Weekend Preview: Robert Drysdale, Ben Saunders Return to Action

Strikeforce heavyweight and wrestling trainer to the stars Daniel Cormier is already victorious, defending his XMMA belt Friday in Australia. On Saturday, grappling champion Robert Drysdale, UFC veteran Ben Saunders and top 10 135-pounder Alexis Davis are also set to enter the cage.

Check out five fights to keep an eye on this weekend after the jump.

-- Early Friday, Two-time wrestling Olympian Daniel Cormier forced Soa Palelei to tap out from strikes at Xtreme MMA 3 in Sydney, Australia. Cormier improved to 6-0 to as he awaits his next fight proposal from Strikeforce.

-- Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard Robert Drysdale (1-0) took the plunge into MMA this past July winning in 72 seconds by arm-triangle choke at an Armageddon FC event in Victoria, B.C., Canada. The 2007 ADCC open weight champ will fight again for the same promotion Saturday in a light heavyweight bout against Clay Davidson (6-1) of Toshido Martial Arts, a camp most notable for producing UFC welterweight Rory MacDonald.

-- Popular welterweight Ben Saunders, who was released from his UFC contract in August, returns to the local Florida MMA scene on Saturday against Elijah Harshbarger (5-1) at World Extreme Fighting in Kissimmee, Fla. Saunders is coming off back-to-back losses to Jon Fitch and Dennis Hallman, fights which highlighted Saunders' need to address his wrestling game. Informed by the UFC to improve his wrestling and ground game, the American Top Team member has been concentrating on those elements as he begins his road back to the Octagon. Harshbarger should be a solid test on the ground as he represents Lloyd Irvin/Gold Medal Grappling in Virginia.

-- No. 10 ranked Alexis Davis defends her Raging Wolf 135-pound title against EliteXC veteran Tonya Evinger (8-4) in the main event of Saturday's Raging Wolf 10 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Davis, who tapped out Evinger in May with a rear-naked choke, is coming off a decision loss to Strikeforce vet Elaina Maxwell, but Davis retained the belt due to Maxwell's failure to make weight.

-- On Monday, FEG is promoting one MMA (Dream rules) fight on its K-1 World Max 2010 Under 70kg Final event in Japan with 2008 Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii facing kickboxer Antz Nansen. Ishii made his Dream debut in September defeating Ikuhisa Minowa by unanimous decision in an open weight bout. Nansen (1-1) holds a win over 2004 Olympic judo silver medalist Hiroshi Izumi 13 months ago at Sengoku 10, though Izumi's credentials was practically a non-factor as he chose to "stand-and-bang" rather than grapple.

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