Interview: UFC co-creator Campbell McLaren

Campbell McLaren talks to Kingdom MMA 'I would have never sold the UFC'

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Phil Davis vs Glover Teixeira verbally agreed for UFC 179

by Ben Heather @benheather

According to Brazilian website Combate Phil Davis will be heading back to Brazil to square off against Glover Teixeira as part of the UFC 179 event headlined by Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes. Davis fought in Brazil last August where he picked up a debatable unanimous decision victory over Lyoto Machida.

The fight has not yet been signed off but Combate are reporting that both fighters have verbally agreed to the fight so it should only be a matter of time before its officially announced.

Phil Davis will go in to the fight having most recently lost to Anthony "Rumble" Johnson in April, which snapped a 3 fight winning streak and he will be looking to get back to winning ways after being dominated by Rumble in his last fight.

Glover Teixeira also lost last time out in a title fight against Jon Jones. That loss ended a 8 year, 20 fight win streak and I am sure Glover will want to get another shot at Jones' title.

The winner of this fight will put his name back in the pot with the growing list of other contenders at 205lbs. However, for the loser it may be a long road back to the top with Jon Jones already set to defend his title against Daniel Cormier. Then if he wins that fight you have other contenders very deserving of a shot at the belt as well with Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson at the forefront of the list.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Five Irish fighters that could sign for the UFC by the next Dublin card

by Alex Dillon @_alexdillon_

On 19th July 2014, the UFC took its Fight Night show back to Dublin for the first time in over 5 years. Aided with the rise of Dublin’s own Conor McGregor the event sold out within 3 minutes of going on sale and in the end included 5 Irish fighters in total. With an unforgettable atmosphere, all of the Irish fighters on the card picked up great victories and really put Ireland on the MMA map.

The question now is, which fighters could potentially be signed up by the next time the UFC visit Ireland? With this presumably being next July, we look at the five potential prospect’s Irish MMA has to offer.

Joseph Duffy (10-1)

Joseph Duffy (pictured), the most known fighter out of the five in this article, Duffy is notoriously known for submitting Conor McGregor in his early days as well as Norman Parke which is something the UFC could easily market to fans wherever Duffy could possibly debut never mind Ireland. Pretty impressive but aside from these two massive victories, he actually has a very good MMA record. He hasn’t fought since a loss in October 2011 at Cage Warriors and pursued a career in pro boxing but he’s back at Cage Warriors 70 next month in Dublin and you better believe it all eyes will be on him. Out of his 10 wins, 7 are by submission and with such a finishing pedigree, this makes Duffy a very likely signee for the UFC in the near future if he gets back to winning ways.

Tommy Quinn (6-1)

Welterweight Tommy Quinn currently fights under the Cage Warriors show and has racked up an impressive record so far in his pro MMA career. Currently riding a 2 fight win streak in Cage Warriors, it’s hard not to see Quinn as a potential future UFC fighter down the line. With his only loss coming two years against well known Jack Mason, Quinn bounced back by defeating SBGi prospect Philip Mulpeter and followed that up by Knocking out Dan Hope in his last outing at Cage Warriors. Quinn’s popularity with Irish fans seems to be growing and surely this will aid a possible UFC contract if he continues to impress in the cage.

Paul Redmond (9-4)

Paul Redmond is a well known lightweight on the European MMA scene having fought numerous times for Cage Warriors holding a 6-1 record with the promotion which has turned him into one of Ireland’s hottest prospects. Training out of Team Ryano MMA in Dublin alongside team mate and UFC flyweight Neil Seery, Redmond looks to further cement his status in the pro ranks next month at Cage Warriors 70 as he takes on Michael Doyle at the Helix. Redmond has finished all but one of his wins which easily makes him a marketable fighter and you’d think if he finishes Doyle next month, the UFC is on the horizon in the near future.

Karl Moore (4-0)

Fairly new on the pro MMA scene is Karl Moore but nonetheless he’s a fighter worth looking out for judging by his first four bouts as a pro. He has so far finished all of his pro fights (1 KO, 3 Subs) with his last being a KO victory back at Cage Warriors 62. Moore also fights next month at Cage Warriors 70 in Dublin and it will be interesting to see if the Light Heavyweight man from Fight Academy Ireland can continue his impressive winning streak. With an unblemished record one would think that if Moore keeps finishing opponents it’s only a matter of time before the UFC take notice of such an entertaining fighter.

Damien Rooney (10-3-1)

Flyweight Rooney, currently fights out of Team Torres MMA and is one of many stand out Irish flyweights along with Paddy Holohan and Neil Seery of whom he has both faced and subsequently lost to. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Rooney as they are both clearly UFC calibre fighters and both fights took place 2 and 4 years ago respectively. Like most of the fighters mentioned in this article, Rooney also has an excellent finishing rate having only gone to the judges’ score cards once in his 10 victories. This certainly makes Rooney a possible candidate for a future crack in the UFC should he keep up his impressive performances at Cage Warriors and we may well see him in the octagon in the not too distant future.

All of these fighters have shown so far in their careers that they are quite possibly borderline to making the UFC grade and could be 1 or 2 wins away from that dream phone call. The majority have finishes galore on their records which obviously makes them a hit with fans and it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep up their performances so far. With all fighting under Cage Warriors it’s more than likely that the UFC will eventually spot them if they continue to impress.

Is Nick Diaz vs Anderson Silva really a "Super Fight"?

by Ben Heather @benheather

Last Night Dana White announced that Anderson Silva had signed his fight agreement and will be returning to the octagon to face Nick Diaz in Jan '15. Silva will return after over a year on the sidelines due to the horrific leg break which occured when he fought Chris Weidman at the end of 2013.

Diaz will return after retiring in the octagon after losing his title fight against GSP in March '13. The fight was announced as being the main event of the UFC 183 event on Superbowl weekend and will be at middleweight.

However, when Dana tweeted that Anderson had signed and the Diaz fight was "done" he also added #superfight which got me thinking, is this really a "Super Fight" or not?

So i asked a couple of guys on the site the same question and below you can find out whether Kingdom MMA agree with Dana or not.

Chris Houten - @mrhouts

The UFC have every right to bill Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz as a super fight. It's a coming together of two of the most popular fighters who wouldn't normally face each other due to being in different weight classes. No doubt Silva vs Diaz will do astronomical numbers, probably do double what the UFCs best pay-per-view does this year.

So I ask myself 'is Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz a super fight' and the one thing that keeps coming up in my mind is how this will be one of the biggest selling fights of all time. So yeah, in that respect Silva vs Diaz is a super fight, but it's not a dream fight.

In fact, I'm not even sure I see this being a close match up. Diaz is a good boxer, one of the best in MMA in fact, but he is nowhere near the striker Anderson Silva is. Diaz is also giving up a lot of size against Silva, and while he might have better BJJ  (not that Silva is a slouch) I just don't see Diaz being able to get this fight to the ground. In fact, Diaz' only hope might be his superior conditioning, but that would mean he would need to take a beating in the opening round and then surge later on, not an easy task considering his opponent has laid out big 'ol boys like Stephan Bonnar, Forrest Griffin, and James Irvin, just to name a few.

So call this fight what you want, super fight, dream fight etc. just don't be surprised if we don't end with another Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks.

Andreas Georgiou - @AGeorgiouMMA

It's a very tricky question. There is no doubt that it's a big fight, in fact a huge fight. I've not seen this much buzz over a fight announcement since Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture. Looking at that fight in comparison, that was a huge fight, but not a super fight. A superfight to me is when two world champions face off, so I wouldn't call this a superfight, but it's as close to that description as you can get. Silva is a decent PPV draw, and Diaz is one of the UFC's biggest stars, I expect the PPV to do at least 1m buys.

Ben Heather - @benheather

Like Dre said, this fight is huge and I am certainly excited. Not only for the fight alone, but also the build up which comes with any Nick Diaz fight. It will certainly be a PPV success for the UFC but the question remains, is it a "Super Fight" and I don't think it can be. How can a fight be billed as a "Super Fight" when both guys are coming in to the fight on 0-2 runs and neither of them are world champions. If this fight is a Super Fight as both have been world champs (Diaz in Strikeforce) in the past then the upcoming UFC 178 fight between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier should also be a Super Fight and I don't think that is either.

Anderson Silva was the key to the super fights and when Chris Weidman knocked him out he also knocked out the dream of Super Fights for now in the UFC. Silva could have challenged GSP or Jon Jones, which would have been "Super Fights" if they were all champions as was the case at the start of July '13.

For me the only "Super Fight" that could now happen in the UFC is Jon Jones vs Cain Velasquez at heavyweight. All the other champs either have a long list of contenders or have just been crowned the champ.

Thats the take of some of the writers at Kingdom MMA, let us know your thoughts on whether you think it is a super fight or not.

What’s next for Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson?

What’s next for Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson?

by Connor Hutton - @ConnorHutton94

The resurgence of UFC light heavyweight contender Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson is a story like no other, and his latest knockout victory over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC on Fox 12 opened up a whole new chapter.

However, Johnson’s current run of success follows a much more controversial career on the whole. ‘Rumble’ first entered the UFC frame back in 2007 where his debut lasted just 13 seconds, knocking out Chad Reiner, but despite a promising start in the octagon, Johnson was criticized for cutting an extreme amount of weight from his muscular body to make 170 lbs.

Concerns over the cut became more prevalent across the next four years, as Johnson missed weight twice in his following nine UFC bouts, which did however include some impressive displays, with four first round finishes for ‘Rumble’.

Early in 2012, Johnson finally made the decision Dana White and the UFC had been longing for, by moving up to middleweight in a fight against Brazilian veteran, Vitor Belfort. However, whilst it was assumed he would find it easier to make 185 lbs, he missed the cut by 11lbs, and the early submission defeat to Belfort ultimately saw him released from the UFC.

Johnson met the most challenging crossroad of his career at this point, but thankfully, he chose the right path. With a new home at WSOF and a comfortable place for his body in the light heavyweight division, Anthony Johnson transformed into the fighter he was always capable of being, stringing together a six fight winning streak, including four KO’s.

Following success in the WSOF, the UFC called time on Johnson’s two year exile from the company and threw him into deep water upon his return this past February, as he took on top ranked light heavyweight contender, Phil Davis, and despite being a near 3/1 under-dog, Johnson dominated his way to a unanimous decision victory.

Johnson’s win streak then added an eight victim with the recent knockout of Nogueira, however this has left ‘Rumble’ in somewhat uncharted waters. With the champ, Jon Jones booked to fight Daniel Cormier and previous number one contender Alexander Gustafsson sidelined by injury, the only fighters ranked higher than Johnson are Glover Teixeira and his team-mate, Rashad Evans.

Joe Silva now faces the difficult task of managing Johnson so he can build him into a potential title contender, but which way will the UFC turn? Some say Anthony shot himself in the foot with the unexpected win over Phil Davis, suggesting he started off almost too hot, as the following opponents are likely to be further down the rankings.

A likely scenario will be that Johnson is matched up with the winner of Ryan Bader and Ovince Saint Preux, this would fit the UFC’s norm of pairing together two fighters on a win streak, but on the other hand it would probably still leave Johnson one fight away from a title shot, if he was victorious that is.

Jon Jones’ most recent opponent, Glover Teixeira is without a fight, although there has been rumblings from Phil Davis regarding a possible fight with Brazilian, and reports say the pair have verbally agreed to fight, which means the door is closing on a match-up with Johnson in what would arguably be his toughest fight to date against Glover.

One more outcome, but very unlikely, is that ‘Rumble’ will take on Gustafsson in a number one contender fight, however the UFC has made it abundantly clear that Gustafsson is unquestionably next in line. Not to mention the Swedes lay-off from injury would also put Johnson on the shelve for a few months if they signed a bout agreement, but the UFC have made a habit of going back on their word so don’t be surprised to see this fight made.

If the UFC are to go with the sensible or easy option then expect the winner of Bader/Saint Preux to take on Johnson next, but if they are feeling adventurous, a fight with Teixeira could be on the horizon if the deal with Davis falls through. Either way, the light heavyweight division has a new breath of life and maybe someday sooner rather than later, Johnson will be under the spotlight of a title fight.

Ilir Latifi returns to Stockholm to face Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 53

Ilir Latifi returns to Stockholm to face Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 53

by Andreas Georgiou - @AGeorgiouMMA

UFC's return to Sweden is getting bigger as the days go on, with two more bouts being announced for the October 4 event emanating from Stockholm's Ericsson Global.

Two unranked light-heavyweight fighters will collide Sweden's Ilir 'The Sledgehammer' Latifi (9-3) will take on the former KSW light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (17-3).

Following his vicious finish of Chris Dempsey at UFC Fight Night Dublin, Latifi will be looking to use his home country advantage as he takes on a very tough and gritty Polish opponent.

Meanwhile at Featherweight, 10th ranked German Dennis Siver (21-9-1NC) will meet Scotland's Robert Whiteford (11-2) in an exciting match up. Both men have a high finishing rate, and this fight isn't expected to go the distance.

This will be Siver's first fight since his win against Manvel Gamburyan in December last year was overturned to a no contest due to Siver testing positive for hCG.

The current UFC Stockholm card:

Welterweight Nico Musoke vs. Amir Sadollah
Featherweight Niklas Bäckström vs. Mike Wilkinson
Featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Ernest Chavez
Featherweight Dennis Siver vs. Robert Whiteford
Light-Heavyweight Ilir Latifi    vs.     Jan Blachowicz

Saturday, 26 July 2014

UFC Fight Night Sweden Adds Zubaira Tukhugov vs Ernest Chavez

UFC Fight Night Sweden Adds Zubaira Tukhugov vs Ernest Chavez

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

UFC officials have today confirmed a third addition to October's UFC Fight Night 53 card with Zubaira Tukhugov vs Ernest Chavez squaring off in a featherweight match up.

UFC Fight Night 53 takes place October 4, at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. The event is expected to stream live on UFC Fight Pass, and is the promotions 3rd trip to Sweden in as many years.

A product of Tiger Muay Thai alongside Brian Ebersole and Roger Huerta, Russian prospect Zubaira Tukhugov fights for the first time since his win over Douglas Silva de Andrade at UFC Fight Night - Machida vs. Mousasi in his UFC debut. 

A Sambo specialist, Tukhugov is currently riding a 7 fight win streak with 3 of those victories coming by TKO. A pro sine 2010, the 23-year-old has since won 16 of 19 bouts, and holds the highest rankings in Sambo - Master of Sports Hand to Hand Combat, and Master of Sports Combat Sambo.

Fighting for the 3rd time under the UFC banner, Chavez made his UFC debut at Febuary's UFC 170 defeating Yosdenis Cedeno by split decision to extending his unbeaten streak to 7-0. Following his victory over Cedeno, Chavez took on Elias Silverio who he lost to by 3rd round submission prompting a move down to the featherweight division.

Fighting out of Orange County California, the 31-year-old was expected to face Mirsad Bektic at UFC Fight Night 49 in August but was forced to withdraw from that card with injury. He will now fight in Sweden two months later.

With the addition of Tukhugov vs Chavez, UFC Fight Night 53 now includes:

Nico Musoke vs. Amir Sadollah
Niklas Backstrom vs. Mike Wilkinson
Zubaira Tukhugov vs Ernest Chavez

Stay tuned to for all the latest on UFC Fight Night 53 Sweden 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Niklas Backstrom vs Mike Wilkinson Set for UFC Return to Sweden

Niklas Backstrom vs Mike Wilkinson Set for UFC Return to Sweden

by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Brit, Mike Wilkinson (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will return from a long term injury which has seen him not fight since June 2013, to face undefeated Swedish prospect Niklas Backstrom (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 53. UFC Fight Night 53 takes place Oct. 4 at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. UFC officials announced the featherweight bout earlier today.

A product of Allstar Training Center in Sweden alongside UFC fighters such as Alexander Gustaffson, and Magnus Cedenblad, Niklas Backstorm has been turning head since he impressively despatched top 10 German featherweight Max Coga via headkick in just 15 seconds to defeat at Europa MMA 1 to earn a place in the UFC.

A pro since 2009, the 24-year old made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 41 in Berlin as a last minute replacement for Thiago Tavaras against Tom Niinimaki, who he submitted in spectacular fashion in the first round to earn a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.  A former grappling champion, the towering 6-foot featherweight has taken 6 of his 8 career victory inside the distance - 4 by TKO, 2 by submission.

A cast member on The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, Wilkinson opened his pro career a perfect 8-0, including a decision victory over Brendan Loughnane in his UFC debut in 2012, before losing to Rony Jason at by 1st round submission at UFC on Fuel 10 in June 2013.

Following the lost to Jason, Wilkinson was expected to face Jimmy Hettis at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, however an injury to his leg before the fight meant he was forced to withdraw. By the time he steps in the octagon with Backstrom, Wilkinson will have not fought in near 17 months.

With the addition of Backstrom vs Wilkinson, UFC Fight Night 53 now includes:

Nico Musoke vs. Amir Sadollah
Niklas Backstrom vs. Mike Wilkinson

Stay tuned to for all the latest on UFC Fight Night 53 Sweden