This Saturday will see the continued rise of Italian MMA with the UFC FIGHT PASS of The Golden Cage. The promotion stages its third and most high-profile international event with TGC 3 shaping up to give fight fans a nice entre dish leading into UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Volkov.
With Bellator staging multiple marquee events in Italy, the recent UFC success of the likes of Marvin Vettori, and Alessio Di Chirico’s shock KO win over Joaquin Buckley, coupled with Mauro Cerilli’s thumping victory in ONE Championship, it really does look like Italian MMA is maturing and catching up with a lot of the more established countries.
Arguably, the main thing missing from MMA in Italy is a solid and stable promotion to help build the foundations for rising talent. To help bridge the gap between local shows and the ‘big leagues’. There have been promotions like Venator and Italian Cage Fighting, however, their events have been irregular, although thoroughly enjoyable.
This is where The Golden Cage differs. The promotion is said to have busy 2021 schedule planned with Italy being the main focus in addition to Switzerland, Malta, and possibly other territories too. Ten plus events are on the cards and all on UFC FIGHT PASS. If that does not lay a good foundation for local talent, I do not know what will.
The people behind the promotion are not your typical MMA promoters. The promotion’s president Luigi Perilli is an international tax lawyer and the VP, Steve Dapper, is from the entertainment world having worked in LA and has been a successful voice actor. Both men have a passion for MMA and are also involved in the sport outside of The Golden Cage with Perilli being the president of the Swiss MMA Federation and Dapper involved with IMMAF.
The promotion’s previous two events have been production spectacles with lights, music, and entertainment aplenty. TGC 3, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be in a studio setting but still promises a high-level of production to the event.
Is this promotion fulfills their plans of doing double figure events, producing a high level events, and staying on UFC FIGHT PASS, then we could be seeing the true rise of Italian MMA in the near future.
Let us take a closer look at TGC 3 then. The main event sees possible UFC hopefuls Leonardo Damiani (9-2-1) and Marco Saccaro (6-2) meet for the inaugural welterweight title while the co-main event sees a welterweight battle between two of Italy’s top prospects Wisem Hammami (4-0) and Franc Agalliu (3-0).
Elsewhere on the card, the inaugural featherweight title is up for grabs when Michele Baiano (3-0) takes on Nizar Ben Amara (4-0), Russia’s Greg Shestakov (7-1) takes on Italy’s Walter Cogliandro (9-1-1) in what could be the fight to watch on the card, and recent UFC veteran Danilo Belluardo (12-6) returns to Italy to regroup and get back to winning ways, he faces late replacement Daniele Miceli (9-3).
In total there are ten pro fights on the card. It features potential UFC signees, top regional talent, veterans, and no less than ten undefeated prospects.
Start time is 7pm local (CET) on UFC FIGHT PASS.