filled with amateur and pro talent to keep an eye on.

Amateur action will begin at lightweight with Donny Ross (0-2 am.) taking on Lance Abero (0-0 am.). This will be Ross’ first fight in nine years, having been finished by Harold Richardson (1-1 am.) in December 2009 and by Mike Mercado (0-1, 4-1 am.) in October 2011. Abero, the Tennessee native, enters a cage for competition for the first time here.

Then comes an amateur bout being contested at a catchweight of 130 pounds, as Trinity Swint (0-3 am.) faces Dakota Smith (4-0 am.).

Swint, normally a flyweight, has lost both fights she’s had in V3 Fights and dropped a decision to Willy Caylor (4-3 am.) in January.

Smith, who usually competes at bantamweight, has scored finishes in two of his four amateur bouts — three of which have come in Summit FC. Smith has submitted Logan Kitchens (1-4 am.) and Jake Heylin (3-2 am.), and he defeated Kitchens by decision in a rematch at Summit FC 34 in March.

Professional bouts open up at heavyweight with Jordan Seufzer (2-7, 1 NC) taking on Marcelo Nunes (5-1).

Seufzer was last in December, with his bout against Jacob Heavlin (1-1, 1 NC) going to a no contest. Seufzer, in fact, is winless in his last seven, last picking up a victory in an 82-second finish of Mike Smith (0-1) in King of the Cage in Dec. 2015.

Nunes hasn’t competed in an MMA bout since suffering his first loss in April 2016, getting stopped by future Bellator champion Rafael Lovato Jr. (10-0) in Legacy FC (now LFA). Over the past few years, Nunes has exclusively competed in grappling, defeating Yuri Santos (1-1) last month via kneebar.

Then comes a lightweight bout featuring two names just starting their professional MMA careers, Nathan Mitchell (0-0) and Eddy Torres (1-0).

The Brawlers Den’s Mitchell, who’ll be making his professional debut here, was finished quite a bit more than he won as an amateur, last competing last month at Summit FC 35, where he was submitted by Arshion Wade (4-3, am.).

Torres made his professional MMA debut last year at CFFC 74, where he scored a first-round submission of Jacob Dorman (1-3). He went 3-0 as an amateur between 2016 and 2019, with two submissions.

Another lightweight bout follows when Mike Anderson (0-0) takes on Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov (2-1). Anderson’s sole amateur bout came in October 2018, where he finished Conor Fussner (2-3 am.). After his own unbeaten amateur run, Kamchybekov scored decision wins over Mark Kolker (3-3) and Kenndall Lewis (0-1), the latter coming at CFFC 73, before dropping a decision to Matthew Semelsberger (7-2) at CFFC 74.

What then follows will be another catchweight contest, this time at 175 pounds, as Chris Sorrell (2-2) fights Montel Williams (3-0).

Sorrell, who is normally a welterweight, comes into this bout off an 82-second submission of Terry Johnson (2-2) one year ago at Attitude MMA Fights 19.

Williams, normally a middleweight, will be stepping into a cage for the second time in 2020 — his first time competing multiple times in a year on either the amateur or pro circuit, and his first time as a pro not competing two years apart. Williams’ amateur run saw him earn a submission of Jason Weyrich (0-1) and a decision over Lynden Brench (1-1) in Tuff-N-Uff. His pro career has seen him earn unanimous decision wins over Conner Miller (1-1) in 2016, Bryan Walters (0-1) in 2018 and Gage Saunders (5-3) in June.

A featherweight fight will follow when Jose Mariscal (10-5) meets Sean Soriano (12-6) in a battle of regional MMA veterans.

Mariscal was defeated by Steve Garcia (11-4) in January at LFA 80, but the Elevation Fight Team product does hold wins over current UFC fighter Youssef Zalal (10-2) and Pat Sabatini (11-3). He’s also competed against other UFC fighters in Bryce Mitchell (13-0) and Gregor Gillespie (13-1).

Soriano was a part of the UFC for a cup of coffee, but he and the UFC parted ways following losses in both Octagon outings against Chas Skelly (18-3) and Charles Rosa (13-4). After the loss, Soriano went 1-1 in the LFC and 3-2 in CES. In fact, Soriano has won three of his last four fights and comes into this bout off a first-round finish of Saul Almeida (20-12) at CES 57 in July 2019.

The co-main event will be a welterweight showdown featuring Ramazan Kuramagomedov (7-0) and Trevor Ollison (4-2).

Kuramagomedov originally competed at welterweight, where he went 3-0 in ACB with finishes of Georgi Valentinov (21-5) and Yukinori Akazawa (1-4), as well as a decision win over Mindaugas Verzbickas (17-7-2). After a win over Robert Hale (8-5) in the PFL, Kuramagomedov was invited to compete on season three of Dana White’s Contender Series, where he defeated Jordan Williams (9-3) by split decision but didn’t earn a UFC contract. He’ll enter this fight off a submission of Melisbek Abdrahkmanov (4-6) in Dec. 2019.

In his six pro fights thus far, Ollison has demonstrated submission skills, with all four of his wins coming by such, and all of his wins coming in the first round. He’ll enter this contest off a pair of wins in 2019, defeating Tony Grant (1-2) and Ariel Juarez (3-4).

In the headline attraction, it will be Mike Hill (11-4-1) and Bobby Lee (14-1) vying for the promotion’s interim 170-pound title.

Hill was seen on season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter, where he defeated Lev Magen (4-0) and Matt Secor (10-5) before losing to Mike Ricci (11-5). Hill then went on to compete in Aggression FC and the World Series of Fighting (now PFL). Hill enters this fight on a four-fight unbeaten streak, earning decision wins over Spencer Jebb (13-7), Cody Krahn (16-14) and Matt Krayco (7-8-1) in XFFC, as well as a draw with Maxim Butorin (17-3-1) in Fight Nights Global. The Toshido MMA fighter hasn’t fought since the Krayco bout, which came in Aug. 2018, due to a combination of fights falling through and injury.

Lee has competed in the LFA (including its RFA predecessor) for most of his professional MMA career. Lee won his first six fights but has since done a lot of trading wins and losses. Lee, who trains with Start BJJ, most recently fought at Tony G Presents in Oct. 2019, where earned a first-round submission of Zack Shaw (7-4).

CFFC 85 will be aired live on UFC Fight Pass.