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LFA 50: Belt on the line Friday at Mystic Print E-mail
Written by Ben Pherson   
Thursday, 20 September 2018 12:45

Legacy Fighting Alliance returns to Minnesota on Friday night with LFA 50 at Mystic Lake Casino in Shakopee.

The show's main card, as always, will be broadcast live on AXS-TV. Tickets are on sale now, but premium seating is nearly sold out. Follow the link in the ad above to track down the remaining tickets. The undercard is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., and the main card starts at 8 p.m.

LFA 50 features a 185-pound title fight between Wisconsin standout Tim Hiley and rising star Brendan Allen. Along with the title fight, many of the Midwest's top prospects will be in action, including an all-Minnesota showdown between Bobby Lee and Ben Neumann.

Here is our LFA 50 fight-by-fight breakdown, including comments from LFA matchmaker Jeremy Bjornberg and predictions from the never-lovable Hawkeye Fighter:



Weight: 145.

Records: Askar is 4-0, while Holthusen is 6-1.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Askar is a young kid out of Illinois. He won a few decisions to start his MMA career, but he's finished his last two opponents in the first round. He's a good, young athlete looking for a challenge, and he will get it from Karter. Karter has been away from the

sport for a while, but before he stepped away he was one of the better young prospects in Minnesota. He wanted a tough fight right off the bat, and I'm sure he will get it here on the big stage. Karter has all kinds of potential, he's well-rounded, too. This is a great way to start the card."

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Waaa, Captain Danger is back? Damn tho, I've seen Askar scrap, and he's a stud. I'll take Askar in a slight upset, third-round TKO.


Weight: 115.

Records: Flores is 2-0, while Soriano is 2-1.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Soriano is a tough kid who's fought for us before. It's tough to find opponents at this weight, so we're always grateful when we find someone tough who makes sense, and that's what we have here. Flores is a good prospect out of Wisconsin. Soriano's only loss is to a standout wrestler from Wisconsin (Tyus White), and I know Flores has some decent wrestling, too, so this should be a good test. Flores has won both of his fights by decision. Soriano is capable of winning a fight on the ground, too, though."

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Soriano, third-round submission.


Weight: 145.

Records: Padilla and Vievering are both 1-1.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Vievering looked fantastic in his last fight, getting the first-round finish over a tough Tyler Manning. Vievering has only had two fights, but both have been for LFA, so he knows what it's like to fight on the big stage. He improved a ton from his first fight to his second, so I'm excited to see what he does in his third one. Padilla is another solid, young prospect. He's been away from the sport for quite some time, yet he's still very young. From what coaches have said about him, he has very good hands, hits very hard."

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Vievering, second-round submission.


Weight: 185.

Records: Vinje is 1-3, while Stewart is 0-0.

Bjornberg's thoughts: I'm so pumped to see Stewart. He's an older guy just getting into MMA, but he was a great wrestler in high school years ago. I always love seeing guys get in there for the first time, especially guys like this. Vinje is 1-3, but he's a lot better than his record. He's coming off a nice win over Jens Nestingen, and I know he's looking to build off that. This should be a solid, even fight.

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Stewart, decision.


Weight: 125.

Records: Harper and Clark are both 1-0.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Clark is a standout wrestler and the son of Jim Clark, who runs Valhalla Combat. Clark is very young, having just graduated from Totino-Grace. He's been training for many years, despite his age, and he looked sharp in his debut. Harper is a young kid, too, and he fought for us last year in his debut, winning a decision. It's probably a perfect fight for both guys as far as where they're at in their careers. I think both have a future in this sport.

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Clark, third-round submission.

MAIN CARD (8 p.m., AXS-TV)


Note - this is the swing bout for TV

Weight: 170.

Records: Breeden is 4-1, while Eckelberg is 8-4.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Breeden is a tough kid coming up from Glory MMA, and they never send us someone who isn't ready. Very tough kid, vicious striker. His boxing is on point. Eckelberg is from Wisconsin, and I still believe he's a great prospect. Craig has four losses, but all are to very good competition. Craig is a vet, he's been in this spot before. Craig has gone the distance with top guys like Zak Ottow and Ben Smith. A win for either guy moves them up the ladder quickly.

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Breeden, second-round KO.


Weight: 135.

Records: Askar is 7-0, while Mandell is 8-4.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Askar has just been running through people. He fights out of Illinois, and he's been cleaning out the competition. He took some time off but returned strong earlier this year with another TKO finish. He's finished five of his seven opponents, and he got a decision win over James Blair in Titan FC last year. Mandell is another savvy vet, though. He's got some losses, but they're to top guys. He went the distance with John Castaneda, and he has a win over Ben Pierre Saint.

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Mandell finds a way, third-round sub.


Weight: 265.

Records: James is 7-3, while Hull is 5-0.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Hull has never tasted defeat in the cage. After a quick but perfect 4-0 amateur career, Hull has also quickly worked his way to 5-0 as a pro. He's an elite wrestler, a former Division I guy who comes from a great wrestling family in Wisconsin. He's been tested, that's for sure, and he's been in trouble and been rocked in the cage, yet he keeps passing every test. This is another good one for him, as he looks like he's working his way toward a title shot. James is a savvy vet out of Illinois. He's got some good wins on his record, and he's a Bellator vet. Four of his seven wins have come by submission, but he's pretty well-rounded.

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Hull is my dude. Gotta roll with him ... I think he gets that TKO finish in the second round.


Weight: 165.

Records: Morvari is 15-6, while Witt is 13-5.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Ashkan is an older guy who trains with ATT Savage. After a loss to Bobby Lee, he's looked solid, with two good wins in LFA. Ashkan has very good wrestling; his wrestling style is perfect for MMA. Witt will be a step up in competition for him, though. He's been around a long time, like Ashkan, and has fought a lot of top guys. He's also a Bellator, Titan and Victory vet, so he knows what it takes to get the job done at this level. One of the better matchups on the card, very even fight.

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Toughest one to call so far. Think Witt rallies late for a comeback third-round TKO.


Weight: 265.

Records: Pessoa is 8-0, while Heden is 31-16.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Pessoa is one of the top heavyweight prospects around. The Brazlian is a bad dude. He's considered the No. 12 heavyweight out of Brazil right now, and having watched some tape, I can see why. But this is nothing new for Brian Heden. He's taken on and beaten many of the best heavyweights in the world. Brian is always deceiving, people take him lightly because he's not chiseled out of granite. But make no mistake, he's a bad man. Brian has good wrestling and sneaky power. And he loves this underdog role. He thrives in this spot when he knows he's 'supposed' to lose to some big prospect. I have no doubt this will be a war.

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Another upset, Heden shocks the world with a second-round TKO.


Weight: 145.

Records: Marsh is 5-1, while Gerasimov is 9-6.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Marsh has really come a long way, and he's looked sharp in his last few fights. He got a good win over Ruben Vargas for us, and then he followed that with an LFA win over TeeJay Britton. He also has a win over Minnesota standout Eli Finn. He can bang for sure, always fun to watch. I don't know a ton about Gerasimov, but he's a vet, been around a while and has some good wins, including a win in LFA last year. His last three wins have all been finishes. Watching tape, he appears to have a very good ground game.

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Watch out for my boy Marsh. He's bad dude. Marsh by first-round KO.


Weight: 170.

Records: Less is 9-2, while Neumann is 12-4.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Interesting fight. Bobby wanted this matchup, wanted the test. Bobby is a great wrestler, but I'm not sure he wants to be taking down Ben Neumann. Feels like I've said it 100 times, but Ben Neumann has an incredible ground game, and his striking has improved. He always puts himself into the best possible position to win fights. This is a big spot for Lee. Coming off a loss, he needs a big win, and this is his chance. He's also fighting at 170 in this one, so the weight cut shouldn't be as big of an issue. Ben continues to be one of the funnest guys to watch. Since 2015, he has only one loss, and that was to Derrick Krantz in the LFA title fight. I know Ben wants another shot at that belt.

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Neumann, third-round submission.


Weight: 185 (five round title fight).

Records: Allen is 9-3, while Hiley is 7-0.

Bjornberg's thoughts: Allen is a stud, an absolute beast who's fought for the LFA title twice previously. He's had five LFA fights since 2017, with his only two losses coming in the title fights. He'll get another shot here against an always tough Tim Hiley, who trains with Jake Klipp at Pura Vida in Wisconsin. Allen is a finisher. All nine of his pro wins are by way of finish, mostly submissions. His losses are mostly decisions. He's only been finished once in his career. Hiley can finish fights, too, but he's gone the distance quite a bit. He's shown a well-rounded game, especially in his last few fights. Klipp and crew have built Hiley up nicely, having seen his potential from Day 1. What a great main event. These are always interesting fights because you know the winner is likely getting a call from the UFC in the very near future. Who will thrive in that spot and who will wilt. Can't wait to see.

Hawkeye Fighter prediction: Maybe a little bit of an upset, but I think Hiley can grind him down and take the decision win and the strap.