LFA CEO Ed Soares announced recently that the promotion will return to Arizona in November. Two of the sport’s top flyweights are set to battle for the LFA flyweight championship at the top of LFA 53.
The main event of LFA 53 will bring a high-octane world title fight to the Valley of the Sun. The headliner will see LFA flyweight champion Maikel Perez defend his title against LFA flyweight top contender Casey Kenney. LFA 53 – Perez vs. Kenney takes place Friday, November 9th at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. The main card will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV.
“I am excited to bring another title fight to Arizona on November 9th,” stated Soares. “LFA 53 will be our fifth event and will feature our second title fight in the Grand Canyon State. Phoenix is a great fight town with some of the best fans in the sport. We are bringing these great fight fans another explosive fight card on November 9th. The event will take place at the Comerica Theatre and will be headlined by a flyweight title fight between champion Maikel Perez and top contender Casey Kenney.”
Perez (7-1) is the reigning LFA flyweight champion. He is also a former Olympian and Cuban national wrestling team member. The 35-year-old began competing on Cuba’s national team at international tournaments when he was 17-years-old. This included competing at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. “Super Maikel” also represented Cuba at the 2009 World Championships and the 2006 and 2009 Pan American Championships. Perez took the gold medal at 60 kg at the 2009 Pan American Championships. Perez entered MMA to much fanfare in 2016 and captured his first world title in MMA this past April. He did this by stopping fellow top prospect Sid Bice via TKO in the second round of their headlining bout at LFA 37. He is now ready to defend his title for the first time at LFA 53.
Kenney (9-1-1) was identified as one of MMA’s most promising flyweight prospects shortly after making his professional debut in 2014. This foresight took hold last year when he won a regional flyweight title and was signed by LFA. After making his LFA debut at LFA 11, the Tucsonan competed twice in front of UFC President Dana White on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Casey returned to LFA this past January. The 27-year-old picked up a dominant Unanimous Decision victory over Kendrick Latchman at LFA 31. He followed up that win with another Unanimous Decision over three-time UFC vet Roman Salazar at LFA 44. The win over Salazar was a statement fight at bantamweight. The statement was made and now he is moving back to flyweight to challenge for the division crown.
The co-main event of LFA 53 will feature the return of U.S. Marine Corps SGT Kyle “Gunz Up” Stewart (10-1). Stewart is a decorated war hero, achieving the rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps while serving multiple tours in Afghanistan. The wildly popular Arizonan skyrocketed to the top of the welterweight rankings by winning his first ten professional fights in MMA. That earned him a shot at the LFA welterweight title in July at LFA 46. The 29-year-old lost a competitive five-round decision to LFA champion James Nakashima that night and is eager to get back into title contention with a big win in front of his home crowd at LFA 53.
The man looking to play spoiler in the co-main event of LFA 53 is Oklahoma native Braden Smith. Just like Stewart, the 22-year-old Sooner experienced similar immediate success to his MMA career. Smith was signed to LFA last year after winning seven of his first eight fights, which included multiple regional titles and a win in Legacy FC shortly before it merged with RFA to form LFA. Smith submitted three-time Bellator vet Manny Meraz in his LFA debut at LFA 15. The win came via D’Arce Choke in the first round. Smith dropped his second bout with the promotion at LFA 18, and again like Stewart, is hungry to get back into the win column at LFA 53.
Currently Announced LFA 53 Main Card
- Main Event | Flyweight Title Bout (125 lb)
– Maikel Perez (7-1) vs. Casey Kenney (9-1-1)
- Co-Main Event | Co-Main Event (170 lb)
– Kyle Stewart (10-1) vs. Braden Smith (8-2)