Interview: UFC co-creator Campbell McLaren

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

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Was 2013 The Greatest Year Ever for MMA?


Guest Blogger Emma McHale discusses if 2013 was the greatest year ever for MMA?
by Emma McHale of Sports Direct
Emma McHale trained as a web journalist at the University of Sheffield, has a passion for MMA and currently works at SportsDirect.com.  


MMA has started to become a mainstream sport recently and it is the worlds fastest growing sport. As 2013 comes to a close, we are going to look back at the top MMA moments of 2013 to see if 2013 really was the greatest year of MMA.
 
This has been one of the first years that young talented MMA fighters have completed dedicated training to become simply a MMA fighter. Previous MMA fighters started by learning a specific martial art such as Jiu Jitsu and then become a MMA fighter. This results in more interesting and tougher MMA fights. For example welterweight contender Rory MacDonald has only ever trained as a full mixed martial artist. 

This year celebrated the 20th anniversary of UFC with the UFC 167 event. This year also marked another key event with the introduction of the first women’s division and the first fight in the UFC between rivals Ronda Roussey and Liz Carmouche. 

There have been some of the best MMA fights this year ranging from Silva versus Weidman to Grice versus Bermudez. The year has been highlighted by top knockouts from Weidman, superb submissions from Pettis and controversial judging decisions after the St-Pierre versus Hendricks fight. 

Considered to be the greatest MMA fighter of all time, Anderson Silva lost his UFC Middleweight champion title to Chris Weidman with a knockout in the second round of the fight. The loss of the title was still a UFC record as it was the longest held title in UFC history after defending the title for seven years. “The Spider” and Weidman are due to have a rematch at UFC 168, but could this be the fall of a great MMA fighter? 

The UFC partnership with Fox has resulted in some of the highest viewer ratings since the partnership began in 2011. 

The BAMMA events get better and better every year. The recent partnership with Channel 5 has resulted in MMA becoming a mainstream sport. There are new fans anticipating the latest MMA fights and new participants looking to learn the combat sport. 

2013 may have been the best year of MMA. From the best fights of the year to the television highlights, MMA has come a long way since its humble beginnings of Brazilian jiu jitsu and shoot wrestling. 

Do you think 2013 was MMA’s greatest year? 

For the latest MMA and martial arts equipment ranging from MMA clothing to martial arts belts, check out the www.SportsDirect.com MMA collection. 

Friday, 27 December 2013

Mirko Cro Cop vs Remy Bonjasky Official for Glory 14


Mirko Cro Cop vs Remy Bonjasky Official for Glory 14
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts



Glory officials today confirmed that Mirko Cro Cop will take on Remy Bojasky at Glory 14, March 8th in Zegreb, Croatia. The bout will serve as the main event of the evening, and is a rematch of a 2002 bout which Cro Cop won by TKO in the 2nd round.


Hometown hero Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic (22-7, 12 KOs) fights for the first time under the Glory banner having most recently won the K-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix in March.

Having fought MMA for Pride and The UFC, Cro Cop returned to kickboxing in March 2012, a sport where he began his professional fighting career with K-1. Since returning to kickboxing Cro Cop has since rattled off 6 straight victories.

A professional kickboxer since 1995, Kickboxing Hall of Famer, Remy Bonjasky (98-12-0, 36 KOs) has beaten a who's who of fighters including Ernesto Hoost, Melvin Manhoef, Gokhan Saki, Alistair Overeem, and Anderson Silva.

A three time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, Bonjasky originally retired from Kickboxing in 2009, only to returned to the sport in 2012. Nicknamed the flying gentleman which pays homage to Bonjasky's array of flying kicks and knee attacks, Bonjasky is 2-3 in since returning to kickboxing, losing his most recent fight by controversial unanimous decision to Anderson Silva at Glory 13. 

No other fights have been official announced for Glory 14, however a 4-Man Middleweight Contenders Tournament is expected, with Jason Wilmis, Sahak Parparyan, and Dustin Jacoby expected to feature.

UFC 168 Predictions

UFC 168 Predictions
by Ben Heather @benheather and Tommy Strong @Strong_tea


The UFC is back this weekend, and back in a big way with one of the best cards to take place this year. UFC 168 is sure to send the UFC off in to 2014 in a big way.

For the first time in a long time this weekends UFC event will potentially see two UFC titles change hands with both the middleweight title and the women's bantamweight title on the line. It is also the event which may settle two rivalries as Chris Weidman takes on Anderson Silva in what has to be the most anticipated rematch in UFC history. Also the true grudge match will take place as Ronda Rousey gets back in to the cage to face Miesha Tate and this time its in the octagon. If these fights live up to the hype and so do the remaining fights on the card it could easily be the best event of the year, if not all time.

Kingdom MMA will give you their predictions for the event which is sure to be a cracker!

Chris Weidman vs Anderson Silva

Strong: The fight everyone has been waiting for is finally upon us. Did Silva take Weidman serious previously? I don't think he did. Though he will have tool this time. Silva won't make the same mistake twice and I see Silva putting right when he done wrong in the first fight.

I don't see lightening striking twice!

Prediction: Anderson Silva - TKO RD 2

Heather: I have been waiting for this fight since Anderson Silva was knocked out in the last fight, the reason for that is simple.... Chris Weidman needs to win this fight to finally get some respect. I feel he has not got the respect he deserved for knocking out Anderson Silva and why.... that's simple because Anderson Silva did what Anderson Silva does in every fight the only difference was this time he got caught instead of looking flash.

It was only a matter of time with Anderson fighting the way he does before he got caught and finally Weidman did it.

I also feel that he will do the same again on Saturday night and then he will finally get some respect for the accomplishment which he has achieved. People keep saying how Anderson will be focused for this fight more than the first and will get the win, but I think that's complete rubbish. There is one man who will want to get the win more than anything on Saturday night and that man is Chris Weidman, he has everything to lose and if he does lose will probably not be getting another title shot for a while.

If Anderson changes anything then i believe it will be to Weidmans advantage. He has always thought the same way and so any changes to the way he fights may work against him.

Prediction: Chris Weidman - TKO RD 4


Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate

Strong: This is a real grudge match, with both fighters who truly have a dislike for each other. Though since their first fight in 2012 I feel Ronda is the fighter who's progressed, and Miesha has stood still or even took a step backwards.

Its going to take a special fighter to beat Ronda and feel Miesha's chance has passed. I would love to see Miesha win the title from her fierce enemy, though unless she can keep the fight standing for 3 rounds I don't see her winning.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey - Submission Rd 3

Heather: For me this is very simple... Ronda beats anyone at 135lbs and Tate only has this fight as it is good for business. She is coming in to fight the champ off a loss and nobody seems to be saying anything about it. Yet when other people get title shots when they are not the clear contender everyone bitches about the decision.

I will be surprised if it makes it past the first round and Miesha still has her arm!!

Prediction: Ronda Rousey - Armbar Rd 1


Josh Barnett vs Travis Browne

Strong: I love nothing better than a good heavyweight match up, and this is what we have right here. Both very powerful men who will look to put on an impressive performance to put themselves into the window of title contention.

Barnett will be keen to get Browne to the mat where he can do all the damage, where as Browne will do his utmost to keep the fight standing to put the advantage firmly in his favour.

Prediction: Travis Browne - TKO Rd 1

Heather: This fight has had me going back and forth in my head and to honest I am still not sure how it will pan out. I do believe these guys are right up the top of the division and a win could put them in a potential number 1 contender fight with Werdum if Cain is sidelined for a while.

As Tommy said, I also believe Browne will have the advantage standing up and he has only lost to Bigfoot Silva in a fight he looked great in until he got injured. I think if he did not get injured during the fight, that fight would have been very different. However, Barnett certainly will have the advantage on the ground.

Even as I am writing this I still don't know how it is going to go but it is certainly a fight I am looking forward to watching. I'm gonna take on punt on Browne and say he gets the W on Saturday night.

Prediction: Travis Browne - TKO Rd 3


Jim Miller vs Fabricio Camoes

Strong: Miller will be eager to get back to winning way after his loss to Healy (though later overturned to NC due to Healy's failed drugs test) I think in Camoes he has the perfect opportunity. Camoes is coming into the fight of the back of a defeat to Melvin Gulliard which is no shame, though anything he throws at Miller I can see him dealing with.

Prediction: Jim Miller - Unanimous Decision

Heather: I will not waste too much of your time in the write up for my pick for this fight. Jim Miller has a far greater set of skills to lose this fight. I am unsure of the match making behind this fight.... however a loss for Miller would be very bad for any potential future title shot he still dreams about.

Prediction: Jim Miller - Unanimous Decision


Dustin Poirier vs Diego Brandao

Strong: This is one of the fights I'm looking forward to most. It has fight of the night written all over it! Poirier will be full of confidence of the back of beating Erik Koch in August. But he will be up against it when facing former TUF 14 winner Diego Brandao.

Brandao has a wild style of fighting that will lend itself to Dustin's striking. Though, if Brandao manages to land one of his wild attacks on Poirier we should be in for a real treat of a fight.

Piorier has fought some of the best fighters within the division, Brandao hasn't fought anyone to the level of Poirier, I feel this might be the key!

Prediction: Dustin Poirier - Unanimous Decision 

Heather: Firstly Dustin Poirier is one of my favourite fighters to watch, he always comes to fight and always turns up. That being said I can guarantee to you right now that two things will happen on Saturday night.

1) Diego Brandao will come out quickly with some big shots in the first round
2) Diego Brandao will then gas..... badly!!

What happens next I believe Dustin will take care of business and weather the early onslaught before finishing a gassed Brandao in the third round and probably by pulling off another highlight reel submission.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier - Submission RD 3

Please let us know what your predictions are for this event and if you agree with both of ours.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Fighter vs Writer - UFC 168 Calderwood vs Heard

Fighter vs Writer: JoJo Calderwood - UFC 168
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 was the perfect woman for the job. After recently taking her MMA record to 8-0 at Invicta 7 with a unanimous decision win over Katja Kankaanpaa she was back in the news when Dana White told the world that the UFC will now have a 115lb womens division and that she was one of 11 women to have signed for the UFC. She is of course Jojo Calderwood and this weekend she will compete against our newest writer Sam Heard.

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

Chris Weidman vs Anderson Silva

Calderwood: I think Silva will be back to his best for this fight with a point to prove.

Prediction: Anderson Silva - TKO Round 3 

Heard: The moment we’ve all been waiting for! I believe we will see a more serious, focused Anderson Silva who will keep the clowning to a minimum. Until he got caught in the first fight, Anderson seemed quicker than Weidman and was landing hard leg kicks at will. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Anderson was able to “give back” the KO to Weidman.

However, as much as it pains me to say it, I think Weidman has the edge here. Historically, championship rematches have never failed the older fighter and though Silva is without doubt the GOAT there is no escaping the fact that he is nearing 40. Weidman is a relentless wrestler who happens to also have decent stand-up and even better submissions; everyone knows that wrestlers are the worst matchups for Anderson. He nearly got that heel hook in the first round of their first clash and I believe we could see Anderson, who could well just have accepted the rematch he initially showed no interest in for the big cheque, tap out.

Prediction: Chris Weidman - Submission Round 4

Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate

Calderwood: I'd love to see this go a bit but Ronda is pretty determined and it's going to go the way everyone expects.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey - Armbar Round 2

Heard: The bookies would have you believe this fight is certain to end with Ronda’s hand raised. I really think that they’re undervaluing Miesha Tate here. In their first match Miesha looked like she had an edge on the feet and displayed some brilliant counter-grappling to resist Ronda’s first attempt at the Armbar and even take the Bantamweight Champion’s back.

So what’s changed since then? Ronda seems to be spending an increasing amount of time on her acting career. There’s no doubting Tate seems more focused on her MMA career at this stage. Added to this, Rousey’s nature as a fighter who’s ultra-specialised in one very focused area means that training and a game plan can be focused on countering her speciality; namely that awesome Armbar of hers. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that not only does Miesha take Ronda into the uncharted territories of the 2nd and 3rd round put that she pulls off the upset.

Prediction: Miesha Tate - Unanimous Decision

Josh Barnett vs Travis Browne

Calderwood: I think Barnett is one of the best heavyweight submission guys, he's dealt with tall opponents before and I think once he gets past Browne's range I think the sub will come.

Prediction: Josh Barnett - Submission Round 2

Heard: Despite coming off two huge wins, I’m not entirely sold on Travis Browne. Though he went on to KO Overeem with that brilliant front kick, I think Overeem did enough to get the stoppage as there were stages where Browne seemed defenceless and have seen referees jump in for far less. Yes, he did beat Gonzaga but Barnett is a very different beast to the Brazillian, having competed at the top level throughout his whole career and has only ever lost to the very best.

I don’t think Barnett will manage to get the finish against Browne but I think he has an advantage in all areas. Browne’s experience is mainly limited to the first round while Barnett has gone all the way in a five round main event so expect Barnett to show better conditioning.


Prediction: Josh Barnett - Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Jim Miller vs Fabricio Camoes

Calderwood: I don't know too much about Camoes, I like watching Jim Miller fight and I'm pretty sure he's coming off a loss so he will be even more dangerous.

Prediction: Jim Miller - Unanimous Decision 

Heard: I believe this is a showcase fight for Miller with Fabricio being fed to the lions a bit. Camoes is 1-1 in the UFC and coming off a loss to inconsistent Melvin Guillard while Miller is arguably one of the best lightweights to have never had a shot at the title and is coming off a loss which he very nearly won ( and which was eventually overturned) to Pat Healy.

I think Miller has the tools to win comfortably.

Prediction: Jim Miller - Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30, 27)

Dustin Poirier vs Diego Brandao

Calderwood: Looking forward to this fight, I think it will be competitive for a round or two but Brandao will gas leaving Poirier to win on points.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier - Unanimous Decision and FOTN

Heard: There’s no doubting that Brandao’s kamikaze aggression makes for entertaining fights but it makes it very difficult to have any faith in him as a pick. He has a tendency to rush out all guns blazing for the first round only to slow down ridiculously in the latter two thirds of the fight. This bad fight IQ won’t fair well against an athlete like Poirier.

Poirier survived and overcame the elite striking skills of Erik Koch in his last fight so should be able to weather the early storm of Diego Brandao. When Brandao inevitably gases I think Poirier should be able to implement his slick submission skills and get the win in the latter part of the fight, probably by armbar or his signature d'arce choke.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier - Submission Round 3


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!!

Alexander Yakovlev‏ Not Interested in Paul Daley Rematch, Wants to Join UFC

Alexander Yakovlev‏ Not Interested in Paul Daley Rematch, Wants to Join UFC
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts


Alexander Yakovlev made his professional MMA debut in 2004, yet he will have only came to the attention of some UK MMA fans some 9 years later when he took on Paul Daley at Legends 2.

MMA fans in the UK could be forgiven for not too knowing much about the 29 year old Russian, after all, he has never fought outside of his homeland, but those will be the same fans who underestimated Yakovlev going into the fight with Daley.

After a nervy first round, Yakovlev used his background in sambo to take the fight to the ground, and out point Daley on the way to unanimous decision victory.

Daley has since questioned if he would have lost the fight, had the bout with Yakovlev took place in a cage rather than a ring and has expressed an interest in a rematch. Yakovlev has other plans however, and doesn't think the ring had any outcome on the result: 
"I am not interested in a rematch with Daley" said Yakovlev. 
"That evening I was in very good shape and I think that in this state, I would have won it anywhere, even on a football field."
A win over a former top 10 welterweight puts Yakovlev in a great position in the welterweight rankings. At 21-4 the Russian is a finisher with 16 finishes to his name - 8 by TKO & 8 by submission. Yakovlev has shown an array of striking and grappling exhibiting what a truly diverse, well rounded fighter he is. Having only lost once in 5 years and that loss came to fellow Russian and recent UFC signee Rashid Magomedov, Yakovlev is on the road to big things.

2013 has been a hugely successful year for Russian fighters in the UFC, with Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rustam Khabilov, Ali Bagautinov and Omari Akhmedov terrorising their respected weight divisions, not losing a single fight in the process. However, Yakovlev isn't surprised by the performance of his fellow countrymen:
'In Russia [there] have always been good fighters, but not always there were people who could show them to the world'
With a minimum 6 UFC events planed for Europe, the success of Nurmagomedov, Khabilov etc. has made Russian fighters hot property going into 2014, with the worlds biggest promotion signing 7 Russian fighters in recent months, and make no mistake about, Yakovlev wants a piece of the action too:
'All fighters dream of [being] in the UFC and I'm no exception. It's the best organisation in the world and there are gathered the best of the best.' 
'I am truly versatile fighter. My stand up as well as ground game are equally as good. I don't like to talk big, but I can say for sure if I'm selected, I will do my best to become the champion!'
With the rise of Russian fighters in the UFC in 2013, it won't be long before we see Yakovlev also in the worlds biggest promotion and as one of the most exciting prospect on the market, it couldn't come soon enough.... If you didn't know who Alexander Yakovlev was before the Paul Daley fight and you still don't, mark my words, you will do soon.

Monday, 23 December 2013

UFC 168 - UK Betting Odds

UFC 168 - UK Betting Odds


The UFC is back this weekend with one 2 of the biggest rematches of all time! We've team up with partners William Hill to bring those who fancy a little flutter the latest clear cut, betting odds - Good Luck, and don't miss out on your free £25 bet below!

Preliminary Card
11/8 William Macario v Bobby Voelker 4/7 
8/15 Robbie Peralta v Estevan Payan 6/4
EVS John Howard v Siyar Bahadurzada 4/5 
2/5 Dennis Siver v Manvel Gamburyan 19/10
4/6 Gleison Tibau v Michael Johnson 6/5
19/10 Chris Leben v Uriah Hall 2/5

Main Card 
4/9 Dustin Poirier v Diego Brandao 7/4 
8/15 Josh Barnett v Travis Browne 6/4
2/7 Jim Miller v Fabricio Camoes 13/5
1/8 Ronda Rousey v Miesha Tate 5/1
11/8 Chris Weidman v Anderson Silva 4/7
*Blue Denotes Favourite


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Brad Pickett Talks to Kingdom MMA About His Upcoming Fight with Ian McCall

Kingdom MMA caught up with Brad "One Punch" Pickett to discuss dropping to 125lbs and his next fight

by Ben Heather @benheather and Tommy Strong @Strong_tea



On Friday we caught up with the one and only Brad "One Punch" Pickett (23-8 MMA 3-3 UFC) to discuss the news which was recently announced on UFC Beyond The Octagon where he announced he was going to be dropping to flyweight and will fight Ian "Uncle Creepy" McCall (12-4-1 MMA 1-2-1 UFC) in his flyweight debut at the O2 Arena in his home town of London on 8th March 2014.

That fight certainly has already got a lot of buzz surrounding it and people are excited to see just how Brad gets on at flyweight. So we asked him:

Ben: Firstly, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. What made you decide that it was the right time now to drop down in weight?
Pickett: I made the decision originally to drop down in weight when i was on my honeymoon. I had a lot of time to myself as it was really quiet in the Maldives and you start thinking about a lot of things.

For me being a fighter, I needed challenges. At the moment I am ranked number 5 in the bantamweight division. There are four people above me, I have fought three of them and lost to all of them so there wasn't really anywhere for me to go. The only people I had left to fight were people who were ranked lower than myself and for me that was something to not really be motivated for and I wanted motivating and I wanted to have a challenge.

With me not being the biggest bantamweight I thought it would be possible to go down a weight class, to reinvent myself and to have a new challenge so that's what I did. Also, the other factor in it is I have a win over the champion so that was another little factor but it wasn't the main factor. The main factor was to get a new challenge.

Ben: Had you thought about it at all before the McDonald fight?
Pickett: No, It was when I was on my honeymoon. I had the McDonald fight and if I had beat him I would have been in line for a title shot. You don't look to change things when you are winning its when you lose that you look to change things so I didn't even think about it until after I got married and was on my honeymoon.

Ben: Was it completely your idea to drop down in weight or had it been suggested to you beforehand which led you to consider it?
Pickett: It has always been loosely suggested because obviously I have beaten Demetrious Johnson so everyone would suggest it but I have never really looked at it as a possibility, as I wasn't doing too bad as a bantamweight. I was up there in the mix and with a win or two I was in line for a title shot so that's why I didn't want to lose another 10lbs and go down a weight class. As soon as there was no more challenges left for me at that weight class I wanted to make a new challenge for myself.

Ben: Have you done a trial cut or do you have plans to do a practise cut before your fight?
Pickett: I don't do test weight cuts, I don't believe in them personally. Its a really mentally tough thing to do weight cutting if you're cutting a lot of weight and I think unless you have something at the end of it, like a fight you're not really gonna mentally do it.

I will make the weight but I will do it when it comes to fight I've got everything in order. Obviously I walk around a lot lighter now, I walk around 10lbs lighter now because I've got to cut that extra 10lbs and now I am stabilised at this weight as well I don't have to diet to stay here.

Ben: Will Christmas have any impact on the weight and drop to flyweight? After all its a time when people tend to eat more unhealthy foods.
Pickett: Not too bad, my weight is quite good at the moment. I will eat over Christmas and I still got a lot of time next year to do it and I am going away in January to America and that's when I will concentrate a lot more on the weight cut.

Ben: Will you be going back to American Top Team for this camp?
Pickett: Yes I will be going back to Florida, that's always where I do my training camps so I am looking forward to going back there. I will be there for 8 weeks and come back a week before the fight

Ben: What do you think you gain by going to America and ATT that you cant get in the UK?
Pickett: one, there is a lot more full time training partners so I have a lot more full time people who are my size to train with.

The other factors and the reason I go to America is because I go away to train so I can get away from my day to day distractions. The lifestyle you are used to eating, diet, your friends and your social life. Its hard to concentrate on a training camp when you are still around everything. That's why I go to America because its so easy to switch on and focus on my diet, my training, everything and its all about me just training for this fight.

Ben: When you knew that you was going to be dropping down to flyweight did you ask to fight McCall or was this fight given to you?
Pickett: I like to look at fights that make sense and to me the McCall fight made sense. He was available as he was supposed to fight Scott Jorgensen and he got injured so timing wise he will be back in the right time and I wanted to fight a tough opponent within the weight class so Ian made sense.

Ben: What do you think McCall's main strengths are and how do you match up to them?
Pickett: His main strengths.... well he is very well rounded and I am very well rounded but I do believe I am a little bit better than him in every area.

Ben: How does it feel knowing you will be fighting in your home town for the UFC?
Pickett: Yeah I am excited, I have fought in London before and I have fought for the UFC before but I have never fought in London for the UFC and for me to do that at the O2 which in my eyes is the best arena in Europe let alone England. I can't wait I am so excited

Ben: What are your opinions of the other contenders to the flyweight belt. Guys such as Lineker, Benevidez and Dodson to name just a couple.
Pickett: They are all exciting fights and fighters to watch but to me at the minute I am just focusing on McCall. Hopefully I will be able to beat McCall and then I can look at other people after the fight. They are all exciting and well rounded and the division is getting more stacked all the time so its an exciting division to be involved in.

Ben: Do you believe a win over McCall and the fact you have beaten Demetrious Johnson before will be enough to get you a title fight off the back of this fight?
Pickett: I believe so. I think he has cleaned out most of the weightclass at the moment and there is no real contenders for him that he hasn't thought so I believe a win over McCall could potentially put me in line for a title shot.

Ben: Would you like to thank anyone?
Pickett: Yeah I would like to thank all my supporters and all my fans.
My two teams American Top Team and Team Titan and all of my sponsors who have supported me.


Thank you so much for your time to do the interview with us and we wish you a safe trip to America for the camp and can't wait to see you fight in your home town on March 8th. Also we would like to take this opportunity to wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and all of your family.

Montague vs Campuzano announced for UFC 171

Darrell Montague vs. Will Campuzano Added to UFC 171 in Dallas

by John Haigh @JohnBJayHaigh


According to UFC officials Flyweights Darrell Montague and Will Campuzano have agreed to fight at UFC 171 on March 15th in Dallas.
Montague (13-3) enters the fight on the heels of a loss in his UFC debut. After winning four consecutive fights to earn his shot in the Octagon, Montague was knocked out by top contender John Dodson at UFC 166 in October.
Montague’s opponent, Campuzano (13-5), is in a similar situation. He exited the UFC in early 2011 following a 0-2 run, but recently returned following a five-fight winning streak.
Campuzano’s return didn’t go as smoothly as he had hoped, losing a unanimous decision to undefeated Sergio Pettis at UFC 167 in November.
Both fighters will see the fight as a path to redemption.
The UFC 171 fight card is slated for a headlining bout between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler, as they battle for the vacant UFC welterweight title after former champion Georges St-Pierre relinquished the belt last week to take some much-needed time off.

Lineker vs Bagautinov and Trujillo vs Green Set For UFC 169

Lineker vs Bagautinov and Trujillo vs Green Set For UFC 169

by Tommy Strong @Strong_tea


UFC 169 has just got better, with the announcement that two of the top fighters in the flyweights division are due to face each other on the 1st February 2014 in New Jersey.

Lineker (23-6) has failed to make the 125lb flyweight limit in 3 of his last 5 fights. Most recently when weighing in at 128lbs when he faced Phil Harris in Manchester England at UFC Fight Night 30 winning via first round KO. He will be looking to make sure this doesn't happen again as he nears that title shot! Another failure making weight would put a massive dent in his title hopes if he was to win.

At the age of only 23, Lineker has amassed 29 professional fights already in his career, only losing 1 of his last 18 fights which came at the hands of Louis Gaudinot.

Lineker will be facing the highly talented Russian Ali Bagautinov (12-2) , who is unbeaten since May 2011 and currently on a 10 fight tear, with his most recent victory coming over Tim Elliot at UFC 167.

With fighting nicknames of 'Hands of Stone' and 'Puncher King' this is surely going to be a highlight of the night!

Also announced for UFC 169, lightweights Bobby Green vs Abel Trujillo are set to face off

Both fighters are coming off victories only last week at UFC Fox 9 and most arguably their best performances to date within the UFC.

Abel Trujillo (11-5-1NC) put on a stunning performance in defeating Roger Bowling via second round TKO in their rematch fight. Their first bout was deemed a no contest after Trujillo landed an illegal knee with Bowling unable to continue.

Bobby Green (22-5) put on a clinical display out pointing the very durable Pat Healy to earn himself a unanimous decision victory and extend his winning streak to 7 fights!

UFC 169 will see the long awaited return of Dominic Cruz who after 2 years out injured, will be putting his Bantamweight title on the line against the interim champion Renan Barao.

Assuncao vs Rivera set for UFC 170

Raphael Assuncao vs. Francisco Rivera added to UFC 170

by John Haigh @JohnBJayHaigh


On Wednesday UFC officials announced a bantamweight bout between Raphael Assuncao and Francisco Rivera at UFC 170 in Las Vegas on 22nd February.

Assuncao (21-4) appeared on his last legs in the UFC at featherweight, having lost three of his last four fights at 145 pounds before moving down to bantamweight. He is currently undefeated since dropping to 135 pounds, winning five consecutive fights and making an impact on the division’s Top 5.

Rivera (10-2, 1 NC) is unbeaten in his last six trips to the Octagon, although one of those fights ended in a no contest. Rivera had initially scored a knockout victory over Roland Delorme, but tested positive for a banned substance in the post-fight drug tests, thus the fight’s result was changed to a no contest. He has since won back-to-back fights over Edwin Figueroa and George Roop.

A win could see Raphael Assuncao continue to climb further into the top five whole a victory for Francisco Rivera could see him break into the top ten.

UFC 170 is headlined by a five-round, non-title fight main event with former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans welcoming Daniel Cormier to the light heavyweight division.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Two Middleweight battles added to the UFC's return to London

Barnatt and Scott set to defend British pride as the UFC returns to the UK

by Sam Heard @SamHeard_


The already-juicy UFC Fight Night card billed to take place in our great capital’s 02 Arena this March had two additional middleweight fights added earlier this week. Cambridge’s Luke Barnatt has been matched against Sweden’s Mats Nilsson while Somerset-born Brad “Bear” Scott will fight Claudio Henrique da Silva.


Luke “Bigslow” Barnatt (7-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs Mats Nilsson (11-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC)

Team Sonnen’s first pick in the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter, Bigslow has lived up to the outspoken American’s high expectations of him, already having been victorious twice in the Octagon as well as picking up that coveted Fight of the Night Bonus. Barnatt’s Fight of the Night against Andrew Craig was an amazing bout. On two occasions Barnatt dropped the American and thought the fight was finished only for Craig to make an unexpected recovery. Craig – who was as high as a 4/9 favourite going into the fight with big wins over fighters like Chris Leben and Rafael Natal – was finally overwhelmed by Barnatt’s slick ground game as Bigslow locked in a rear-naked choke. Bigslow has garnered a great deal of popularity for his charisma and direct nature. Comically he and fellow UK fighter Conor McGregor have become involved in a twitter beef after Bigslow criticised the Irishman’s unwarranted hype. It’s a wonder featherweight McGregor – who has been known to pick fights with people ridiculously far outside his weight class – hasn’t challenged the 6’6” Barnatt to a fight!
Bigslow’s opponent making his debut in the UFC is Sweden’s Mats Nilsson. Nilsson will be well known to UK MMA fans after stringing together wins in Cardiff and Glasgow for Cage Warriors in 2013. Having picked up wins in seven of his last eight fights, there is little wonder Nilsson has been enlisted by the UFC and he is certainly a tough test for Barnatt.

Brad “Bear” Scott (9-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs Claudio Henrique da Silva (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC)

Brad Scott looks to build on his success from UFC Fight Night 30 with his decisive first round submission victory over fearsome Dutch striker Michael Kuiper. Fighting in Manchester after a near-year hiatus following his loss to Robert Whittaker, doubters of Scott thought ring-rust combined with a dangerous opponent spelt the worst for Scott. He silenced the doubters dramatically with his first round victory and doubtless filled the wallets of shrewd MMA punters having been offered at tall 3/1 betting odds.
Like Mats Nilsson, Claudio Henriqeu da Silva will be welcomed to his Octagon debut by a Brit coming off a massive win. In very unusual circumstances, the Brazillian Da Silva may have more right to claim the home field advantage over Brad Scott as he trains full time in London with the Shootfighters gym. Da Silva has successively won nine fights with eight of the victories coming within the distance.

Both these fights are very welcome additions to an already brilliant card. Best of luck to Luke and Brad from Kingdom MMA in their preparations for the fights; we can’t wait to see them do what they do best on 8th March.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Has Antonio Silva Put His "BigFoot" In It This Time?

Does Silva's failed drug test take anything away from his battle with Mark Hunt?

by Tommy Strong @strong_tea


Just over a week ago in the early hours of Sunday morning, I found myself climbing off my comfy sofa and standing to applaud both fighters in awe of one of the finest fights I've had the privilege of watching! Antonio Silva and Mark Hunt gave everything they had in their main event battle in what surely will go down as one of the best fights of the year!

Though, a week later it feels as something has been taken away from that fight. Having heard Antonio Silva failed his post fight drugs test for elevated levels of TRT. Just those three letters are driving fans away from a sport we all love and admire.

This isn't the first time Silva has failed a drugs test. The first was back in 2008 having won the EliteXC heavyweight championship by beating Justin Eilers. He later tested positive for using a banned substance Boldenone where he received a $2,500 fine and a year ban from the sport.

The UFC have notable fighters who have a TRT exemption the likes of Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin and Frank Mir to name a few. Before this weeks news of Silva failing his post fight drugs test for elevated levels of TRT, I wasn't even aware Silva had an exemption. Prompting me to think who else is on this without us knowing?

Whether you believe its a performance enhancer or not, something has to be done to make it an even playing field! Fighters are always looking to get that edge, but it shouldn't come at the safety of the fighters?
But thats for another debate.

Will this take anything away from the fight? If Im honest with himself I don't think it will. Silly as it probably sounds. If the fight had title implications then maybe it would've bothered me more. I'm not condoning the use of PEDS or TRT as I'm the first to speak out about any form of use. I just feel though for some reason, when I think of this fight the TRT isn't stuck in my head.

My honest feeling about this is too many fighters are trying to gain an advantage using TRT when 'maybe' they don't need it!

Antonio Silva has pleaded his innocence today, claiming on Facebook:

"I'm cool because I know that the mistake was not made by me, he wrote. I never tried doing anything wrong for my fight."
Not only has Silva forgone his $50k fight of the night bonus he earn't for the fight, he will see himself sitting on the sidelines for 9 months before he's granted his license back.

Maybe the only winner from all this is Mark Hunt who not only collects $50,000 for fight of the night bonus, but also picks up Antonio Silva's $50,000 in the process!

Well done Mark!!

Jack Mason: Cage Warriors 61 post fight interview


Jack Mason speaks to Kingdom MMA after Cage Warriors 61 win

by Ben Heather @benheather

(Photo Copyright: Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors)

Last Friday Cage Warriors returned to a very snowy Amman, Jordan for Cage Warriors 61 for its penultimate show of 2013. The event was disrupted by the show with some fighters not being able to make it and a couple of fights ended up unfortunately being called off. However, the fights that did take place certainly delivered.

The co main event of the night was a welterweight battle between Jack Mason and Seydina Seck which saw one of the most controversial points of the night when the referee stopped the fight thinking Seck had been choked unconscious only for him to be fine and the fight restarted on its feet. Today we caught up with Jack Mason to discuss his win, that controversial moment as well as much more.

Ben: Hi Jack, thanks again for your time. How was the camp going in to this fight?
Mason: Camp couldn’t have been much better to be honest. I’ve been pretty busy with my day job the back end of this year delivering some pretty stressful projects but I’ve managed to work out a training schedule that works for me and around work.

I’ve been working a lot more on my boxing with coaches John Tandy and Adam Brearley of the Tandy Boxing team and also the Tsunami boxing coach Stephen Whitwell. I think this has helped my game tremendously and I think it showed with how comfortable I looked on the feet in my last bout.

I feel like my overall game is improving every time out and that’s thanks to all my coaches and team mates at Tsunami Gym and BKK Fighters and also my wrestling coach Nick Albert.

I actually managed to complete this camp without picking up any significant injuries which is a very rare occurrence and I probably owe this to the work I’ve been doing with my strength coach Laurence Irving and my physiotherapist Jon McCornish.

Ben: How did you feel when you was originally asked to be a part of the Baghdad card? Did you have any worries?
Mason: Originally when I agreed to take part in the event I was just simply excited however the closer we got to the event and the more I googled it I must admit I did start to have a few second thoughts! LOL

Ben: What was the reaction from your friends and family when you told them you was going to fight in Iraq?
Mason: Well my girlfriend forbid me to go and I didn’t even dare tell my mum!

Ben: Since the fight was first announced it got moved to Jordan  in the same arena as your previous fight. Do you believe that gave you an advantage going into this fight because of your experience of fighting in Jordan before?
Mason: Not really, a fight is a fight wherever it is as once the cage door is locked it’s just you and your opponent and the location rarely has an impact. It may have been a slight advantage to me because I was able to visualise how I was going to win the fight in a cage I had been before.

Ben: This fight was the first time in a while where you actually got to fight the person you have trained for after your last two fights had a late change of opponent. How frustrating is it to prepare for one guy and have to fight another without training for him?
Mason: Haha, yes that’s a strange circumstance for me fighting the guy I had been training for all camp! Big respect to Seydina Seck for keeping by his word and showing up to the fight well prepared. It’s extremely frustrating to prepare for an opponent all camp only to have him pull out and get a change of opponent last minute. It’s even worse if the guy is a particular specialist in a certain area and the new opponent is very different stylistically, I had that situation when Carvalho pulled out with 5 days to go and I got Ali Arish instead. Hugely frustrating!

Ben: Following on from the last question is it hard to keep focused on a fight when you get a late opponent change?
Mason: Yeah it can be. In the Carvalho/ Arish situation it was literally so close to the fight when the opponent got switched that I had no time to prepare as was just focusing on making weight. I also had Carvalho mouthing off on social media about still wanting to fight me, even though he had failed to show up to the fight because he couldn’t have the corner man he wanted as his passport had expired. That really wound me up and I didn’t focus on the new opponent in Arish like I should have done and I think it showed in my performance. I won’t make that same mistake again and it was a lesson learnt for me.

Ben: Was the plan for this fight to get Seydina Seck to the ground and unload some of your brutal ground and pound which you showcased in the previous fight against Vladimir Opanasenko?
Mason: I had planned to use my boxing more and to try and show my improved hand skills on my feet but yes I ultimately saw the end to the fight via ground and pound. Seck did an amazing job of tying me up, not giving me any space and neutralising my ground and pound so that’s something I have to take away and improve on from this fight.

Ben: Ahead of this fight what did you make of Seck's skills and what did you expect from him? how did your thoughts compare to what he did in the fight?
Mason: The fight panned out very much how I had visualised and rehearsed it over and over except for the lack of finish! I had watched loads of tape on Seck and knew his was very dangerous as he’s knocked out UFC vet Simeon Thorensen, beaten former Cage Warriors champ Gael Grimaud and other top European fighters such as Florent Betorangel who gave Jim Wallhead a run for his money last weekend too.

I knew he’d be looking to kick me to the legs and throw overhands to try and knock me out, I also expected him to be difficult to take down as he’s a short, strong guy and that’s pretty much how the fight went. I was very disappointed that I didn’t get the finish but I’m very glad to end the year with a good win over a very solid opponent.

Ben: There was an incident in the third round where you almost had the fight won, the choke was locked in and the ref stopped the fight only for it to be restarted again but not on the ground where you had control instead back on the feet.

Please can you talk us through what happened and your thoughts on the incident?
Mason: I’ve actually had a chance to watch the fight back and as I am rolling Seck to get the top position with the guillotine it really does look like Seydina goes limp so I perfectly understand why referee Rich Mitchell thought the fight was over right there. It’s a really tough situation because as Rich asked me to let go of the choke it was clear that Seydina was still conscious and he couldn’t give me the win there, the only fair thing to do was to restart it on the feet as with any other restart from a different position would have been debated at length between me and Seydina I am sure as we were mid-submission and mid-roll!

It’s an unfortunate situation but I’d much rather have restarted where we were rather than it be called a no contest or something.

Ben: How worried were you while waiting to hear the judges scorecards after the fight? I believe if the fight wasn't stopped prematurely in the third and restarted you would have won by submission. Did any doubts cross your mind that you were not gonna get the win?
Mason: I knew the 1st round was close but I was absolutely confident that I’d won rounds 2 and 3 so I was very confident that I’d get the unanimous decision but very disappointed in myself that I didn’t get a finish in the fight.

Ben: You are 6-1 in your last 7 fights and 9-2 from your last 11 fights. Do you believe you now deserve a shot at the Cage Warriors welterweight title?
Mason: It’s a fact that I’ve got more wins on Cage Warriors FC than any other Welterweight that is currently on the Cage Warriors roster including the current champ. It’s also a fact that I have won more fights on Cage Warriors FC than any other fighter in 2013 (so far).

I will leave it up to the Cage Warriors bosses to determine when I have earned my shot, I feel am ready for it now though.

Ben: As well as fighting you also coach a lot of up and coming talented fighters. What do you get more enjoyment from, seeing your students win or winning your own fights?
Mason: That’s an easy question to answer! Watching Arnold Allen win by knockout on the same event that I fought on gave me far more enjoyment and satisfaction than my own victory! I hope to be coaching MMA for years after I retire from competing myself and am sure the lads at BKK Fighters will go on to achieve things in the sport I could only dream of!

Ben: This fight was your 6th fight in the space of 12 months,  that must make you one of if not the most active fighter in cage warriors. Would you like to be as active next year?
Mason: Whilst I am still young (sort of), injury free and have no kids I want to fight as often as is possible and enjoy my MMA career as much as I can. As soon as I have kids there is no way I could devote the time to training for fights, coaching and hold down a full time job as well and something will have to give and that is likely to be the competing. Therefore I want to get the most enjoyment from my MMA career as I can in the short period of time I have left!

Ben: Finally, with it coming to the end of the year what has been your highlight of 2013 and what is your main goal in 2014?
Mason: I’ve had a great 2013 and my highlights of the year so far are headlining a Cage Warriors card in the UAE, getting a great TKO finish over a tough Russian in front of an insane capacity crowd on Cage Warriors in Jordan, watching Arnold Allen and Sean Carter make their impact on their respective Cage Warriors divisions and seeing Luke Barnatt demolish the highly ranked Andrew Craig at the UFC in Manchester. I hope we end the year on an even bigger high with a John Maguire and Sean Carter double victory on New Years Eve.

Cage Warriors FC welterweight gold is my only personal MMA goal in 2014. I also plan to help the BKK Fighters and Tsunami Gym teams go unbeaten next year.

Ben: Would you like to thank anyone?
Mason: Thanks very much for the interview and thanks to my management, coaches, team mates, family and friends and to everyone for all the support for this fight and my career so far!

I’d also like to say a huge thank you to my sponsors, please check out their websites and follow them on Twitter:

         www.britishfighter.co.uk                        @BritishF1ghter
         www.chelmsfordphysio.co.uk                @ChelmsforPhysio
         www.blankmmauk.com                         @BlankMMAUK
         www.qntuk.com                                    @QNTUK
         www.funkygums.com                             @FUNKYGUMS
         www.ignitept.co.uk                                @LI_Strength
         www.coconoil.co.uk                              @Coconoil

Thank you very much for your time Jack, we all wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you fight again in 2014 and hopefully we will see you achieve your goals.

Footasylum

5 MMA Fighters Who May Be Better Off Kickboxing in 2014


5 MMA Fighters Who May Be Better Off Kickboxing in 2014
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts



Alistair Overeem

If Overeem loses his upcoming fight against Frank Mir it's safe to say he's done, he's through, he's out.... peace.
3 losses in a row in the UFC is not good for anyone, especially not someone who is ridiculous paid, has lost his fights due to arrogant mistakes, and has recently been popped for juicing.

If Overeem were to get cut I can't see Bellator or WSOF interested in him, and I can't see any other MMA promotion in the world being able to afford to offer him regular fights. This for me if where Glory would step in.

On the rise Glory have some of the best Light-heavyweight and heavyweight fights in the world including Schilt, Saki, and Tyrone Spong. Armed with deals with Spike and BT sports, Glory have put on event after event of quality kickboxing which are threaten to take away some of the UFCs steam in the near future.

Should Overeem lose to Frank Mir, who is no easy fight, I feel the opportunity to sign a known MMA fighter, with legitimate kickboxing credential would be too good for Glory to pass up on.

Paul Daley

Paul Daleys inclusion on this list differs from most of the other fighters in that he may be too good for the level of competition he is fighting in MMA at this point.

A former top 10 welterweight, Paul Daley deserves to be fighting at the highest level. Having fought all over the world, Daley has knocked out some of the best welterweights to ever enter into a cage. However 2013 sees Daley fighting cans like Romario Manoel da Silva, Lukasz Chlewicki, and Patrick Vallee.

Having been cut from the UFCs roster for punching Josh Koscheck after the bell, and having been released from Bellator due to a legal issue outside of the cage, there's aren't many fights available to Daley where his opponent will have enough in his arsine to make the fight semi-competitive. This is where kickboxing comes into play.

Having already agreed to compete in kickboxing as well as MMA in 2014, Daley has an avenue to rise back to his former glory in 2014, establishing himself as a kickboxer worthy of competing for promotions such as Glory, K-1, and Legends, all which can offer Daley a bigger platform than the one he is currently on.

Pat Barry

As exciting as Pat Barry's fight are (while they last), Barry is simply not cut out for the level at which he is competing, and it's starting to feel like it might getting a little bit bad for his health at this point.

Barry is one of the best strikers in the heavyweight division - his kicks are some of the hardest in MMA, but unfortunately for Barry he is not physical enough, nor does he have the ground game to compete with most of the fighters in his weight division.

At 235lb Barry is not a massive heavyweight, and could probably make the cut to 205lb, however I genuinely don't see this making a difference for him. I still see him being man handled at light-heavyweight, possibly even more so than he is at heavyweight.

With a record of 5-7 in the UFC on paper Barry looks like he has what it takes to pick up a few wins here and there, however upon further inspection, you will see all the guys he's beat have since been deemed as not good enough for the UFC either and have all been handed their release papers.

When I say Barry isn't good enough for the level of competition he's facing, I don't just mean the UFC, I mean national MMA in general as I don't envision Barry performing too well in Bellator or WSOF either. Both promotions have several fights that would have no problem beating Barry: Kongo, Lavar Johnson, Arlovski, Mike Russow, and that's just a few off the top of my head.

What's keeping Barry around at this point is his fights are exciting, but getting knocked out is no good for anyone especially when it's 230lb plus guys knocking you out. It also feels that Pat Barry is easier to put away with each outing - example being Barrry's most recent fight against Soa Palelei where it looked as if Barry's chin had deserted him.

With all this being said Pat Barry is a great fighter, just not the well rounded fighter required to compete at the top level in MMA. Having competed to one the the highest levels in Kickboxing while with K1, Barry may find that not only may he have more success fighting under kickboxing rules in 2014, it will be a whole lot safer for him.

Thiago Alves

Alves' inclusion is very similar to Overeems in the fact that he can't afford to lose in 2014. Unfortunately though for Alves by the time he steps in the octagon he will have been out of action for over 2 years.

2-4 in his last 6 fights, Alves will be in desperate need of a win his next outing, or face the likely chop from the UFC.

Fighting for a health purse of $60,000 a fight, Alves does not come cheap, especially when you consider the UFC have been footing his medical bills for the last 2 years.

Should Alves ultimately be cut in 2014 it's hard to see any promotion paying anywhere near this kind of money especially when you consider the only 2 leagues (WSOF and Bellator) on the planet who may be willing to dig deep enough to cough up that kinda change, have divisions chocked up of guys that would beat Alves.The likes of Fitch, Palharis, Lima, Burrell etc. shouldn't have a problem despatching an apprehensive Thiago Alves who is worried about being taken down, and therefore hesitant to strike.

That being said, when he is trading Alves Is a formidable striker capable of finishing just about anyone on Gods green earth with a variety of strikes. He is still a marketable name too thanks to his 2008/09 title run, so much so he actually headlined the last UFC event he fought at before his injury.

With a catalogue of brutal knocks, and a marketable name, signing Alves would be an attractive proposition for almost any kickboxing promotion out there. Should Alves be released from the UFC, he may actually be better off leaving MMA for kickboxing, a sport that may suit Alves' fighting style a little more at this point.

Cris Justino

Justino is an absolute beast. Facts are Justino could carry on fight MMA and beating the worlds best 145lb women in the world as she has done her whole career, but what's the point? Justino insists on fighting at 145lb, a weight category 10lbs heavier than anyone actually cares about.

Being one of the most feared strikers in all MMA - men and women, Justino has made of career of battering high level strikers such as Gina Carano and most recent French Muay Thai champion Jenifier Colomb at all kickboxing event Lion Fights.

If it is genuinely true and Justino can't go down to 135lbs, I really don't see the point in her sticking around fighting 145ers who can't / won't bring their weight down for a shot at the UFC either. Having recently competed in a kickboxing event to great success, maybe Justino should consider hanging up her 4 ounce groves and commit full time to a growing sport which can provide her with a greater level of competition, and the opportunity to fight more often.

Press Release: UK Airing Time Changed for Glory 13 Tokyo


Press Release: UK Airing Time Changed for Glory 13 Tokyo


The event was originally due to air live from 10:00am this Saturday 21 December, but fan feedback suggested that a night-time airing was preferred.
“A sizeable number of UK fans complained to us that they would miss the morning broadcast due to Saturday being their last chance to do some Christmas shopping,” explained a GLORY spokesman.

“So we spoke with BT Sports and when we learned that a late-night slot was available, we requested the switch.

“Fans can now do what they need to do in the day, then have a few friends round at night for GLORY 13 TOKYO to start their Christmas holiday with a bang.”

A live stream of the Tokyo SuperFight Series is available to UK fans (airing 7:30am GMT on Saturday) and worldwide via the GloryWorldSeries.com stream - and as a Christmas gift from GLORY, you can also get a 25% ($5 USD) discount on the purchase of the Tokyo SuperFight Series, using the code GlorySuperFightsUK5.

Additionally, with purchase the Tokyo SuperFight Series, you will receive a second discount code via email valid for 50% ($10 USD) off the purchase of GLORY 13 Tokyo, airing at 10:00am GMT.

GLORY 13 TOKYO is headlined by kickboxing legend Peter Aerts 103-30-1 (78 KO's) in his retirement fight against the GLORY Heavyweight Championship Tournament winner Rico Verhoeven 42-9-0 (10 KO's).

In the co-main event, Daniel Ghita 49-10-0 (38 KO's) looks to position himself as a heavyweight contender for 2014 by taking out ‘The Bonecrusher’ Errol Zimmerman 101-10-1 (42 KO's).

The event’s centerpiece is a four-man Welterweight Championship Tournament with a $150,000 prize on the line.

World-ranked #1 Nieky ‘The Natural’ Holzken 82-11-0 (43 KO's) lines up alongside Canadian prodigy ‘Bazooka Joe’ Valtellini 10-1-0 (9 KO's), undefeated karate master Raymond Daniels 24-0-0 (14 KO's) and the relentless Karapet Karapetyan 42-8-2 (4 KO's) in one of the year’s most action-packed events.

More information on Glory 13 Tokyo available from GloryWorldSeries.com

Johny Hendricks Meets Robbie Lawler For The Vacant UFC Welterweight Belt

Who will be crowned the new UFC Welterweight Champion? and is this the right match up?

by Tommy Strong @strong_tea

With the news that current UFC Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will vacate his title and take an indefinite leave of absence from the sport. Everyone was wondering, what would happen next?

Well, in true Dana White style it wasn't long before we found out!  Dana announced soon after that Johny Hendricks would be fighting Robbie Lawler for the vacant Welterweight bout which will be the main event for UFC 171, taking place in Dallas, Texas on the 15th March 2014.

Hendricks (15-2 MMA,10-2 UFC) who probably still can't believe he isn't already the welterweight champion after losing in controversial fashion to GSP in a razor thin split decision only last month at UFC 167. However, the news of this title shot surely would've eased the pain of that loss, knowing he will have the chance once again to win the title, this time in his own backyard!!

Many felt a little surprised that the opportunity would fall at the feet of Robbie Lawler (22-9-1 MMA,7-3UFC) having fought in Strikeforce prior and having a 3-5 record in his 8 fights with the organisation, you would've had to be mystic meg to try and predict what would happen next!!

He'd enter the UFC and in doing so, moving down from middleweight to welterweight, he'd  knock out the durable Josh Koscheck inside the first round on his return, following that up with a stunning KO over Bobby Voelker. Then to top things off being matched up with the fighter that many believed would go onto emulate GSP one day, and hold the welterweight belt for years to come. Lawler put on one of this best performances to date with a clinical display outscoring Rory MacDonald to win via split decision at UFC 167 in November.

Lets be honest here,  we've seen a fair few 'undeserving' title fights over the years, and more recently Chael Sonnen getting a title shot at light heavyweight when the last time he fought there was 2005!!
Yes you could make arguments for a few other fighters to get their chance, but here and now this is in my eyes is the perfect match up!

Lets look at a few other fighters in the frame:

Carlos Condit: 
Coming off Losses to GSP for the title and then Johny Hendricks more recently, it would be hard to gift him a title shot after getting back to winning ways beating Martin Kampmann via TKO.
A win against a Tyron Woodley will surely put him back into title contention.

Rory MacDonald: 
If he'd beaten Robbie Lawler there's no doubt we would've seen Hendricks vs MacDonald! Though this defeat is a setback for the young man! Up next for Rory is a really tough battle when he faces Demian Maia at UFC 170.

Jake Ellenberger: 
Seems to be the 'nearly man' Super talented fighter who just come up short when he's been in great positions. More recently losing via unanimous decision to Rory MacDonald in what will go down as a stinker. He's a couple fights away from being in the mix.

Jake Shields: 
Could arguably be in the frame if not for failing a drugs test after defeating Ed Herman at UFC 150. Though this was at middleweight he would've now been on a 4 fight winning streak since losing back to back fights against GSP (for the title) and Jake Ellenberger.

Since returning from his ban, Jake has done what he does best, grinds wins out with victories over Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia both via split decision.

The biggest downfall for Jake is his style of fighting which doesn't appeal to the masses.

Matt Brown: 
The guy I feel for the most here. Brown scheduled to fight Carlos Condit only this week had to pull out due to an injury, will now see the chances of him getting closer to that title shot fading away. Now Carlos has a fight with Tyron Woodley lined up, where does this leave Brown who is currently sat on a 6 fight winning streak?!!

I for one hope he gets a fight that pushing him closer to the title and up the rankings! Jake Ellenberger?

Whether you agree or disagree with Hendricks vs Lawler fighting for the vacant welterweight belt, I think there is one thing we will all agree upon.....

With two southpaws who love to throw bombs and both posses frightening punching power we can only imagine this fight isn't going the distance!!!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Cage Warriors 61: Arnold Allen Post Fight Interview

Arnold Allen speaks to Kingdom MMA after Cage Warriors 61 victory

by Ben Heather @benheather


At Cage Warriors 61 on Friday afternoon, Arnold Allen opened up the prelims with a great performance against Doni Miller. It was a fight in which Arnold showcased his ever improving skills and kept his undefeated record intact taking it now to 6-0, proving once again that he is a star of the future and certainly a fighter to keep track of in 2014. Today Kingdom MMA caught up with Arnold to discuss that fight at Cage Warriors 61.

Ben: Firstly, what a great performance you put on Friday night, how did you feel the fight went?
Allen: I was happy with the fight I did what I wanted to do which is to use my boxing more and get comfortable on my feet!

Ben: Did Doni do anything in the fight which surprised you or that you were not prepared for?
Allen: I didn't know Doni would fight as a southpaw and I thought he would try take me down so I had to make a few changes in the fight

Ben: Half way through round 1 it looked like you may have got caught with a couple of shots before coming back swinging and flooring Miller, were you hurt at all?
Allen: I was winded with the knee that he landed which I'm convinced was a one week death knee.

Ben: Then while on the floor Doni was landing some big elbows to the top of your head did any of those do any damage or did you manage to block those with your hands?
Allen: They all hit my gloves so they did no damage, my head is fine haha.

Ben: Do you feel when the fight hit the floor you could have gone for the finish in round 1?
Allen: Definitely I just fell into his guard and he did a great job of tying me up and recovering.

Ben: Were you sick between rounds 1 and 2? The camera was on you to begin with then it looked like you were before the camera quickly changed to the other corner. If you were sick do you have any idea what caused it?
Allen: Haha maybe a little bit and I was feeling a little bit funny before. I think just a bug as I'm still feeling sick now.

Ben: You finished the fight in the second round, talk us through those closing stages before the ref stopped the fight.
Allen: Yeah I dropped Doni with a left hand and started landing shots and he went limp for a second and I woke him up with another punch but the ref had stopped it already.

Ben: Do you think the referee stopped the fight early? As Doni Miller seemed very upset by the decision, even pushing the referee after the fight which no matter how he felt the decision went should never happen. A fighter should never lay his hands on the officials.
Allen: I think it was good stoppage he went limp, fair enough he came back round quick but I wasn't going to stop punching him after he woke up.

Ben: After the fight what did you say to Doni as he seemed to keep confronting you and talking about something after complaining about the decision?
Allen: I just asked him to watch the fight back.

Ben: You told us last week that you would love to finish the fight with a knock out and then delivered on Saturday night, how did that feel?
Allen: It's great to back up what you've said your going to do, I'm just happy I used my hands more as all people have seen is my ko win on my debut.

Ben: You had a very experienced corner for this fight with Luke Barnatt, Jack mason and Jason Cooledge in your corner. How much confidence did you gain from that?
Allen: It's an awesome corner Jason Cooledge and Luke Barnatt were so helpful for me and Jack from the minute we landed to getting our hands raised, they helped every step of the way. It's awesome having such a powerful corner, especially Jack who's seen every situation in a fight possible.

Ben: What's next for Arnold Allen?
Allen: 7-0.

Ben: Would you like to say thank you to anyone?
Allen: I'd like to thank all my sponsors below, my friends and family and team mates at BKK Fighters for all of their help:

www.ValorFightWear.com
www.funkygums.com
www.uksportstraining.com
www.RevGear.com
www.powering-through.com
www.katana-clothing.com
www.blankmmauk.com
www.sportsinjuryspecialist.com
www.almightyfightwear.com
www.mmaxfit.co.uk

Thanks again for your time Arnold, we can't wait to see you get back in to the cage in 2014.

Stephen Thompson vs Robert Whittaker Set for UFC 170


Stephen Thompson vs Robert Whittaker Set for UFC 170
by Chris Houten - @mrhouts


Stephen Thompson will take on TUF Smashes winner Robert Whittaker at UFC 170.

UFC 170 takes place Feb. 22 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and is headlined by Rashad Evans and Daniel Cormier, who will be making his Light-heavyweight debut.

A renowned karate expert and kickboxing champion, Thompson (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) began his UFC career with a knockout of the year candidate victory over Dan Stittgen. Thompson was then beaten by top 10 contender Matt Brown in his second UFC outing to mark the first professional loss of his career. Thompson was able to bounce back well from his loss to Brown however, beating Nah-Shon Burrell by unanimous decision at UFC 160 and most recently Chris Clements by TKO at UFC 165.

Winner of the Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs The UK, Robert Whittaker (11-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) enters the bout with Thompson looking to rebound from his split decision loss to fellow TUF winner Court McGee.

Whittaker, who won The Smashes by defeating Brit Brad Scott in the final, is a natural finisher, taking all but one of his victories by TKO or submission. At just 22, Whittaker is one of the brightest prospects to come out of Australia. A black belt in karate, Whittaker now trains out of the famed Tri Star Gym with fellow welterweight contender Rory MacDonald.

With the addition, the UFC 170 card now includes:
Daniel Cormier vs. Rashad Evans
Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rustam Khabilov
Mike Pyle vs. T.J. Waldburger
Raphael Assuncao vs. Francisco Rivera
Stephen Thompson vs. Robert Whittaker

Is GSP right to go on a hiatus from fighting?

My opinion on whether GSP should have taken a break from MMA

by John Haigh @JohnBJayHaigh


On Friday 13th December during a media call GSP announced he was taking a step back from fighting vacating his UFC welterweight title in the process.
GSP told media members on a conference call that the pressures of being a champion, combined with the relentless pace of promoting fight cards while training for title defences became too much for him. As a result, St-Pierre said he needed to take an indefinite leave and agreed to vacate the title in his absence. GSP had the following to say.
“I’ve been fighting for a very long time, at a very high level,”
“It’s a lot of pressure. I know that UFC is a business. They have to keep things rolling, so I vacate my title."
“I need to have a normal life for a little bit,”

“If I come back some day, I will be even better.”

But is GSP justified in stepping away?
Having only fought four times in the last years, surely that’s plenty of time in between fights to rest up, have some time to himself and enjoy the fruits of his labour?

Undoubtedly GSP has already had a great career at just the age of 32, but are the last seven straight five round fights catching up with the former champ. We’ve seen the change in GSP’s condition after fights especially recently after the fights with Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz and most recently with Johny Hendricks, with the massive bruising and swelling to his face. It begs the question how long could he continue like this?

There have also been many rumours circulating since GSP’s distressed post fight interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan, but with GSP liking to keep his private life away from the limelight. I’d be surprised if we ever found out the problems referred to in the interview. However, shouldn’t the former champ have just taken some time off to got his life back to where he wants it to be? Dana White even said “his problems are not as big as he thinks they are.” 

He’s not been fighting as regular as a lot of other champions so would people really even notice? Why not use the interim tittle option?

While many people in and around the MMA world are confident that GSP will one day return to the octagon, does he really need to? Are the risks worth it to him anymore? He’s clearly made plenty of money and could quite easily continue to do so without the stress of entering the cage.

So while the former champ takes time away from the cage to decide what he wants to do in the future, it leaves a change for a new champ to put their mark on the welterweight division.

As always, true to fashion UFC Dana White wasted no time in moving forward, “March 15, Dallas, Texas, Johny Hendricks will fight Robbie Lawler for the vacant UFC welterweight title,” White declared on Friday’s media call with St-Pierre.

Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley set to fight at UFC 171

Welterweight contenders set to battle at UFC 171

by Ben Heather @benheather


On Friday it was announced that Georges St-Pierre has taken a break from MMA and in doing so has relinquished his UFC Welterweight title. This was confirmation of GSP's UFC 167 post fight interview in which he said he may need to take some time off but wasn't prepared to commit to that decision on the night.

This chain of events led to a couple of other fights being announced, the first was for the now vacant UFC Welterweight title between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler. Dana White also mentioned that Carlos Condit would also be fighting at UFC 171 but at the time no opponent had been announced. He said that at the UFC on FOX 9 post fight press conference he would announce Condit's opponent. At that press conference Dana White announced that he had attempted to arrange the rematch between Condit and Nick Diaz but Diaz turned the fight down saying he was still retired. So until now the world was left waiting to hear who would fight Condit.

Today it was announced that Tyron Woodley, who has been sending Dana about 15 text messages a day trying to get a big name fight would be the man to face Condit with the winner more than likely becoming the new number one contender for the UFC Welterweight title.

Woodley has had a mixed run going 2-1 since joining the UFC from Strikeforce, that being said in the two fights he has won he has put on brilliant performances knocking out Jay Hieron and most recently Josh Koshcheck. That fight with Koscheck was a brutal battle in which he rocked Koscheck a few times before putting him away towards the end of the first round. His only loss since joining the UFC was against Jake Shields at UFC 161 where he lost via split decision.

Condit got back to winning ways last time out against Martin Kampmann, that win was his first win for three fights having lost back to back unanimous decisions firstly in the Welterweight title unification battle with GSP and then against Johny Hendricks. He was due to fight Matt Brown in what would have been a great fight last weekend at UFC on FOX 9 but Brown had to pull out of that fight injured and will not be back in time to be fit for UFC 171.

A win against Tyron Woodley would be enough to potentially set up a rematch for Condit against Hendricks.

I am not sure how each fight will pan out, only time will tell but what I do know is the welterweight division still has enough talent and contenders to keep the division moving whether GSP returns or not is up to him but the UFC Welterweight division is still an exciting division for us fans.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

TUF 20 Preview: Sam Heard Previews The UFCs New Strawweight Division

TUF 20 Preview: Sam Heard Previews The UFCs New Strawweight Division
by Sam Heard - @SamHeard_


It has been a week since the UFC’s hugely discussed announcement that they would be introducing a Woman’s Strawweight division (106-155lbs), making it the tenth weight division to be featured on MMA’s premier promotion. To compete in this division, the UFC has signed 11 of Invicta’s most exciting Strawweight fighters. Equally exciting as this initial announcement was the development that these 11 fighters would be supplemented with a further 5 signings and would compete in the first ever all-women’s Ultimate Fighter. The winner of the show will become the inaugural UFC Strawweight champion. The stakes in a TUF show have never been higher; even in what I believe to be the most exciting entry into the series – ‘TUF 4: The Comeback’ – the prize was a title shot rather than the belt itself. To fight fans less familiar with Invicta, some of these new signings will be unfamiliar – rest assured they are certainly top-tier. Here is Kingdom MMA’s summary of the 11 new fighters and who to look out for when they compete on The Ultimate Fighter’s 20th instalment:

Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza (9-2)

Invicta’s reigning Strawweight champion must surely be one of the favourites to exchange her Invicta belt for UFC gold. Her strong collegiate-level wrestling base has been supplemented by improved striking and BJJ skills. Her only losses earlier in her career came via contentious Split-Decision and an unlucky Armbar submission.

Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha (11-0)

Gadelha was supposed to challenge Esparza for her title only 10 days ago on the Invicta FC 7 card but was prevented by illness. Her flawless record alone is indicative of her prowess in the cage.  Gadelha may be seen as the Ronda Rousey of the Strawweight division, picking up 5 of her 11 wins by first round Armbar.

Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (8-0)

Scotland’s own Joanne Calderwood has established a reputation as one of the most feared fighters in the Strawweight division. As is often the case with fighters hailing from the United Kingdom, JoJo is an explosive striker who turned to MMA after being a high level Kickboxing competitor. Though her last win at the aforementioned Invicta 7 event came via decision, 4 of her 8 wins have come via nasty KOs, certainly making her one to watch in the upcoming TUF competition.

Felice “Lil Bulldog” Herrig (9-5)
A popular character in the Invicta promotion thanks to her effervescent personality and entertaining promotion of fights, Lil Bulldog has bite behind her bark thanks to her background in high level Muay Thai. Sure to create some very juicy television when she goes into the TUF household.

Tecia “Tiny Tornado” Torres (4-0)
Though she has yet to achieve a stoppage in her 4 fight career, Torres’ training with American Top Team shows us how serious she takes her fight career. Known for possessing a very well rounded skillset, supplemented by her great natural athleticism. She achieved a Unanimous Decision victory over Felice Herrig on the Invicta 7 card – don’t be surprised if there’s still bad blood that’ll resurface in the house.

Juliana “Ju Thai” Lima (6-1)
Brazil’s Ju Thai has lived up to her nickname as a skilled Muay Thai specialist, with an all-round MMA game which has developed greatly in her last few ventures into the cage. Training under world renowned Vinicius Draculino has no doubt improved her skills exponentially.

Alex “Astro Girl” Chambers (4-1)
Formerly a fringe title contender in Invicta’s Atomweight division, Australia’s Chambers has agreed to move up to Strawweight to get a chance at competing in the UFC. With two first round KOs documenting her powerful striking, she is by no means a one-trick-pony as she has also shown to have some slick submissions.

Bec “Rowdy One” Hyatt (5-3)
The second Australian to have been added to the UFC’s Strawweight division, Hyatt has garnered a great deal of renown due to her love-her-or-hate-her ‘Mike Bisping-style’ effect on fans. With three of her five wins coming via submission, the Rowdy One has shown a great deal of skill on the matt despite Kickboxing having been her entry point into MMA.

Emily Kagan (3-1)
Training out of New Mexico with Greg Jackson, Kagan implements the smart fight IQ always associated with Jackson’s fighters. Though she is the most senior of the UFC’s Strawweight signings at 32, her professional MMA record is fairly thin. Don’t be fooled by this though as she has trained BJJ since the age of 18.

Rose “Thug Rose” Namajunas (2-1)
Thug Rose became the focus of the wider MMA world earlier this year with her amazing victory over Kathina Catron via Flying Armbar after just 12 seconds. I look forward to see what Namajunas will try to top that with, though at only 21 she has plenty of time to try. Attempting a demanding technique like that in her second professional fight demonstrates how comfortable she is in the cage.

Paige “12 Gauge” VanZant (3-1)
Aged only 19, VanZant has already got 4 fights under her belt and has bucket loads of potential. She’s recently joined Team Alpha Male’s new female contingent so expect to see her skills improve vastly while training alongside killers like Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes. Expect the 12 Gauge to be upgraded with explosive rounds and laser sight.

It’s safe to say that the twentieth series of The Ultimate Fighter will be one to look forward to. Not only is there that all-important UFC Championship at stake but it seems that the Strawweights who the UFC have signed are of a very high level – based on their records (which as we known isn’t the only indicator) they are superior fighters to the Female Bantamweights who have just competed on TUF 18, many of whom had far lesser MMA records. From an entertainment standpoint, the fighters will already know one another so when placed in the TUF house it’s safe to assume that pre-existing tensions will quickly rise to the surface. In a year which has seen gigantic steps forward in the world of Women’s MMA this development can be seen as the very ripe cherry on top.