UFC Fight Night – Noguiera v Nelson: What’s next for the winners?

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On Friday night the UFC continued it’s global expansion with it’s second event in Abu Dhabi. Headlined with a heavyweight fight between two gnarled and some would say ‘over the hill’ veterans, Roy Nelson and Antonio Noguiera. Nelson did what was expected and knocked the battle scarred Noguiera in to next week, in the very first round of the fight. The co-main event saw Clay Guida and Tatsuya Kawijiri put on an entertaining back and forth fight, that Guida came out the other end of with a unanimous decision victory. Ryan LaFlare and Ramsey Nijem also picked up wins on the main card, with Nijem looking particularly good with his TKO win over Beneil Dariush.

As usual following a UFC event, me and Jim from Dinner With Gary Goodridge will be making our picks for who the winners of the main card fights should face next.

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Ronda Rousey joins stacked UFC 175 card

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Following last nights event in Abu Dhabi, the UFC made an announcement regarding their number one draw of the moment, Ronda Rousey. The women’s bantamweight champion will be defending her belt against Gina Carano..no wait, Cyborg..no wait..sorry, it’s against an actual opponent who has a win or three in the UFC, Alexis Davis. Rousey v Davis has been booked for UFC 175 in July and will join Chris Weidman v Lyoto Machida and Chael Sonnen v Wanderlei Silva on one of the biggest UFC cards of the year.

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UFC Fight Night: Noguiera v Nelson results

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Ever since the main event between Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera and Roy Nelson was announced, there was only one way it was going to end based on their recent performances. Nelson delivered what was expected and KO’d Noguiera mid way through the first round, after having rocked the Brazilian two or three times in the opening minutes. Despite his best efforts to recover, Noguiera was beaten by the right hand of Nelson and knocked into next week. I doubt we’ll see a more predictable outcome of a main event for a while to come.

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BAMMA 15: Recap

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All it took was 18 seconds for Gzim Selmani (4-1) to put former Britain’s strongest man, Oli Thompson (12-6), to sleep in the main event of BAMMA 15 this weekend. The ‘Albanian Assassin’ scored a big knee that put Thompson on queer street, before following up with a left hook and dropping him against the cage. A guillotine choke rendered the UFC veteran unconscious, forcing referee Marc Goddard to intervene and secured the upset victory for Selmani.

The co-main event saw the Lonsdale British welterweight title change hands as Leon Edwards (7-1) earned the night’s fourth rear naked choke victory over defending champion, Wayne Murrie (17-6). The end came at 3:13 of the first round, with both men having traded takedown attempts, Edwards scrambled to to take Murrie’s back before quickly coaxing the tap.

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The return of crowd favourite, Colin ‘Freakshow’ Fletcher (10-4), started in a familiar fashion - the former UFC lightweight made his way to cage on a ‘horse’ - but took a surprising turn as Fletcher decided to stand and trade with Detroit native, Tony Hervey (16-16). Despite getting the better of the exchanges in the first round, Fletcher looked to be headed towards a second successive defeat as Hervey rocked the TUF Smashes alumni in the second round, bloodying him in the process. A better third round saw Fletcher pressing forward and regaining some of the momentum, mixing up his kicks and doing just enough to take it by a narrow split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). If the divided scorecards weren’t indication of enough of just how closely contested the fight was, Fletcher himself left us with no doubts “I thought it could have gone either way. I would have been happy to lose. It was a difficult fight to judge”

In one of the more impressive performances of the night, Tom Duquesnoy (9-1) thoroughly dominated Teddy Violet (8-1); handing him the first loss of his career and claiming the vacant featherweight title. Duquesnoy looked a class above as the duelling Frenchmen battled for position in the first round, with the ‘Fire Kid’ threatening with the rear naked choke and generally controlling the fight throughout. Duquesnoy eventually sealed the deal with a triangle choke at 1:29  in the second round.

The first of the night’s Lonsdale British titles was in the middleweight division, as Andy De-Vent (10-9) took on Harry McLeman (6-1). A hard fought, back-and-forth contest, this one went the distance, with McLeman getting the decision via unanimous decision. De-Vent had been on a four fight win streak going into this fight, while McLeman picked up his third win in a row to take the belt.

Up and coming prospect, Ryan Scope (8-0) scored the biggest win of his career so far against the always tough, Ali Arish (20-3). The first round saw Arish do what he does best – taking Scope down and doing enough to grind out a 10-9. A low kick early in the second backfired for Scope, clearly injuring his right fight and dropping to the mat. Scope did well to survive some big elbows from Arish, getting back to his feet and securing a takedown of his own late on in the round. The third round saw Scope switch almost entirely to his wrestling game, doing just enough to get the nod via unanimous decision. Make no mistake: this was a huge victory for Scope, not only in beating a difficult opponent, but also in overcoming the injury sustained during the second round.

The official results for BAMMA 15:

Gzim Selmani def. Oli Thompson via technical submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 0:18
Leon Edwards def. Wayne Murrie via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:13
Colin Fletcher def. Tony Hervey via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Tom Duquesnoy def. Teddy Violet via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 1:29
Harry McLeman def. Andy De-Vent via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Ryan Scope def. Ali Arish via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Rany Saadeh def. Mahmood Besharate via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jefferson George def. Jack Grant via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Alex Montagnani def. Nathan Jones via submission (rear-naked choke) – round 1, 2:43
Andy Craven def. Richard Edwards via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:1
Ed Arthur def. Nathaniel Wood via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 1:4
Jacek Toczydlowski def. Benny Carr via submission (punches) – Round 1, 1:32

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BAMMA 15 Predictions

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Apologies for the slightly misleading title – this won’t actually be based upon the upcoming BAMMA 15 event in London as such. It won’t predict the outcome of the fights either, more-so what we can expect to happen after the event.

The most obvious prediction is that this will probably be the last BAMMA event.

I held off buying tickets until a few days before the show, as I was genuinely unsure if I’d have other plans on a Saturday night. As it turns out, my ladyfriend has got blood drunk on MMA recently, and insisted that we go. This will be our third event in as many months. Having never been to the Copper Box before (I really did think it was some dodgy East End boozer, and the fights would be in a circle of chalk in the car park), I was unsure as to what ticket band to purchase. I decided to go one up from the cheapest seats for safety, and was really surprised to be allocated seats three rows behind the pricier VIP section. A few hours after purchasing tickets, BAMMA made the announcement that they’re going to be streaming the whole event in the UK via Facebook to ‘widen their audience’.

That’s quite an interesting way to look at it, rather than on the free-to-air Five* channel that has been their home for many years now, they’re  going directly to their Facebook community. Now, I’m not privy to the viewing figures on TV, but at the time of writing, they have 46,000 ‘likers’ on Facebook. Coincidentally, they’ve also lost their TV deal in the US, and are now signed up for ESPN3, which is also a streaming service.

The loss of the US deal might be in some part due to their changing UK TV presence. You can almost certainly blame that on the UFC. Regardless of what you think of the quality of their Fight Night London coverage, the UFC swung in, and occupied Five*’s bigger brother, Channel 5 and their regular Saturday night combat sports slot. The bigger boys came along and stole BAMMA’s ball. For the industry leader, they view BAMMA as more of a competitor than Cage Warriors.

This isn’t a critique of Cage Warriors content, more that BAMMA have/had a non-subscription based TV deal, which means they have access to a much larger audience, who in turn could potentially generate larger advertising revenues. The UFC craves mainstream acceptance and exposure, so if it means trampling over BAMMA then so be it.

Cage Warriors is an interesting one, they’ll remain out of the UFC’s crosshairs for as long as they’re useful. With the UFC unfurling over Europe in the coming months, and diluting their content by running so many events, Fight Pass or otherwise, they’ll need a steady supply of European beef to bulk out their cards. Where better place to start than Cage Warriors? Their mix of considered matchmaking, regular events, and recognisable talent is just what the UFC needs. 20+ former Cage Warriors have fought in the UFC in recent years, heck they even picked up one of their commentators to front their Euro Fight Pass content. In the space of one calendar month, two former Cage Warriors champions, in Neil Seery and Jim Alers, have signed on the dotted line with the UFC. Plus their former Welterweight champion Cathal Pendred is predicted to be a massive star in the upcoming Ultimate Fighter 19 series.

Moving back to BAMMA, I have been critical of them over the years, mainly out of frustration. They have an impressive product, a suitably glitzy presentation, but they’ve often lacked continuity, which has seen a lot of great British fighters jump ship to Cage Warriors and beyond, as they simply can’t earn a decent crust fighting once, maybe twice a year. I’d actually be disappointed if they were no longer around, as ultimately if there is less choice, the consumer suffers in the end. Having said that, I wouldn’t have a problem with Daley vs Dalby for the Cage Warriors Welterweight title somewhere down the line.

Come at me on Twitter bros/ladybros – I’m easy to find – it’s @xives

The Changing Face Of BAMMA

Losing a TV deal may seem like a step backwards, if anything, this is a big leap forwards for UK MMA organisation, BAMMA.

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5* To Facebook

With negotiations with Channel 5′s sister channel, 5*, no longer delaying proceedings, BAMMA now have the freedom to get back to doing what’s really important - putting on shows. Originally looking to stage six shows in 2014, they’ve some catching up to do. Airing your entire card via Facebook may not sound as glamorous as partnering up with one of the UK’s five terrestrial TV channels, but an easily accessible, free to view card is no bad thing. If this allows them to run more frequent, regular events, then this is undoubtably a step in the right direction.

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Wembley Arena To The Copperbox

BAMMA’s previous two visits to London took place at Wembley Arena (12,500 capacity), tonight’s BAMMA 15 card will be their first at former Olympic venue, the Copper Box Arena (7,500 capacity) in Stratford. A smaller venue, no doubt, but one designed with sporting events in mind and the potential for a great atmosphere – referred to during the London Olympics as the ‘box that rocks’. This change of venue could well be a blessing.

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Marquardt To Scope

There was a time when BAMMA sought out the bigger names in MMA, famously signing Nate Marquardt only for him to leave without ever having fought for them. Who can forget the aborted December 2010 card? Originally slated to be headlined by MMA journeyman, Bob Sapp? By choice or otherwise, BAMMA’s attention has increasingly moved away from supposed ‘marquee’ names and instead been focused more on homegrown and European talent. In losing out on the marketable Colin ‘Freakshow’ Fletcher as lightweight champion, they instead gained an up-and-coming prospect in Mansour Barnaoui (11-2) as their 155lb king. Having already claimed the notable UFC veteran scalps of both Fletcher and Curt Warburton, Barnaoui could be a name to build the division around. If grass roots is the key to future success for BAMMA, then look no further than welterweight prospect, Ryan Scope (8-0). Tonight’s headliner may be about two hulking heavyweights in Oli Thompson and Gzim Selmani, but the real main event is arguably the 170lb tussle between Scope and Ali Arish (20-2). With nearly three times as many fights, Arish is a huge step-up for Scope. Should he come through this with his unbeaten record in tact, expect a title shot of some sort for Scope in the near future. Building stars and giving fans free fights are two big steps in the right direction.

A change is as good as a rest, and BAMMA have spent enough time on the shelf. Tonight’s BAMMA 15 card sees the promotion making it’s debut at the Copper Box Arena in Stratford. Full viewing details are here.

Follow Dinner With Gary Goodridge on Twitter for BAMMA 15 play-by-play and some good, old-fashioned #CeefaxMMA