Titan Fighting Championship's next event will feature a pair of interesting debuts.
Former UFC welterweight star Anthony Johnson will compete in his light heavyweight debut against Esteves Jones, while Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist Braulio Estima will make his MMA debut against Chris Holland at Titan 24 on August 24 in Kansas City, KS. The card will air live on AXS TV (formerly known as HDNet).
Titan officials, as well as Johnson and Estima's manager, Glenn Robinson of Authentic Sports Management, confirmed the news with MMAFighting.com on Wednesday.
Johnson (11-4) won his Titan debut in May when he defeated Dave Branch via unanimous decision. The fight marked his first outside of the UFC since he was released following his loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 in January. His opponent, Jones (7-3, 1 NC), enters the fight riding a two-fight losing streak. He is a former King of the Cage super heavyweight champion.
The 31-year-old Estima made MMA headlines in May when he was scheduled to compete against Nick Diaz in a BJJ super-fight at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo. However, the match never happened because Diaz failed showed up to compete.
Estima has won a plethora of BJJ competitions over the past decade. He most recently defeated Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in a super-fight at the 2011 edition of the prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championship and won gold medals at the 2009 ADCC tournament in the 88kg and Absolute divisions. He has been training with the Blackzilians in South Florida in preparation for his MMA debut, along with Johnson.
"I'm stepping into MMA, fighting at 170," Estima told MMAFighting.com, "which I know is one of the most competitive divisions in the sport. Georges St-Pierre is at the top of this weight class. But still, I like the challenge. I'm already very successful in other areas, I have a successful gym in Birmingham, and I do very well with my grappling career, so this move to MMA is not about the money. It is not about fame. It is about pushing myself and seeing how far I can go in this new area. I am having fun training with the Blackzilians and learning MMA. I want to enjoy the ride, and keep moving forward."
Estima will meet Holland (5-3) in his MMA debut, who is coming off a win over veteran Phil Baroni at Ring of Fire 43 in June. "The Hammer" enters the fight riding a three-fight winning streak.
The card will also feature Junior Karanta (1-0) vs. Matt Uhde (3-0).
Watch Johnson talk about why he is moving up to light heavyweight below.