Interview: UFC co-creator Campbell McLaren

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

Friday, 24 July 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Kingdom MMA catch up with Vitor Silva ahead of his fight at WFS 4

Next Saturday at WFS 4 Vitor Silva takes on Huseyin Garabet in a featherweight bout. Before that Kingdom MMA caught up with him to find out a bit more about the man nicknamed Vendetta as well as his thoughts on the upcoming fight.

Firstly tell us and everyone who will be reading this a bit about yourself: name, fight name, age, height, record, gym etc?
I am Vitor "VENDETTA" Silva and I am 29 years old. I have a 1-4-0 record, am 5'8 tall and train with Team Vengeance MMA.

How is your camp going for your fight at WFS 4 next weekend?
Training is going great, I cant complain. I have got great coaches and a wicked team helping me prepare for this bout. “If you train right, then you never doubt yourself”.

You are taking on Huseyin Garabet, what do you know about him?
I just want to fight and progress and am not bothered about records. I haven’t even looked Garabet up, obviously my coach has. I am at stage where I’ll fight anyone in the UK in my weight class as I’m looking at the bigger picture.

Are you focussing on anything in particular for this bout?
Yeah, finishing quick so I can go PARTY LIKE A BOSS!!
What did you learn in your last fight?
I have improved bit by bit and met some great friends and had highs and lows like all fighters.

This show is at the York Hall in London, does that add any pressure knowing the calibre of fighter that has fought there in the past?
I have fought under pressure many times before and being able to fight at WFS only makes me more happy.

WFS is a relatively new promotion only three shows deep, what do you know about them, and what do you think of what they've done so far?
It’s a great show and my team are great fans. It's well organised, never any trouble and I’m sure you’ll see more of our fighters on the promotion. It’s great to have good relationship between coaches and the promoters – there is too much bum licking and cherry picking for tickets sales on other shows, we were looking for something good and are grateful for the opportunity.

If you win your fight on August 1st, what is the next step in the short and long term future?
Go on holiday with my beautiful misses and chill then off to brazil for a looong training holiday.
Do you have any final words for your opponent?
Yeah, once we are in that cage lets give the crowd what they came for... A WAR!
Are there any people you'd like to thank?
Team Vengeance who are with me all the way, all my fans, my girlfriend and family who have been supporting me from day one, all my friends,  my coaches Lee Follen and Daniel Movahedi and my manager Leo Alderman.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Stephen Martin vs Corrin Eaton to meet at BCMMA 12

by Ben Heather @benheather

Credit: BCMMA

Kingdom MMA can today announce that at BCMMA 12 Corrin Eaton (3-1) and Stephen Martin (4-3) will battle it out to see who will be the number one contender in the Featherweight decision and fight the winner of Steve Aimable vs Miguel Haro in the near future. This is sure to be a great fight for the fans between two of UK MMA's most exciting fighters.

Eaton returns to the cage for the first time after his defeat by Theo Michailidis at BCMMA 9 in December '14. That fight unfortunately for Eaton went viral after he was on the wrong end of a spinning back fist KO and Michailidis became somewhat of an internet sensation.

Already holding a win over current champ Aimable, Eaton will be hoping that with a win in October a potential rematch will be set and he gets to prove again he is capable of picking up the win again.

Martin comes in to this fight after a dominant display at BCMMA 11 in which he picked up the win against Robin Gidlov via Arm Triangle choke in the second round. That victory ended a two fight skid for Martin. However when you consider the guys who beat him, Paddy Pimblett and Andre Winner it shows the confidence of the man that he is willing to step in with UK MMA's elite fighters.

I was really impressed with Martin's performance at BCMMA 11 and even mentioned to Jack Mason in our post event review about the possibility of him getting the next shot at Aimable after his performance. As it's turned out it is going to take one more fight for that to be a possibility but he will have his work cut out at Colchester's Charter Hall on 3rd October.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Brett johns reigns at Titan 34

by Chris Houten @mrhouts

Just hours after Stevie Ray's emphatic first round TKO victory over Leonardo Mafra, another former Cage Warriors champion, Brett Johns mixed takedowns with elbow laced top control to defeat Anthony Gutierrez at Titan 34 to extend his unbeaten run to 12-0, capping off an excellent night for UK MMA and British MMA prospects.

Fighting for only the second time outside of the UK at Titan Fighting Championships 34, 23-year-old Welshman Brett Johns showed exactly why many followers of UK MMA see the judo black belt as one of the finest prospect to come out of the UK in some years defeating TUF 18 contestant Anthony Gutierrez by split decision with two judges scoring the fight 48-47, 49-46 for Johns and one scoring the bout 48-47 for Gutierrez.

The victory wasn't without a dark cloud however as Johns failed to make the 135lb weight requirement for the bout and was therefore stripped of his Titan FC Bantamweight title which he won earlier in the year with a second round submission victory over former UFC fighter Wale Watson at Titan 33.

Fighting on the main card on the promotions new streaming partner UFC Fight Pass, Johns started strong with some excellent ground and pound in the opening frame. The second round was a more even contest with Gutierrez executing a beautiful reversal but wasn't able to steal the round from Johns. Two rounds down Gutierrez started to pick things up in the third round with some decent ground work on Johns who was showing signs of discomfort from aggravating a pre-existing knee injury. By the fifth round Johns could barely stand on his damage knee but showed excellent heart to weather a barrage of jumping knees from Gutierrez to bring home the victory for Wales.

With victory Johns will get another crack at the bantamweight title he was stripped off when he missed weight, leaving a somewhat sour taste on a sweet victory.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Scotland delivers as the UFC looks to head back in 2016

by Chris Marzella @ChrisMarzella

The UFC's debut is in Scotland is in the books and it couldn't have gone much better for fight fans hoping to see a return in 2016.

On an electric night at Glasgow's Hydro arena, the promotions first venture in to Scotland produced an array of explosive finishes and impressive showings. So much so that UFC chief, Joe Carr, hinted that the UFC will return to Scotland again in the future.

It was show that fully delivered, with a spate of early knock outs, wins for all three Scottish stars and a return for returning British hero, Michael Bisping.

All in all it was as about as well as the show could have gone for the UFC.

 In the main event, Bisping out pointed Brazilian, Thales Leites, to score a big win on his return to the UK for the first time in five years.

The fight was so close that the general feeling around the arena was that, well, nobody was quite sure who would get the nod. Both landed shots on the feet. Leites briefly managed to get the fight to the mat, but wasn't able to pin the slippery Brit down for long enough to use his jiu jitsu game.

The main talking point coming out of the fight was the gruesome sight of Bisping's toe dangling from his foot. The Englishman was quick to play down the injury, instead choosing to fire shots at previous opponents who were on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Bisping, attending the post fight conference, was asked about re-matching some of those opponents.

He said: “As a fighter, everybody wants to face the guys that have victories over them, especially guys that have victories for unfair reasons. They're all taking testosterone replacement therapy, they're all using steroids, they're using their backsides like a dart board. They're cheating, scum bag m*********ers. I would love to face them on a fair playing field. Test them before the camp, during the camp and on the night.”

Speaking to Kingdom MMA at Wednesday's media day Bisping said that he felt that a win over Leites wouldn't move him up in the rankings but he is looking for another top ten opponent for his next outing.

The biggest pop of the night came when Scotland's own, Stevie Ray, sensationally knocked out Leonardo Mafra in the first round. Ray opened the main card and in spectacular fashion, badly hurting Mafra with a right hook that had him on wobbly legs and followed it up with a left that sent Mafra staggering back in to the fence before he crumbled to the mat as referee Marc Goddard stepped in to send the Scottish crowd wild.

Ray's win followed an equally explosive knock out from fellow Scot, Rob Whiteford, who battered Irishman Paul Redmond in the first round to become the first Scottish fighter to win in the UFC on home soil.

The last of the home trio was Jojo Calderwood who won a back and forth war with tough American, Cortney Casey.

It was very nearly a disaster for Calderwood as she seemed close to being knocked out in the very first minute of the fight. The Scot held on and seemed to recover, but when the fight hit the ground she looked in trouble again as Casey tried to lock up a heel hook. Calderwood survived and came out in the second and third rounds and started to punish the American to the body with a series of knees. The fight seemed over at one stage when she had Casey badly hurt following a hard spinning back kick to the body sent her crumbling to the mat.

Calderwood showed her resilience to come back from the early set back to seal the win.

Irishman Paddy Holohan defeated Britain's Vaughan Lee in one of the most exciting, back and forth fights on the show. The pair got involved in some wild exchanges in the ground. Holohan seemed to have the fight sealed with a tight triangle choke in the first round, but Lee toughed it out to not only escape but take Holohan's back and very nearly sink in a choke of his own to end the first round.

The pair scrapped and scrambled their way to a three round decision in which Holohan was given the nod as he scored a unanimous decision.

Another Brit, Leon 'Rocky' Edwards also had his hand raised, securing a unanimous decision win after a hard fought three rounds with Poland's Pawel Pawlak.

Another Irishman to impress was 'Irish' Joe Duffy who made it two successive wins in his UFC career. Tough Brazilian, Ivan Jorge stood in his way. Duffy was letting heavy punches fly early on but the defining moment of the fight came when Jorge took Duffy down. The Irishman quickly transitioned to a triangle choke and wrapped it up tight, forcing Jorge to tap.

It was a difficult night for popular Englishman, Ross Pearson, who was out grappled by Evan Dunham in the co-main event. Dunham controlled almost the entire fight, taking Pearson's back in both the first and second rounds. The American looked seconds from victory in the first round when he secured an arm bar that had Pearson in all kinds of trouble, but he fought his way out of it, but there was no telling what kind of damage had been done. From that point on it only looked like a Dunham as he earned a unanimous decision win.

The fights delivered and an exceptionally hot crowd made it a successful Scottish debut for the UFC and could have cemented future shows on the UFC European calendar.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Joe Duffy talks UFC Glasgow

by Chris Marzella @ChrisMarzella

With a strong Irish contingent featured on the UFC Glasgow card, 'Irish' Joe Duffy is one man chomping at the bit to experience the Glasgow atmosphere.

Duffy (13-1-0) is making his second UFC appearance following a stunning stoppage win over Jake Lindsey in Texas in March when he meets Ivan Jorge in Glasgow this weekend.

Speaking ahead of the promotion Scottish debut, Duffy said: “I can't wait It's my first (UFC fight) on this side of the water so I'm really excited.

“I like both (fighting in the UK and USA). It's good because I've got a lot of people who have followed me from day one, so fighting closer to home they can all come and watch. But fighting away from home is a great experience as well. You're away from any sort of pressure what so ever.”

He added: “I think it's going to be a brilliant atmosphere. Obviously with a few Scottish fighters on the card as well the volume is going to be turned up.”

Duffy has moved his camp to North America – basing himself in Montreal, Canada to train at Tristar gym.

The Irishman explained: "The quality is next to none really. It's a team I feel I fit in quite well with. They are very technical and they have that cerebral approach so that was my thought behind it.”

Happy with his debut UFC performance, Duffy is now aiming to go one better on Saturday.

“I would like to better the first (UFC) performance but my main thing is just going out and getting the W. If he trips, falls and lands on an uppercut, I don't care, as long as I get the W that's the main thing” he said.

Of his opponent at Glasgow's Hydro, he said: “He's a very tough opponent so I think he's going to ask some questions of my game which is great.”

Duffy has gained the reputation as the last man to defeat Conor McGregor, and following McGregor's massive win in Las Vegas last weekend, Duffy said: “It was incredible. He had the whole country watching and travelling over to Vegas. He handles the pressure well.”

Duffy has big dreams of a rematch with the countryman, saying: “It might happen (a second fight with McGregor). I think Conor's been quite open, saying he'd like to go up to 155 pounds and obviously we're talking about stadium shows so if all goes well for me maybe that's something that could fill a stadium.”

Duffy takes on Ivan Jorge at UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs Leites in Glasgow, Scotland.

Paddy Holohan: 'The Scottish and Irish have shared history for years. Let's make more history'

by Chris Marzella @ChrisMarzella

The Scottish and the Irish have long been considered cousins and Paddy Holohan is looking to make history when he graces Glasgow this weekend for the UFC first ever Scottish event.

Holohan (11-1-1) can't wait to make a small piece of UFC history when he takes on Vaughan Lee on Saturday.

Speaking to Kingdom MMA, he said: “It's amazing. I love these little gems. These are little parts of history and I think the Scottish and Irish have been sharing history for years, for a long time.

“I'm dying to see that stadium. It's historic for you, it's historic for me and I'm glad to be part of it.”

Holohan is coming off the back of a dominant unanimous decision victory over Shane Howell in Boston back in January. Now he is looking to put the good vibes around SBG Ireland to good use in Scotland.

When asked what extra motivation Conor McGregor's historic win in Las Vegas weekend has given him, Holohan said: “I'm always extremely motivated to get better. I'm addicted to this. I'm strung out on this. I need to know the next thing. I need to get better. I need to switch a move with a different move. I need to replace my game and fix it up. I get pleasure from it. I don't just go to the gym to grind and make weight. I go there because this is my art. I love this.”

Fighting in a division shallow in terms of title contenders, Holohan admits he is always ready to step in for the title if necessary. He said: “Every single day I get out of that bed and I get to the gym because I know that it's  a possibility. Even if a title fight did pop up and I'm standing there and I'm credible and someone falls out, I'm in,  I just want to go. I'm coming after them.”

Reflecting on McGregor's win over Chad Mendes, team mate Holohan said: “It takes a special man to do something like that, a special gene, a special kind of breed of person. I feel I am part of that breed.”

Holohan takes on Lee (14-10-1) – who is returning after a fourteen month lay off. Of his opponent, 'The Hooligan' said: “Vaughan's good. Vaughan's a class act, he's a good guy, he's a great martial artist. I just don't know were he's at at the moment. I don't know where he's fighting out of. He's fighting out of a new team, so I don't know what's going on in his camp, I just know what's going on in my camp.

“He's good everywhere. It's not like a wrestler versus striker, it's not going to be striker versus striker. I have the ability to surprise myself and my stand up has been shining this last little while and I've added a few more tricks to my arsenal. I have dreams about this stuff. I dream about jiu jitsu. I found something else in a leg lock position and I'd love to dream about it this week and pull it off and it works, that's the crazy thing. A lot of my game has been formed by dreaming it.

“It's going to be a good fight but he's been out a year and in his last fight he spent 25 seconds in the octagon and he got knocked out so at the end of the day it's very hard to hide that. Once you expose that button it's very hard to turn that off.”

Holohan takes on Lee at UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs Lee from the Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.

Ross Pearson heading in to UFC Glasgow: 'I'll finish Dunham in the later rounds'

by Chris Marzella @ChrisMarzella

One Brit is looking to make amends after his last UFC outing in the UK ended in controversy.

Ross Pearson (17-8-1) last fought on British soil in October 2013 when his fight with Melvin Guillard ended in a no contest after Pearson was caught with an illegal knee.

Now he has set his sights on stopping tough American, Evan Dunham, this weekend in Glasgow Scotland.

Pearson takes on Dunham in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs Leites and he has envisioned a late stoppage win.

Speaking to Kingdom MMA, Pearson said: “I'm honoured to be on this card. I love fighting for the UFC. I love fighting for the fans and it's really one of the main reasons I wanted to fight here was because of the fans. I felt like I wanted to give the fans an amazing fght, an all out back and forth war and something that the fans would appreciate because I know what the fans like here and I know the kind of style the fans like here and I appeal to them.

“My friends, my family, everyone is coming and I think I'll get  a lot of support here. It's been a long time since I had my home comfos and eveything I needed at hand so it's been nice.”

Pearson is under no illusion the test he faces on Saturday night. He said: “Evan's a dangerous opponent. His mind is very tough. He is willing to step in and he brings it. He never back down, he never quits. He;s a tough guy. Physically I think I'm strong, fitter, faster, I hit harder and I think I can hurt him. I don't think Evan can hurt me. I think my style of fighting is his worst style of figther to fight. I should be able to land the shots I need to put him away.

“I can see a late stoppage. I don't think I could land a cleaner shot like I did on Sam (Stout). Sam stands in the pocket and throws punches with me, so it's easy for a striker to stand there and throw power shots a little bit better so I think I can finish him in the later rounds with a TKO. I see him hurting with every shot I land so it's about volume in this fight.

“Them type of knockouts are always there for me. Its just having the right tactics and right camps behind it. I should have had a few more of them knockouts in my career and they just didn't gel but I'm feeling good now. I'm confident, relaxed and enjoying being up here and I'm ready to go.”