LFA is heading back to Colorado this fall, and the vacant middleweight title will be on the line.
Colorado’s own Ian Heinisch (8-0) will take on Brazil’s Markus Perez Echeimberg (8-0) for the vacant 185-pound belt at LFA 22, the promotion announced Wednesday. In the co-feature, UFC and Bellator veteran and two-time “Ultimate Fighter” cast member Gilbert Smith (12-6) will compete in his retirement bout when he takes on Andrew Kapel (10-6) at welterweight. Plus, Maycee Barber (1-0) meets Mallory Martin (1-1) in a women’s strawweight fight.
LFA 22 takes place Sept. 8 at 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo., near Denver. The main card will air live on AXS TV.
Heinisch will be hoping to provide his home Colorado fans a thrill in the headliner. He made his promotional debut in April and submitted Lucas Rota with a scarf hold armlock in the LFA 10 main event. His resume includes a win over Tyler Vogel at WSOF 29.
Echeimberg will be making his U.S. debut against Heinisch. But his resume already is impressive. A little more than a year ago, he beat 13-fight UFC veteran Paulo Thiago by decision in Brazil. And in February, he outpointed seven-fight UFC veteran Ildemar Alcantara.
Smith is coming off a stint on “TUF 25,” his second shot on the long-running UFC reality competition. Prior to that, he had back-to-back decision losses under the Bellator banner to Fernando Gonzalez and Ricky Rainey in 2016. But before those setbacks, he won RFA’s welterweight title with a submission of Benjamin Smith at RFA 26. He’ll be fighting in front of his home Colorado fans in what he says will be his final bout.
Kapel is an teammate of Benjamin Smith, whom Gilbert Smith beat to win RFA’s welterweight belt. So he may have some revenge on his mind. He’ll also be trying to get back in the win column after a submission loss in Minnesota this past September. Prior to that, he had won three of four fights. All 10 of his career wins are by stoppage, including seven submissions.
The LFA 22 card includes:
- Ian Heinisch vs. Markus Perez Echeimberg – for vacant middleweight title
- Andrew Kapel vs. Gilbert Smith
- Maycee Barber vs. Mallory Martin