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Interview: UFC co-creator Campbell McLaren

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

Friday, 31 January 2014

Pena injured following "assault", Pennington now faces andrade at ufc 171

Raquel Pennington vs Jessica Andrade now set for UFC 171

by Ben Heather @benheather

Earlier this week reports came out that The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 women’s champion Julianna Pena had suffered a knee injury ahead of her scheduled fight against Jessica Andrade at UFC 171. At the time no details emerged of how the injury happened that was until Dana White tweeted last night

The extent of Julianna Pena's injury is a torn ACL, MCL, LCL and meniscus. Though how it happened at Sik-Jitsu Fighting Systems, where Pena trains in Spokane, Washington is still a bit of a mystery and during the UFC 169 pre fight scrum Dana added what he has been told about the incident.

"It’s the worst injury I’ve ever heard of, ever, in this sport, and you hear about those types of injuries in football," he said. "Apparently, when she came into the gym she was training in her gym and one of her training partners, a guy, was saying to her, ‘oh, you’re wearing your Ultimate Fighter shirt, we’re real scared.’ He says that and was talking smack to her and then basically attacked her.

"He jumped on her back, started cranking her neck, and the way she fell her knee blew out. The most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard in my life. A year-and-a-half to two years she’ll be out, and I told her to leave that disgusting gym and go somewhere else with new coaches, new training partners, whatever. And that’s all I know."
All White knew was that it was a man that caused the injured but he didn't know who but in his opinion it sounded like assault.

"It sounds like assault to me, but how do you consider it assault in a gym? You know what I mean?"
When Dana was told of Rick Little's version of events he was shocked at how different it was from what he was told. Little said that Pena didn't do her proper warm up and was training with some guys before he arrived when the injury happened.
"That’s so far from the story she told me right after she was completely hysterical and crying, completely opposite," he said. "Completely different story from what she told me. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth."
Pena will travel to Los Angeles next week to undergo surgery and hopefully repair her knee.

With the injury to Pena, Jessica Andrade was left without an opponent. That was until Pena's fellow TUF season 18 housemate Raquel Pennington stepped up and will fill in against the Brazilian Andrade.

Pennington defeated Roxanne Modafferi in November in her UFC debut, while Andrade got back to winning ways picking up her first win in the UFC against Rosi Sexton in October following a loss to Liz Carmouche in her UFC debut.

Vaughan Lee Meets Nam Phan at TUF China Finale

Vaughan Lee Meets Nam Phan at TUF China Finale
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

A bantamweight bout between The UK's Vaughan lee (13-9-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC) and Nam Phan  18-12 MMA, 2-5 UFC) has been added to the finale of TUF China.

The Finale of TUF: China will take place on March 1st, at The Venetian Macao’s CotaiArena and streams on UFC Fight Pass, the UFC’s recently launched digital network which is currently unavailable in The UK. A launch date for the service in the UK is yet to be confirmed.

Vaughan Lee fights for the 6th time under the UFC banner having alternated wins and losses since making his UFC debut at UFC 138 in his hometown of Birmingham. In his most recent bout Lee was submitted by Raphael Assuncao at UFC on Fuel 10 in Brazil, the 31-year-olds 3rd fight outside of his native England since his debut. Lee, who's signature victory came over Kid Yamamoto at UFC 144 in Japan recently pulled out of a planned UFC 167 bout with Sergio Pettis due to an injury.

At 2-5 in his UFC career, Phan enters the bout most likely needing to win to save his job with the promotion. A game competitor, the Ultimate Fighter 12 cast member has dropped 2 straight fights to Dennis Siver, and Takeya Mizugaki. Of Phan's 13 victories only 2 have come by way of decision.

Stay tuned to for all the latest on the TUF China Finale

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Roy Nelson vs Big Nog Headlines The UFCs Return to Abu Dhabi

Roy Nelson vs Big Nog Headlines UFCs Return to Abu Dhabi
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

The UFC will return to Abu Dhabi in April with a headline bout between heavyweights Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Although a venue have yet to be confirmed, UFC Abu Dhabi is expected to take place on April 11, and is believed to be a UFC Fight Night Show which will stream on the UFC's digital network, UFC Fight Pass.

The UFC has not visited Abu Dhabi since 2010s UFC 112. The event saw Anderson Silva toy with fellow Brazilian Demian Maia over 5 rounds to defend the middleweight title in the main event, and Frankie Edgar overthrow B.J Penn to claim the UFC Lightweight title.

Currently on a 2 fight losing streak, former IFL Champion Roy Nelson (19-9 MMA, 6-5 UFCs) enters the bout looking to get back to winning ways having had a 3 fight win-streak snapped by Stipe Moicic at UFC 161. The 37-year old followed that loss up with a loss to ex-Olympian Daniel Cormier at UFC 166. The bout will mark Nelson's first time fighting outside of the US since his 2007 BodogFight bout with Mario Rinaldi.

Nogueira (34-8-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC) also 37, enters the bout having alternated wins and losses since winning the UFC interim heavyweight title in 2008. Also a former Pride champion, has not fought since June 2013s loss to Fabricio Wedrum, and with an average of 1 fight per year due to injury problems, Nogueira might find himself needing a win to remain in the UFC.

Additional bouts for UFC Abu Dhabi are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned to for all the latest news on the UFCs return to Abu Dhabi.



ONE Fighting Championship™ (ONE FC), presented by Tune Talk, has completed the ONE FC: WAR OF NATIONS lineup with the addition of a clash of top Lightweights. Hard-hitting Iranian wrestler Kamal Shalorus will duel Jiu-Jitsu black belt Ariel Sexton.

CEO of ONE Fighting Championship™ Victor Cui stated:
 “ONE FC returns to the iconic city of Kuala Lumpur with what is expected to be the biggest sporting event held in Malaysia this year. ONE FC: WAR OF NATIONS will see the inaugural ONE FC Welterweight World Champion crowned when knockout artist Nobutatsu Suzuki meets tenacious wrestler Brock Larson. The fight card is now complete with the addition of an exciting Lightweight matchup between Kamal Shalorus and Ariel Sexton. Fans in Malaysia and around the world can prepare for a night of thrilling world-class mixed martial arts action as the top mixed marital artists goes to war at ONE FC: WAR OF NATIONS!”
Kamal ‘Prince Of Persia’ Shalorus is a former national wrestler who transitioned to mixed martial arts after mixed martial artists began to sought him out for his wrestling expertise. He began his career with a nine-fight unbeaten streak, and looks to get another streak going when he faces Jiu-Jitsu ace Sexton.  Despite beginning his career as a wrestler, Shalorus has four knockout victories which showcase the power he possesses. His versatility will come in handy in the upcoming bout on 14 March.

Ariel ‘Tarzan’ Sexton is a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt with an impressive record of eight wins and two losses. He was born in Canada but now lives in Costa Rica. After discovering Jiu-Jitsu in 2001, he quit his day job and dedicated his life to mastering the art, before transitioning to mixed martial arts. His grappling acumen was on full display in his eight wins, six of which he finished with a variety of submission moves.  Kamal Shalorus will be the sternest test in his career and a victory will provide a huge boost to his title aspirations.

Fans in Asia can catch all the action live on STAR Sports. Check your local listings. Also, fans from around the world can witness the action online via live streaming at The event will be available for purchase at just US$9.99.

Bisping vs Kennedy and Bocek vs Dunham announced for TUF Nations Finale

Bisping and Kennedy finally set to meet in the Octagon

by Ben Heather @benheather

Michael Bisping will finally get the chance to shut up Tim Kennedy when then meet in a 5 round fight which will headline the TUF Nations Finale in April.

For as long as I can remember Tim Kennedy has been calling out Michael Bisping, it didn't matter on the circumstances, whether Bisping was injured or not or even whether Bisping already had a fight lined up. To be fair though, in that time so has pretty much every other middleweight fighter who is trying to make a name for themselves.

Now finally it seems set for the English middleweight contender to get his hands on Tim Kennedy and make him back up all the talk. As Bisping has said himself, a win in this fight will not do much as far as push him towards the title shot he so badly desires but it will finally give him the chance to end all of the abuse he has been receiving from Tim Kennedy. That being said though it would put Bisping on a two fight win streak and with some big match ups in the division already announced could leave him fighting in a number one contender fight later this year.

As far as Kennedy is concerned a win over Michael Bisping will be one of, if not the biggest win of his career. Kennedy joined UFC in 2013 and in his debut picked up a win over Roger Gracie in a lacklustre display. He then got the opportunity to headline the UFC Fight for the Troops 3 event where he was scheduled to face Lyoto Machida before he got pulled from that fight to step in for Bisping and fight Mark Munoz in Manchester. Kennedy then easily defeated Rafael Natal via KO in round 1, but the fight had lost the big name opponent to really push Kennedy up the rankings. Now he will get the shot he has been asking for.

The question that remains to be seen is: Has Tim Kennedy talked himself in to a fight that he can't win?? We will find out in April.

Also announced on the card for the TUF Nations Finale is a lightweight clash between two UFC veterans as Mark Bocek and Evan Dunham are set to battle it out in the Octagon.

Both fighters will be looking to get back to winning ways after losing their last fights. Dunham faced off against Donald Cerrone and saw the Cowboy return to the old form we all know he can bring when he submitted Dunham. Before that fight Dunham also lost to Dos Anjos so a win against Bocek will be crucial if he wants to continue in the UFC.

Bocek did not feature in the Octagon last year and like Dunham lost to Dos Anjos in his last appearance back in 2012.

The TUF Nations Finale takes place on April 16th and will be shown on Fox Sports 1 in the USA but as yet there is no word on whether this card will be available on BT Sports in the UK.

Holloway vs Fili and Ellenberger vs Medeiros set for UFC 172

Two more fights added to UFC 172 in April

by Ben Heather @benheather

UFC 172 which is due to take place on April 26th has just added a couple of extra fights to the card and these should be sure to excite the fans.

Andre Fili will meet Max Holloway in a featherweight battle. Fili who made his UFC debut at UFC 166 taking the fight on less than two weeks notice and missed weight.... though this wasn't a massive shock as when he took the fight he weighed 178lbs. Fili managed to cut 30lbs but couldn't get down to the 146lb limit. However, when he got in to the Octagon he didn't disappoint again. He dominated the fight from start to finish when he picked up the win by TKO in the second round.

I certainly am looking forward to seeing him back in the Octagon again and I am pretty sure Dana White will be too after praising his performance last time out.

Fili's opponent at UFC 172 will be Max Holloway, who ended a two fight losing streak at UFC Singapore defeating Will Chope via second round. Before that he had lost to Conor McGregor and Dennis Bermudez but always comes to put on a show and with Fili's fighting style this should be a great fight for the fans.

Also added to UFC 172 is Joe Ellenberger who will be making his UFC debut at the same event as his brother Jake will be making his return from injury. Ellenberger, will meet Yancy Medeiros who defeated Yves Edwards by KO at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 last year and both men will be looking to continue up the ranks with a win in April.

Below you will find the current UFC 172 card

Jon Jones vs Glover Teixeira
Jake Ellenberger vs Tarec Saffiedine
Yancy Medeiros vs Joe Ellenberger
Max Holloway vs Andre Fili

UFC Fight Night 37 fight card Official - Main Card

UFC announce the finalised line up for UFC Fight Night 37 - Kingdom MMA review the Main Card

by Ben Heather @benheather

With the tickets for UFC Fight Night 37 now on sale to fight club members and those who have signed up to the UFC Newsletter it has been announced that the line up for the event has been finalised.

UFC Fight Night 37 marks the return to the UK of the UFC and its first show in Europe of 2014. The fight card has been set at 10 fights and will consist of a 4 fight main card and 6 prelim fights.

Currently the event is not due to be scheduled on BT Sports in the UK as this event is a UFC Fight Pass Event and so not on TV in the US. So today Kingdom MMA spoke to Simon Head (@simonhead), Digital Producer of UFC for BT sports to see what the latest news was regarding the event being shown on tv and he had the following to say.
"At the moment all we can confirm are the events on our schedule page here. If and when other events are added, they'll be added to this page. If UFC London is one of them, obviously we'll make an announcement."
In my opinion BT Sports have already proved to be a great success for the UFC in the UK and I believe they will do anything they possibly can to show this event live on BT Sports on March 8th. If you think back the first event which was shown exclusively on Fight Pass was UFC Singapore and BT Sport were able to find a resolution and show the event on tape delay in the UK. In all honesty it was never going to be shown live at the time due to the content at 11am so this was a great result for the UK fans.

Kingdom MMA will now take a look at the main card and discuss what is on the line in each match up.

Omari Akhmedov vs Gunnar Nelson

Akhmedov (12-1 MMA 1-0 UFC) debuted for the UFC last year in Brazil putting on a real show for the fans and won by knocking out Thiago Perpetuo in the first round to pick up the bonus for the fight of the night. Not a bad way to start your career in the UFC but now he will be facing the toughest opponent of his career in Icelandic fighter Gunnar Nelson (11-0-1 MMA 2-0 UFC).

Nelson will come in to the fight as the crowd favourite having fought 10 out of the 12 fights in his career in either the UK or Ireland. I predict Nelson will attempt to get the fight to ground as soon as possible and showcase his BJJ skills en route to a submission victory. My only concern with Nelson is the fact it will be over a year since his last fight when he walks in to the Octagon in March so we will have to see if he can pick up where he left off and keep his undefeated record.

Ian McCall vs Brad Pickett

Pickett (23-8 MMA 3-3 UFC) has to be one of the best MMA fighters to watch. He comes in to fights, stands his ground and is happy to put it all on the line and trade blows in the centre of the Octagon. Yes his UFC record isn't the best but look at who he has fought. His losses have come against the now champion of the bantamweight division Renan Barao and former title contenders Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald. It's not like he has lost to chumps, these guys are the best of the elite fighters at bantamweight which led Pickett to drop down to flyweight where he will meet Ian McCall (12-4-1 MMA 1-2-1 UFC) in London for his flyweight debut.

Ian McCall has always been a flyweight contender ever since the UFC introduced the division in March 2012. He took Demetrious Johnson to a draw when they first fought in the division and in the final round of that fight looked like he might be able to stop Johnson however couldn't and lost the rematch. Now he is looking forard to welcoming Pickett to the division. It will be an explosive fight and a real test to see where Pickett ranks in the division. After all Brad Pickett is one of only two men to have a win over the champ Demetrious Johnson so a win against McCall could push him all the way to finally getting that UFC title shot he craves so bad.

It will certainly be a great fight for the fans so don't blink because as always I expect Brad Pickett to try and finish this fight as early as possible.

Melvin Guillard vs #13 Michael Johnson

This fight was originally meant to be the rematch between Melvin Guillard (31-12-2-2 MMA 12-8-1 UFC) and Ross Pearson following the no contest ruling to there fight back in October. However last week Ross Pearson had to be pulled out of this fight due to a knee injury. This came as a big disappointment to the fans. However, I for one am very happy about the match up we will now see as the co main event of UFC Fight Night 37.

Michael Johnson (14-8 MMA 6-4 UFC) has stepped in to replace the injured Pearson and I can't think of a better replacement (that realistically) could have taken this fight. Johnson has been on a tear of late defeating Joe Lauzon in his hometown and then following that up at UFC 168 by knocking out Gleison Tibau. Johnson is similar to Pearson is some respect in that he loves to keep the fight on its feet and will happily stand and bang with Guillard who is also known for this in his fights.

I expect this fight to be up there in the fight of the night category once all is said and done. It will be either this fight or the previous McCall vs Pickett fight that takes home the bonus money but these fighters will certainly put on a show for the fans.

Main Event: #1 Alexander Gustafsson vs #11 Jimi Manuwa

This has all the attributes of a great fight, both guys have proven knock out power and will be coming to make a statement. This is without doubt the biggest fight in Jimi's life. Lets face it though, I can't think of a better way to do it. Manuwa (14-0 MMA 3-0 UFC) will be headlining his first UFC event in his hometown of London in front of a packed crowd, trying to keep his undefeated record intact against the guy who many say deserves to be the champ now. If dreams come true, this has to be up there with the best dream Manuwa could have predicted. It will certainly be a step up in competition for him but a win will propell him to the very elite level of the division and not far from a title shot.

For Gustafsson (15-2 MMA 7-2 UFC), he will be coming in to this fight with everything to lose against a very strong opponent but the prize for risking it is that rematch he desires so badly with Jon Jones. Although he is a european fan favourite he will be walking in to the Manuwa's home town and will not have the fans on his side for this fight.

If the fight stays standing then I predict somebody will be getting knocked out, however Alexander Gustafsson just became the first man to take down Jon Jones and I see him having a lot easier job of getting Manuwa down. If he does, he will certainly have the advantage in the fight. However, it was rumoured that Manuwa may be training with Daniel Cormier for part of this fight camp so we will have to wait and see what happens on fight night.

The full card is as follows

Main Card
Alexander Gustafsson vs Jimi Manuwa
Melvin Guillard vs Michael Johnson
Ian McCall vs Brad Pickett
Omari Akhmedov vs Gunnar Nelson

Cyrille Diabate vs Ilir Latifi
Luke Barnatt vs Mats Nilsson
Brad Scott vs Claudio Henrique da Silva
Roland Delorme vs Davey Grant
Igor Araujo vs Danny Mitchell
Louis Gaudinot vs Phil Harris

That marks the end of my preview of the main card for UFC Fight Night 37. Do you agree with my comments? Please comment below with your thoughts.

Tickets are on sale now for this event at

UFC Fight Night 37 fight card Official - The Prelims

UFC announce the finalised line up for UFC Fight Night 37 - Kingdom MMA review the Prelims

by Ben Heather @benheather

With the tickets for UFC Fight Night 37 now on sale to fight club members and those who have signed up to the UFC Newsletter it has been announced that the line up for the event has been finalised.

UFC Fight Night 37 marks the return to the UK of the UFC and its first show in Europe of 2014. The fight card has been set at 10 fights and will consist of a 4 fight main card and 6 prelim fights.

Kingdom MMA will now take a look at the prelims and discuss what is on the line in each match up.

Phil Harris vs Louis Gaudinot

The show will be kicked off with a flyweight battle between England's Phil Harris (22-11-1 MMA 1-2 UFC) and #11 ranked Louis Gaudinot (6-3 MMA 1-2 UFC) as both men look to get back to winning ways following losses to John Lineker and Tim Elliott respectively. This fight will also mark the first time that Gaudinot has fought outside of the USA, while Harris will have the crowd on his side with the home field advantage. A loss for either fighter could result in them getting cut from the UFC, although with the flyweight division not exactly overflowing with fighters they may be safe for one more fight.

Danny Mitchell vs Igor Araujo

The next fight is in the Welterweight division and will see "The Cheesecake Assassin" Danny Mitchell (14-4-1 MMA) make his UFC debut against Brazilian Igor Araujo (24-6-1 MMA 1-0 UFC), who trains at Jackson's MMA. Between both men 75% of there victories have come via submission so we could be in for a real treat in this fight if it ends up on the floor.

Davey Grant vs Roland Delorme

TUF 18's Davey Grant (8-2 MMA 0-1 UFC) gets his wish in the next fight, although he didn't win The Ultimate Fighter in 2013 he did enough for the UFC to give him a contract. Now he gets at least one more shot in the octagon at UFC Fight Night 37, back on home soil as he squares off against five times UFC veteran Roland Delorme (9-2-1 MMA 3-1-1 UFC). This will be a tough test for Grant however, a win in this fight will certainly see him settle in the division and prove that he deserves to be in the UFC and he will certainly get the full backing of the English crowd.

Delorme will also be fighting outside of North America for the first time in his career so unlike Grant will have to deal with trying to cut weight while travelling and getting used to fighting at a different time zone. All of these factors could have an impact on the outcome of this fight and will be to Grant's advantage.

Then its the turn of the middleweights as two former TUF contestants Brad Scott (9-2 MMA 1-1 UFC) and Luke Barnatt (7-0 MMA 2-0 UFC) are set to defend British pride as they take on Claudio Henrique da Silva (9-1 MMA) and Mats Nilsson (11-2-1 MMA) respectively, who will both be making their UFC debuts.

Brad Scott vs Claudio Henrique da Silva

Brad Scott will be making his third appearance in the UFC after losing in the final of TUF The Smashes to Robert Whittaker but then submitting Michael Kuiper in the first round with a front choke in Manchester back in October. As with his last fight Scott has been out in American training at The MMA Lab in Arizona training with guys such as former champ Benson Henderson and Joe Riggs, which can only be a good thing for his preperation for this fight. Claudio Henrique da Silva who trains at London Shootfighters will be coming in to this fight looking to make a name for himself and prove to the world that he deserves to be in the UFC. By the time the fight takes place it will be nearly 18 months since his last fight though so UFC debut nerves and ring rust may play a factor in the fight.

Luke Barnatt vs Mats Nilsson

At 7-0 Luke Barnatt will be putting his undefeated record on the line again as he looks to work his way up the rankings with another win in London and this time he is fighting Swedish fighter Mats Nilsson. When this fight was announced many fans were shocked that Barnatt had not been given a bigger name fight but for Luke, as always he will not be leaving anything to chance as he prepares both physically and mentally for his fight. Nilsson, who fought and won twice last year for Cage Warriors is certainly taking a step up in competition as he makes his UFC debut.

I just hope we don't see anymore showboating from Luke in this fight and he sticks to business and focuses purely on finishing his opponent instead of celebrating before the job is complete.

Cyrille Diabate vs Ilir Latifi

The final bout on the prelims sees Ilir Latifi (7-3 MMA 0-1 UFC) make his return to the UFC after headlining UFC Sweden last year as a last minute injury replacement for Alex Gustafsson. The fact that Latifi headlined a UFC event in 2013 had to be one of the strangest stories of 2013 but he certainly didn't embarrass himself, if anything his stock rose in the fight. Yes he clearly lost the fight against Mousasi who was the better fighter and cruised for most of the fight but Latifi didn't look like he didn't belong in the Octagon with him. For this fight he gets a full camp to prepare for Cyrille Diabate (19-9-1 MMA 4-3 UFC) and we will certainly the best Ilir Latifi in March.

I didn't expect to see Diabate on this card due to the fact that his UFC record when fighting in the UK is 0-3 and his overall MMA record when fighting in the UK is 3-6 which is crazy for a guy with a very good record. That being said, two of those loses have come against Alex Gustafsson and Jimi Manuwa who will be fighting each other in the main event of this event so it shows the opposition he has been facing.

I think both men need to win this fight as a loss could have severe implications on their employment status with the UFC.

That marks my preview of the prelims for UFC Fight Night 37, make sure to keep checking Kingdom MMA for the breakdown of the main card.

Tickets are on sale now for this event at

Introducing Cage Warriors new recruits

Cage Warriors signs up four more fighters

by Ben Heather @benheather

Cage Warriors have signed four more fighters to exclusive contracts, which will commit each of them to fight for Cage Warriors for at least the next 18 months. Jack Hermansson, Doni Miller, Julien Boussuge and Mike Johnson are the latest fighters to be snapped up by Cage Warriors and each have put pen to paper on five fight contracts.

Jack Hermansson (5-2) who has already fought twice under the Cage Warriors banner picking up wins over Ali Arish and Mike Ling back in 2011. After this he was signed by Bellator but unfortunately went 0-2 and now returns to Cage Warriors looking to return to the form he was in before leaving the promotion.

With four KO's out of his five wins you know you will see an exciting fight when Hermansson returns to the Cage in 2014 and this is what he had to say about the return to Cage Warriors.
“I’m really glad to be back with the best organisation in Europe,” said 25-year-old Hermansson. “This is the place for me right now and I’m looking forward to showing who the best European middleweight is.”
Doni Miller (5-2) who was last in action at Cage Warriors 61 losing to rising star Arnold Allen at featherweight plans to move to the bantamweight division in 2014. Miller who fights out of Scotland’s Dinky Ninjas camp with renowned stars Joanne Calderwood, Robert Whiteford and Stevie Ray to name a few.

Before his fight with Arnold Allen last month Miller was on a run of four straight victories. Even though Miller lost at Cage Warriors 61 he certainly impressed taking the fight as a late-notice replacement and putting up a good fight and even testing Allen on a couple of occasions in the first round.

Miller had the following to say about signing for Cage Warriors:
“I’m absolutely ecstatic about signing with one of the biggest organisations in the world and I’m really looking forward to being involved in some exciting scraps against the best of the CWFC bantamweight division.”
Julien Boussuge (10-3) also fought at Cage Warriors 61, defeating the Australian fighter Damien Brown by decision to secure his tenth professional victory and his third on the trot. The 32 year old French lightweight, who fights out of Paris is looking to test himself as he makes his Cage Warriors debut in 2014.
“It’s a real honour for me to have signed with Cage Warriors,” Boussuge said. “I’ll be looking to challenge CWFC’s best lightweights in order to get to the very top of the division.”
The last of the four new recruits is Mike Johnson (9-6). Johnson is a top 25 ranked English welterweight who is only looking to improve on his place in the rankings and knows that if he puts on a show in his Cage Warriors debut his place in the rankings will only go one way.

Johnson unfortunately lost his last fight at the hands of Wayne Murrie, in a BAMMA Lonsdale British Welterweight title fight which ended the run of four consecutive victories.
Johnson said:
“I want to thank Cage Warriors and my management for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to get in there and showcase my skills for the CWFC fans around the world.”
All four of these fighters will be looking to kick off 2014 with a bang, keep tuned to Kingdom MMA for more news on Cage Warriors as well as updates on when the four new recruits will be fighting. I am sure it won't be long before we see them all in action.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Sam Stout vs KJ Noons set for TUF Nation Finale in April

Sam Stout vs KJ Noons set for TUF Nation Finale in April
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Canada's Sam Stout will take on KJ Noons at the TUF Nations: Canada vs Australia finale. UFC executive Tom Wright announced the bout earlier today during the a press conference to announce the UFCs Canadian Schedule in 2014.

The TUF Nations Finale will take April 16, at Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City, Canada and will be headlined by the seasons coaches Kyle Noke and Patrick Côte.

A 17 fight UFC vet, Sam 'hands of stone' Stout (20-9-1 MMA, 9-8 UFC) enters the bout following a lopsided victories over Cody Mckenzie at UFC on FOX 9 in December. The London, Ontario native is 4-3 in his 7 last fights, wining one then losing one.

His opponent, former Elite XC champion KJ Noons (12-7 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will look be looking to pick up his second win under the Zuffa banner after defeating George Sotiropoulos at UFC 166.

A professional fighter since 2000, the kenpo karate black belt has completely professional in boxing and kicking boxing as well as mma, fighting over 45 times with 75% of his victories coming by TKO, since the start if his career.

Stay tuned to for all the last on TUF Nations Finale

Pat Barry Takes 'Indefinite Leave' From MMA

Pat Barry Takes 'Indefinite Leave' From MMA
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

UFC fan favourite Pat Barry has decided MMA is no longer from him and has today announced his retirement from the sport with possibility of a return to kickboxing in the future.

In a full statement released by Brian Bulter of Sucker Punch ENT., Barry's manager, and the fighter himself, Barry has confirmed he will be taking indefinite leave from MMA:
After long discussions with our client Pat Barry over the recent weeks, he has come to the decision that he will be taking an indefinite leave from competing in MMA. The UFC and Zuffa have been very gracious in releasing him from his contract and Pat is very grateful for everything they have done for him and his career.
“Over the past few fights I’ve just had this sinking feeling in my stomach whenever I have stepped into the Octagon and I realize, I DONT WANT TO WRESTLE. Not saying I will never do MMA again, but right now I just want to hit people. MMA and the UFC have been great to me and I will always support the company and the sport. I want to thank all my fans, sponsors and haters for being with me on this journey and I look forward to what future holds.” – HD!
“Pat and I have talked about this for a while now and with recent changes in the landscape of combat sports, he wants to explore some options and try to get back to his roots. He’s going to take a little time to clear his head and then we will explore our options. We will keep you posted on things as they develop.” – Brian Butler
During his 5 years with the promotion Barry put together a 5-7 record with notable victories over Christian Morecraft, Joey Beltran, and Shane del Rosario.

UFC on FOX 10 Medical Suspensions

UFC on FOX 10 Medical Suspensions
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Adriano Martins tops the list of UFC On Fox 10 medical suspensions which will see the Brazilian out for 90 days following a head-kick knockout loss to Donald Cerrone. Other long term suspensions include Yves Jabouin, Mike Rio, and Walt Harris who have have all been suspended for 45 days following TKO losses.

The remaining fighters on the card including Josh Thomson and  Gabriel Gonzaga, who both suffered broken hands during their fight have been suspended for 15 days for precautionary measures.
"The suspensions provided below were automatic suspensions and were given ringside. The determination to suspend a fighter for a hand injury is discretionary and the amount of time is indefinite and dependent upon further medical clearance after the event," Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation communications manager Susan Hofer told earlier today.
A complete list of UFC on FOX 10's medical suspensions can be seen below.

Adriano Martins: Suspended 90 days; 60 days no contact
Yves Jabouin: Suspended 45 days; 30 days no contact
Mike Rio: Suspended 45 days; 30 days no contact
Walt Harris: Suspended 45 days; 30 days no contact
Benson Henderson: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Josh Thomson: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Stipe Miocic: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Gabriel Gonzaga: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Donald Cerrone: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Jeremy Stephens: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Darren Elkins: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Alex Caceres: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Sergio Pettis: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Eddie Wineland: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Chico Camus: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Yaotzin Meza: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Hugo Viana: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Junior Hernandez: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Daron Cruickshank: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
George Sullivan: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Mike Rhodes: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures
Nikita Krylov: Suspended 15 days for precautionary measures

Monday, 27 January 2014

Damien Brown vs Paul Redmond Added to Cage Warriors 65

Paul Redmond returns to action at Cage Warriors 65

by Chris Houten @mrhouts

Photo Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors

Australia's Damien Brown will meet Irish fan favourite Paul Redmond at Cage Warriors 65.

Cage Warriors 65 takes place March 1 at The Helix in Dublin Ireland. It is not known if Brown vs Redmond will feature on the main card of Cage Warriors 65 or the under card.

Damien Brown hopes to get back to amongst the wins having been edged out by Julien Boussuge via decision at CWFC 61 in Amman in his promotional debut.

Brown who joined Australian compatriot Ben Alloway in signing a 5 fight exclusive deal with Cage Warriors in late 2013 said:

“I’m looking forward to giving the Cage Warriors fans in Ireland what they want to see, but it won’t be in the hands of the judges this time as I’m coming to finish it.”

27-year old Paul Redmond (8-4) fights for Cage Warriors for the seventh time at Cage Warriors 65.

Making his Cage Warriors debut at Cage Warriors 47, the Team Ryano fighter put together a 5 fight win streak before losing by submission to rising Polish fighter Mateusz Theodorczuk.

The Irishman who has taken all 8 of his victories inside the distance says he’s eager to make amends and get back to winning ways:

“After my last performance I just want to get back in there again. I was back in the gym two days later fixing everything in my game, so I can’t wait for this fight now.”

With the addition of Brown vs Redmond, Cage Warriors 65 includes:

John Maguire vs. Saul Rogers
Benny Alloway vs. Jack Mason
Alex Enlund vs. Artem Lobov
Bryan Creighton vs. Damien Rooney
Damien Brown vs. Paul Redmond
Lew Long vs. Philip Mulpeter
Paddy Pimblett vs. Martin Sheridan
Lee Caers vs. Merv Mulholland
Myles Price vs. Peter Queally

Stay tuned to for all the latest on Cage Warriors 65

Video: Don Frye's UFC 169 Predictions

Video: Don Frye's UFC 169 Predictions

2x UFC tournament champion Don Frye weighs in on UFC 169... who you got?

Alloway vs Mason set to battle at Cage Warriors 65 in Dublin

Ben Alloway vs Jack Mason confirmed for Cage Warriors 65

by Chris Houten @mrhouts

Photo Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors

Originally reported earlier this month, Cage Warriors officials have today confirmed Ben Alloway will take on Jack Mason at Cage Warriors 65.

Cage Warriors 65, which will be the promotion’s second event of 2014, is set to take place at The Helix in the Irish capital on Saturday, March 1.

Alloway (12-5) will be returning to Cage Warriors action for the first time since February 2012 following a 3 fight stint in the UFC, which saw the Gold Cost fighter defeat Manuel Rodriguez with Knockout of the Night front kick at the TUF Smashes finale, before losing to Ryan LaFlare by decision, and Zak Cummings by d'arce choke.

10 of Alloway's 12 victories have come by either TKO or submission, with his most recent decision victory coming to Mauro Chimento Jr in a Cage Warriors bout which took place prior to joining The UFC.

“I’m excited, I’m hungry and I’m healthy again for the first time in 12 months,” said Alloway. “This is Jack Mason’s ‘big fight’ and I hope he brings his A-game because I’m coming hard.”

One of Cage Warriors stand out fighters of 2013, BKK Fighters welterweight Jack Mason (26-12) is on possibly the greatest run of his career going 6-1 in his last 7 fights, with the only loss coming against Ali Arish who was a last minute change of opponent for Mason.

A top 5 UK welterweight, 31-year-old Mason could likely stake a claim as the number 1 contender with a win over Alloway after picking up four CWFC wins including stoppages of Matt Inman and Vladimir Opanasenko.

Mason said: “As soon as I heard that Ben Alloway had signed for Cage Warriors, it was a fight I was interested in. He’s fun to watch and I like his aggressive style so I’m looking forward to getting in there and taking a dominant win.”

Stay tuned to for the latest on Cage Warriors 65.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Kingdom MMA review UFC on FOX 10

UFC on Fox 10: Henderson vs Thomson

by Sam Heard @SamHeard_

The UFC on FOX 10 card was arguably never that highly anticipated with many noting the lack of title fight compared to most other UFC on Fox cards. Nonetheless, there was certainly enough here to generate interest; the former Lightweight champion facing off against the ex-Strikeforce champ, two heavyweights causing a storm in the big-boy leagues, the never dull Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and the decimating power of Jeremy Stephens. The main card had quite a few stellar moments but overall the undercard stole the show – too bad for the big-wig ringside ticket holders who only show up for the main card! It was certainly a decent night of fights overall, but had yet another main event ending in controversy over a contentious judge’s decision, leaving some fans with a sour taste.

Benson Henderson (19-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC) VS. Josh Thomson (20-5 MMA, 3-1 UFC)

Another Benson Henderson main-event, another highly-debated, controversial judges’ decision. The fight overall was a dream for any grappling fans with plenty of high level wrestling and groundwork and fairly little in the striking department. In the opening two rounds, Thomson arguably had the edge. In the first round he was able to take Benson down at will and take his back before locking in a body triangle and going for numerous submission attempts.

However, between the first and second rounds Josh reported to his corner that he’d broken his hand and this was painfully evident for the remainder of the fight where Thomson threw very few punches and struggled to pursue the takedown as he was unable to clasp his hands together. This was where Bendo came into his own. The strength advantage he had over Thomson anyway combined with Josh’s injury meant he was able to have his way for much of the fight, particularly in the third round. He also used his trademark calf kicks to wear Thomson down even more. I always find it strange watching Benson that such a large, muscular Lightweight has so little finishing power.

Despite the balanced nature of this fight, many had Thomson up three rounds to one going into the fifth, meaning Benson would need a stoppage to be victorious. I personally had it two-two going into the fifth round, and with Benson edging it in the fifth for me I gave it 48-47 to the former champion. However, one of the judges (Sal D’Amato) scored it 49-46 to Henderson which many online found to be a particularly egregious call.

In the post-fight press conference Thomson revealed that he was considering retirement while Dana stated that Benson’s performance would not be enough to get him a shot at the belt.

Result: Benson Henderson def. Josh Thomson via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46)

Gabriel Gonzaga (16-8 MMA, 11-7 UFC) VS. Stipe Miocic (11-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC)

In a departure from form, we saw a heavyweight fight which actually hit the judges’ scorecards – the first one since the epic battle between Mark Hunt and Bigfoot Silva (by far the more entertaining fight).

The first round was very even and highly entertaining, pitting the good boxing and footwork skills of Miocic against the brutal leg kicks and takedown threat of Gonzaga. However, after the opening five minutes, Gonzaga’s gas tank emptied quickly and he just covered up his face for large expanses of the fight, leaving Stipe free to pick him apart with his jab. Gonzaga tried on multiple occasions to get Stipe to the ground where he could implement his high level BJJ-game but Stipe was able on all-but-one occasion to stuff the takedown. I can’t help but question Stipe’s lack of power with his inability to stop a completely exhausted Gonzaga.

Result: Stipe Miocic def. Gabriel Gonzaga via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Donald Cerrone (22-6 MMA, 9-3 UFC) VS. Adriano Martins (25-7 MMA, 1-1 UFC)

This highly anticipated matchup saw Donald Cerrone, who looked exceptional in his last fight against Evan Dunham, take on Adriano Martins who looked none-too-shabby himself against Daron Cruikshank.

Cerrone’s fights are always interesting – sometimes he comes out looking unbeatable while other times Cowboy can seem a little tentative and flat. Interestingly, in the opening exchanges in this fight Cerrone wasn’t looking at his best in my opinion. Given the circumstances in which the fight finished this must sound like the statement of a madman, but in my opinion it looked like Martins was getting the better of Cowboy on the feet. Martins was landing some dangerous looking overhand rights and absorbing Cerrone’s leg kicks without taking any visible damage. Cerrone hit a takedown from which the BJJ Blackbelt was able to immediately get back up. However, seemingly from nowhere, Cerrone threw a right head kick which connected perfectly with the Brazilian sending him straight to the mat. Knowing that his technique had been picture perfect, Cerrone didn’t follow up the assault on his unconscious opponent – what a class act.

Result: Donald Cerrone def. Adriano Martins via knockout (head kick) – Round 1, 4:40

Darren Elkins (17-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC) VS. Jeremy Stephens (23-9 MMA, 10-8 UFC)

This looked to be one of the most balanced fights on the main card; a classic grappler versus striker matchup pitting ultra-tough Darren Elkins against hard-hitting Jeremy Stephens. Since dropping to featherweight, Jeremy Stephens has experienced a renaissance which certainly continued into last night’s matchup. In the past Stephens has ran into difficulty when facing good quality wrestlers but the takedown defence he displayed against Elkins shows exactly why Stephens’s name is now being discussed alongside Featherweight contenders.

Elkins’ offence was mainly neutralised by Stephens’ exceptional takedown defence. Some fairly questionable fight IQ from Stephens where he engaged Elkins on the ground meant he found himself in a fairly tight Guillotine choke late in the third round, but Elkins didn’t have the time to force the tap. Elkins ate some huge uppercuts from Stephens – whose only level seems to be full power – showing why people consider him to be so tough. Overall, an impressive display from the Lil Heathen.

Result: Jeremy Stephens def. Darren Elkins via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Highlights from the Undercard

Alex Caceres (10-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) VS. Sergio Pettis (10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC)

Caceres would win not just the Submission of the Night award for his Rear Naked Choke victory over young Sergio Pettis deep into the third round but the fight would also win Fight of the Night honours. Some brilliant stuff from both combatants.

Daron Cruickshank (14-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) VS. Mike Rio (9-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC)

A master class in striking from Cruickshank against Mike Rio. Rocked him in a magnificent display in the first before finishing him in the second. The best Cruickshank we've seen in the Octagon.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Two TUF champions set to face off in Brazil

Norman Parke set to meet Leonardo Santos at UFC Fight Night 38

by Sam Heard @SamHeard_

‘Stormin’ has become one of the most fitting fighter nicknames in the UFC, with Norman Parke (19-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) on a nine fight streak.

Reports from Brazilian site MMA Informativo indicate that Parke’s next match-up will take place at UFC Fight Night 38 against fellow TUF winner Leonardo Santos (12-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC). The main event for this fight card is scheduled to be the second meeting of Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua, a rematch of what is considered to be one of the greatest bouts in MMA history.

Since winning The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes series with a decision victory over self-proclaimed oddball Colin ‘Freakshow’ Fletcher, Parke has added a further two decision wins to his record over Kazuki Tokudome and Jon Tuck. Though he is yet to pick up that important first UFC stoppage, Parke has distinguished himself with his crisp, technical kickboxing skills and super-human cardio. Indeed, in his last outing against knockout artist Jon Tuck, Parke’s cardio advantage was what allowed him to outwork Tuck on the feet enroute to getting the nod from the judges.
Parke’s next challenge comes in the shape of TUF: Brazil 2 winner Leonardo Santos. Santos is easily the most talented grappler to have crossed Parke’s path; of the Brazilian’s 12 wins, a whopping eight have come by submission. Santos became the TUF winner with a highly skilled arm-triangle victory over William Macario on UFC on FUEL 10: Nogueira vs Werdum. This was that card you may remember from last year which broke records for having the most wins coming by submission; eight out of 12 fights ended with the loser tapping, the same as Santos’ submission record – weird…
This fight looks to be the classic grappler versus striker affair. It will be a tall order for Santos’ first UFC fight as the TUF champion to be facing Parke who is already on a roll in the Octagon. However, the notorious home-field advantage of fighting in Brazil is likely to give Santos an edge. Moreover, Santos fought in the TUF Brazil 2 tournament at Welterweight but has since made the drop to his more natural Lightweight – this drop in division may well translate into a strength advantage. This match is certain to be highly competitive.
This clash of TUF champs looks to be an intriguing, well-balanced matchup. Over here at Kingdom MMA we’ll be backing Norman to keep Stormin and get the job done in Brazil.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Shogun vs Hendo rematch announced for UFC Fight Night 38

Shogun vs Hendo II announced as the main event for UFC Fight Night 38

by Chris Marzella @ChrisMarzella

A UFC fight for the ages is set be revisited as Dan Henderson (29-11) and Shogun Rua (22-8) get set to meet again at UFC Fight Night 38. It was announced on Thursday that the two veterans will square off in Brazil on March 23.

The pair first met in an instant classic back at UFC 139 in November 2011 in which Henderson came out on the right end of a hard fought decision in what many considered to be the fight of the year. Since then, both men have gone on to suffer a down turn of fortunes.

Henderson has lost three straight since then, most recently suffering the first knockout loss of his career to Vitor Belfort. Before that he lost two controversial decisions to Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida.

Rua has similarly been struggling for form, failing to string a winning run together. He spectacularly knocked out James Te Huna in little over a minute back in December. Prior to that he lost successive fights to Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen.

The fight sees Henderson return to the UFC after entering free agency after his fight with Belfort. It also sees Henderson head south, back to Brazil, to have another attempt at picking up a win.

It remains to be seen how Henderson can bounce back after being brutally knocked out back in November.

Whilst Rua was victorious in his last outing, as always, it all depends on what kind of condition he can get himself into ahead of this rematch.

The fight is between the number six and seven ranked light heavyweights, but it would seem that both men, at least Henderson at 43-years-old, could very well be about to begin their final attempt at a run in the UFC.

If history has taught us anything it's that rematches of legendary fights very rarely live up to the expectation, but the fact is we will be getting Henderson vs Shogu II. All we can do is accept that and hope that the rematch gets close to the first fight in terms of excitement.

UFC Fight Night 38 takes place on March 23 from the Ginasio Nelio Dias, Natal, Brazil.

UFC on Fox 10 - UK Betting Odds

UFC on FOX 10 - UK Betting Odds

The UFC is back this weekend with with a fun little card, featuring 2 lightweight title contenders in the main event. We've team up with partners William Hill to bring those who fancy a little flutter the latest clear cut, betting odds - Good Luck, and don't miss out on your free £25 bet below!

Preliminary Card

2/7 Walt Harris v Nikita Krylov 13/5
19/10 George Sullivan v Mike Rhodes 2/5 
2/5 Daron Cruickshank v Mike Rio 19/10
13/5 Junior Hernandez v Hugo Viana 2/7
1/2 Chico Camus v Yaotzin Meza 8/5
1/4 Eddie Wineland v Yves Jabouin 3/1
8/5 Alex Caceres v Sergio Pettis 1/2

Main Card
4/9 Donald Cerrone v Adriano Martins 7/4 
11/10 Darren Elkins v Jeremy Stephens 8/11
4/9 Stipe Miocic v Gabriel Gonzaga 7/4
1/3 Benson Henderson v Josh Thompson 9/4
*Blue denotes favourite

Victor Cui, CEO of ONE FC talks to Kingdom MMA

Kingdom MMA Gets Up Close with Victor Cui
by Ben Heather @benheather

Earlier today Kingdom MMA caught up with Victor Cui the owner and CEO of ONE FC the biggest MMA promotion in Asia. We were able to discuss a whole range of topics including how he got in to MMA, the possibility of signing Paul Daley, Ben Askren as well as the future plans for ONE FC to name a few.

Ben: First of all, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate that you have taken the time out of what has to be a busy schedule to answer our questions.
I believe you have a back ground in Taekwondo and have a black belt, at what age did you start martial arts and how did you first get into MMA?
Cui: My parents enrolled me into taekwondo at a very young age. That kick started my career in sports. I have been following mixed martial arts since the beginning. I caught tapes of early bouts in the 1990s and fell in love with what I saw. Mixed martial arts was always on my mind as I continued working in sports management.

Ben: You have a background working with some of the biggest organisations in sport such as the PGA, X Games and the Olympics but what made you decide to go it alone and create your own MMA promotion?
Cui: I saw a great opportunity that simply cannot be missed. Mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport in the world. Asia is the birthplace of martial arts with history that dates back thousands of years, so it just makes sense that the best mixed martial arts organisation should come from Asia. You have so many martial arts discipline to draw from such as Washu, Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai, Slat etc and now world champions in those disciplines can test themselves against other world champions.

Ben: When you set up ONE FC what made you decide to have your own set of rules instead of the unified rules of MMA?
Cui: One FC wants to take the best practices from the East and the West, and that's what we did with our rule set, our safety precautions and our fighter match ups. That philosophy runs right through the organisation. Both rule sets have a lot to offer and have a strong following from MMA fans.

Ben: Does ONE FC have any plans to expand with events outside of Asia? More specifically a possible UK event?
Cui: The demand of ONE FC all across Asia is at its peak and we will definitely hold a record number of shows in 2014. Our Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines fans were so blown away by our past events and have been clamouring for our return. Fans in North and East Asia will also finally be able to catch a ONE FC show live in person in 2014. The sport is growing so fast in Asia and we want to continue the incredible momentum that we have in Asia. We will never say no though and if we find the right partner and sponsor who wants to bring ONE FC to the UK, we will make sure that the UK fans are blown away by a world-class MMA event!

Ben: Do you have any plans to get a TV deal to show ONE FC events in the UK?
Cui: Along with our unprecedented 10-year broadcast deal with Star Sports in Asia, we will bring ONE FC content to more than a billion potential viewers. We will be on public television in the United Kingdom very soon.

The UK fans are some of the most passionate in the world and their level of knowledge and passion for ONE FC is unrivalled anywhere outside of Asia.

Ben: Would ONE FC have any interest in signing UK welterweight Paul Daley?
Cui: We have an amazing matchmaker in Matt Hume, who is the VP of Operations in ONE FC. He has an incredible team of scouts all across the world looking for talent.  We get hundreds of emails everyday of top fighters all around the world looking to compete for ONE FC. I have absolute faith in Matt (Hume) and his team to sign the best talent in the world, and if Paul Daley makes sense for us then we will reach out to him.

Ben: Speaking of Welterweight fighters, you have recently signed Ben Askren. Were you shocked when it was announced that Bellator had let its welterweight champ leave? and did it surprise you that the UFC wasn't interested?
Cui: It is a testament to ONE FC’s global standing that a Top 10 pound-for-pound mixed martial artist like Ben Askren decides to sign with us. Ben Askren’s impressive wrestling credentials joins the stable of world champions from different martial arts in ONE FC’s roster.

Ben: When can we expect to see Ben make his debut for ONE FC?
Cui: I’m sure fans from all over the world are very excited for his debut. Ben will be making his heavily anticipated ONE FC debut in the first half of 2014.

Ben: Do you have any opponents in line for Ben Askren's first fight?
Cui: Ben Askren is on the shortlist to challenge for the ONE FC Welterweight World Championship, and we are looking to find the best fights for him. Our fans in Asia can't wait to see Askren step into the ONE FC cage for the first time and it will be a landmark moment when it happens.

Ben: A big issue in MMA last year was the use of TRT, what is ONE FC's policy for drug testing?
Cui: We have a strict no-nonsense policy when it comes to any form of performing-enhancing chemicals. We have the pleasure of working with a group of professional athletes who have been following the guidelines we have put in place. One of the most important values to me is integrity and it is something I believe everybody should live by.

Our stance is very clear and we will not tolerate illegal drug use.

Ben: In September last year you announced plans for the ONE ASIA Amateur MMA Series which will hold monthly amateur events all across Asia. In my opinion this is brilliant for the sport and will certainly help to promote amateur fighters in Asia. After all, they are the future of the sport and could become future stars.

Have the details for these events now been finalised and when will the first event take place?
Cui: We are looking to roll out the series in phases in 2014. All the bouts will feature a common rule set to ensure a level playing field for amateurs across Asia regardless of where they are from. We already have the top amateurs lined up to compete in the amateur series as they gain experience with the dream of one day competing in ONE FC. We are committed to growing the sport in all levels and this will help groom Asia’s next MMA superstar.

Ben: In 2012 ONE FC put on 5 events, that number increased to 7 events in 2013, how many events do you want to put on this year?
Cui: We are significantly increasing the number of events we will be doing this year. ONE FC: WAR OF NATIONS on 14 March will be the first event in a stacked calendar year with at least one event every month after that. We will also expand to new markets across Asia. 2014 will be a groundbreaking year for ONE FC!

Ben: Lets take a look in to the future now, what are your longer term goals for ONE FC in the next 3-5 years?
Cui: The exponential growth that ONE FC has experienced in two years has been incredible. The sky is the limit for ONE FC. If we continue on the current trajectory, we have the potential to surpass the success of any mixed martial arts organisation in history.

Ben: Thank you very much again for your time, we really appreciate it.
Cui: Thank you for having me. ONE FC: WAR OF NATIONS take place 14 March from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tune in to to watch the best mixed martial artists from Asia battle it out in front of a sold-out Stadium Negara.

Ross Pearson Out, Melvin Guillard Now Meets Michael Johnson

Ross Pearson Out, Melvin Guillard Now Meets Michael Johnson
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Ross Pearson has been forced to withdraw from his highly anticipated rematch with Melvin Guillard at UFC Fight Night 37 with a knee injury which requires surgery. The UFC confirmed earlier today that Melvin Guillard now meets Ultimate Fighter Finalist Michael Johnson in London:
“With Ross Pearson unable to compete due to injury, No 13 ranked lightweight Michael ‘The Menace’ Johnson will face Melvin ‘The Young Assassin’ Guillard in the co-main event March 8 in London."
 UFC Fight Night 37 takes place March 8 at London’s O2 Arena, and will stream on the UFC's new online subscription service, Fight Pass. Ticket go on general sale on Friday the 31st of January, with UFC newsletter subscribers able to purchase on the 30th, and UFC Fight Club members able to purchase on the 29th.

On some-what of a resurgence Michael Johnson has ratted off impressive back-to-back victories over Joe Lauzon and Gleison Tibau, to earn his place in the top 15 of the UFC's lightweight rankings. The 10 fight UFC veteran holds a professional record of 14-8, with 9 of his 14 victories coming inside the distance.

Interestingly Gulliard and Johnson are former training partners during Guillard's 5 fight with the Blackzillians.

Stay tuned to for all the latest on UFC Fight Night 37

Fighter vs Writer - UFC on FOX 10 - Nurmagomedov vs Heather

Fighter vs Writer: Khabib Nurmagomedov - UFC on FOX 10 

by Ben Heather @benheather

Welcome to another Kingdom MMA fighter vs writer challenge.

For this challenge we challenge some of the biggest names from the world of MMA to give us their picks and fight outcomes for specific MMA events. Then they will be challenged by one of our writers, who will make their own predictions. Previously we have challenged the likes of Luke Barnatt, Jim Alers, Mike Wilkinson, Phil Harris, Cathal Pendred, JoJo Calderwood and Dustin Poirier. Last time out at UFC 168, JoJo Calderwood defeated Sam on his first attempt at a fighter vs writer, so this time I will be trying to regain our pride.

This weeks opponent needs no introduction. He is one of the biggest names in the Lightweight division and is currently ranked #7 in the UFC official rankings. He is the man nobody wants to fight, with all the top stars supposedly turning fights down with him and the lesser ranked fighters trying to call him out to make a name for themselves. He is of course our breakthrough fighter of 2013, the one, the only, "The Eagle" Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The Scoring
If you predict the correct winner of the fight you will get one point and if you predict the correct method of victory you will get an extra point. However, if the fight ends in a stoppage and you predict the round as well the method you could earn a third bonus point. If the fight goes the distance you can only earn a maximum of two points.

The Predictions

Benson Henderson vs Josh Thomson

Khabib's Prediction: Josh Thomson

Heather: I really am looking forward to this fight, it has been the first main event which really excites me in 2014. Thomson finally made it back to the UFC last year and certainly made an impact becoming the first man to knock out Nate Diaz.... Something that Henderson couldn't do when he fought Nate although he did everything but, in a dominant display.

I think Benson will be looking to get back in the win column and prove to the world once again that he is an exciting fighter, now he has lost his title. People have said that he shouldn't have won all the fights in the UFC and i agree they were all very close fights but at this level of MMA that's what I want to see and I think we will see that again on Saturday night. However, I think it will be Benson who gets his arm raised as the smarter fighter. Thomson may take some risks in the fight and I think Benson will be able to exploit these when it happens.

Prediction: Benson Henderson - Unanimous Decision

Gabriel Gonzaga vs Stipe Miocic

Khabib's Prediction: Stipe Miocic

Heather: Stipe has to keep this fight standing if he is going to win the fight, I think if he keeps it standing he will be able to showcase his strikes and start to breakdown Gonzaga before finishing him later in the fight.

That being said, Gonzaga does have one punch KO power and some amazing kicks. Certainly if this fight goes to the ground then Gonzaga will be in his element and in my opinion certainly has the edge at this part of the fight. The only problem is, the only time I see Gonzaga hitting the mat is just after Stipe lands his power punches and finishes the fight

Prediction: Stipe Miocic - TKO Round 3

Donald Cerrone vs Adriano Martins

Khabib's Prediction: Donald Cerrone

Heather: For me going in to this fight I don't know too much about Martins other than his finish against Cruickshank in his UFC debut but I feel the jump in opponent between Daron and the cowboy will be too much for him. Cerrone is one of the best lightweight fighters in the world..... on his day and proved that in his last fight he is back. I think he will carry on his good form in this fight and pick up the win.

Prediction: Donald Cerrone - Sub Round 2

Darren Elkins vs Jeremy Stephens

Khabib's Prediction: Jeremy Stephens 

Heather: I like the underdog in this fight, Elkins has beaten some really tough opponents but came unstuck against Chad Mendes, who is arguably the best featherweight in the world not called Jose Aldo. So that result was nothing to be ashamed by. He then bounced back defeating the highly regard Hatsu Hioki in August and I think he will pick up the win again on Saturday night before looking to the top 10 for his next opponent.

Stephens looks to have got his career back on track with back to back wins since dropping to featherweight following three losses in a row to end his career at lightweight. Last time out he scored a highlight reel knock out over Rony Jason which really put him on the map in the featherweight division but I think Elkins

Prediction: Darren Elkins - Unanimous Decision

So that's our predictions for the fights, we will be live tweeting on Saturday night as always and we will keep you all informed as to how the challenge is going with latest scores throughout the main card.

Thanks again to Khabib for providing us with his picks for this weekends fights and it just leaves me to say.... May the best man win!!

Roundtable: Our Favourite Memories of Chris Leben's Career

Kingdom MMA Roundtable: Our Favourite Memories of Chris Leben's Career

One Monday afternoon 22-fight UFC veteran Chris Leben went on the MMA hour with Ariel Helwani and officially announced his retirement from MMA.

Through his up and downs, wins and losses, one things for certain Leben was a fan favourite from the minute he stepped in the the cage until the day he left.

In wake of Leben's retirement, we pay homage to Leben's career sharing out favourite Leben moments with you.

Chris Marzella - @chrismarzella
It's quite sad that we won't be seeing Leben competing anymore. He was one of the few guys who, win, lose or draw, was always worth the admission. I've always rooted for those guys from the first series of TUF, we already had Griffin, Bonnar and Florian walk away, so it saddens me to see another of that group go into retirement. The way he quit on his stool in the Hall fight was the most un-Chris Leben thing that I could have imagined, if that was the way his career would have continued than I'd rather not see him do this anymore. His style of taking two, three, four punches to land one of his own has its limitations and he's walking away at the right time. At least we still have those memories of those insane Leben moments, of course the shock win against Sexyama, but the one that will live long in the memory is the night he knocked out Wanderlei Silva. They are practically carbon copies of each other and for Leben to bruatlise Wand in less than thirty seconds was just unbelievable to watch.

Sam Heard - @samheard_
Chris Leben’s career is a fascinating one in so far as it consists of such contrast; intense highs like knocking out MMA legend Wanderlei Silva as well as crippling lows such as his self-deprecation having his Ultimate Fighter shattered by rival Josh Koscheck. Many moments spring to mind as being the best of Leben’s long MMA career. One of my most prominent memories of Leben was his clinical beat down at the hands of former Middleweight champion Anderson Silva, simply put one of the most (if not the most) beautiful displays of MMA we’re ever likely to see in the Octagon. However, I think picking this would be unfair on Leben as clearly he was the one on the receiving end of this onslaught and would certainly rather not be remembered for it.

I would say my favourite memory of Leben was the personal growth which we all saw him undergo in the first series of The Ultimate Fighter. At first he was the outspoken, annoying loudmouth who was there to party rather than to advance his fighting career. By the end however, he had grown and we had seen the tender, emotionally fragile side to the man who – on the very first night – ‘spritzed’ (pissed) on Jason Thacker’s bed sheet. This personal development also allowed his friendship to form with Kenny Florian who had disliked Leben for the first few weeks. This may not be a fighting memory of Leben but it was this insight into his personality which kept me so interested in the career of the Crippler for all these years.  

Chris Houten - @mrhouts
Through his ups and down Chris Leben has always had one thing going for him, his ability to entertain fans. For his antics on season 1 of the ultimate fighter to his glorious knockout of Wanderlei Silva, Leben has provided me with a wealth of memories that while last a lifetime.

While Leben's knockout of Silva was beautiful, and I'll never forget the excitement I felt in the lead up to UFC 138 knowing I would be cage side for the first 5 round non title fighter, my favourite memory of Leben's career takes place during a two week period in 2010 where Leben came from behind to defeat Aaron Simpson by TKO then followed that up with a sweet triangle of Akiyama.

Leben was all heart. A beautiful brawler who would surprisingly fight better when he was hurt and I feel that two week period in Leben's career summed the man to a tee.

I have enjoyed watching every minute of Christian Leben's career.... Thank you for the memories Crippler!

Ben Heather - @benheather
For me the greatest Leben memory is easy. While it's certainly not his finest moment in MMA it is however one of the moments that hooked me in to the great sport of MMA. 

My favourite Chris Leben memory is having him headline my first live MMA event UFC 138 in Birmingham. The main event saw Leben lose to Munoz and end up in a bloody mess by the end but for what that event meant to me on a personal level and how it changed me from a casual fan to a die hard fan it has to be my greatest Leben moment and I feel honoured that I got to see him in action. 

If I had to pick a Leben moment in the octagon it has to be finishing Wanderlei in less than 30 seconds, it was a crazy fight and showed how good a fighter Leben really was. Now, looking back on his career it was the last time he was in the win column. Although he took a beating and didn't look the same fighter during those last four fights the win over Wanderlei was one of many highs and a great way to get his final win. 

All I would like to say is Chris Leben, thank you for the great memories and I salute you for making what must have been a tough decision to retire. You will always be a true warrior!!

George Sullivan Ahead of UFC Debut "My Only Focus is Knocking Mike Rhodes Out"

Kingdom MMA Talks to George Sullivan Ahead of UFC on Fox 10
by Ben Heather @benheather

A Pro for over 7 years, George Sullivan has come a long way since making his pro debut back in 2006. With an impressive 14-3 record, the 32-year is currently enjoying a 6 fight winning streak, claiming and defending the CFFC welterweight title along the way – not bad for someone who got into MMA because he couldn’t find enough Thai boxing fights to satisfy his desire to fight.

Possibly Sullivan’s biggest achievement to date though is getting his call up to the UFC, a call that at one stage the Pellegrino fighter never thought he would get when a controversial Star-Ledger article came out about the dangers of MMA on the body and brain injuries. Sullivan was one of the fighters who had been part of the article which went in to great detail on what Sullivan puts his body through outside of the fight itself, including in depth details of a past weight cut and how hard it is to train as a MMA fighter.

Following the story Sullivan went to great lengths to express the story had taken a lot of what he does in the gym and before a fight out of context, that being said Sullivan felt the story might have affected his chances of one day fighting in the UFC.
"They lied to me and many others, they took 8 years of stories and turned it into what they wanted. Even why they wanted to interview us was a lie. I was afraid it made me look like I was careless and thoughtless when all I wanted was to help MMA. We thought we were showing how hard we worked and how dedicated we are. The other reason I was told [they wanted to interview me] was to help legalise MMA in New York. They only wanted to make us look bad and barbaric but in the long run the truth came out and we won not them! Just for the record my scans came back perfect. My brain has no signs of anything, they need to learn facts before printing it in the paper!"
As luck would have it the UFC did call and as far as Sullivan is concerned the thought of turning down a fight, short notice or not is not one which is in his mindset. This is ultimately what resulted in him signing with the UFC and the opponent didn't matter, he certainly wasn't going to say no.
"I was sitting at home and got a call from Kurt [Pellegrino] asking if I wanted to fill in and fight Pascal Krauss. We said yes right away. The next day they [the UFC] said the fight was off but they wanted to give me a contract anyway and I was beyond excited there is no one I won't fight, it didn't matter who. I just wanted to call myself a UFC fighter and show the world what I can do."

"I always wanted to be in the UFC and the feeling is so amazing words can not describe what I'm feeling. I'm so proud and honoured, I still have so much more to work for and I can't wait to climb this final ladder. I live for challenges and I just got accepted to the hardest challenge in the world. I can't wait to start... let's go!"
And go he shall straight into a fight with the much hyped prospect Mike Rhodes on the undercard of UFC of FOX 10 this Saturday. Even with Rhodes rolling in to the fight with all the hype he has, Sullivan hasn't changed his approach to training for this fight. Even admitting he "hasn't seen much tape on Rhodes" previous fights instead believing "that you never know what a fighter will do until they are stood in front of you" in the cage.

The biggest surprise to Sullivan is how much hype Rhodes is getting going in to the fight and he is "not sure why Mike Rhodes has so much hype other than the fact of who he trains with and where he trains."

Sullivan however is relishing coming in to this fight as the underdog and if anyone questions why he has been signed you just have to look at his record.
"I hope I'm the underdog because shutting people up is what "the silencer" does. I've knocked out 11 pros and I have nothing to prove, my only focus is knocking Mike Rhodes out. I hit extremely hard and my only goal is to hit and win, I look forward to this test."
Sullivan doesn't just turn up to try and steal a win on the judges score cards, he comes to fight and put on a exciting show for the fans. He already has a record which is scattered with wins over fighters who have fought at the top level including ex UFC and Bellator fighters and in most cases he won by stoppage.
"I'm known for knocking people out, anyone I hit gets KO'd. I'm always looking to land power strikes. Winning isn't enough, finishing is what I want to do. I try and make the fights as exciting as possible for myself and most importantly the fans!"
Last year Sullivan also won via TKO against Julian "Let me bang bro" Lane who famously appeared on The Ultimate Fighter. As usual, Julian was talking trash before the fight and after getting the TKO Sullivan was given his nickname "The Silencer" or more to the point his right hand is his silencer.

With Kurt Pellegrino as a coach, Sullivan knows he has had the best preparation possible for this camp and he will be in safe hands when it comes to fight night and he makes his way out to the Octagon for the first time.
"Training with Kurt is amazing, hard work and fun at the same time. Kurt and Mellisa Pellegrino changed my life. They run the best BJJ and MMA academy in New Jersey, we have amazing students and fighters. He also brings in some of the best wrestling coaches around including Dan Ocone, a NJ legend and black belt in judo. Being apart of Kurt gets you Matt Jennings, the best strength and condition coach hands down in point pleasant NJ and training under a UFC vet and a grappling world champ is simply amazing. I'm so blessed to have Kurt Pellegrino lead me into battle. A true leader, KPMMA all day!"
When it comes to how the fight will go on Saturday night George sees only one outcome.
"I see myself knocking Mike Rhodes out, I know he's a great striker but I'm the better MMA fighter. I can't wait to fight him, I live for this. UFC here I come."
UFC on Fox 10 takes place January 25 from the United Centre, Chicago, Illinois.


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