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Interview: UFC co-creator Campbell McLaren

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

Monday, 31 March 2014

Interview: Oli Thompson Ahead of Bamma 15

Oli Thompson Talks to Kingdom MMA Ahead of his Bout with Gzim Selmani at Bamma 15

by Chris Marzella - @ChrisMarzella

For most being cut from the top fight organisation on the planet can be the downward spiral of a career, but for a few it is the beginning of a very separate journey, one which focuses more on the martial art than status or popularity. On Saturday night one such man makes his BAMMA debut.

Heavyweight Oli Thompson is set to take on relative unknown Gzim Selmani as tries to tries to extend his post-UFC record to 4-1. Speaking to KingdomMMA ahead of the fight Thompson said: 
"I've gone 3-1 since I got cut from the UFC. I've got one loss which was against the KSW champion and that was a close points decision so I've got pretty good form after getting cut from the UFC."
"Defeat can make you assess yourself a lot more than when you're always winning. You don't necessarily change as much and adapt as much when you're winning. I guess it's one of the positives you can take from getting beaten."
Thompson is adamant that the end of his UFC stint in not the end of his MMA career, quite the opposite. He recalled his UFC experience, saying: "As far as I was concerned I was already building back up. It's still early in my career. I know when I was in UFC people kind of see you as you're at the top of your game and you can get knocked back down again but really I was still on my journey when I was fighting in the UFC. I'm bringing a lot more to the table now than I was then."

Moving on in his career, Thompson takes on Gzim Selmani at Bamma 15 in a fight that surprised a few when it was announced, with very few having any idea who Selmani or why he was being matched with Thompson.

Thompson explained the bout, saying:
"First and foremost there was some changes along the way and some opponents being banded about in front of me and some bigger names. The main cause of the fight for me motivation-wise was just purely because I wanted to fight and I'd rather fight than not fight." 
"I'm aware that this guy has not got a big name but he's just as dangerous, or more dangerous, than some of the other guys that I've faced along the way. They're all dangerous in their own way. I'm throwing this guy a bone because he's getting an opportunity without so much to lose. I do see that, but I could have been sat on my arse for another five or six weeks just going through the motions or go out and fight on a big show on London."
Thompsons BAMMA debut should be the first of several for the promotion as he aims to stay busy, with trips to Poland for KSW and the US planned as well.

He said: "I've got a few fights with BAMMA in the pipeline and we've talked about different future plans. Obviously I fight outside the UK, I fight in Poland and a few fights in the States as well. I've started mixing it up, I want to be busy as possible. I can't just fight for one promotion because it's limited how many fights you can get in a 12 month period and I want to be a lot more busy than I have been any other year before."

Despite the fact that he openly admits his opponent is not perhaps the name everyone had in mind when he agreed to fight for BAMMA, Thompson admits that he sees danger in Selmani, meaning he won't be taking his next outing lightly.

"This guy I'm fighting here comes from a good team, Golden Glory in Holland, he's a big kid and he's going to be coming here really hungry to come and get the biggest win he's ever had" Thompson said.

"I've watched a few bits of his fights and stuff. He's a young guy, he's fairly wild in what he does. It might be a case of fighting fire with fire and dampening his flame a little bit."

Her added: "I've got my own plans and if my plans come to fruition then I'm going to get the job done nice and quick and simple."

"I really think this could be a fight for the fans."

Not letting the UFC release after his defeat at the hands of Phil De Fries dent his confidence, Thompson is eager to build a nice little win streak for himself against some of Europe's elite heavyweights. He said: "My motivation is to just keep picking up wins and to keep improving." I've done quite well for myself whilst only sort of exploring and dipping in to maybe 50-per-cent of the things that I do in the gym. "

Oli Thompson takes on Gzim Selmani at BAMMA 15 from the Copper Box in London's Olympic Park on April 5.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

WSOF 9 Results: Palhares, Moraes, & Okami Win

WSOF 9 Results: Palhares, Moraes, & Okami Win

Lucas Noonan/WSOF
Brazilian submission master Rousimar Palhares (17-6) needed just 69 seconds to take the World Series of Fighting welterweight title away from former champ Steve Carl (21-4).

And it was his signature move - the heel hook - that led "Toquinho" to victory.

The championship fight headlined Saturday's "World Series of Fighting 9: Carl vs. Palhares" event at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and aired on NBCSN.

Making his World Series of Fighting debut, Palhares wasted little time in shooting the fight to the floor. From there, he rolled for Carl's leg, and the end was near. Looking first for a kneebar, Palhares then turned to his patented finishing hold, wrenching the inverted heel hook until Carl was forced to tap and hand over the belt.

In the night's co-feature, Marlon Moraes claimed (13-4-1) claimed World Series of Fighting's inaugural bantamweight title with a dominating decision win over a gutsy Josh Rettinghouse (10-3).

Rettinghouse looked to push the pace early, but Moraes' excellent defensive wrestling skills kept him on the feet, and his crisp muay Thai provided all the offense he would need. A sharp counter punch floored Rettinghouse in the first, but he crawled back to his feet and soldiered on. Moraes came forward with thunderous leg kicks that wobbled Rettinghouse early and often and left him nearly immobile for the final few rounds.

A game Rettinghouse pushed forward until the final bell, but in the end, Moraes was simply too much and cruised to a decision win, earning a championship belt in the process.

Fighting for the first time under the World Series of Fighting banner, Japanese middleweight Yushin Okami (30-8) proved he's still one of the world's best fighters, as he dominated Bulgarian opponent Svetlozar Savov (12-5).

Savov simply had no match for Okami's powerful wrestling attack and found himself on his back early and often. Pushing easily to mount in both the first and second rounds, Okami dominated the fight on the floor and eventually set up an arm-triangle choke and cranking the hold until he earned the tap with 14 seconds left in the frame.

Afterward, Okami admitted he had hoped to show off his striking skills but realized the importance of a win.
"My gameplan was to use my striking game, but once we got going, I saw that he had good distance, so I was forced to change my gameplan," Okami said.
In a key welterweight fight, Josh Burkman (27-10) picked up another highlight-reel win with a stunning knockout of Tyler Stinson (27-10).

While Stinson was the vaunted knockout artist, it was Burkman who landed a crushing lead right from a southpaw stance, sending his opponent crashing to the floor. Burkman made sure he had no time to recover, landing a huge follow-up right hand that ended the fight at the 2:15 mark of the first.
"The one thing I didn't want to do was stand in front of him," Burkman said after the win. "I knew he had enough respect for my hands, and if he hurt me, I was going to take it to wrestling."
In the night's first main-card matchup, lightweight Johnny Nunez (5-0) kept his career mark perfect with a hard-fought split-decision win over Ozzy Dugulubgov (5-2).

The aggressive Nunez set the tone early in each round, pushing forward with reckless abandon. Dugulubgov proved a tough foe, defending takedown attempts and answering back with submission attempts of his own.

Ultimately, while Dugulubgov had frequent moments in dominant positions, his inability to capitalize on the advantages cost him, and Nunez was awarded a split-decision win. Afterward, Nunez said he wasn't concerned with anyone claiming controversy in the call.
"I don't care what anybody says," Nunez said. "I'm not worrying about anyone but myself and my team." 
In the night's featured preliminary contest, Mike Corey (13-3-1) looked downright dominant in a second-round submission win over Shane Kruchten (11-3).

The shorter Corey dealt well with Kruchten's reach, leaping in with powerful punches and dropping him in the opening round. In the second, Corey took Kruchten to the floor, peppered him with punches and moved quickly to his back. While Kruchten tried to defend, Corey muscled in a rear-naked choke attempt and squeezed until he earned the tap at the 2:59 mark of the round.

Bryson Hansen (7-1) made an immediate impact in World Series of Fighting's bantamweight division, needing just 46 seconds in his promotional debut to score a TKO win over Sean Cantor (1-1).

Hansen looked for a takedown early in the fight, and while Cantor defended well, he also exposed his chin in the process. Hansen seized the opportunity, unleashing a barrage of left hands that stunned Cantor and forced a quick TKO stoppage.

Featherweight prospect Chris Gruetzemacher (12-1) made his long-awaited World Series of Fighting debut in impressive fashion, thoroughly dominating longtime veteran John Gunderson (34-16-2). Using a grinding wrestling attack, Gruetzemacher had Gunderson on the defense from start to finish, and "Gritz" was awarded a clear-cut decision win.

While his brother, Bryson, would later duplicate the feat, Brenson Hansen (6-2) picked up a victory, downing Boostayre Nefarios (2-2) via decision. Nefarios appeared to hold in the edge in speed and quickness, but Hansen moved constantly forward, firing heavy punches and outworking his opponent en route to the victory.

In an early welterweight matchup, Danny Davis (9-8-1) turned in one of the more impressive efforts of his career, outworking Phil Dace (9-5) over the course of three rounds and scoring a unanimous-decision win.

The night's first fight saw lightweight JimmySpicuzza (3-0) keep his perfect career mark intact with an impressive, first-round submission win over Gil Guardado (2-1).

Thursday, 27 March 2014

UFC Berlin Adds Krzysztof Jotko vs Magnus Cedenblad

UFC Berlin Adds Krzysztof Jotko vs Magnus Cedenblad
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Polish Middleweight Krzysztof Jotko will put his undefeated record on the line against Swede Magnus Cedenblad at UFC Berlin.

UFC Fight Night 41 takes place May 31 at O2 World Berlin in Germany and features a middleweight bout headliner Gegard Mousasi (34-4-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Mark Munoz (13-4 MMA, 8-4 UFC). The entire card will stream on UFC Fight Pass, and is the second of the series of cards scheduled for Europe.

Following an impressive series of victories for local promotion MMA Attack, Krzysztof Jotko (14-0) signed for the UFC in late 2013, making his debut with an impressive unanimous decision victory over Bruno Santos at Decembers UFC Fight Night 33 in Australia.

One of the most highly regarded prospects in Europe, The 24-year old now trains at Canada's renowned Tristar Gym alongside some of  best fighters in the world including Georges St. Pierre, Rory McDonald, and Francis Carmont, who has a win over Jotko's opponent, Cedenblad. A pro since 2010, Jotko has 6 finishes on record - 4 wins by TKO, 2 wins by submission.

A product of Sweden's Allstar Training Center, which is home to fellow Scandinavian standouts Alexander Gustafsson, and Nico Musoko, Magnus Cedenblad (11-4) fights for the UFC for the third time in his career. 1-1 under the promotion since making his debut for the promotion, 31-year old, Cedenblad was defeated by Francis Carmont in his debut, before bouncing back with an impressive submission victory over Jared Hamman at UFC 164.

A series of injuries has seen Cedenblad only fight once in 2013 pulling out of a fight with Rafal Natal at the start of the year, as well as a bout with Alessio Sakara at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester. Cedenblad has taken 10 of 11 victories inside the distance with 6 TKOs and 4 submissions.

Stay tuned to for all the latest on UFC Berlin

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

One FC signs Brits James McSweeney and and Chi Lewis Parry

One FC signs Brits James McSweeney and and Chi Lewis Parry
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

 Asia's largest MMA promotion One FC have signed British heavyweights James McSweeney and Chi Lewis Parry to exclusive fight deals.

Best know for his appearance on the Ultimate Fighter season 10 as well as his subsequent Octagon stint where he fought 3 times picking up a win over Darrill Schoonover at the Tuf 10 finale before losing to Travis Browne and Fábio Maldonado, James McSweeney (12-11) joins ONE FC on the back of submission victory over Stefan Traunmuller at Novembers Final Fight Championship 9 in Slovenia.

6-2 in his last 8 fights, the 33-year old has fought for some of the finest promotions in the world including Cage Rage, Ring of Combat, BAMMA, Legacy FC, and the aforementioned UFC, taking 11 of his 12 wins including notable victories over 2007 K-1 World Grand Prix Las Vegas 8 man Champion, Doug Viney and Strikeforce Vet Dion Staring who he defeated by devastation first round knockout.

Undefeated in his mixed martial arts career Chi Lewis Parry (5-0), who is widely considered one of the UKs best Heavyweight prospects is an excellent addition to the ONE FC roster.

A former British Basketball League player, UCMMA K-1 Heavyweight champion Parry, has never been to the judges score cards in his young career with 3 wins coming by TKO and 2 wins by submission. At 2 Metres tall, Parry has the longest reach in the ONE FC heavyweight division.

There is still no word on when Parry will make his ONE FC debut, however ONE FC officials have confirmed McSweeney will take on Chris Lokteff at ONE FC: Rise of Heroes, in Manila, The Philippines on May 2nd.

Stay tuned to for all the latest on ONE FC

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Luke Barnatt Meets Fellow Undefeated Middleweight Sean Strickland in Berlin

Luke Barnatt Meets Fellow Undefeated Middleweight Sean Strickland in Berlin
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Undefeated middleweight prospects Luke Barnatt and Sean Strickland will square off at UFC Fight Night 41 when the UFC touches down in Berlin for the first time in May.

UFC Fight Night 41 takes place May 31 at O2 World Berlin in Germany and features a middleweight bout headliner Gegard Mousasi (34-4-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Mark Munoz (13-4 MMA, 8-4 UFC). The entire card will stream on UFC Fight Pass, and is the second of the series of cards scheduled for Europe.

Making a quick turnaround to return to the octagon in just 12 weeks, UK fan favourite Luke Barnatt fights for the 4th time under the UFC banner in May having recently defeated Mat Nilsson by first round TKO at UFC Fight Night 37 in London earlier this month. Prior to his victory over Nilsson, the former Ultimate Fighter season 17 contestant, defeated Colin Hart by unanimous decision at The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 Finale for his UFC official debut, and Andrew Craig by second round submission at UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester last October.

Speaking ahead of the bout, Barnatt who has finished 6 of his 8 victories inside the distance said:
"May 31st, Berlin, Germany, two undefeated middleweights go to war. When I get the knockout and end this young man's dream, at least he can take warmth in the fact he has a stamp on his passport and can enjoy the beautiful city of Berlin. I'm ready."
Making his UFC debut on less than 2 weeks notice as a late replacement for injured Tor Troeng at UFC 171, California native Sean Strickland stepped in to pick up a submission victory over Bubba McDaniels in the first round to take his overall record to 14-0.

A long term King of the Cage vet, 23-year old Stickland has picked up 11 stoppage victories in 14 outings since making his professional debut in 2008 at just 17 years old

With the addition of Barnatt vs Strickland, UFC Fight Night 41 card now includes: 
Gegard Mousasi vs. Mark Munoz
Luke Barnatt vs. Sean Strickland
Pawel Pawlak vs. Peter Sobotta
Drew Dober vs. Nick Hein

Stay tuned to for all the latest on UFC Berlin

MMA Retirement: When is enough, enough?

by Chris Marzella @ChrisMarzella

Whose place is it to tell a fighter when enough is enough?

Everyone is forthcoming with retirement advise on a weekly basis, but when is enough really enough?

Case in point was this past Sunday night when Dan Henderson brutally knocked out Shogun Rua.

Rua dominated for two and a half rounds, knocking Henderson down, mounting him and clearly winning the fight. Winning the fight until a H-Bomb detonated on his nose that is.

What we learned coming out of that fight is that Shogun may very well be back to his best.

Coming off of his spectacular knock out of James Te Huna there were many questions relating to Shogun. Well, for over twelve minutes he put on a clinic. He looked fantastic. Hurting Henderson, taking him down. He looked threatening again.

Henderson, well, he didn't look so great. He was sluggish, he got caught with far too many punches for anyones liking. Shogun was dropping him at will and there only seemed one winner.

That is why both men still have a future with the UFC.

Firstly Henderson. When you carry the power that he does you can do this for as long as you choose. Speed and agility desert you first, power lasts the longest. What is clear is that Henderson doesn't belong in fights leading to a title shot.

At 43-years-old and having just signed a six fight contract recently, it could be that time to throw him into purely fun fights. 

Salivate at the prospect of Henderson vs Sonnen, Henderson vs Silva. Even Henderson vs Franklin.

The thought of Henderson mixing it with Gustafsson, Teixeira and the likes isn't exactly enticing.

Shogun on the other hand at 32-years-old should still have years in him. It's the wars he's been through and beatings he has taken that has people calling for his retirement.

However, excluding the result and solely looking at his performance there is no good reason not to go on. Anyone hit with the punch he was hit with would have gone down as was evident by his nose being smeared all over his face.

What it may take to revitalise his career is the same route that Lyoto Machida took, a trip down to middleweight.

He looked in fantastic condition for his last two fights, probably the best shape we've seen him in so cutting to 185-pounds isn't entirely out of the question.

There lies some old rematch as well as new, fresh challenges. Machida, Munoz, Bisping, Le, Belfort, Rockhold, Jacare. Even potentially Anderson Silva.

Whilst the title picture seems just out of reach for Henderson it does leave it slightly open for Shogun should he opt for a change of scenery and a move down to middleweight, despite being knocked out.

Whilst both their routes now seem uncertain, one thing that is certain is that you don't tell guys like Henderson and Shogun when to retire. Both have earned the right to decide that for themselves.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Ivan Buchinger released, Warburton vs Ray to headline Cage Warriors 69 for vacant lightweight title

Cage Warriors 69 announced

The Cage Warriors lightweight world title will be at stake when Curt Warburton (13-4) and Stevie Ray (14-5) clash at Cage Warriors 69 at The Forum in London, England, on Saturday, June 7, 2014.

Cage Warriors officials can confirm that previous champion Ivan Buchinger has been released from his contract with the promotion, leaving a vacancy at the summit of the 155lbs division.

The bout will mark the second time that Warburton and Ray will have met, with their previous encounter - which took place in March, 2013 - ending in a unanimous-decision triumph for Warburton.

“I can’t wait to be stepping back into that cage, with the opportunity of walking back out as the new Cage Warriors champion,” said Warburton, a native of Newcastle, England.

Warburton signed to compete exclusively for Cage Warriors Fighting Championship last year and made a successful debut for the promotion at CWFC 62 courtesy of a first-round submission of Wesley Murch.

The 33-year-old has put together a 6-1 record since his departure from the UFC following a defeat to Joe Lauzon in June 2011.

Ray, on the other hand, will be looking to regain the belt he relinquished to Ivan Buchinger after their epic encounter in the main event at CWFC 63 in Dublin last New Year’s Eve.

The 23-year-old Scotsman had been crowned champion back in October after emerging victorious from the four-man CWFC lightweight title tournament thanks to wins over Jason Ball and Sean Carter at CWFC 60.

Ray said: “I’m looking forward to getting back in the win column, avenging my loss to Curt and getting my title back in London where I won it last October.”

Meanwhile, Ivan Buchinger and Cage Warriors Fighting Championship have parted company as a result of the fighter’s refusal to honour the terms of his contract, as explained by Cage Warriors Fighting Championship CEO Graham Boylan.

“Despite having competed for us on six occasions, Ivan claimed that he didn’t understand his contract and decided that he no longer wanted to fight for us under the terms that he had agreed. But it’s company policy not to be held to ransom by any fighter, so we were happy to let him go,” said Boylan.

“We have an incredibly stacked lightweight division, as evidenced by the meeting of Curt Warburton and Stevie Ray for the belt on June 7, so losing one fighter from that division is merely a drop in the ocean. Nevertheless, I thank Ivan for his contribution and wish him the best for his future.”

Tickets for CWFC 69, featuring Curt Warburton versus Stevie Ray for the CWFC lightweight world title, will go on sale shortly.

Jake Bostwick on possible fight with Walter Gahadza "100% I'm up for the fight"

Jake Bostwick talks to Kingdom MMA about his recent twitter row with Walter Gahadza

by Ben Heather @benheather

Copyright: Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors

As I am sure you have all seen by now Jake Bostwick and Walter Gahadza have had some heated conversations on twitter recently and Jake told Kingdom MMA how it all began when he mentioned on twitter that they would have a great fight.
"I mentioned Walter in a post saying that me and him would have a great fight and that it should happen, then someone else replied to it. Then I said it all depends on what excuse he comes up with next. I was trying to get the fight with Walter a while ago when I was fighting for UWC as he was the "champ" but he said NO."
Since that first message it has snowballed to the point where Graham Boylan even offered up £3,000 as a winner takes all if both men agreed to fight on a Cage Warriors event. This was an offer which Jake Instantly accepted, but it wasnt the money which fueled his desire for the fight.

"100% I'm up for the fight, the 3k winner takes all is a great idea as the winner gets a nice bit of cash, but to be honest I'm not worried about the money I would like to just beat Walter and be that "bum" he lost to."
Although Jake is completely up for the fight, it seems that Walter is not as keen. One of the reasons he mentioned on twitter was Jake's record (14-8-1NC) compared to Walter's unbeaten record of (13-0) but Jake says all you have to do is look at the competition the two of them has fought.
"He knows and I know he has fought some bums, I have even had a couple of "easier" fights in my past but I have fought some real hard opponents, the likes of John Maguire, Jack Mason, John Phillips, Denniston Sutherland! Some I won, some I lost but at least I took that risk."

"apparently he was gonna be fighting Ryan Scope and I believe he is in the rankings but other then that I think he just wants to keep pushing them the W's."
"At the end of the day, Walter knows I'm a tough fight and knows he will get knocked the hell out, why would you want to fight me if that's the case."
One thing is for sure though, Jake certainly is not taking Walter lightly even saying he is a good fighter but its that test which is driving Jake to push for this fight. However, he feels a step up in opponent is the key to push his career and a fight with Bostwick could help do that.
To be honest Walter is a good fighter I'm not taking that from him, just feel he need to kinda take a step up and fight people that he thinks may beat him. That's the challenge for sure but feel it's always him fighting people that aren't really at his level! Like I said Walter is a good fighter, very well rounded and has a lot at the table.
If the fight does not come off against Walter though Jake will just look to the future and isn't looking to fight anyone specific. However unlike his last fight he will be looking to fight again back at Welterweight and we should see him back in action before the summer.
"If Walter don't fight me then there's plenty of other welterweights out there so I'm not worried really. I am not looking for anyone specific, I just want a good fight that gets people talking that is all. Hopefully I will fight around May/June time."

Friday, 21 March 2014

UFC173: Barao vs Dillashaw (Fight Card)

UFC173: Barao vs Dillashaw
Date: May 24th, 2014
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada

Main Card
Renan Barao vs T.J Dillashaw - For the UFC Bantamweight Title
Daniel Cormier vs Dan Henderson
Jake Ellenberger vs Robbie Lawler
Takeya Mizugaki vs Francisco Rivera
James Krause vs Jamie Varner

Preliminary Card
Michael Chiesa vs Francisco Trinaldo
Tony Ferguson vs Katsunori Kikuno
Chico Camus vs Chris Holdsworth
Mitch Clarke vs Al Ianquinta
Anthony Njokuani vs Vinc Pichel
Aaron Phillips vs Sam Sicilla
Jingliang Li vs David Michaud

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Danny Roberts vs Jimmy Wallhead to headline Cage Warriors 68 in Liverpool

Welterweight battle announced as main event for Cage Warriors 68

A huge welterweight match-up has been set for the main event at Cage Warriors 68.

Danny Roberts and Jimmy Wallhead will collide in the headliner when Cage Warriors Fighting Championship returns to Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Saturday, May 3, 2014.

Also confirmed for the CWFC 68 bill is a middleweight bout between Che Mills and Leeroy Barnes, in addition to another big welterweight contest between Matt Inman and Mauro Chimento.

But in the evening’s main attraction, Danny Roberts (10-1) will be hoping for his sixth consecutive CWFC victory as he aims to strengthen his claims for a shot at the CWFC welterweight crown, which is up for grabs this weekend at CWFC 66 in Copenhagen.

Roberts, who’ll be fighting in his hometown of Liverpool, has climbed into the top-five in the UK rankings courtesy of impressive wins over Jack Mason, Diego Gonzalez, Henry Fadipe and Juan Manuel Suarez.

With all but two of his wins coming inside the distance, 26-year-old Roberts says fans can expect fireworks when he takes on Wallhead in what will surely be the biggest test of his career to date.

He said:
“Fighting in front of my friends, family and fans in my adopted hometown again for a top organisation is going to be special, and I’m looking forward to welcoming Jimmy Wallhead into one of the toughest welterweight divisions in the world.

“He is a very well-respected fighter and is one of the biggest names in the sport in the UK. This is going to be one that people won’t want to miss.”
Wallhead (25-8), who turned 30 last week, recently signed to fight exclusively for Cage Warriors, having previously competed for the promotion on 15 occasions, more than any other fighter.

A judo black belt and veteran of 25 professional victories, 18 of which have come via stoppage, Wallhead holds notable wins over several fighters with UFC experience, including Igor Araujo, Matt Veach, Che Mills and Frank Trigg.

The Leicester native, who competed for Bellator on three occasions between 2010 and 2012, hasn’t been stopped in his last 20 outings, with his last loss inside the distance coming at the hands of current UFC star Dennis Siver back in 2006.
“I’m really excited to be back on Cage Warriors and I’m especially pleased to be fighting in Liverpool on May 3,” said Wallhead.

“The opponent is irrelevant to me as all fights at this level are tough, but I’m really motivated by the prospect of beating him in his hometown. I expect a war, which is great for the fans and great for me, as I just love fighting.”
Meanwhile, having impressively disposed of Gregor Weibel at CWFC 64 last month, Matt Inman (13-5) will also be keen to stay in the CWFC welterweight title hunt when he goes in search of a fifth straight win, with Brazilian star Mauro Chimento (15-10) providing the opposition as he returns to Cage Warriors after a lengthy lay-off due to illness.

Elsewhere, after both fighters endured a disappointing 2013, Che Mills (15-7-2nc) and Leeroy Barnes (12-13-1nc) will be looking to return to winning ways when they clash in a middleweight bout.

Cage Warriors 68, for which many more bouts are still to be announced, will take place at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, on Saturday, May 3, 2014.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Andy De-Vent vs Harry McLeman Meet for Bamma Lonsdale Title

Andy De-Vent vs Harry McLeman Meet for Bamma Lonsdale Title
 by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Bamma officials have today confirmed Andy 'Lion Paw" De-Vent and Harry 'Mad Mac' McLeman will square off at Bamma 15 for the Lonsdale British Middleweight Title.

Bamma 15 takes place April 5th at the historic Copper Box Arena in London, a multi-sport venue which was famously used for the Summer Olympics in 2012 is a headlined by a heavyweight show down between Oli Thompson and Gzim Selmani.

Andy De-Vent (10-8) enter the bout on the back of an impressive 4 fight win streak to earn the Lions Paw MMA fighter an exclusive 4 fight deal with Bamma. Undefeated as a Middleweight (7-0), Manchester born De-Vent most recently defeated former Bamma Middleweight contender Andrew Pushton by 1st round TKO at Made 4 the Cage 13 in February to earn the Made 4 the Cage Pro British Middleweight Title. Hailing from a Thai Boxing background, De-Vent has finished 8 of his 10 victories, with 4 by TKO and 4 by submission.

Fighting out of MacMillian Martial Arts Academy, Harry McLeman (6-2) fights for Bamma for the 4th time having made his debut as a late replacement against Scott Askham at Bamma 12, where he was defeated by Rear Naked Choke for the first loss of his professional career. Following the loss the to Askham, McLeman won one and lost one on the local scene, before returning at Bamma 13, picking up a submission victory over Rough House member Matt Hallam. McLeman then defeating Matt Howard at Bamma 14. Signed to Bamma on an exclusive deal, Plymouth born McLeman comes from an army boxing background and is competitive on the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu circuit. 

Stay tuned to for all the latest on Bamma 15.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Tommy Maguire Injured, Damir Hadzovic now Meets John Maguire at CW 66

Tommy Maguire Injured, Damir Hadzovic now Meets John Maguire at CW 66
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts

Photo: Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors
As one Maguire pulls out, another Maguire steps in.

An injury has forced Tommy Maguire to pull out of his Cage Warriors 66 bout with Damir Hadzovic in Denmark. Hadzovic will now face Tommy's older brother John who steps in as a last minute replacement.

Cage Warriors 66 takes place on March 22nd at the Ballerup Super Arena in Copenhagen, Demark, and is is headlined by Sergei Churilov vs. Nicolas Dalby, who meet for the vacant welterweight title. The card will serve as Cage Warriors first event in Scandinavia with 2 further events proposed for 2014.

Five time UFC vet John Maguire fights for Cage Warriors for 3 time since being released for the UFC, where he went 2-3.

Following a successful Cage Warriors debut at Cage Warriors 63 in Dublin where he defeated a game Philip Mulpeter by unanimous decision on New Years Eve, Maguire returned to Dublin most recent for Cage Warriors 65, March 1st, where he was upset by rising prospect Saul Rogers.

A pro since 2006, 30-year old Maguire has been stopped just once in his 26 professional bouts, with 13 of his career victories coming inside the distance.

Speaking ahead of the bout, Maguire said:
“I’m a fighter and, as a fighter, I’m always ready to step in, accept a challenge and compete.”
A pro since 2010, Maguire's opponent Damir Hadzovic makes his Cage Warriors debut on the back of a 7-2 professional record.

Born in Gorazde, Bosnia but fighting out of Fightcenter Esbjerg, Denmark, Hadzovic has taken all but one of his victories inside the distance, with the 27-year olds, two career losses coming at the hands of current undefeated UFC pair Krzysztof Jotko and Andreas Stahl.


Sergei Churilov vs. Nicolas Dalby - For the Vacant Cage Warriors Welterweight Title
Mohsen Bahari vs. Bruno Carvalho
Damir Hadzovic vs. John Maguire
Martin Akhtar vs. Toni Tauru
Jack Hermansson vs. Enoc Solves Torres
Robbie Olivier vs. Martin Svensson

Jussi Halonen vs. Frodi Vitalis Hansen
Håkon Foss vs. Per Franklin
Emma Delaney vs. Lina Akhtar Lansberg
Rioo Ibrahim vs. Alexander Jacobsen
Binh Son Le vs. Shamal Tashkilot
Haci Firat Dogan vs. Mathias Lodahl

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Jack Grant Replaces Injured Dyson Roberts, Faces Jefferson George at Bamma 15

Jack Grant Replaces Injured Dyson Roberts, Faces Jefferson George at Bamma 15
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts  

Lightweights Jack Grant and Jefferson George are set to do battle at Bamma 15. Grant steps in for injured Dyson Roberts who was originally scheduled to face George at this event.

Bamma 15 takes place April 5th at the historic Copper Box Arena in London, a multi-sport venue which was famously used for the Summer Olympics in 2012 is a headlined by a heavyweight show down between Oli Thompson and Gzim Selmani. Grant vs George is will take part on the Bamma 15 preliminary card.

Fighting out of the Fight Ministry in Grimsby, Grant enters the bout on the back of a second round rear naked choke victory over Abi El Kalphi at OMMAC 20 to remain undefeated in his professional  career. A pr since 2012, the bout with El Kalphi makes the first time the 22-year old has been past the first round have previously stopped all his opponent by either submission or TKO , including UK boxing & MMA vet Jason ball who Grant need just 38 seconds to knock out, in the first.

A product of Morefire Icon Jiu Jitsu in Luton, Jefferson George fights under the Bamma banner for the second time in his young career, having fought on the undercard of Bamma 13 defeating Marius Marzec by Rear Naked Choke, and Bamma 14 where a cut above the eye of George caused a frustrating early doctor's stoppage is his bout with Tim Wilde. Renowned for his Thai-boxing, BJJ and powerful athleticism, George who goes by the nickname 'Shadow Demon Blaximus' is 3-2 in his professional career with all 3 victories coming by way of submission.

 Stay tuned to for all the latest on Bamma 15

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Who Should the Brits Face Following UFC London

Who Should the Brits Face Following UFC London
by Chris Houten - mrhouts

Saturday night was a great night for fight fans in the UK, but not the best night for fighters in the UK. The cards British contingency went 2-3, with some looking fantastic, and other looking decisively poor.

We take a look at what could be next up for the winning and losing British fight on Saturday night's UFC Fight Night 37. 

Jimi Manuwa
Alexander Gustafsson gave Jimi Manuwa a tough time both on the ground and on the feet on Saturday night; it what really was a difficult fight for Manuwa so early in his UFC career. Although Manuwa may have been ready for a top 10 test having looked virtually untouchable in the first 3 bouts of his UFC career, Gustafsson proved to be to much of a test.

Matching for Manuwa's next fight could prove to be a difficult one as it take some really consideration to where he now figure in the division. Does he stay around the top 10 or does he return back to the level of fighters his was fighting before the Gustafsson bout.

A fight against the loser of Phil Davis vs Anthony Johnson seems to be on the lips of fans, which would probably be a pretty descent contest should Johnson end up the loser. Both man have excellent striking and are equally capable of finishing each other with just one shot.

I still think Davis vs Johnson loser would be a tough test for Manuwa. I'd like Manuwa to fight one step lower and fight former Strikeforce Light-Heavyweight champion Rafael Cavalcante. Cavalcante might be coming off a win in his last fight, but I don't think Manuwa should loss to much position with the loss to Gustafsson. Cavalcante also carry the skill set and tools needed to give Manuwa a great fight.

Brad Pickett
Although Pickett was able to see off a game Neil Seery 30-27 on 2 judges score cards, I feel he will need to have at least one more fight before the UFC will give him a shot at the flyweight title.

I think we wait and see whats going on with Ian McCall and set that fight up again if he expects to be back soon. Failing that there are some excellent match ups out there for Pickett in the form of Dodson, Moraga, and Lineker.

Luke Barnatt
With another impressive victory this weekend against Mats Nilsson - his 3rd in the UFC, Luke Barnatt is rapidly becoming on of the finest prospects in the Middleweight division, and is on his way to becoming a the PPV main card fighter he promised to become on the MMA Hour.

I feel like it might be time to see how far Barnatt can go and put him in there with some one from the upper echelons of middleweight division. A fight against Costas Philippou might make sense for both men with Barnatt looking for the scalp which will take him to the next level, and Philipou needing a step away from the top 10 to try and get his career back on track, having lost his last 2.

I know the UFC likes to match winners vs winners, but this fight would suit both men.

Brad Scott
Scott may feel a little hard done by following his loss at the weekend to new-comer Claudio da Silva, and will feel the fouls which took place during the fight ultimately gave a tired and beaten da Silva to regain the energy needed to win the final round, and lead to him taking the victory. In reality Scott really only has his self to blame and will need to look at his take down defend over the next few months, as he ended up losing to a guy who is probably not as good overall because he couldn't stop the shot, and was unable to get up off the ground.

While Scott isn't done and dusted yet, at 1-2 in the UFC he will be pretty desperate for a win in his next fight. A fight with fellow Ultimate Fighter contestant Daniel Sarafian could prove to be a great battle, although it may not be a bad decision to go back to 170lb where he has previously fought, and could do again with just a few tweeks to his diet.

Danny Mitchell
Danny Mitchell didn't look particularly bad in his debut, he was just a slight second behind Igor Araujo on the ground on Saturday night, and by his own admission "felt pretty flat out there."

Mitchell will be given another opportunity to make up this on an upcoming EMEA Fight Pass card, and if I had to guess I'd say one of the Asian Fight Night cards planned for the Autumn. If this happens a fight against some one like Wang Sai who was runner up in TUF China, or Takenori Sato who recently lost his debut in Brazil to Erik Silva might be on the radar for Mitchell, as both men are 0-1 in the UFC also.

Phil Harris
As sad is it will sound for British fight fans,  at 1-3 in the UFC I feel Harris may get released following his loss to Louis Gaudinot this weekend. I genuinely think Harris is a better fighter than his UFC record suggests and with the skill-set he possesses he would have a complete different record is he wasn't 125 pounder.

Harris has a had a pretty tough run since joining the promotion with all of his of opponents being top 15 guys. But that's the problem with the flyweight division, there's not many of them but they are all super good.

If Harris does get another fight, and as a fellow Brit I hope he does (it's never nice to lose one of your own), Harris should be given a real step down in competition and a bout with TUF Smashes contestant Ritchie Vaculik could provide firework, with both men desperate for a victory.

Monday, 10 March 2014

UFC London Results: Gustafsson Declares 'I Want Title Shot' After Impressive Victory over Jimi Manuwa

UFC London Results: Gustafsson Declares 'I Want Title Shot' After Impressive Victory over Jimi Manuwa
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts
Alexander Gustafsson took to the mic after an impressive second round TKO victory over Jimi Manuawa in the main event at UFC Fight Night 37 to tell Jon Jones "I want my title shot again."

Manuwa started quickly with a nice jab and a solid kick to the legs of Gustafsson. Gustafsson responded with a descent jab of his own before taking the fight to the ground where he gained top controlled and immediately attacked the right arm of Manuwa. Manuwa defended well and was able push Gustafsson up to create space to get back to his feet with a minute remaining however he was unable to capitalise before the round ended.

Manuwa came out quickly again in round 2 but was caught with an eye poke in the opening stages of the bout which halted play to allow Manuwa time to recover. On the restart it was Gustafsson turn to come out quickly immediate pushing Manuwa against the cage where he landed a well placed knee to wobble his British foe. Gustafsson followed the knee up with a series of precise strike to the head of Manuwa which cause the previously defeat fighter to drop to the floor. Gustafsson follow Manuwa to the ground with more strikes which left referee Marc Goddard with little choice but to step in and rescue Manuwa at the 1:18 mark.

Speaking after the fight Gustafsson said:
“The support of the fans here tonight was awesome, especially the ones that travelled from Sweden.  Jimi Manuwa is a tough, powerful fighter so my strategy was to try and wear him down a bit and drain that power.  I got grazed a couple of times and you could definitely feel how hard he can throw.  I want Jon Jones next, I cant wait to have another chance at him.” 

Gustafsson is now 7-1 in his last 8 fight, while Manuwa loses for the first time in his career.

UFC London Results: Michael Johnson Earns Decision Over Melvin Gulliard

UFC London Results: Michael Johnson Earns Decision Over Melvin Guillard
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts
Michael Johnson earned a unanimous decision victory over former Blackzilian team-mate Melvin Gulliard on Saturday, in a bout that left fans who expected a firefight disappointed.

The lightweight bout was the UFC Fight Night 37 co-main event at O2 Arena in London. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass, BT Sports, and Channel 5 in The UK.

The opening round started fast with Guillard landed a big knee on Johnson but slowed from there with little action over the next minute until Guillard was hit with a low blow. When the round continued Johnson caught Guillard with a nice combo with Guillard offering little in terms of offense. As the boo's from the crowed started to ring out, Johnson who was controlling to octagon at this point and was the only man offering little action, began to taunt Guillard in attempt to bring him into the fight. The round ended with Johnson attempting a takedown only to be caught with a big right hand from Guillard.

Round 2 began with Johnson starting where he left off, pushing the action and controlling the octagon. At this stage the pace of the fight was starting to slow, and the fans in attendance again showed their displeasure with how the fight was progressing. Both men traded wild combos but again Guillard was showing unwillingness to trade. Johnson unleashed an excellent flurry towards the end of the round, catching Guillard with some hard punches and a big knee causing him to wobble.

The third round was all Johnson with the Blackzilian again pushing the pace with an early takedown. Guillard got back to his feet and missed with a big spinning back kick. Johnson returned with a solid punch and a follow up knee. Guillard signaled for an eye poke but the referee never stopped the action, allowing Johnson to catch Guillard with elbows against the cage to secure unanimous decision victory - 30-27 x2, and 29-28.

After the fight, Johnson, who has now won three straight bouts against top-tier opponents, expressed his disappointment with the bout, but said he is ready for a top 10 opponent: 
"I came to fight so tonight was obviously very frustrating. I don’t know if he was scared or what. The fans had a right to boo, I would’ve booed too. Im not happy at all but a win is a win. I want a top guy next, maybe a Nate Diaz, Josh Thomson or the winner of the Cowboy Cerrone fight.”

UFC London: Brad Pickett Earns a Hard Fought Decision Over a Game Neil Seery

UFC London: Brad Pickett Earns a Hard Fought Decision Over a Game Neil Seery
by Chris Houten - @mhouts
Brad Pickett's flyweight debut was a successful one, defeating game Irishman Neil Seery by unanimous decision on the main card of today's UFC Fight Night 37 event at O2 Arena in London.

In the opening round Seery came out showing little signs on intimidation, despite the fact he was fighting in front of 15,000 fans at the O2 who were mainly supporting Pickett. Seery was happy to stay in the pocket and trade with Pickett catching the Englishman with some solid strikes. Pickett countered by mixing in low kicks before ducking under a Seery hook to secure a takedown. Pickett work Seery on top - where it was clear to see he had the advantage, nearly ending the fight with an arm triangle attempt.

Round 2 opened with both men going toe-to-toe again. Pickett was the aggressor coming forward but Seery was happy to trade with his English opponent and in many instances he was getting the better of Pickett on the feet, beating Pickett to the punch. As in round one, Pickett again went for the takedown where he landed some descent ground and pound from inside Seery guard to finish the round.

Down on the judges score card going into the 3rd, Seery came out swinging, again beating Pickett to the punch with a number of sharp blows, to force Pickett to take the fight to the ground again, where he was able to gain a dominate position. Seery was able to get to his fight with 90 second to go, and starting firing all out hoping for the knock out, which left Seery open for another takedown which Pickett duly took. Pickett secured top position again, where to fight finish.

After the bout Pickett said:
“Im a little disappointed to not get a stoppage there especially in front of my hometown fans. Neil just kind of hung on and never allowed to me do anything. It was good to get some rounds at this weight class however. My gas tank felt superb and the weight cut was no problem. "
Having hoped for a shot at current UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, who Pickett has already beaten early in his career, with an impressive victory over Seery, it's likely Pickett will need to fight again now, and a previously scheduled match with Ian McCall may now be on the cards again. 

UFC London Results: Gunnar Nelson Dominates Omari Akhmedov

UFC London Results: Gunnar Nelson Dominates Omari Akhmedov
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts
Gunnar Nelson staked a claim as one of the best prospects in The UFCs Welterweight division with a dominate victory over Omari Akhmedov to kick off the main  card of UFC Fight Night 37.

The bout opened slow, with both men looking to feel each other out. Akhmedov who looked no where near as aggressive as he did in his UFC debut again Thiago Perpetuo at UFC Fight Night 32 backpedaled as Nelson slowly advanced, throwing a few shots but nothing which trouble Nelson. With Nelson first attack he caught Akhmedov with straight left to send the Dagestani fighter to the mat, where Nelson quickly took the mount.

From mount Nelson opened up on Akhmedov cutting the fighter who hard elbows. As Akhmedov tried to work his way back up, he pushed Nelson which allowed Nelson the snapped on to a beautiful guillotine choke which left Akhmedov with little choice but to tap or go to sleep.

Speaking after the bout Nelson said;
"I took a few minutes to feel out his movements and then when I got him on the ground I tried to soften him up.  Eventually I was able to get a good choke on him and end things.  I knew I had to be accurate as he is a very powerful puncher.  I also really felt one of his kicks early on despite being able to check it.  Im not going to call out anyone in the division because I'll fight anyone.  I look forward to getting back out there soon though."
It was a third straight UFC win for Nelson (12-0-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who remains undefeated in 12 pro bouts. During the post fight press conference, Nelson expressed a desire to get back to work quick, stating he would be interested in fight in the UFC Dublin card in July.

UFC London Results: Cyrille Diabate Loses Retirement Bout to Ilir Latifi

UFC London Results: Cyrille Diabate Loses Retirement Bout to Ilir Latifi
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts
Ilir Latifi made relatively easy work of Cyrille Diatate, submitting the 6'6" light-heavyweight in the opening around to end the Frenchmans career.

Latifi who joined the UFC last year as a replacement for injured teammate Alexander Gustaffson to take on Gegard Mousasi on a weeks notice, faired much better this time out with a full camp under his belt.

The opening round started with a rangy Diabate kept his distance early however it wasn't long before Latifi shot in for a takedown where he quickly locked in a D’Arce choke which be released in exchange for a dominate position.

Latifi remained patient on the ground going back to a front choke shortly after, which this time he locked in to finish the fight at the 3:02 mark of the first round following several attempts to escape from Diabate.
“I prepared a lot for this fight, and it feels great to get a win that fast,” Latifi said. “Cyrille posed many challenges – he’s got dangerous striking and a huge reach, which can pose problems.

“It’s amazing to think 10 or 15 years ago I was watching the original UFC events, and now I’m fighting and winning in them. This is one of the best moments of my life.”
With the win, Latifi extends his record to 8-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC and will be hoping he can build on his first UFC victory next time he fights.

Diabate, who announced early this week he would be retiring win or lose said:

“I’m a striker and I didn’t pull the trigger,” Diabate said. “Obviously I’m disappointed, but now I walk away from the sport. I want to thank my fans and the guys who have helped me train over the years. I will focus on teaching now.”

UFC London Results: Luke Barnatt Defeats Mats Nilsson in Barn Burner

UFC London Results: Luke Barnatt Defeats Mats Nilsson in Barn Burner
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts
Luke Barnatt made a statement on Saturday night defeating Swedish Middleweight Mats Nilsson by impressive TKO in a 1 round barn burner on the prelims on UFC Fight Night 37.

Barnatt started the bout with a crisp left jab which he connected with often to keep the the Swedish Grappler on the outside. The jab was money for Barnatt as he repeatedly caught Nilsson over and over with it. As the opening minutes wore on TUF 17 Barnatt caught Nilsson with an uppercut which left the Swede with visible damage.

Midway through the round, Nilsson charged and caught Barnatt with several heavy overhand punches, which to Barnatts credit looked like they may have hurt him but he took them well. As the Swedish contingency in attendance begin to flair up, Barnatt fired back with a sneaky superman punch and left head kick to leave Nilsson wobbled against the cage.

Barnatt unleashed a barrage of punches, before dropping Nilsson with a well placed knee forcing the referee to step and and stop the fight; the first stoppage loss of Nilssons career.

Speaking after the bout, Barnatt said if the stoppage:
“I felt a bit cold in the start but when he hit me with a right I woke up. It feels very good to be the first one to ever finish him.”
Barnatt who looks a promise prospect for British fight fans extends his UFC record to 3-0 and his overall record to 8-0.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

UFC London Results: Araujo Defeats Danny Mitchell in 3 Round Chess Match

UFC London Results: Araujo Defeats Danny Mitchell in 3 Round Chess Match
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts 

Chants of 'Cheesecake' echoing all over a sold out O2 Arena weren't enough to encourage Danny Mitchell to victory, as Igor Araujo put his BJJ Blackbelt to good use to earn a unanimous decision victory over his British opponent.

Fighting on the preliminary card of UFC Fight Night 37, TUF 16s Araujo opened the bout with a headkick which was merely a distraction to shoot in for the takedown. 

From there the match played out like a game of chance with both man attempting various submissions, notably a hoe hold for Mitchell in the first, and a triangle for Araujo which looked pretty deep. In the end though Araujo had just that little extra to earn a unanimous decision victory 30-27.

Araujo who extends his win streak to 6 overall and 2 in the UFC expressed his  pleasure over defeating Mitchell:

"I am so happy I won.  Danny Mitchell is a tough, tough guy and I knew I had to be prepared.  In all honesty, I broke my leg 20 days ago, a small fracture, and I told know one.  All I did was continue to train and my heart showed tonight.  This was a big win for my career."

Araujo extends his record to 25-6 in MMA, while MItchell moves to 14-5 in his career.

UFC London Results: Louis Gaudinot Submits Phil Harris

UFC London Results: Louis Gaudinot Submits Phil Harris in the First
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts
It took Louis Gaudinot just 73 seconds to submit UK veterans Phil Harris in the opening bout at UFC Fight Night 37.

Both men came out quickly looking to strike before Harris pushed the action towards the fence in search on a takedown. Gaudinot a member of Team Bisping on TUF 14 was able to defend the take down and lock in a standing guillotine. Gaudinot pulled guard on Harris with the chock locked in. Gaudinot rolled to a top position and that was all it too to force Harris to take out.

After the bout Gaudinot said:

"I always look to finish and I immediately saw an opening and went for the choke.  My camp and I knew that he didn't want anything to do with a standup war and he tried to take me down but I was prepared.  That was a performance I knew I was capable of."

Fighting on enemy tough Gaudinot was boo'd on the way but cheered on the way out as he extended his record to 7-3 MMA and 2-2 in the UFC overall.

Harris however is now 1-3 in The UFC and on a 2 fight losing streak. The former Cage Warriors fight could  now find himself out of a job follow his loss to Gaudinot.

"I left my neck open and paid the price obviously." Said Harris.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Vaughan Lee talks to Kingdom MMA after victory against Nam Phan in Macao

Vaughan Lee: UFC Fight Night Macao Post Fight Interview

by Ben Heather @benheather

 Last weekend in Macao Vaughan Lee squared off against Nam Phan, going in to the fight it was thought the fight would be a very closely contested bout. However, what happened in Macao could be described as the best performance of Lee's career as he outclassed Phan from start to finish. Now back in the UK Kingdom MMA caught up with Vaughan to talk about his fight and look to the future.

Ben: Firstly congratulations on what must be described as a near perfect performance. When did you fly back to the UK and did you have chance to do some sightseeing in Macao?
Lee: I flew back the day after the fight, and yeah I got to sight see quite a bit, I loved it.

Ben: Have you had chance to watch the fight back and if so, how did you rate your performance?
Lee: Yeah I've watched it 100 times lol, I'd rate my performance 8-9/10

Ben: How far ahead of your fight did you fly out to China to acclimatise?
Lee: We flew out one week before mainly to get over the jet lag and acclimatise.

Ben: Going in to the fight, what was the game plan and were you worried at all about any part of Phan's game?
Lee: I wasn't worried about anything, I wasn't thinking about winning or losing, I was just in the moment of the fight.

Ben: You started out in the first round with your hands really low and stayed like this for most of the fight, was this a psychological move to show Phan that you were not worried about his punches?
Lee: I kept my hands low so that I could use my head movement and just feel loose, not really a psychological tactic but more for comfort.

Ben: Your head and foot movement in the first round was immaculate it left Phan looking second rate and meant you were able to close the 4" reach advantage with ease and work your shots. Did you find it easier than expected to work from close range and get in and out without taking any punishment?
Lee: well anyone that trains with me knows that that's the way that I spar in the gym. I love to stay in the pocket and slip, dodge and counter punches and kicks from close quarters. So doing it in the UFC made me happy.

Ben: You also mixed up all your strikes working punches to the head/ body and legs as well as your kicks was this to constantly keep Phan from guessing where the next attack was coming from?
Lee: Yes to keep him guessing but also to make him hesitant and desperate at the same time. This exposed the holes in his game.

Ben: Would you say that first round was the best round of your MMA career? Complete dominance from you from start to finish.
Lee: Yes I would say it was my best performance to date.

Ben: Did it matter to you at all that you couldn't find the finish which would have been the cherry on the top for this performance?
Lee: It would have been great to get the finish and maybe I would have rated my performance a 10/10 if I had.

Ben: We recently interviewed Phil Harris and he said "Vaughan performed like he does in training, for me it was the performance of the night" how does it feel to receive such great compliments from a fellow fighter?
Lee: Naturally it feels great hearing stuff like that because it's the truth, like he said that's how I perform in training it's just having the confidence to do it in the octagon in front of the world.

Ben: Headlining the event was another UK fighter, John Hathaway. Did you manage to catch up with him while you was in Macao before and/ or after the fights? If after what did you say to him and did he seem ok? After all, after being knocked out like that our first thought was for his health and we all hoped that he was ok.
Lee: Yeah I caught up with John a few times and had chats but they weren't really related to our fights but more about what we're going to eat and drink after we weigh-in and how we think our boys are going to get on in London.. I caught up with him after the fight also and he seemed fine to be in high spirits.

Ben: You have now had 6 fights in the UFC bouncing between wins and losses. Do you think now you are in a good position to push for a win streak of the back of this performance?
Lee: If I can step into the Octagon with the same mentality as I did in Macau then I believe I can beat anybody.

Ben: Since joining the UFC you have fought in your home town of Birmingham, Japan, USA, London, Brazil and now China. What's it like to travel the world and do the job you love doing?
Lee: I'm living my dream, but sometimes living your dream is the hardest and scariest thing to do.

Ben: It could be said that two of your best performances in the UFC have been on events in Asia. First submitting Yamamoto in Japan and now outclassing Phan in Macao. Do you know what it is about fighting in Asia that seems to help your performance?
Lee: I believe it stems from being a little boy dreaming about fighting in Asia, the birth place of martial arts.

Ben: What's next for you, are you still planning to drop to 125 which was talked about before the fight? Or after such a dominant display can we see you sticking about at 135??
Lee: I'm still considering it.

Ben: If you could pick your next fight, who would it be and why?
Lee: To be honest I don't "want" to fight anyone in particular, but I'll fight anyone.

Ben: Did you come away from the fight injury free, if so when would you like to get back in to the octagon?
Lee: I'd love to get a win on the Ireland card being half Irish myself.

Ben: Would you like to thank anyone or any sponsors??
Lee: I'd like to thank Bad Boy, USN, The mouth guard shop, Jamie Reynolds and everyone at the UTC, Gym01 and Triquest gym

Thank you for your time Vaughan, we hope you get your wish and we see you next in Ireland.

Fighter vs Writer - UFC Fight Night London: Calderwood vs Heard - THE REMATCH

Fighter vs Writer: JoJo Calderwood - UFC Fight Night London
by Ben Heather @benheather

Welcome to another Kingdom MMA fighter vs writer challenge.

For this feature 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 Dustin Poirier, Luke Barnatt, Jim Alers, Mike Wilkinson, Phil Harris, Cathal Pendred and Michael Wootten.

This weeks opponent comes in to the battle having already defeated our writer Sam Heard and will be looking to prove once again she is as good at her predictions as she is in the cage. At 8-0 she is one of the favourites to win the soon to be recorded UFC The Ultimate Fighter 20, the first season to be full of women and all of them will fight for the inaugeral UFC 115lb womens belt. She is of course Jojo Calderwood and this weekend our writer Sam Heard will be looking for revenge.

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

Alexander Gustafsson vs Jimi Manuwa

Calderwood: Man it gets tougher and I hate picking against some awesome fighters.

I said at last night q&a gustafsson will win in the third so I better stick to my guns.

Prediction:  Alexander Gustafsson - Submission Round 3

Heard: As a Croydon native it pains me to pick against one of my own but I think Gustafsson brings too much to the table for Jimi. Though the unbeaten prospect has seen off all his opponents in highly convincing fashion, Manuwa has never fought anyone close to the Swede’s calibre and I believe this step-up in competition will prove too great. It’s important to note also that though Manuwa is billed as the prospect, the 34-year old is getting on in MMA terms and is 7-years the senior of Alexander.

I personally would’ve preferred to see Jimi fight a fringe top-10 Light Heavyweight next rather than the guy who arguably beat Jon Jones in his last Octagon outing. The man who has never been past the second round will more than likely find himself in very deep water in a five-rounder against the aspiring 205-lbs champ.

Prediction: Alexander Gustafsson - TKO (punches) Round 4

Melvin Guillard vs Michael Johnson

Calderwood: Melvin by second round knockout, just on his explosiveness and experience.

Prediction: Melvin Guillard - KO Round 2

Heard: Though it was disappointing news to hear of Ross Pearson’s injury, I’m probably more excited to see this fight between two excellent 155-lbs strikers as I feel like we already knew Guillard had Pearson’s number.

Johnson’s so-so record has stopped me picking him in the past but after his last two performances against  top-notch opponents it’s a tall order to not hop on the Johnson hype train. I expect the huge improvements he’s made since training with the Blackzilians to come into play here, allowing him to most likely counter punch his way to victory against the explosively powerful yet inconsistent Guillard. Both men have reasonably solid chins so I expect Johnson to pick up a close, highly compelling decision.

Prediction: Michael Johnson - Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Brad Pickett vs Neil Seery

Calderwood: I'm hoping for an upset as I've been around Neil and his camp, tough tough debut though and it would be a Rocky story if he pulls it off.

Prediction: Neil Seery - TKO Round 2

Heard: While I can’t really be disappointed about the replacement Co-Main event I am certainly a bit upset with this one.

Once one of the most highly anticipated fights on the card featuring a floundering Ian McCall looking to rebound against Brad Pickett, we now see a mismatch with Brad making his Flyweight debut against a UFC debutant. I don’t expect this one to be very competitive at all. For me, it’s just a question of whether Pickett outright KOs him or rocks him on the feet before sinking in a choke.

Prediction: Brad Pickett - TKO (punches) Round 2

Gunnar Nelson vs Omari Akhmedov

Calderwood: Probably the one I'm most looking forward to, Nelson has great movement and I think the ground work in this fight will be a great watch for the fans.

Prediction: Gunnar Nelson - Submission Round 2

Heard: Another close matchup which could feasibly go either way. Nelson will likely try to get the fight to the floor where he will be able to work his terrific ground game but I feel like he might have a difficult time doing so against Akmedov’s sambo experience.

The Russian’s have been causing waves in the UFC and I think if he can keep it standing Akhmedov’s heavy hands will allow him to continue this Russian domination.

Prediction: Omari Akhmedov - KO (punch) Round 3

Cyrille Diabate vs Ilir Latifi

Calderwood: I think Latifi will wrestle his way to a decision here.

Prediction: Ilir Latifi - Decision

Heard: In this intriguing clash of a tall, rangy Light Heavyweight against a short, compact one, I expect Ilir Latifi to get the win. Though the bookies have the two at near level odds, I believe the Swede has some key advantages in this matchup. Diabate has easily fought the tougher competition but he has been around the block a bit, nearing his 41st birthday. Latifi is a decade younger and I believe his power will allow him to grind out a decision.

Prediction: Ilir Latifi - Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Luke Barnatt vs Mats Nilsson

Calderwood: I think Luke will use his reach and strike to victory, potentially even the KO of the night.

Prediction: Luke Barnatt - KO Round 2

Heard: The card’s other clash of a Brit and a Swede and this time I can say that I comfortably expect the Englishman to be victorious. Though Nilsson has shown himself to be a force to be reckoned with at Cage Warriors, it’s very hard to pick against Luke after that amazing UFC fight in Manchester.

Prediction: Luke Barnatt - TKO (punches) Round 2

Brad Scott vs Claudio Henrique da Silva

Calderwood: Brad will be better than Claudio in all areas in this fight.

Prediction: Brad Scott - Decision

Heard: I believe Brad is a criminally underrated fighter and his experience against superior opponents and the fact that this is now his third UFC fight will get him the win over the London-based Brazilian. Silva hasn’t been finished before however and his only loss came by DQ so it should be a competitive decision victory for Brad.

Prediction: Brad Scott by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Davey Grant vs Roland Delorme

Calderwood: I really like watching Davey Grant on TUF and he will win this fight.

Prediction: Davey Grant - TKO Round 3

Heard: I expect this one to be a Fight of the Night candidate. Both guys keep up a high tempo and mix it up well. However, once again I’m going to have to follow my mind instead of my heart to ensure I beat JoJo this time around and say that Delorme wins a thrilling decision.

In his last fight he lost a very debatable split decision to Alex Caceres who has since looked like a world beater in the Bantamweight division. I believe Davey Grant is undeniably UFC calibre but Roland Delorme is a stud.

Prediction: Roland Delorme - Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Igor Araujo vs Danny Mitchell

Calderwood: I see Danny Mitchell pulling off a reversed flying 360 triangle or something crazy.

Prediction: Danny Mitchell - Submission Round 2

Heard: Another clash of grapplers and another difficult pick. I’m going to pick on the side of caution and say that the more experienced Brazilian who has already picked up his first win in the Octagon will continue his run and add a brace of UFC wins to his record.

Prediction: Igor Araujo - Submission Round 3

Phil Harris vs Louis Gaudinot

Calderwood: This will be a competitive fight, but I think Phil will edge it.

Prediction: Harris - Decision

Heard: This one is a tough one to call as both flyweights favour their submission games rather than trading strikes so the question is really who is the more competent grappler (and unfortunately also who has a style which will appeal to the fickle judges more).

This could well be because Phil Harris is such a credit to the world of MMA, but I believe he’s going to land some big Judo throws which will send everyone in the crowd wild and get some vital top position to win a close decision.

Prediction: Phil Harris - Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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 JoJo for providing us with her picks for this weekends fights and it just leaves me to say.... May the best man or woman win!!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

UFC London: Gustafsson vs Manuwa - UK Betting Odds

UFC London: Gustafsson vs Manuwa - UK Betting Odds

The UFC is back this weekend from the shores of Blighty, no only giving us British fans the opportunity to cheer on our local lads, but a chance to make some serious cash with the right bet. Kingdom MMA have teamed up with 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

6/4 Phil Harris v Louis Gaudinot 8/15 
4/7 Igor Araujo v Danny Mitchell 11/8
10/11 Davey Grant v Roland Delorme 10/11
8/15 Brad Scott v Claudio Henrique da Silva 6/4
4/11 Luke Barnatt v Mats Nilsson 21/10
10/11 Cyrille Diabate v Ilir Latifi 10/11

Main Card
1/3 Gunnar Nelson v Omari Akhmedov 9/4
1/6 Brad Pickett v Neil Seery 4/1
4/5 Michael Johnson v Melvin Guillard EVS
1/4 Alexander Gustafsson v Jimi Manuwa 3/1

UFC Fight Night London Predictions

Kingdom MMA predictions for UFC Fight Night London

by Ben Heather @benheather, Tommy Strong @Strong_tea and Jack Broadey @J3cK_b

This week we will be predicting the fights for UFC Fight Night 38, as the UFC returns to London for its first EMEA show of 2014. For this event we will give a write up for the main card fights card and then we will be picking our winners for the rest of the card. Let us know if you agree with our picks.

Gustafsson vs Manuwa

Jack: Although Gus can handle himself on the feet he has a massive advantage on the ground here. Manuwa is a poor grappler and Gus is excellent. I expect this to go to the ground early and for the frustrations of the Jon Jones loss to be taken out on Manuwa. I don't think this fight will see past he halfway point of round 1.

Prediction: Gustafsson by Submission Round 1

Ben: I was shocked when this fight was announced, I thought Gustafsson should have been matched up with another top ranked fighter such as Phil Davis with Jimi on the main card against a top 10 guy.... just not the number 2 guy.

That being said, Alex has everything to lose in this fight. Jimi will be going in to this fight as a big underdog and it may be the first time that has happened in his career. I would love to see the upset, however we have never seen Jimi tested and he will be on Saturday night. I can't see it happening but I would love it for Jimi and UK MMA as well.

Prediction: Gustafsson by Submission Round 4

Tommy: I still can't figure out why and how Jimi has got this fight except for selling tickets! Jimi hasn't fought anyone on the level of Alexander Gustafsson before, this is a huge step up for him and one I think he's really going to struggle with. With so much on the line for Gustafsson he really has everything to lose and nothing to gain by beating Jimi. Its Manuwa that could be in touching distance of a title fight if he was to pull of a huge upset here.

I expect Gustafsson to play it safe here against a dangerous striker and keep the fight either at length or force Jimi onto the ground for much of the fight.

Prediction: Gustafsson by TKO Round 2.

Johnson vs Guillard

Tommy: With Ross Pearson having to pull out due to an injury, this is a very good replacement in Johnson. Both fighters can blow hot or cold on any given night, so lets hope its piping hot as we could be in for real treat here. With Guillard's knockout power and Johnson's ground game this is a coin toss to predict, I'm still not sure who to pick in this, if I was a betting man I would leave this fight well alone.

Prediction: Johnson by Unanimous Decision

Jack: This fight is as close to a pick em as you'll see. Both extraordinarily talented fighters and both frustratingly inconsistent. If we are to assume both guys turn up on point(which history tells us they won't) then I like Johnson. Tibau and Lauzon are tough tough guys and he handled both with ease. Guillard has lost every significant fight he's been in over the last couple of years only winning 2 of the past 7.

Prediction: Johnson by KO Round 2

Ben: Johnson is on a tear, he has to be in the best form of his career. First he picked apart Joe Lauzon in a fight not many people gave him a chance, then he knocked out Tibau and I think he will do the same this weekend against Guillard. That being said, Guillard has proved that he can finish anyone on a good night but his form is not consistent. I see Johnson keeping his run going and next time out facing off against a top 10 ranked fighter.

Prediction: Johnson by TKO Round 2

Pickett vs Seery

Tommy: Pickett making his flyweight debut was something I was really looking forward to. Though with the withdrawal of Ian McCall I feel a little let down now. A win against a top ranked McCall would really of put Pickett into the top 5 of the flyweight division. The UFC have done a good job in finding a late replacement in Seery but the fight lacks a little something for me.

I think Pickett's experience in the octagon and Seery making his UFC debut this could be a lop sided fight!

Prediction: Pickett by TKO Round 1

Ben: I feel for Pickett in this fight, when I spoke to him just before Christmas he mentioned challenges and pushing towards a title shot. I feel a big win against McCall could have been enough to give him a shot against Mighty Mouse and his case is helped by the fact that he is one of only two men to beat him. However, now he is set to fight Neil Seery there isn't much to gain here for Pickett. It's now a fight that he is expected to win and by winning doesn't get much reward for doing so. He certainly won't be facing the champ next time out.

As for the fight itself I can't see anything else other than a Pickett stoppage victory, I can't decide whether that will be a knockout or submission but it won't be a good night for Seery.

Prediction: Pickett by TKO Round 2

Jack: Styles may clash here, late notice for Seery who no doubt is in shape but wasn't preparing to face Pickett. Pickett was preparing for a different style all together but class should show here.

Prediction: Pickett by Unanimous Decision

Nelson vs Akhmedov

Jack: My sleeper for fight of the night. Really looking forward to this one as soon as it was announced. Akhmedov's debut lasted about 3.5 minutes and he managed to win fight of the night and come from behind to win by KO. The fight despite being so short had everything and it really showed off all the Russians skill set. Nelson has not fought since the last time the Octagon landed in London back in February of 2013. No real explanation of the extended break and that would be of concern for me. Once a real hot prospect in the sport it's difficult to pick him here though.

Prediction: Akhmedov by Decision

Tommy: It will be good to see Gunnar Nelson back inside the octagon after a year out since he last fought in London 2013. Though this could be a real tough test for Nelson. Akhmedov unbeaten in 11 fights, won fight of the night honours in his debut against Thiago Perpetuo in November. Both fighters are very well rounded here with Gunnar having the slight edge on the ground, though if Akmedov can keep it standing he has a very good chance here.

I've made the mistake to many times backing against Russian fighters in the UFC so this time I'm going for the upset here.

Prediction: Akhmedov by TKO Round 2

Ben: Unlike the others I see Gunnar Nelson returning to the Octagon and picking up where he left off last year in London. Yes Akhmedov could be his toughest opponent to date but I feel it will be a submission victory which will come and Nelson will not let it go until he gets the W.

Prediction: Nelson by Submission Round 2.

Predictions for the remainder of the Card

Diabate vs Latifi

Jack: Diabate         Ben: Diabate     Tommy: Diabate

Barnatt vs Nilsson

Jack: Barnatt         Ben: Barnatt       Tommy: Barnatt

Scott vs da Silva

Jack: Scott            Ben: Scott          Tommy: Scott

Grant vs Delorme

Jack: Grant           Ben: Delorme     Tommy: Delorme

Araujo vs Mitchell

Jack: Araujo         Ben: Mitchell      Tommy: Araujo

Harris vs Gaudinot

Jack: Gaudinot      Ben: Gaudinot    Tommy: Gaudinot


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