UK Fighters to Follow - The Experts Opinion
So I reached out to some of the men who see more UK MMA than most and gathered their opinions on which fighters they believe will be making the jump up in the near future. So who better to ask than Paul Sutherland, Jay Furness, James Doolan, Bradley Wharton and Ricky Wright?
So which fighters do the aforementioned see taking giant leaps over the next 12 months? Read on and find out!
• Paul Sutherland, Trojan Free Fighters Head Coach:
1 - Sam Gilbert - Featherweight - 6-2 (Pro) - Combat Athletics Academy:
A phenom at just 19 years old. Fighting out of Mark Tucker's Combat Athletics gym he has fought most of his fights in the lightweight division. Sam has solid striking ability with an aggressive come forward style, but it's in his wresting and jiu-jitsu which stands out, Sam possesses a powerful ground and pound style with a variety of submissions, his stand-out win was at Staydown MMA XI where he beat Chute Boxe fighter Bruno Marques by unanimous decision. Sam has now moved to featherweight so it will be interesting to see him move up the ranks.
2 - Ben Constantine - Welterweight - 4-2 - Trojan Free Fighters:
Fighting out of the Trojan Free Fighter's gym, this guy is all brawl! The former semi-professional rugby player brings an aggressive "balls to the wall" style and has some slams reminiscent of Matt Hughes in his heyday. He has had two of the most exciting fights I have witnessed with Lee Caers on Ultimate Impact Cagefighting with both fights going 1 apiece. The rubber match will be for the UIC welterweight title and it will be something to witness as Ben will be swinging for the fences.
3 - Tom Breese - Welterweight - 4-0 - Fearless MMA:
Tom is a very big welterweight who has a strong wrestling game. At only 21 years old, he is currently undefeated in his semi-pro and pro career. Tom trains with UFC referee and UK MMA pioneer Marc Goddard. He possesses a wide array of submissions and has only gone the distance twice in 12 fights. My prediction is that one day we will see Tom grace the UFC's Octagon.
4 - Brad Scott - Welterweight - 8-1 - Trojan Free Fighters:
Brad is another young fighter at just 22 years old, has put together an impressive record of 8-1-0. His last fight was an impressive knock-out at Cage Warriors Fight Night 4 in March. He has moved his fulltime training to Trojan Free Fighters and has a very bright future.
He has very good aggressive Nick Diaz style of boxing throwing punches in bunches. This is also supported by a solid ground game that will make Brad a force to be reckoned with.
• Jay Furness, YourMMA.TV Editor & UK Featherweight (6-2):
5 - James Saville - Bantamweight - 10-4 - AVT:
He's been around that many years that you could hardly label Saville as a prospect any more, but lest we forget Saville is still just twenty-one years of age despite having an extensive resume against some great international opposition. The AVT 'free spirit' may have lost to top three European featherweight Martin Svensson last time out, but he was dwarfed by the huge Swede and gave him a scare in the first round. He has a well-rounded game and is heading back to bantamweight, with talk of a drop even further. When he's fought and won as high as 70kg despite walking round in the mid-sixties, there's no doubt "Scraps" can do damage with a renewed vigour and great team around him.
• James Doolan, UK Bantamweight (16-8-2):
6 - Joanne ''Cyborginho'' Calderwood - 3-0 - Dinky Ninja Fight Team
With an 18-2 professional Muay Thai record including wins over four world champions Calderwood is regarded as one of the top female Muay Thai Fighters on the planet. Don't let her Muay Thai background fool you though, a product of the successful Glasgow based Dinky Ninja Fight Team Calderwood trains alongside some of Europe's elite smaller fighters, is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and frequently medals at grappling competitions across the UK.
After taking a while to get her debut in MMA most likely due to her Muay Thai pedigree, Calderwood has ran through three opponents in a little under six months. Her most noticeable achievement to date was as the co main event on India's Super Fight League were Joanne beat highly touted 8-1 Ukrainian Lena Ovchynnikova in a very one sided fight (Three judges scored it 30-26) in which Calderwood showed her versatility by out wrestling and out grappling the Ukrainian arm bar specialist.
Immediately after the SFL performance Calderwood's profile was elevated instantly to a level were several US based promotions have already been in contact with her management to enquire about her availability. It surely must only be a matter of time before she gets the chance to perform on the bigger stage.
• Brad Wharton - Leading UK MMA Journalist, TV Presenter & Daily Mirror Columnist
7 - Saul 'Tha Hangman' Rogers - Featherweight - 3-0 - Team Colosseum
In ancient times, executioners and hangmen wore masks to keep their identity secret and their profile low. But times have changed, and Saul 'Tha Hangman' Rogers is making as much noise as possible as he tears through the ranks of the UK featherweight division. After earning a draw in his first amateur fight at welterweight (he's a natural 145lb'er), the Team Colosseum fighter went on a 9-fight tear before turning pro. Still undefeated at 3-0 as a professional and riding a 12-fight winning streak, Rogers is set for big things in 2012 and beyond. With his sights set firmly on the UK's larger shows, it might not be long before some of the country's top featherweights are feeling 'Tha Hangman's noose.
• Ricky Wright - Top UK MC and UK Middleweight (1-0-1):
8 - Ashley Beaumont - Welterweight - 1-0 - Tillery Combat
The fighter I have chosen is a man I have trained extensively with at Tillery Combat, that man is Ashley Beaumont. The reason I chose him is because I got to witness first-hand the vast improvements he has made, it's hard to believe he's only been training for 15 months. In that time the raw aggressive power puncher has transformed his skill set to become a clinical and composed all-rounder comfortable from where ever the fight may take place. In his semi-professional career he's racked up a record of four wins with two losses. Three of those wins came in under 30 seconds, two by knock out and one by submission. He has now turned his attention to the professional ranks after winning his first fight in 1:58 by KO. You can see Ashley fight next on the 30th of June at the Newport Center on Pain Pit fight night 3. But you will be seeing and hearing a lot more of him in 2012
I hope you enjoyed this installment of my "Fighters to Follow". My own Part Two will follow next month so stay Addicted for that one!
Part One: http://www.addictedmma.com/story-News_7595_5-UK-Fighters-to-Follow-2012--Part-One.php
1) Sam Gilbert - Charli Edwards, Little Red Creative
2) Ben Constantine - Charli Edwards, Little Red Creative
3) Tom Breese - Huw Fairclough, Short & Round Photography
4) Ashley Beaumont - Huw Fairclough, Short & Round Photography
LRC on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/little.red.creative
Short & Round on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Short-Round/133783940043144
Published by Steve Wickett - Fri, 22 Jun 2012 20:33