Legacy Fighting Alliance returns to Broomfield, CO on September 8 for LFA 22. The main event will feature two undefeated middleweight prospects, Ian Heinisch and Markus Perez, and they will face off for the vacant LFA middleweight title.
Heinisch (8-0) received plenty of fanfare when he signed with the LFA earlier this year. This was due to the fact that Heinisch is widely regarded as one of the top middleweight prospects in the world. The two-time Colorado state wrestling champion from Ponderosa High School lived up to media and fans’ lofty expectations, and then some, when he made his highly-anticipated LFA debut in the main event of LFA 10. Heinisch quickly dispatched the well-versed Brazilian powerhouse Lucas Rota in less than a round. This positioned him at the front of the line for a title shot. The 29-year-old will now get the opportunity to fight for the vacant LFA middleweight title in front of his home crowd at LFA 22.
Perez (8-0) is perhaps the only middleweight prospect in the world that can match the intrigue surrounding Heinisch. This is due in large part to the fact that Perez has been just as dominant in his native Brazil as Heinisch has been stateside. The man known as “Maluko” will be making his highly-anticipated international MMA debut on the heels of back-to-back wins over UFC veterans Ildemar Alcântara and Paulo Thiago. Those wins saw Perez’ stock as a top prospect skyrocket as Alcântara and Thiago have a combined 20 fights in the UFC between the two of them. The 27-year-old is now eager to showcase his talents outside of Brazil for the first time. He will get that opportunity on September 8th when he fights for the vacant LFA middleweight title.
The co-main event of LFA 22 will feature the farewell fight of one of Colorado’s most beloved and accomplished fighters when Gilbert Smith gets his hands wrapped and throws down one last time in front of his adoring home crowd. The proud Coloradan has enjoyed an MMA career that has seen him reach the highest levels of the sport.
The U.S. Army veteran and Colorado Springs resident competed on two seasons The Ultimate Fighter. Along with being a memorable cast member on TUF 17 and TUF 25, Smith competed for the UFC and Bellator, as well as both RFA and Legacy FC before the two promotions merged to form LFA at the beginning of the year. During his time with RFA, Smith won the welterweight world title.
The man standing across the Octagon from Smith at LFA 22 will be Andrew Kapel (11-6). Kapel is a longtime friend and teammate of Benjamin Smith, who is the man that Gilbert Smith took the RFA title from two summers ago in the main event of RFA 26. Kapel, like Benjamin Smith, is a student of Greg Nelson at The Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota and will look to exact a bit of revenge in the same building where Gilbert Smith submitted Benjamin Smith. The budding grudge match in Gilbert’s farewell fight has one more layer. Kapel submitted Smith’s teammate Adam Stroup last month in less than a round.
Fight Card (Subject to Change):
Main Card (AXS TV)
185 Title – Ian Heinisch (8-0) vs Markus Perez (8-0)
170 – Gilbert Smith (12-6) vs Andrew Kapel (11-6)
115 – Maycee Barber (1-0) vs. Mallory Martin (1-1)