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Interview: UFC co-creator Campbell McLaren

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

Friday, 30 January 2015

UFC 183 Silva vs Diaz Betting Guide

by Will Martin @BIGBILBAR7MMA


We are now coming towards the end of what has been a very successful first month of 2015. This weekend the UFC gives us a PPV headlined with a super fight between returning MMA Legend Anderson Silva and the rebel that is former Strikeforce Welterweight champion Nick Diaz. As always I'm here to offer some advice with some of the bets I like for this upcoming weekend. Just a little reminder that you should go with your own opinion and thoughts but here are a few bets and prop bets that I like this weekend.

Bet 1  Stake £5 Returns £71

Thiago Santos 8/15
Tom Watson 11/8
Ian McCall 4/9
Sara McMann 1/2
Kelvin Gastelum 4/5

So here is my accumulator for this upcoming weekend, I feel very confident in this bet with only Tom Watson being classed as the underdog going in to the fight. Starting in the Middleweight division with Thiago Santos, he faces off against Andy Enz. Santos is a huge favorite here in my opinion, I just don't think Enz is UFC calibre right now. Although he has been very hard to finish he really doesn't offer much to Santos and he should take his second UFC victory here.

Okay so this is where I think it will be make or break for this parlay, as England's own Tom Watson takes on grizzled veteran Rafael Natal in a very closely matched up fight. Where I see Watson having the advantage here is in his come forward and brawl style. I think this could make Natal panic into lunging for takedowns and one thing Watson is actually not to bad at and ever improving on is stopping the takedowns. If "KONG" can stop the takedowns I can see his relentless and gritty striking game giving him the decision victory.

Flyweight match up next as Ian McCall and John Lineker do battle in a potential number 1 contender match up here to determine who faces champion Demetrious Johnson next. These two guys were supposed to face off late last year but McCall had to pull out on the day of the fight through illness. The reason I went with McCall here is I just think he is the better all around fighter where Lineker looks for that one big shot that will hurt his opponent I see McCall staying on the outside using his quick jab and then get out and he will take Lineker down when he needs to. I'm thinking a fairly unanimous decision victory here for "Uncle Creepy".

On to the ladies and we see former title contenders Sara McMann and Miesha Tate do battle here in a very close match up. Anybody who knows me will no I am a huge Miesha Tate fan but in this one I have to pick McMann. I feel that in Tate's last two fights she has looked like she has kind of lost what got her to the top a few years back and with McMann's Olympic wrestling background I feel she will get the takedown and lay heavy on top and pitter patter with ground and pound to earn a close decision.

The last bet here is a very difficult pick between Kelvin Gastelum and Tyron Woodley although I think T-Wood is the more proven fighter here I just think Kelvin is the better choice as he can finish with strikes Submissions and has the superior Gas tank of both Athletes. This really is a pick em fight and if a lot of people go with Woodley I wouldn't be surprised at all. I think Gastelum has to use a similar game plan to that used by Rory MacDonald and try to avoid Woodley's power shots, picking his strikes from distance. As the fight gets to the later stages Gastelum should try and hurt him, possibly take him down and work for the finish but as I have said this is an extremely close match up here.

Bet 2 Stake £5 Returns £128

Al Iaquinta 15/8 To win via Decision
Thales Leites 17/10 To win via Decision
Jordan Mein 23/10 To win via Decision

When Looking at this event I see a lot of fights going to a judges decision and I have chosen these three fights out as going all the way to the judges. All of these fights are potentially very close match ups but I went with the betting favorites so if you have a few quid to spend, this might not be a bad bet at all.

Prop bets to keep an eye on

Derek Brunson via KO/TKO 13/5
Jordan Mein via KO/TKO 11/4
Thales Leites via Submission 15/8
Woodley/Gastelum under 2.5 rds  11/8

So there are a few bets I like this weekend, all the best with the bets you make and I hope you all make some coin!

All of the above odds were accurate at the time of writing this article.

Fighter vs Writer - UFC 183: Hein vs Heather

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 is UFC lightweight Nick Hein (11-2-1 NC). Hein was recently part of the UFC's announcement in Stockholm, where they announced they would be returning to Berlin in June. Hein has gone 1-1 in his UFC career so far and will be sure to be part of the Berlin event in the summer. Before then though comes what could be his toughest test to date... The challenge of Fighter vs Writer, is Hein as good at his predictions as he is in the Octagon.

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

Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz

Heather: I see this fight being fairly one sided. I think Anderson Silva must have been very happy when the UFC offered him this fight to return to the cage. Nick Diaz is by no means an easy fight, but for Silva I just can't see him losing the fight. The only way Diaz wins is if he can test the chin of Silva which looked a little suspect in the second Weidman fight. I think Silva will control the fight but can't see him finishing Diaz. Diaz is durable and will keep on pushing forward all night, but will lose a decision.

The main question for me is can Silva return and look anything like the old Spider we knew and loved.

Prediction: Silva via Decision

Hein: I believe it is going to be really close and it will be a frustrating fight for Silva. I do not believe Silva can finish Diaz, I believe he can knock him down several times though. Diaz has proven in many of his fights he gets knocked down but gets straight back up and goes further. You have seen in the past that when Silva is not able to finish somebody he gets frustrated, like the Demien Maia fight. I can see this fight going like that. I think Silva has the advantage but never the less I do not think it will be a pretty fight.

Prediction: Silva via Decision

Kelvin Gastelum vs Tyron Woodley

Heather: This is a great fight, both men are exciting fighters to watch and are certainly in the mix at the top of the Welterweight division. Gastelum has looked very impressive after winning TUF and rumours have been speculating that a win could get him a title shot. I think Woodley derails those hopes on Saturday night and will do it in impressive style like he did against Kim last time out.

Prediction: Woodley via TKO Round 2

Hein: I think Gastelum wins this, he has good momentum right now but Tyron Woodley is a beast with knock out power. However I think Gastelum stays on his run and takes him down in the second to win by submission.

Prediction: Gastelum via Submission Round 2

Joe Lauzon vs Al Iaquinta

Heather: I am really looking forward to this fight, Iaquinta is starting to prove that he is a guy to watch out for and we all know Lauzon delivers entertainment whether he wins or loses. Iaquinta's finish of Ross Pearson was brilliant and we also know he has a great ground game too, though he has been caught out before... and against a guy like Lauzon he needs to make sure he doesn't make any mistakes if the fight hits the mat. I think Iaquinta will do just enough to get the decision in an entertaining back and forth fight.

Prediction: Iaquinta via Decision

Hein: Lauzon via Decision

Thales Leites vs Tim Boetsch

Heather: This is a tough fight to pick, Leites has won four in a row and Boetsch has been very inconsistent recently however he did knock out Tavares last time out. I think Leites will grind out a win in a very technical fight which will be fought mostly on the canvas.

Prediction: Leites via Decision

Hein: This is a good fight and tough to choose but I'm going to say Thales Leites.

Prediction: Leites via TKO Round 2

Jordan Mein vs Thiago Alves

Heather: I have been going back and forth as to who I think will win this fight. Both men are very good fighters but Alves has been out for so long, only having one fight since March 2012 I am still not sure if he can return to the fighter he was before. I'm going to have to side with Mein in this fight. He has shown that he can hurt anyone and I see him putting Alves away quite early in this fight.

Prediction: Mein via TKO Round 1

Hein: Mein via TKO Round 2

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

Stevie Ray on UFC Fight Night Glasgow "I Know I've done enough to get a chance in the UFC"

by Chris Marzella @ChrisMarzella

Copyright: Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors

WITH last week's historic announcement that the UFC is set to bring the octagon back to British shores – its first ever visit to Scotland – fans have been clamouring to get a plethora of Scots stars on the card.

There has been one man who has ignited social media, with fight fans eager to see him handed his big break when the UFC comes to Glasgow's SSE Hydro on July 18.

Cage Warriors lightweight champion, Steven Ray (16-5), has been knocking on the Zuffa door for the past twelve months and now with the UFC coming to Ray's home country he is hopeful now more than ever that his dreams will come true.

Speaking to Kingdom MMA, the 24-year old Scot said: “I feel like this surely has to be my break. I know I've done enough to get a chance in the UFC and I just hope they give it to me.”

Ray has been forced to watch on as other European fighters, ranked below him, have been signed. But Ray insists that he holds no grudges at the fact. He said: “I'm happy for them. Obviously they're not in control of it and if I was them I would be over the moon.

“It motivates me as I know I'll be there soon if guys under me are being signed. It does annoy me a little though and wish it was me.”

He added: “My management have emailed and had replies from Joe Silva. He said the roster is filled at the minute, but I'm getting my weight down for a late replacement, that could be a possibility and a good idea.”

With just one event announced on the Cage Warriors 2015 schedule and with big things happening in his private life Ray isn't keen to agree to a fight just yet, saying: “My management have been in touch with Cage Warriors but I've just moved house back to my home town, Kirkcaldy, and I've got another child coming in 10 weeks so I'm still training away but not wanting to commit to a fight yet. Obviously, if I was offered a UFC fight then I would as that's potentially life changing.” He added: “I've not made my life easy, in 10 weeks time I'll have three kids, I don't work and I'm chasing the UFC dream so financially things are hard, especially because training isn't on my doorstep. It's a good trek away.

“There have been a few moments where I've said 'Fuck it. I'm done with MMA. It's too hard trying to train professionally and how a champion should and not have financial stability. I think the only thing that's kept me going just now is the fact I know I should get my chance soon, hopefully for UFC Scotland.

“Fighting on the Glasgow show would mean a lot to me. It's the biggest MMA organisation in the world and its basically the only place you can make some life changing money. It also has the best fighters in the world. I would just love to have one fight in Scotland again and for it to be in the UFC.”

To outline his eagerness to fight in the UFC, Ray admits he would take a page out of Irishman, Paul Redmond's book and take a fight in another division just to get an opportunity.

“I'd take a fight at welterweight or middleweight if I had to” the lightweight champ said with a laugh.

He added: “I don't think I could make featherweight so two divisions up light heavyweight would be too much, but I'd still do it if there was no other option, or even at heavyweight.

“I would rather a fight at lightweight though. I just love to fight and getting paid for doing what you like doing anyway would be the best job for me.

“I'd like to fight on any show, I just wish it was soon. Like I said, it's hard living this lifestyle with no money. It gets too hard at times and that's when I've thought about giving up and just getting a normal job.”

“There are a few guys I'd like to test myself against but I don't care who I get. I'll work my way up the ladder and fight whoever Cage Warriors or the UFC put in front of me.”

With UFC having only two Scots currently on the roster it seems likely that they will at least look to the domestic scene to bring more home fighters, and Ray is likely to be high on the list.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Kountermove predictions for our UFC 183 tournament

By Connor Hutton - @ConnorHuttonMMA


Kingdom MMA brings you its latest Kountermove tournament this weekend, but for any newcomers who have a few questions, here is the essential information. Kountermove is simply fantasy MMA, pick a team of fighters who you think will win and your chosen fighters are awarded points based on strikes, takedowns and rounds won etc.

FOR THE FIRST TIME WE HAVE 300 SLOTS AVAILABLE, WITH A TOTAL ROLL OF $50, AND IT'S FREE TO JOIN. 

You can join our Kountermove tournament for UFC 183 and be in with a chance to win some cash right here: http://www.kountermove.com/join/37890-kingdom-mmas-ufc-183-50-kountermove-fantasy-mma-freeroll-game-on-ufc-183-silva-vs-diaz-T-free/

If you want to win a bit of money but you need some guidance then take a look at Kingdom MMA’s predictions, our ‘favourite five’ below, a few fighters who you may fancy picking.

1. Al Iaquinta ($4900) - A product of the Serra-Longo Fight Team, Al Iaquinta (10-3) has progressed tremendously since his days on TUF 15 and he now prepares for one of the division's deadliest finishers in Joe Lauzon (24-9).

After defeating Ross Pearson in his last bout, Iaquinta will be looking to break into the top 15 of the lightweight division and the key to victory for him will most likely be his improved striking. Lauzon will have a notable advantage on the ground, but he has a tough challenge ahead of him in the rising star. If Iaquinta can push the pace on the feet then we expect a comfortable win for the 27-year-old.

2. Thales Leites ($5200) - Since suffering a defeat in a middleweight title clash against Anderson Silva back in 2009, Thales Leites (24-4) has rebuilt his career and after resigning with the UFC the Brazilian has gone 4-0. He now faces off against another UFC veteran in Tim Boetch (18-7), however the Barbarian has had a tougher time in the cage, losing three of his last five.

Typically known as a submission expert, Leites has improved his striking with Nova Uniao ahead of this bout and his opponent has struggled even in his wins, with Boetsch's last three triumphs including a remaculous turnaround against Brad Tavares and two split decisions. Leites seems to be in the form of his career and we predict yet another step up the middleweight ladder for the 33-year-old.

3. Thiago Alves ($4600) - Once a challenger for GSP's welterweight title, Thiago Alves (20-9) has recovered from a long list of injuries over the past two years and now seems fully recovered for another run at the division's best. His opponent Jordan Mein (29-9) is at a difficult bridge in his career, a win over Alves cements him in the upper echelon of the division, however defeat leaves him in a tricky position.

Despite being Mein's elder by six years, it's the Canadian that boasts more experience inside the cage. However Alves counteracts this with his experience against elite competition and this could prove a deciding factor in this bout. Mein will bring his exciting knockout power to the octagon, but Alves certainly has the tools to shut down the Young Gun or don't be surprised if Alves stands toe-to-toe and comes out on top of a slugfest.

4. Sara McMann ($4800) - A somewhat controversial defeat to Ronda Rousey derailed Sara McMann's (8-1) hopes of Bantamweight gold back in 2014, but in shallow devision a two or three wins can give the former Olympic wrestler another shot. Her opponent Miesha Tate (15-5) knows all too well how difficult it is to rebound after a defeat to Rousey, but following a second loss to the champion, Tate has strung together another two victories.

This is a real pick 'em fight between these two elite bantamweights, but styles make fights and Tate has proven that her grappling ability isn't quite at the top level, and in McMann she faces one of the divisions best wrestlers. It may not turn into somewhat of a stale mate, but we predict a grinding decision victory for McMann.

5. Ian McCall ($5500) - This fight perhaps holds the most weight in terms of its effect on their respective divisions, as flyweight contenders Ian McCall (13-4-1) and John Lineker (24-7) go head-to-head in what could possibly determine the next number one contender.

Much has been made of Lineker's ability to finish opponents with KO power, something that is a rarity in the 125lb division, however he is yet to put his skills to the test against someone of McCall's calibre. McCall has hung with the likes of Cruz, Mighty Mouse and Benavidez and it is this experience that we believe will ease him past Lineker. Barring another highlight reel performance from the Brazilian, I'd favour McCall via decision.

So don’t forget to join in with UFC 183 in our exclusive Kountermove tournament: http://www.kountermove.com/join/37890-kingdom-mmas-ufc-183-50-kountermove-fantasy-mma-freeroll-game-on-ufc-183-silva-vs-diaz-T-free/

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Leon Edwards set to face Seth Baczynski at UFC Krakow April 11th

By Alex Dillon @ADillon__





A welterweight bout between Seth Baczynski (19-12 MMA, 5-5 UFC) and Leon Edwards (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is the latest addition to UFC Fight Night 64.

UFC Fight Night 64 takes place April 11 at Krakow Arena in Krakow, Poland. The entire event is set to stream on UFC Fight Pass.

Baczynski is likely in a must-in situation. The 33-year-old Hawaiian, who now trains out of Arizona’s Power MMA and Fitness, returned to the UFC for a second stint in 2011 and promptly won his first four fights. However, he’s just 1-4 since then, and in his two most recent fights, “The Ultimate Fighter 11″ cast member has suffered a decision loss to Thiago Alves and a knockout defeat to Alan Jouban. However, both bouts earned “Fight of the Night” honors.

He now meets Edwards, a 23-year-old English fighter who won six straight fights, primarily with BAMMA, to earn a UFC contract last year. However, in his promotional debut, he suffered a split-decision defeat to Claudio Silva (though most media outlets score the fight for Edwards).

The latest UFC Fight Night 64 card now includes:

Mirko Filipovic vs. Gabriel Gonzaga

Jan Blachowicz vs. Jimi Manuwa

Seth Baczynski vs. Leon Edwards


Monday, 26 January 2015

Post-fight Pressers, Johnson the latest member of G-Unit and Pomposity in its hilarity

by Simon Rushton @Simon_Rushton

I have a man cold. I warn you of this now in case I start to ramble or list out seemingly meaningless words. I am feverish and delirious.

As ridiculous as the notion is, some people still do not believe in the danger of man flu and man colds. If there are any of you that are silly enough to doubt this then I’ll refer you to this infomercial that I am assured is completely factual.

The next point of fact is that Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson the new Light Heavyweight champion sounds remarkably like 50 Cent. Every time I hear him speak I expect him to start singing Window Shopper. Briefly touching on Rumble, I like the guy. Full of class and is well deserved of the now imbued title that I gladly give up ‘punches like a motherfucker’. Anthony ‘punches like a motherfucker’ Johnson. Can you imagine them reading that out? I think I’d wee.

Where does the title come from I hear none of you ask? Well… this one time, at band camp…

Turns out that Rushy here many moons ago, used to train, fight, compete, etc, etc, not in anything as glorious as the cage but in local competitions nameably ‘Heyhead Street’ or ‘Pink Ele Park’ even the giddy heights of ‘The Feathers Inn’. Such grand locations where the challenger would expel such linguistically brilliant orations such as ‘let’s jump that little c*nt over there’. If any of you are not that quick on the uptake, I am the aforementioned ‘little c*nt’. It seems that the intellectually challenged but testosterone gifted idiots thought that a short guy was a good target to bully.

One such grandiose episode of fisticuffs ended in the challenger falling over and said Rushton here being a bit too gung-ho, punching the wall instead of the challenger’s head. Wall 1 Rushy 0. I am to this day rather grateful that the supposed target had taken up momentary ornithology as it turned out my hand and wrist had fractured rather nicely. Such compelling argument was put forward by a rather cheekily non-paying observer that one punches like a motherfucker and at the age of 17 that shit tends to stick.

Anyhoo… So Anthony ‘PLAM’ Johnson did what a lot of people didn’t think him capable of doing and he not only beat Gustafsson but he put him out. This was ruthless and clinical. Importantly it was unheard of. There are going to be a 101 people writing about this so, on that note, I’ll stop and jump to the Post-fight Press Conference.

I've mentioned in previous articles that I am acutely aware of the trap of churnalism and how it irritates me, as does bad reporting in general because frankly it gets us all a bad name. However, prior to the conference I was under the impression that those members of the press that are fortunate enough to be given access to ask questions would be of a high calibre, the elite if you will. So when I’m sat studiously watching the ‘Post Fight…’ and I hear questions such as this corker:
“Warrior: What went wrong tonight?”
I have to wonder how people are chosen to sit on these panels. He got punched, in the face. That is all. It’s not as if this was a long drawn out five rounder, this was a massive punch on the back of heavy pressure. I’d like to briefly highlight the shock jock journo that tried to stir up a non-existent rivalry between Rumble and Bones. It would be nice if they mentioned the paper/site the reporters are representing before they speak so that we can dub them with white noise. It’d be more suspenseful.

Daily Churn: “Alex, do you ##############” Epic.

Colour Commentary

Saying that, if the TV commentary isn’t much better should I be expecting more from journo’s that generally aren’t getting paid?! Of course I refer to Daniel Cormier who fits both into this category and the last, proceeding section on pomposity. At the end of the TV footage he sat complaining about Marc Goddard’s supposed reticence to step in and that the fight should’ve been stopped sooner.

Now I have to admit that at first, while the fight was ongoing, I thought it should’ve been stopped sooner but then I detached emotion because naturally we become hyped watching a fight and looked at it again. Was Gustafsson taking any undue punishment? No. Was he unconscious? No. Was he in front of 30,000 people that were arguably all there supporting him? Yes. So it only makes sense that he be given time to show he can work out of it. This really was a matter of seconds after all rather than minutes.

He then applied the same argument to fights being stopped sooner and indirectly referenced Dan Henderson’s “premature” stoppage. The stoppage that could ultimately have saved his eyesight in his left eye.

Now I realise none of us are infallible but if I can see this and he can’t, despite having access to better angled cameras and such like, then there’s something amiss. Importantly, he’s getting paid a shit load of money to sit there and get things wrong I mean commentate so surely the guy at home paying to watch this tripe criticism shouldn’t be the one calling things right.

Pomposity

Yes my other pet hate and something I’ve referred to in the past. This week, my dear and avid reader, we’ve been treated to a double dose of pomp.

In reverse order, there is Daniel Cormier who I really struggle with. He’s like an anthropomorphic dichotomy; outside the cage he seems a good family man, humble and doting but then as soon as he talks about anything UFC or MMA related this new persona comes out and he’s suddenly the UFC’s Kurt Angle. But then Jon Jones is fake right? No Jon Jones is a prick, we all know that. Daniel Cormier though I cannot weigh up. His condescension of referee’s over the weekend was frankly disrespectful and laughably inaccurate.

The real example however of both hypocrisy and pomposity was TJ Dillashaw, the accidental champion who in all his wisdom and insight criticised Conor McGregor as being fake and undeserving of a title shot.
“Why is that deserving of a title shot? Dennis Siver is not on the way up; he’s not up there looking for a title shot himself,”
This statement was in reference to McGregor potentially beating Siver (albeit from an earlier interview). On the face of it, it could be deemed a valid question. However… let’s take a look at Dillashaw’s record prior to his title shot shall we?

His previous four fights, the same number as McGregor had in the UFC prior to the Siver fight show results like this.

WLWW – and apart from Raphael Assuncao (who beat him) the guys he beat were as harsh as it sounds, journeymen, each with relatively mixed records of wins and losses.

Compare this to McGregor who had a four fight history of WWWW – First, Marcus Brimmage – up until his fight with McGregor was on a three fight win streak. Next up, Max Holloway who prior to this had only lost one in four and then the loss was against Dennis Bermudez. He’s since gone on to a four fight win streak. Diego Brandao, has only lost to Dustin Poirier in the four fights preceding his KO loss to McGregor and then Dustin Poirier who again was on a three fight win streak only losing to Cub Swanson prior to that.

So tell me, Tyler Jeffrey, who based on these facts, was/is the more deserving of the title shot?

Last of all, on my one man diatribe against this nonsense pomposity, I highlight again more comedy gold by Dillashaw.
"It's just the antics. To me, I can't get it. I'm just too professional for the way he acts."
Yes, yes you’re a better man by far than all of us. It might even be true that he is professional to the ‘nth’ degree but what gets on my tits is again this innate ‘holier than thou’ mentality that seems to emanate from a few fighters in the UFC. It’s like they’re trying to emulate the great Hulk Hogan (before they found out he was being fed steroids). Going back to Dillashaw, he fought a few journeymen and then kicked the snot out of the champion. Well done son but don’t get ahead of yourself.

The Answer

Is McGregor staging this persona he’s accused of having? Honestly I don’t think so; I just think that unlike his ‘vitamin taking, God fearing American’ friends he doesn’t give a shit what people outside of his circle think about him. It’s the same for Michael Bisping, full on gob shite and renowned wanker but he is who he is. I reckon it’s a British/Irish trait; the majority of us don’t really give a fuck. We are who we are and that’s just how it is, we’ve enough to worry about with our dip shit government – don’t forget to vote kids – to start worrying about what some people we’ll never fight think of us. Oops, there it is. Would TJ Dillashaw have really commented if he thought for one iota of a second he’d come face to face in the cage with Conor McGregor?

Answers on a post card to @Simon_Rushton and @KingdomMMA – winner gets to tell everyone how great they are.

Thanks go to MMAWeekly, Bleacher Report and Sports World News for unknowingly/unwittingly giving me sources for quotes, comments, etc.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Akira Corassani Retires Following Loss to Sam Sicilia at UFC on Fox 14

Akira Corassani Retires Following Loss to Sam Sicilia at UFC on Fox 14

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA & Ben Heather - @benheather


32-year-old Swedish featherweight, Akira Corassani has announced his retirement from MMA after losing to American Sam Sicilia at UFC on Fox 14 in his native Sweden.

MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani appeared on the UFC on Fox 14 post fight show suggesting Corrassani had told him he would retire:

"Look Ariel, I could fight until I'm dead, I will fight until I am dead but my brain just can't take it anymore."

Corrassani later appeared on Sweden’s TV4 Sport and announced his retirement citing a "glass jaw" as his reason for hanging up his gloves in a post fight interview with the channel. He said:

“When you take a punch and fall down… enough is enough”. “Life is in chapters, and I have had a fantastic career. This will just be a new chapter in my life.”

A pro since 2007 Corassani became more recognisable when he was on The Ultimate Fighter season 12 as part of Team Bisping. Corassani made his octagon debut in September 2012 stepping in to the cage with a 9-3-1 NC and walking away with a split decision victory over Andy Ogle.

Corassani followed that up with a victory over Robbie Peralta before an illegal knee by Maximo Blanco gave him a 3-0 start to his UFC career and put him in contention of breaking in to the top 10 in the featherweight division. At the start of 2014 Corassani was given the toughest test of his career against top contender Dustin Poirier and although the fight didn't go his way he certainly had his chances and rocked Poirier at one point. That fight also earned Corassani and Poirier a UFC post fight bonus, the only of his career.

Following that loss to Poirier he ended up with back to back knock out losses in Stockholm and walks away with a 12-6-1 NC record and went 3-3 in the UFC.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Vitor Belfort trains with Nieky Holzken ahead of UFC 184 title fight against Chris Weidman

Andreas Georgiou - @AGeorgiouMMA


In a recent video of GLORY kickboxer Neiky Holzken's Instagram page, showed a video of the Dutch fighter training with Vitor Belfort as both guys prepare for their upcoming bout.

Holzken is scheduled to compete in the GLORY 19 welterweight contender tournament on February 6 from Hampton,Virginia. Holzken will face Aleksandr Stetcurenko in the first semi-final,

Whereas, Belfort is currently training for his middleweight world title shot against Chris Weidman at UFC 184, which takes place February 28 from Staples Center, LA.

There have been question marks over Belfort's appearance and performance, having come off TRT for this fight, after it was banned in the UFC,

Initially Belfort looked a lot smaller and less muscular, but as the fight has neared he has regained his shape well.

Below is a video of Belfort working the pads with one of Holzken's coaches Sjef Weber.

5 Polish Fighters the UFC Should Sign Ahead of Poland Debut

5 Polish Fighters the UFC Should Sign Ahead of Poland Debut

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA


#thetimeisnow for Poland, with the UFC officially announcing their first show in the land of fields which takes place in April. A country of 38 million people, Poland has grown to be one of the powerhouses of European MMA thanks to local promotion KSW and its high-time that the world finest promotion visited this fine land.

With the arrival of the UFC in Poland here are five local fighters worthy of a place on UFC Fight Night Poland.

Marcin Tybura

Outside Mamed Khalidov, who would have been first choice on this list if not for injury which will see him out until December, there is no better choice for a place on the UFC roster than 29-year-old heavyweight Marcin Tybura. Arguable the best heavyweight in the world outside of the UFC and Bellator, Tybura has ran though everyone he has ever faced in style finishing 10 of his 12 opponents on his unblemished record. Ranked 13th in the world by Fightmatrix.com, Tybura has literally dominated the finest fighters Eastern Europe has to offer on route to winning and defending the M-1 heavyweight title against Damian Grabowski and Denis Smoldarev, fighters who could be in contention of a place in the UFC roster themselves.

A black belt and European champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tybura has great takedowns and has used his excellent positioning to set up submissions where six of his career wins have come. Tybura is on an absolute tear finishing his last seven opponents, five in the first round. A stumbling block could be the fact that Tybura is signed to M-1, a promotion who wont want to let their star attraction leave, however  if the UFC could sign Tybura, he would be an excellent addition to the UFC roster not only for UFC Fight Night Poland but as a future title contender in years to come.

Mateusz Gamrot

Mateusz Gamrot should be familiar to British MMA fans as the polish prospect has broken the hearts of many a UK MMA fan picking up crushing wins over every Brit he has faced. Andre Winner, Jefferson George and Tim Newman have all fallen to this rising prospect as he has amassed an untouched 8-0 record.

A strong and dynamic wrestler, Gamrot has excellent takedowns, and a smothering offensive style on the ground where he is equally gifted in striking and submissions. Mateusz Gamrot is a new breed of fighter, with a great all round skill-set and easily one of the best unsigned lightweights in all of Europe.

He is scheduled to fight at next months KSW 30 which might effect his chances of being signed by the UFC. He may also find he is over looked for this event due to the sheer number of lightweights currently signed to the UFC - a problem Scottish prospect Stevie Ray is currently experiencing, but with a solid record which includes wins over a UFC vet in Winner, Gamrot is definitely one of the best prospects coming out of Poland and if definitely worth Joe Silva taking a look at ahead of UFC Fight Night Poland.

Karol Bedorf

Another heavyweight prospect the UFC should be looking at is 31-year-old Karol Bedof. The current KSW heavyweight champion, Bedorf has put together a five fight unbeaten run which includes wins over former UFC fighters Rolles Gracie and Oli Thompson on route to earning the reputation as one of the best heavyweight in Europe.

A diverse fighter who has five submission wins and three knockouts in his 11 fight career, Bedof brings a good standard of striking especially in the clinch, and is an excellent wrestler who can hit a takedown like a runaway train. At 31-years-old, Bedorf is relatively young for the UFC's heavyweight division and could certainly add a bit of fresh air to a division in desperate need for prospects. Similar to Tybura, Bedorf might be a difficult signing as KSW will no doubt fight to keep their heavyweight champion, however Bedorf has certainly shown he has talent worthy of the UFC pursuing.

Agnieszka Neidzwiedz

One of the best bantamweights in all of Europe, 19-year-old Agnieska Neidzwiedz has been in little trouble in her pro career on route to building an undefeated 7-0 record. A Cage Warriors vet, Neidzwiedz comes from a Judo background where she won a bronze medel in the European Cup Cadets. Neidzwiedz brings a solid offensive ground game and an underestimated striking game that has seen her defeat Gemma Hewitt and Kerry Hughes on route to cementing herself as the number one contender in the Cage Warriors bantamweight division.

Neidzwiedz is expected to challenge Pannie Kianzad for the Cage Warriors bantamweight title, a fight she had to pull out of last November due to injury, sometime in 2015. The argument could be made, that at such a young age Neidzweidz is in no rush to sign with the UFC but with six finishes already in this exciting prospects career its only a matter of time before Neidzwiedz is offered a UFC contract.

Oskar Piechota

The least known fighter on this list, Oskar Piechota is a undefeated Polish Middleweight who comes personally recommended by Polish journalist Maciek Szumowski of MyMMA.pl. A world class grappler who has ADCC experience - see him in action at the 2013 world championships against Keenan Cornelius here, 25-year-old Piechota is one of the best up and coming fighters in Poland.

A pro since 2011, Piechota has taken all of his 6 wins inside the distance, using his excellent BJJ to submit four of his opponents while his other two opponents have fallen victim to Piechota's hard hitting strikes.

One thing that could benefit Piechota should he be on the UFC's radar is the fact he hasn't fought on any of the major Eastern European shows like M1 and KSW which would certainly make him easier to sign than some of the others on this list.



Friday, 23 January 2015

Video: UFC Strawweight Contender Joanne Calderwood Last Fight in Glasgow

Video: UFC Strawweight Contender Joanne Calderwood Last Fight in Glasgow

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA

The UFC announced earlier today that they would be making their debut in Glasgow later on in the year. While the event is months away why not get yourself hyped up by watching Scotland's star attraction, strawweight contender Joanne Calderwood's last fight in Glasgow while you count down them days.

Watch Calderwood handle Sally Krumdiack at Cage Warriors 53 back in 2013 below.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Video: Gegard Mousasi Talks Ahead of UFC on Fox 14 Bout with Dan Henderson

Video: Gegard Mousasi Talks Ahead of UFC on Fox 14 Bout with Dan Henderson

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA

The festivities are in full swing in Stockholm, Sweden ahead of UFC of Fox 14. Our good friends at MMA Plus are on the ground bringing you all the latest from this groundbreaking European event.

MMAPlus spoke to former Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi as he prepares to face off against MMA icon Dan Henderson at Stockholm's Tele2 Arena on January 24.

Video: Irish MMA Prospect Paul Redmond Talks Ahead of UFC Debut at UFC on Fox 14

Video: Irish MMA Prospect Paul Redmond Talks Ahead of UFC Debut at UFC on Fox 14

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA

The festivities are in full swing in Stockholm, Sweden ahead of UFC of Fox 14. Our good friends at MMA Plus are on the ground bringing you all the latest from this groundbreaking European event.

MMAPlus spoke to Ireland's Paul Redmond as he prepares to cut to featherweight for the first time and make his UFC debut on January 24 at Stockholm's Tele2 Arena against Mirsad Bektic.

Video: Anthony Christodoulou Talks ahead of UFC Debut at UFC on Fox 14

Video: Anthony Christodoulou Talks ahead of UFC Debut at UFC on Fox 14

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA

The festivities are in full swing in Stockholm, Sweden ahead of UFC of Fox 14. Our good friends at MMA Plus are on the ground bringing you all the latest from this groundbreaking European event.

UFC newcomer Anthony Christodoulou talks to MMAPlus ahead of this weekend's lightweight colntest vs. Mairbek Taisimov at UFC on Fox 14 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Video: Makwan Amirkhani Talks Ahead of UFC On Fox 14 bout with Andy Ogle

Video: Makwan Amirkhani Talks Ahead of UFC On Fox 14 bout with Andy Ogle

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA

The festivities are in full swing in Stockholm, Sweden ahead of UFC of Fox 14. Our good friends at MMA Plus are on the ground bringing you all the latest from this groundbreaking European event.

Flamboyant UFC featherweight Makwan Amirkhani spoke to MMAPlus ahead of his UFC debut against Andy Ogle on January 24 at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.

Video: Dan Henderson Talks Ahead of UFC On Fox 14 bout with Gegard Mousasi

Video: Dan Henderson Talks Ahead of UFC On Fox 14 bout with Gegard Mousasi

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA

The festivities are in full swing in Stockholm, Sweden ahead of UFC of Fox 14. Our good friends at MMA Plus are on the ground bringing you all the latest from this groundbreaking European event.

Mixed martial arts icon Dan Henderson spoke to the media ahead of his UFC on Fox 14 co-main event bout vs. Gegard Mousasi on January 24 at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.

Video: Ryan Bader Talks Ahead of UFC On Fox 14 bout with Phil Davis

Video: Ryan Bader Talks Ahead of UFC On Fox 14 bout with Phil Davis

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA


The festivities are in full swing in Stockholm, Sweden ahead of UFC of Fox 14. Our good friends at MMA Plus are on the ground bringing you all the latest from this groundbreaking European event.

MMAPlus spoke with Ryan 'Darth' Bader ahead of his UFC on Fox 14 showdown against Phil Davis on January 24 at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.

Video: Anthony Rumble Johnson Talks Ahead of UFC On Fox 14 bout with Alexander Gustafsson

Video: Anthony Rumble Johnson Talks Ahead of UFC On Fox 14 bout with Alexander Gustafsson

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA

The festivities are in full swing in Stockholm, Sweden ahead of UFC of Fox 14. Our good friends at MMA Plus are on the ground bringing you all the latest from this groundbreaking European event.

Ahead of this weekend's UFC on Fox headline bout vs. Alexander Gustafsson, light-heavyweight contender Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson spoke exclusively to MMA Plus and revealed that he never expected to make it back to this position following his release from the promotion in 2012.

Video: The Stars of UFC on Fox 14 Weigh In On The Return of Mirko Cro Crop

Video: The Stars of UFC on Fox 14 Weigh In on The Return of Mirko Cro Crop

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA

The festivities are in full swing in Stockholm, Sweden ahead of UFC of Fox 14. Our good friends at MMA Plus are on the ground bringing you all the latest from this groundbreaking European event.

They caught that stars of show including Anthony Johnson, Ryan Bader, Gegard Mousasi, Paul Redmond & Chris Beal, the get their opinions on the return of MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop to the UFC in the latest installment of MMA IMO.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Contender Promotions February 28th Card Adds 4 Man Junior GP Tournament

Contender Promotions February 28th Card Adds 4 Man Junior GP Tournament

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA



Contender Promotions February 28th event is getting better by the day with the addition of a 4 man 60kg junior tournament featuring recent Fightstar selected Lee Walton, with the winner being crowned the promotions Junior GP Champion.

Contender Promotions February 28th card takes place at The Easton Sports Academy in Cleveland and is headlined by up-and-coming British prospects Thomas Daniel and Jack Layton battling it out for the promotions 70kg title. Standard tickets are available for £25 with VIP tables of 10 available for £500 at Contenderpromotions.co.uk.

The promotions first junior 4 man tournament is scheduled after the final slot was filled by Dublin's Lee Walton, who was selected after last weeks Fightstar tryouts in Dublin last week. He is joined by Nathan Ransom a fighter who has previously fought on Ian Freeman's Machine show, Liam Million and Liam Kay as 4 battle it out for Contender Promotions gold.

Contender Promotions president Garry Bell said:
"All of these young fighters are hungry for glory, we hand picked them as they are all extremely similar in style and experience which should make for some fantastic bouts"
With some of the most hungry up-and-coming K-1 fighters in the UK, Contender Promotions February 28th card guarantees fireworks, and certainly look like one of the best UK cards of the year.

Stay tuned to kingdommma.co.uk for all the latest on Contenders Promotions

Paul Daley to face Andre Santos at Bellator 134: The British Invasion

Andreas Georgiou - @AGeorgiouMMA


After numerous injuries hit the Bellator 134 card, which takes place Friday, February 27, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn, the card has been updated, and will see Paul "Semtex" Daley (35-13) face Andre "Chatuba" Santos (37-9), stepping in for the injured Douglas Lima (26-5).

Bellator MMA CEO Scott Coker said: "We're disappointed we had to delay these fights between Bobby Lashley and James Thompson, and Douglas Lima and Paul Daley, but I have no doubt that these matchups will be fantastic once they eventually come to fruition." 

"Fortunately, we're able to replace the bouts with equally entertaining contests for our fans."

Originally scheduled to face Lima for the Bellator welterweight championship, an injury to the Brazilian put the fight on hold. Daley said: "Nervous, Scared??.....I understand, preparing to fight me.... I would be. It's ok.... guess you get to have a few more photo shoots with the belt.... My focus has shifted, same date, new opponent.... British Invasion at Bellator 134."
Semtex's new opponent is Santos, who is currently riding a six fight win streak, and made his American MMA debut against James Terry at Bellator 129 by unanimous decision.

On the undercard, an injury forced Bobby Lashley (12-2) out of a rematch with Brit James Thompson (20-14) and the fight will be replaced by Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal (14-4) vs. Cheick Kongo (22-9-2). 

"King Mo" is set to make his 10th appearance under the Bellator MMA banner, moving up to heavyweight from his preferred 205lb weight-class for the first time since 2009.

After recent knockout wins over Joe Vedepo and Dustin Jacoby the former NCAA Division I All-American and Pan American gold medallist was hoping for a super-fight with Tito Ortiz, earned 11 of his 14 career MMA wins by knockout.

He will face long time heavyweight, France's 6-foot-4 Karate and Kendo black belt, Kongo. 4-1 under in Bellator, with his only loss to heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov, the Wolfslair MMA Academy fighter is coming off a first-round submission over Lavar Johnson at Bellator 123.

Thy Kingdom Come #4 - Back to the Future for MMA

Andreas Georgiou - @AGeorgiouMMA


"I'm from the future. I came here in a Time Machine that you invented. Now I need your help to get back to the year 1985."

Okay, it was actually the year 1993 when the Ultimate Fighting Championship came to fruition but you get the point. With the recent slew of signings from both UFC and Bellator, it seems fans have been bombarded with a undesired dose of nostalgia, as MMA looks likely in returning to the ghost of days gone by.

2014 was the year where promotions collectivity realised that. in an over-saturated sport, it's actually pretty hard to build new headliners. If you look at the UFC, they've stumbled across a pot of gold, pun intended, in "Notorious" Conor McGregor, who just this past weekend smashed the Fox Sports viewership record for MMA, pulling in 2,751,000 viewers for his cherry pickings over Dennis Siver in Boston.   

So the flux capacitor has been somewhat dormant the past several years, with all promotions globally looking to create a new superstar, a new Georges St-Pierre, a modern day incarnate of Brock Lesnar. But what happens when you are unable to do that? Better the devil you know. 

It was announced at Bellator 132 that Kimbo Slice would make his return to MMA, and if the previous signings of Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar are anything to go by then it's clear Scott Coker is very open in reinvigorating the past in the right way.

There isn't very much chance of us seeing Ortiz, or Kimbo fighting for a title; unless they go on a big run, they are there to serve a purpose as an attraction, to help open up the market for the younger, less known fighters. However the UFC seem to have a different method about it.

With the signing of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, coaxing Jackson away from a grief tenure in Bellator. Also, the recent off to Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at the eleventh hour, just as it seemed he was heading to the Viacom owned promotion.

For the media giant UFC, it seems that rather than bringing in old talent out of necessity, it is simply to spite their rivals over at Bellator. Does the UFC really need Rampage of Cro Cop? No, but they will likely draw good numbers for the promotion, who as of right now lack legitimate money making fighters.

The statistics don't lie, out of the UFC's top 10 highest pay-per-view buy rates, GSP and Lesnar feature in six of them. It's no secret that President Dana White is very interested in bringing both fighters back, with Lesnar's return looking imminent with a highly possible exit from the WWE post-Wrestlemania. 

Since Lesnar's departure from the promotion, the heavyweight division has lacked in drawing power, with the top rivalry being a mostly one-sided affair between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. Although there is a possible big money fight between Velasquez and interim-champion Fabricio Werdum in the pipeline, it would do well to eclipse Lesnar's lowest PPV showing (535,000 vs. Alistair Overeem) in the modern PPV climate. 

With Lesnar's return potentially on the horizon, there are rumours circulating of a rubber match against Frank Mir. Their rematch holds the UFC's greatest ever PPV number, at 1,600,000 buys, and saw Lesnar victorious by second round TKO. 

Something similar could be said about the welterweight division, with GSP gone, the weight class' top two fighters Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler have one title win each over one and other, with their first bout at UFC 171 slated at a disappointing 300,000 buys, and their UFC 181 rematch only slightly better, around 400,000.

Parallel to this, the only big money fight the UFC are able to offer this year as of writing is Jose Aldo defending his featherweight world title against Conor McGregor, which if built right could land around the one million mark.  

"Whatever! It demonstrates precisely how time travel can be mis-used, and why the time machine must be destroyed, after we straighten all of this out." 

As Dr. Emmett L. Brown put it himself, when there was the need for the time machine, it was used. However despite the influx of legendary names into major promotions I only forsee it as a short term strategy. 

With the building of talent like McGregor, Chris Weidman and the continual growth of Jon Jones, right now as the UFC nurtures there talent into potential future superstars, they must call forth the names that have helped forged the sport's popularity. 

The use of those names, for now, can sustain fan interest whilst the future icons forge their own destiny. 

And only then, can we destroy the time machine.

Seth Petruzelli Offers to Come out of Retirement to Face Kimbo Slice in Bellator

Seth Petruzelli Offers to Come out of Retirement to Face Kimbo Slice in Bellator

by Chris Houten - @chrishoutenMMA



18 months into retirement, Seth Petruzelli has offered to come out of retirement to fight Kimbo Slice for a second time in the former street fighters Bellator debut.

Earlier today 40-year-old Kimbo Slice, really name Kevin Ferguson appeared on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss the news that he was returning to Bellator after taking a hiatus from MMA to pursue a career as a pro boxer. When asked who he would like to face in his Bellator debut Slice said he didn't really know who fought at heavyweight in Bellator:

"I don't even know who's there right now (in Bellator) as heavyweights. But shit, anybody. Just feed me. I'm ready to be fed."

and later went on the say he would love to fight Petruzelli:

"I owe that dude one. The nature of it, I could complain all day long on this and that, but shit, it just went down the way it went down, but goddamn I owe him one."

It now appears Florida native, Petruzelli is willing to give Slice the chance to pay him back and would be willing to come out of retirement for the fight to happen:


Slice and Petruzelli have previously faced each other inside a cage in the main event at the now infamous EliteXC: Heat. The star of Elite XC, Slice was expected to face Ken Shamrock on the night, however a late injury forced Shamrock to pull out and he was replaced by Petruzelli who was scheduled to face Aaron Rosa on the events undercard. With the promotion betting everything on a Slice win, Petruzelli defied their logic and knocked Slice unconscious in just 14 records. The bout ultimately lead Elite XC to lose their TV deal with CBS which forced the promotion to close when they were unable to pay back money they had borrowed from Showtime Network.

A  UFC, WEC, EliteXC, King of the Cage, BAMMA, and Bellator vet, Petruzelli retired from MMA in 2013 following back-to-back losses in Bjorn Rebney's Bellator. He was 14-8 in his career when he retired, and apart from the Kimbo Slice victory - probably his most famous, holds notable wins over Ricco Rodriguez and Dan Severn.

Stay tuned to kingdomMMA.co.uk for all the latest on a potential Slice vs Petruzelli 2.

Roundtable: Is The UFC Right in Bringing Cro Cop Back

Roundtable: Is The UFC Right in Bringing Cro Cop Back


News broke earlier today that MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop had resigned with the UFC on the back of a 3-1 record since leaving the promotion in 2011. A surprise signing for the world largest promotion, we discuss whether or not the worlds biggest MMA promotion was right in bringing Cro Cop back to fight in 2015.

Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA

The decision to bring Cro Cop back is a questionable one. Sure he is a fan favourite but who's he going to fight and can he actually be competitive in the best organisation in the world with guys that are big, stronger, younger, and arguably much more rounded.

I can appreciate Crop Cop has picked up a couple of victories since leaving the UFC but none of the guys he has beat are UFC worthy, in fact one of the guys he beat is currently 1-3 as a pro. Looking at Cro Cop's record on Sherdog you can even argue he hasn't actually beat anyone worthy of a spot on the UFC roster since beating Josh Barnett at Pride FC - Final Conflict Absolute in 2006. Cro Cop is 10-7 since with most notable win being against Pat Barry, and we all know what happened to him.

At the end of the day, Cro Cop is a popular fighter and I can understand why the UFC would make a move for the Croatian when Scott Coker expressed interest in bringing him to Bellator - it's worth the UFC taking him just so Bellator can't. And hey, who am I to complain, if CM Punk can be a UFC fighter in 2015, why can't a guy who has wins over has wins over the likes of Josh Barnett, Mark Coleman, Wanderlei Silva and more, even if them wins were 10+ years ago. Plus if rumours are to be believed we might even see Cro Cop vs Alberto Del Rio 2 in 2015.

Tom Young - @ThomBomb17

Signing Cro Cop is an interesting move. He's past his prime as we can all tell but he brings in numbers. Also, with UFC looking to expand and talk of holding an event in Russia, I am sure it'll play out for both him and the UFC.

When you have a company willing to pay you plenty of dollars, it's hard to turn down especially for a guy like Cro Cop who just loves to fight. Personally, I do not see anything wrong with Cro Cop making a bit of extra buck which I am sure will help him when he actually does retire.

The last few fights he had in the UFC were hard to watch. Not exactly the Cro Cop everyone loved in his prime but it's hard to disagree that people are still going to tune in and watch him fight.

Ben Heather - @benheather

Should the UFC have resigned Cro Cop? Honestly, probably not in my opinion although he is a well known name and I am sure will sell a few more tickets for an event off his name alone and it's not going to hurt PPV numbers if he was on that card.

Honestly though, I think we all know why he has been resigned and that is because of the rumours he would sign for Bellator. This is a power move to prove once more that if the UFC go in for any fighter, they will get them. Are they right in bringing him back... I will leave my full judgement for after his return fight. I will say this though, I see the UFC as being the ultimate promotion and think the fighters who sign should be the very elite fighters, in recent time that has not proved to be true through global expansion of the brand and there are a lot of fighters worse than Cro Cop on the books. So if they can fight in the UFC, I do not have a problem in bringing Cro Cop back for his final swansong.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

BAMMA Sign Tim Menzies fights Galore Bofando at BAMMA 18 plus more bouts added to BAMMA 18 Lineup‏

By @BenHeather

BAMMA, have today announced the signing of Tim 'The Serbian Yeti' Menzies, who will face off against the explosive Galore Bofando in a Welterweight showdown. Other bouts now added to the BAMMA 18 lineup; Steve Obe Vs. Yannick Bahatti in a Middleweight contest & the recently signed Nathaniel 'The Prospect' Wood Vs. Michael 'Gip' Cutting in the Bantamweight division.

BAMMA 18: Duquesnoy Vs. Klaczek takes place at the Wolverhampton Civic Halls on 21st February 2015. Tickets are on sale now.

Tim 'The Serbian Yeti' Menzies vs. Galore Bofando (Welterweight)

Tim 'The Serbian Yeti' Menzies signs a multi fight, 18 month contract with BAMMA. Coming off the back of his win against Nathan 'Mr. Bag & Tag' Jones at BAMMA Fight Night: Chadwick Vs. Pascu, Menzies brings with him a lethal ground game alongside well balanced striking, and will provide a tough test for Bufando at BAMMA 18:
"I'm excited to get back in the BAMMA cage again on the 21st, I'm training for a war and expect nothing less!"
High kicking sensation Galore Bofando returns to MMA after a two year lay off to take on the 'Serbian Yeti'. Bofando sports a 3-2 record which includes a highlight reel KO finish of former BAMMA British Title contender Wendle 'Nice Guy' Lewis. With an aresenal of flashy but dangerous kicks and strikes, Bofando is looking to make an impression on the BAMMA fans at the Civic Hall on the 21st Feb:
"I'm Looking forward to showcasing my skills on Bamma and can't wait to fight."

Steve Obe vs Yannick Bahati (Middleweight)

Exciting Middleweight Steve Obe makes his BAMMA debut against Bahati, bringing with him a 4-1 record and a current three fight win streak. Training and fighting out of Beatbox MMA, Obe brings an array of skills with him ready to combat the threat of Bahati. Obe said:
"Looking forward too going too war with my undefeated opponent Yannick , not planning on letting it go the distance I'm going out with my shield or coming back on it !!"
Fighting out of Birmingham’s UTC gym, Yannick Bahati brings a boxing background and an unblemished 4-0 MMA record to BAMMA. Renowned for sharp head-kicks, flying knees and a killer kimura, Yannick returns after a long injury lay off that's kept him out of active competition since his last bout at BAMMA 11 in 2012. Bahati had the following to say on his return:
"Ive had a rough few years due to injuries but now I'm back.. Ready to stiffen Steve Obe at BAMMA 18"

Nathaniel Wood vs Mike Cutting (Bantamweight)

Newly signed Nathaniel 'The Prospect' Wood (6-1), returns to BAMMA hot off the arm breaking stoppage of Steve McCombe last November, and will face Mike 'Gip' Cutting at BAMMA 18. Both sharing a competitive loss against Ed Arthur, the always exciting Wood is looking to make another statement at the Wolverhampton Civic Halls on the 21st Feb:
"I'm looking forward to competing on BAMMA 18 against Mike Cutting , a crafty veteran but I know I have all the skills to end the fight quickly and move closer to the belt."
BAMMA regular Micheal 'Gip' Cutting (5-4), returns to BAMMA following his disappointing loss to the fast rising Mike Grundy at BAMMA 17 last December. Dropping back down to Bantamweight to face Wood, the Kyouken MMA fighter is looking to bounce back quickly and spoil Woods arrival.

Monday, 19 January 2015

“But he’s never fought a wrestler!”

by Simon Rushton @Simon_Rushton


“Come gather round people; black, white or grey.”

Anybody know the next line? You’d probably need to be over 30 to stand a chance. Of course it’s largely irrelevant; in fact, it’s completely irrelevant to the article I just wanted a catchy opening line. Unless we’re speaking metaphorically then if I’m being obscure it works.

Anyway… It’s been a quiet week; with little happening in the MMA world. The only noises we’ve really heard have been coming from the UFC propaganda machine that is flying ‘Team McGregor’ colours at the minute.

It is plain to see that there’s a massive hype train behind Conor. Do I agree with it? Perhaps; the guys the MMA equivalent of Mickey from Snatch. Hard as fucking nails and puts people out pretty much when he wants to and to be fair he’s ridiculously charming. He’s also one of the most diverse mixed martial artists, if not THE most diverse mixed martial artist in the UFC if not MMA as a whole today. Let’s ream a few disciplines off to back that up:

Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Capoeira, Muay Thai, Kick Boxing, Boxing, Tae Kwon Do – and these are just the few I’ve managed to find recorded.

Not only that but the guy is clever. I don’t mean academically, I wouldn’t know; but real instinctive genius that is on display not only when he’s in the cage but when discussing events in the cage. This is a guy that reads his opponents better than they do themselves. He analyses a fighter and picks them apart according to their weakness.

One example has to be on the recent documentary that was checking his reaction time compared to force of strike where he picked up on Aldo leaving his chin wide open and sacrificing precision for power. This is what I refer to as the Rocky Balboa style of fighting. Now I was ridiculed for saying this about Aldo after his fight with Mendes but now McGregor has said it I wonder how many people will praise him for it?

Anyway I’m digressing; there’s a surprise.

As we all know he’s up against Dennis Siver and cutting all the crap out this fight will have no effect on whether Conor McGregor gets his shot at the belt. If he wins, he gets the shot against Aldo and if he loses he’ll fight an eliminator to get a shot. There’s too much money in Conor fighting the big guns for this to be missed and the Siver fight was something just to fill the gap. Conor likes to fight and make a bucket load of cash and the UFC like to watch him fight because they make a bucket load of cash; add to the equation Boston and you’ve got a winner.

This is where the controversy kicks in. Does he or does he not deserve a title shot? Of course he does. There has not been anybody since Anderson Silva that has dismantled opponents like he has.

“But he’s not fought anybody”

He’s fought a similar calibre fighter to Weidman prior to his shot against Silva and I didn’t hear any complaints there. By the time Conor’s shot for the gold is here he’ll have fought the same amount of fighters too. I’ll be controversial; I think a lot of it is because he’s not a red, white and blue American. If Conor was walking around fighting out of New Jersey or Arkansas there’d be none of this.

It comes down to a boring bias we see in a portion of the UFC fan base equally matched by a lack of knowledge on martial arts and how they work.

These same people said prior to the Poirier fight that Dustin was going to knock him out and prove all the ‘hype train riders’ wrong and that Conor McGregor is nothing special. Conor McGregor put Dustin Poirier out in a matter of seconds.

“But he’s never fought a wrestler!”

I hate to ruin your day son but this isn’t fucking WWE. It’s MMA; Mixed Martial Arts. Mixed..Martial..Arts. Wrestling is not all it’s cracked up to be.

What? You did not just say that! OMFGLOLROFL and all that shit. Of course I did; wrestling is not the be all and end all to success. You want to know how to counter a good wrestler? Throw a good Judoka at him and I promise you the wrestler will not know what has hit him/her.

I saw a reply to something I’d said in a conversation yesterday
"tests don't stop Edgar's takedown"
 No they don’t, you’re right. Kicks and knees to the face do, Tae Sabaki (body evasion) does. I could go on.
"Top position control wins rounds"
Yes it does but it only wins rounds if the other fighter plays bitch and takes it. Elite level fighters do not play bitch; they take the wrestling bully call it Betty, make it their bitch and send it packing with a pat on the arse.

You see a fighter has to be taken to the ground first before wrestling really makes a difference and even then you’ve got to be able to nullify your opponent whilst there. If you don’t then you might as well be pissing in the wind.

Evolution of the arts

I’m probably being unfair and maybe a little derisory to wrestling. The simple fact is wrestling is very, very good against a type of fighter I tend to refer to as the last generation of fighter.

You see the last generation of fighters barring the odd exception were typically Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters that also studied Muay Thai or ‘Dirty Boxers that were previously High School wrestlers. Yes they might have done a bit of training in other disciplines but generally speaking these types of fighters have dominated with these four disciplines. It’s only with this new generation of fighters that we’re seeing a change in the tide. We’re seeing real diversity in MMA now; we’re seeing fighters study the more obscure arts again and slowly but surely examples are seen in the Octagon highlighting the efficiency of such arts.

I refer to Judoka and Karateka, Tae Kwon Do and Okinawan Jui Jitsu but then I also refer to the mythological Jeet Kun Do. The latter probably the most important; while not a martial art in itself it is the philosophy behind Jeet Kun Do that makes it important inside the cage and in self-defence outside the cage. It is ridding yourself of restrictions and adapting to your immediate environment, using your strengths against your opponent’s weaknesses and imperatively, going that one step further than your opponent will.

Conor McGregor is on record as stating he follows the principles of Jeet Kun Do. He embodies it; if Sifu Lee was alive today I am quite sure he would concur. For Conor McGregor there is no limits; in his own words:
“…there is no knowing; you’re against yourself. You’re against yourself…and I just feel like I’m able to beat myself.”
I don’t ride the hype train personally, it’s uncomfortable and crowded. Am I a fan of Conor McGregor; yes I am, I find him endearing and importantly he’s a breath of fresh air from the pomposity we see in a lot of the established UFC fighters. More importantly than all of that I am a massive fan of the martial artist that is Conor McGregor and the fact that he is someone that has dragged himself out of the dole queue and literally kicked and punched his way into success.

Right on brother; European MMA is on its way. He says Irish but we’ll take a victory where we can ;-)

Catch me on Twitter @Simon_Rushton or holler the lads at @KingdomMMA we’re a good bunch.

I’ll be back next week lovers.

Joseph Duffy to debut against Vagner Rocha at UFC 185, Dallas, TX

By Alex Dillon @ADillon__




The Irish Invasion continues on Saturday, March 14, as Donegal lightweight "Irish Joe" Duffy debuts at UFC 185 in Dallas against veteran Vagner Rocha.

If Duffy's name sounds familiar to UFC fans, it may not only be because of his stellar 12-1 record, but because in November of 2010, he was the last man to beat featherweight sensation Conor McGregor, submitting "The Notorious" one in just 38 seconds. Since that bout, the 26-year-old Duffy has continued to shine, winning five of six leading up to his March battle with Rocha, a respected groundfighter who is 4-1 in his last five matches.

Before returning to MMA at Cage Warriors 70 last year, Duffy had a stint in professional boxing where he amassed a record of 7-0, as well as possessing knockout power, Duffy has also shown of his ground game on numerous occasions so it will be interesting to see how he fairs against Rocha on the ground if it goes there at all.

UFC 185 is set to be headlined by a lightweight title fight as champion Anthony Pettis puts his belt on the line against number 1 contender Rafael Dos Anjos.  

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Video: Mike Tyson Anounced as an Analyst for Glory 19

Video: Mike Tyson Announced as an Analyst for Glory 19

by Chris Houten - @ChrisHoutenMMA

Former WBC, WBA, and IBF heavyweight boxing world champion Mike Tyson will make his Glory World Series kickboxing debut as an analyst at Glory 19. Glory 19 takes place February 6 at Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia and will be broadcast on Spike TV in the US and BT Sport in the UK.

The former baddest man on the planet will be on hand to provide analysis and commentary on the evening festivities where heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven will defend his title against challenger Errol Zimmerman. Also on the card, a four-man Welterweight Contender Tournament which will see Nieky Holzken, Alexander Stetcurenko, Raymond ‘Real Deal' Daniels and Jonathan Oliveira battle it out for a shot at current champion ‘Bazooka' Joe Valtellini. 

For a little taste of what you can expect from Mike Tyson and Glory 19 in just under 3 weeks time check out Glory's promo video below:

Contender Promotions complete world grand prix line-up through Dublin Fighstar Hunt

Andreas Georgiou - @AGeorgiouMMA


THIRTY fighters tried out for Contender Promotions' second edition of the Fightstar Hunt, which went down from Michael Paszowki's Dublin Thai, in Dublin,  Ireland.

President Garry Bell stated he and his team were 'very happy' with all the fighters that attended, who all showed a great level of skill.

The Contender Promotions team found two fighters who will compete in the next world grand prix event on February 28 alongside Ian Robinson (England) and Brahim Kallah (Netherlands).

Brazil's Alex Milhomens and Ireland's very own Aaron Brown will join the cast after impressing officials during the Fightstar Hunt.

Three other fighters: David Fuston, George Hardy, Lee Walton were selected during the hunt, with one of them set to make his debut on the Feb. 28 show.

Bell said: "A huge thanks to Michael Paszowski and Darren from Dublin Thai boxing for hosting the fighters, and a huge thanks to the sponsors JOYA, Killamandjaro Sauce, GBY UK and UK Plant Traders."

Stay locked for even more news on the Fightstar Hunt.

Fighter vs Writer - UFC Fight Night Boston: Sullivan vs Heather

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 is UFC Welterweight George Sullivan (16-3-0-1 NC). Sullivan is currently riding a eight fight win streak including two wins in a row since signing for the UFC. Last time out Sullivan KO'd Igor Araujo in Brasilia, Brazil back in September and he has told us that he can't wait to get back in to the Octagon. So hopefully it will not be long before we see him back in action. Before then though comes what could be his toughest test to date... The challenge of Fighter vs Writer, is Sullivan as good at his predictions as he is in the Octagon.

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

Conor McGregor vs Dennis Siver

Heather: This event is the Conor McGregor show, lets not beat around the bush. Everything about the build up to this week has been about one person in this fight and its certainly not Dennis Siver. I really feel for Siver in the build up to the biggest fight in his career and he is being shown no respect. As far as the fight goes I see this fight being a tougher test than many people believe, though I do only seeing one fighter come out on top.

I think Conor will pick up the win he needs to cement him as the next contender for Jose Aldo's title and then it is only a matter of time before we find out if this stadium show in Ireland really does happen.

Prediction: McGregor via TKO Round 2

Sullivan: McGregor via TKO Round 1

Benson Henderson vs Donald Cerrone

Heather: This fight is such a good fight and one I have wanted to see happen in the UFC for such a long time. The first fight between the pair is one of my favourite fights and even though the second was so short I expect this fight to be very close. I have gone back and forth over who I pick but at the minute I am favouring Bendo to put an end to Cowboys undefeated streak.

Prediction: Henderson via Decision

Sullivan: Cerrone via TKO Round 2 (Body Kick)

Uriah Hall vs Ron Stallings

Heather: I am not a big Uriah Hall fan, even though he has landed one of the best KO's I have ever seen. That being said I will always back a fighter who has been in the UFC for a while over an unkown fighter, especially a guy stepping up on a weeks notice.

Prediction: Hall via Decision

Sullivan: Hall via TKO Round 2

Norman Parke vs Gleison Tibau

Heather: I think this could be the fight where Norman Parke makes a name for himself. If he can survive the first round I expect him to become stronger in the fight and his gameplan will take over. I can't see him finishing the fight but I can see him taking the decision. However, Tibau is by far the toughest opponent Parke has faced in his career and it won't be an easy fight for him.

Prediction: Parke via Decision

Sullivan: Tibau via Decision

So that's our predictions for the fights, we will be live tweeting on Sunday 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 George for providing us with his picks for this weekends fights and it just leaves me to say.... May the best man win!!

 

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