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This past weekend featured a lull in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s torrid 2021
schedule, and with Bellator MMA and Professional Fighters League still a little way
off from kicking into gear, it was an oddly quiet few days on the
MMA front.

However, that doesn’t mean there was nothing going on. Far from it,
in fact; Legacy Fighting Alliance was in business,
offering up LFA
98
, while in Florida, Xtreme MMA reappeared out of
nowhere after nearly 12 years with XMMA 8, a card completely packed with
UFC veterans. Over in Europe, KSW kicked off its year with KSW
58
, featuring a couple of the promotion’s most prized
undefeated prospects. As is always the case when men or women enter
a cage and stake their health, pride and livelihood, some fighters’
stocks rose while others fell. Here is the stock report for our
last UFC-free weekend until April (gulp).

STOCK UP



Kyle
Bochniak
:
Bochniak was released by the UFC late in
2019 after three straight losses. He was a victim of timing; a few
months later, COVID-19 hit, and a three-fight skid was no longer a
guaranteed pink slip. In particular, Bochniak, a reliably fun
brawler—hat tip to the Sherdog colleague who called him a
“Boston-style, face-first striker,” and meant it as a
compliment—had come up short against a relative murderer’s row of
Zabit
Magomedsharipov
, Hakeem
Dawodu
and Sean
Woodson
, and would almost certainly still be under UFC contract
if it had happened in 2020. Instead, he finds himself on the
outside looking in, despite probably being better than a third of
the UFC featherweight division. As such, he needs wins on the
feeder circuit in order to get another look, and that’s exactly
what he got on Saturday at XMMA, taking a unanimous decision over
Caio
Rocha Uruguai
. Even better, their three-round scrap was easily
the best fight of the night, a reminder of the added value “Crash”
brings beyond the mere Ws and Ls.

Josh
Fremd
:
Eryk Anders,
Markus
Perez
, Anthony
Hernandez
, Ian
Heinisch
and Brendan
Allen
. Those are the five men who have won the LFA middleweight
title, and if the names ring a bell, it is probably because all
five were signed by the UFC within months. By crushing Bruno
Oliveira
at LFA 98 on Friday, Fremd secured himself a shot at
the title vacated by Allen’s departure. If he wins the belt—he
still needs to get through the winner of Anthony
Adams
vs. Gregory Rodriguez, but will be a big favorite against
either—expect him to make it six for six, unless his relative
inexperience necessitates a detour through Dana White’s Contender Series. One of the more
intriguing young prospects in the division, the 27-year-old Factory
X product is now 7-1 and just hitting his stride. All three of his
appearances in the LFA cage have ended in nasty first-round
knockouts. Fremd is big, athletic, well-rounded and still
improving, and the eye-opening knockout in his first headlining
appearance was the right performance at the right time. Coming soon
to an autocorrect near you.

STOCK DOWN



James
Vick
:
It is shocking to think that less than two and a
half years ago, Vick entered the Octagon as a slight favorite over
Justin
Gaethje
. “The Texecutioner” was 13-1 overall at the time, 9-1
in the UFC, and had he beaten Gaethje that night, he might have
been only one or two more wins away from a lightweight title shot.
It was not to be: Gaethje flattened Vick, kicking off his own run
to title contention while sending the Lloyd Irvin disciple into a
tailspin from which he has yet to recover. Vick exited the UFC on
four straight losses, three of them clean knockouts, including one
at the hands of Dan Hooker,
who has otherwise not displayed that kind of one-shot power. It’s
difficult to think of another high-level fighter whose chin
abandoned him as suddenly and completely as Vick’s appeared to have
done. Antonio
“Bigfoot” Silva
or Chuck
Liddell
, maybe, but they were older, had more fights under
their belts and were facing higher-ranked fighters in heavier
weight divisions than Vick.

After taking all of 2020 off, Vick returned on Saturday in the
headliner of XMMA’s first show since 2009. In Andre
Fialho
, Vick appeared to have a credible but manageable foe, a
suitable first step to stop his career free-fall and begin to turn
things around. Instead, he found himself on the receiving end of
yet another brutal finish, and the only real difference was that it
took Fialho 20 strikes instead of one. While the end was protracted
and ugly—it’s impossible not to wince as Vick, without his
mouthpiece, takes a dozen flush punches to the face—it might as
well have been called as soon as Fialho landed that first looping
left. While I am always reluctant to call for fighters to retire
“for their own good,” Vick should probably have a good long talk
with his family and coaches (preferably not the ones who failed to
throw in the towel on Saturday) before deciding what comes
next.

Salahdine
Parnasse
:
Any time an undefeated champion loses his
“0” and his belt on the same night, it’s clearly a “stock down”
moment. However, almost everyone loses sooner or later, and
Parnasse is still just 23, with his best years presumably still
ahead of him. What is more alarming is the manner of the finish.
Facing Daniel
Torres
in the main event of KSW 58, as one of the most lopsided
betting favorites in any title fight in recent memory, Parnasse was
wiped out in under two minutes by a picture-perfect…um, that is to
say, he walked right into a…well, therein lies the problem. Torres
dropped Parnasse with what was likely meant to be a right hook, but
ended up contacting the top of Parnasse’s head with the inside
crook of his elbow. A clothesline? A “Russian sickle,” as practiced
by 1980s pro wrestler Nikita Koloff? Whatever you want to call it,
it simply did not look like the kind of strike that would end a
fight, and now we are left to wonder if the talented Frenchman was
caught in a one-in-a-million collision that generated deceptive
kinetic energy, or he has a chin (well, scalp) issue. It’s entirely
possible that the former case is correct—and we are likely to find
out soon, as KSW will almost certainly book a quick rematch—but
that we are even asking such questions about a supposed 8-to-1
favorite is not a great look.


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