Cage Warriors 68: Wallhead vs. Roberts Preview

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Saturday 3rd May
Echo Area, Liverpool

Simply put, this is most likely going to be the best & biggest single UKMMA card of the year (discounting CWFC’s teased Super Saturday dual card…)

That’s not hyperbole, just look at the fights!

The headliner sees CWFC veteran ‘Judo’ Jim Wallhead (25-8) return after a spell alternating between Bellator and BAMMA and is indisputably one of England’s top welterweights not contracted to the UFC, while across the cage we have in-form hometown boy Danny ‘Hot Chocolate’ Roberts (10-1) who is riding a four fight win streak.

Both men are in clear contention for the Welterweight belt now held by Nicolas Dalby and should provide a heated and competitive climax to the evening’s fights.

Experience is clearly on Wallhead’s side, but Roberts has the greater momentum and such advantage as comes from fighting with the crowd in your corner.

With both fighters being finishers (72% for Wallhead, 80% for Roberts) capable of ending a fight on the feet and each in possession of some excellent grappling skills this is sure to be a great fight to watch.

Backing up that main event we have exciting and accomplished English fighters Ronnie Mann (23-6-1) and Matt Inman (13-5) facing international opposition in Marcelo Costa (8-2-1) and Mauro Chimento Jr (15-10) respectively.

Not enough? OK, how about a middleweight contest between ex-UFC fighter Che Mills (15-7) and the popular Leeroy Barnes (12-13, 1NC) both looking to break losing streaks?

The undercard also features Dinky Ninja’s John Cullen (17-8-2) and Dean Reilly*(6-5) so we’ve got more than a little local interest in the event as well.

*Sadly Dean’s match was cancelled due to his opponent pulling out due to injury. 😦

It’s a cracking card and we can’t wait for Saturday.

Viewing Details:

LIVE STREAMING

MMAjunkie.com | USA and Canada only
http://www.IrishMMA.tv | Ireland only
Viaplay | Scandinavia only
CageWarriors.tv | Rest of the world

LIVE TV

Premier Sports | United Kingdom
Setanta Sports 1 | Ireland
TV 10 | Sweden
Fight Now TV | USA
The Fight Network | Canada, Portugal, Belgium, Turkey, Middle East
Fight Klub | Poland
Setanta Action | Africa
ESPN | Caribbean, Latin America, Pacific Rim

MAIN CARD | 9pm BST local time (4pm ET, 1pm PT)

Danny Roberts vs. Jimmy Wallhead
Marcelo Costa vs. Ronnie Mann
Mauro Chimento vs. Matt Inman
Steve Dinsdale vs. Matt Hallam
Leeroy Barnes vs. Che Mills
John Cullen vs. Dean Garnett

FACEBOOK PRELIMS | 7.50pm BST local time (2.50pm ET/11.50am PT)

Conrad Hayes vs. Paddy Pimblett
Dez Parker vs. Charlie Watts
Ant Phillips vs. Adam Ventre

UNAIRED PRELIM | 7.30pm BST local time

Ellis Hampson vs. Azi Thomas

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Cage Warriors 55 Results / Reaction

Cage Warriors 55 Results / Reaction

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Sat, 01 Jun 2013
Dublin, Ireland

Irish eyes are smiling.

Fighters from the Emerald Isle went 3-1-1 on the shows main card as Cage Warriors produced another quality show, roared on by the always vocal Dublin crowd.

In the main event, Cathal Pendred showed his quality against a strangely lethargic Che Mills by bullying him around the cage for two and a bit rounds (Mills was pretty much saved by the bell in the second) and earning a TKO in the third with Pendred laying on the ground and pound and Mills’ corner throwing in the towel, only for referee Marc Goddard to be told by Mills that he’d hurt his shoulder.

It was a standout performance from Pendred who has surely earned a call up for UFC Boston in August. He might not be the most entertaining fighter, but he’s damned effective and has defeated several top class opponents in a row.

Mills on the other hand, slides into a losing way (officially, barring Matt Riddles drugs punishment he would be 0-2 at the moment) and such a bloodless display followed by managing to miss weight for a title fight leaves him with a lot of ground to make up.

Much as I like Mills as a fighter, it seems that Dana White’s accusation of him ‘giving up’ seems less unfair than it did. I hope he comes back to form next time, I really do.

The co-main event saw veteran Neil Seery come back from being bullied about by the larger and younger Mikael Silander at the start to take the second round and then claim the stoppage victory with an incisive armbar in the third.

You’d have gotten pretty long odds on a Seery victory by tapout, but it’s almost the perfect way for him to win here. Always an underdog, I couldn’t be happier that at a point where he was taking his career one fight at a time, considering retirement, he’s become a world champion.

Cage Warriors now have two of their four active championships in the hands of Irish fighters and with Conor McGregor blazing a trail in the UFC, it’s a stunning time for Irish MMA.

Elsewhere on the card, former Middleweight champion Chris Fields forced a majority draw with Norman Paraisy after the Frenchman took the first two rounds, but took a point deduction for grabbing the fence that made his advantage only 19-18 going into the third.

Paraisy seemed convinced that he had the fight won, and stayed with a successful plan of taking Fields down, only to give up a deep kimura that changed the tide of the contest.

Fields was in the ascendancy and Paraisy seemed convinced he’d already won and just stood there grinning as Fields tagged him time and again. Sadly, Fields was too tired at this point to push for the stoppage but a head kick and flurry at the end secured him the third round.

Two judges saw it as a draw, while one gave Fields the third 10-8 for a comeback victory, but on balance that’s a majority draw. Fields seemed upset by the result, but given that he didn’t actually come close to finishing Paraisy, and given that even a 10-8 would only have earned a draw had Paraisy not been docked a point, I don’t think he can complain.

Paraisy on the other hand lost a win on his record by being cocky in the third round.

It ain’t over till its over!

Opening the main card, Lightweight Paul Redmond and Bantamweight Jean N’Doye scored impressive second round submission wins over Marc Allen and Steve McCombe respectively to extend impressive winning streaks and possible put themselves in contention for the two title tournaments coming up late in the year.

A great show as usual and free to view around the world. That’s why Cage Warriors are one of my favourite promotions. I can’t wait to tune in on July 6th where I expect another cracker from them.

RESULTS

• Cathal Pendred def. Che Mills via TKO (corner stoppage) – Round 3, 1:47 – non-title fight after Mills missed weight
• Neil Seery def. Mikael Silander via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 3:57 – to claim inaugural flyweight title
• Chris Fields vs. Norman Paraisy results in a majority draw (29-27 Fields, 28-28, 28-28) – Round 3, 5:00
• Paul Redmond def. Marc Allen via submission (toehold) – Round 2, 1:09
• Jean N’Doye def. Steve McCombe via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 3:03

PRELIMINARY CARD

• Piotr Ptasinski def. John Redmond via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:46
• Liam James def. Stephen Coll via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
• Konrad Iwanowski def. Sam Francis via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 3:00
• Ben Rees def. Gavin Kelly via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 4:44

Cage Warriors 55 – Pendred vs. Mills Title Match Preview

Cage Warriors 55 – Pendred vs. Mills Title Match Preview

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Sat, 01 Jun 2013
Dublin, Ireland
The Helix

Arguably one of the biggest cards in Cage Warriors history is headlined by Irish national hero Cathal Pendred (12-2-1) making the first defence of his Welterweight title against popular Scots/Jamaican (by way of Gloucester) former UFC fighter, Che Mills (15-5, 2NC).

With two undeniably world class, massively popular fighters facing off for one of the most high profile titles in the world (three of the previous four CWFC 170lb champions have gone on to sign for the UFC) this match is possibly the biggest thing in European MMA this summer.

Pendred, nicknamed “the Punisher” is an extremely durable fighter, currently riding a seven fight unbeaten streak including consecutive decision victories over David Bielkheden, Bruno Carvalho and Gael Grimaud.

Training out of SBG Ireland alongside the likes of Conor McGregor and Chris Fields (as well as regular visitor Gunnar Nelson), Pendred has matured into a truly intentional class talent who combines very heavy fists with a level of calmness in the cage that belies his relatively tender twenty five years.

Who would bet against such a clearly on-the-rise fighter, competing in front of a doubtless partisan and vocal Dublin crowd?

Well, Che Mills would.

Mills earned a call up to the UFC with a 13-4, 1 NC record earned across the breadth of European MMA, fighting (and winning) in Russia and Spain, winning the Cage Rage Welterweight title and having an unbeaten 3-0 record in Cage Warriors and BAMMA.

His debut at UFC138, showcased his in inside, aggressive striking as he kneed Chris ‘Whoo’ Cope into unconsciousness in only 40 seconds.

His second UFC bout was a huge ask, as he faced wunderkind, Rory MacDonald and despite a game attempt was TKO’d by the megastar in waiting in the second round.

Earning a second UFC win almost by default against Duane Ludwig when the veteran kickboxer injured his leg, Mills went into his last match against Matt Riddle knowing he needed to impress.

In true American style, Riddle stifled Che’s game with takedowns and conservative wrestling and despite gamely trying to reverse the dull slide to a decision loss, or at least make the bout exciting, Mills fell to a unanimous decision defeat…

…which became a no contest when Riddle failed a drug test for marijuana.

Che was (rather unfairly) cut from the UFC, with Dana White making harsh comments about his giving up. I didn’t see the fight that way at all, indeed Che did very well not to be submitted by the accomplished grappler. If he was looking for an out, it was readily there..

Despite the cut, which in fairness comes from one of the UFC’s deepest, most competitive and overpopulated divisions, Mills is a bigger star than he was before and the memory of his Muay Thai clinic against Cope burns far brighter in the memory than his getting stifled by quality wrestlers.

As one of the biggest names in British MMA and on a 6-0, 1NC streak in Europe, Mills is an excellent test for rising star, Pendred.

Both guys deserve their nicknames, as Mills is at his best when delivering highlight reel displays of striking, while Pendred punishes his opponents with heavy hands and sheer endurance.

On balance, this fight is a toss up with Mills looking more likely to win by stoppage, while a decision favours Pendred. Of course, Pendred’s momentum, comfort in Cage Warriors and home advantage certainly makes him the favourite. Either way, this is a seminal fight in both man’s career, with Mills looking to halt his slide of losses and tainted wins and Pendred facing a genuine step up in competition (in terms of name value at least) and a drastically different fighter from his recent victories.

You can watch the main card on MMAJunkie.com (North America), Joe.ie (Ireland), Sportstube.tv (Italy) and CageWarriors.tv (everywhere else, including UK & Ireland) starting at 9pm local time, preceded by Facebook prelims at 7:45 pm local time.

Stay tuned for our previews of the night’s other title match for the inaugural CWFC Flyweight championship and the compelling undercard over the next few days and remember to add @TeamKumite on Twitter for live commentary on the night.

MAIN
• Cathal Pendred vs. Che Mills – for welterweight title
• Neil Seery vs. Mikael Silander – for inaugural flyweight title
• Chris Fields vs. Norman Paraisy
• Marc Allen vs. Paul Redmond
• Henry Fadipe vs. Mike Ling

PRELIMINARY (Facebook)
• Avi Jack vs. Philip Mulpeter
• Stephen Coll vs. Liam James
• Piotr Ptasinski vs. John Redmond

Che Mills to challenge Cathal Pendred for CWFC Welterweight Title

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Cathal Pendred will make his first defence of the CWFC welterweight title on home turf this summer.

The recently-crowned champion will put his belt on the line when he takes on Che Mills at Cage Warriors 55 on Saturday, June 1.

Cage Warriors 55, which will also feature a four-man flyweight title tournament, is set to take place at The Helix in Dublin, Ireland.

Pendred (12-2-1) has remained unbeaten in his six bouts under the Cage Warriors banner since making his debut for the organisation back in November 2010.

The 25-year-old Irishman earned his title shot courtesy of wins over David Bielkheden and Bruno Carvalho last year, before dethroning previous CWFC welterweight champion Gael Grimaud with a unanimous decision victory earlier this month at Cage Warriors 52.

“Fighting in my own backyard in a venue full of crazy Irish fans against a guy who was in the UFC until very recently, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to defend my title for the first time,” said Pendred,

“I can guarantee that the calibre of my opponent and the atmosphere the Irish fans will create is going to bring out the best in me.”

Mills (15-5-0-2nc) has spent the last two years of his career with the UFC, where he clocked up a 2-1-0-1 record which included wins against Chris Cope and Duane Ludwig.

At UFC on Fuel TV 7 at London’s Wembley Arena last month, the 30-year-old Gloucester native was beaten by Matt Riddle by split decision, but the result was later overturned as a ‘no contest’ after Riddle failed a drug test.

Mills, who’ll be returning to CWFC action for the first time since defeating Jake Hecht at Cage Warriors 38, said: “I’m really excited about this opportunity. This fight will be a war, but I’m not leaving without the belt.”

Tickets for Cage Warriors 55 will go on sale soon, with more fights to be announced and we’ll keep you updated as details emerge.

Wow. That is gonna be the UKMMA event of the summer!

Che Mills Signs With Cage Warriors.

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We are delighted to announce that Cage Warriors Fighting Championship has secured the signature of top British welterweight and Kumite favourite Che Mills.

The UFC veteran has put pen to paper on an exclusive five-fight contract, committing his immediate future to the organisation.

Mills (15-5-0-2nc) has spent the last two years of his career with the UFC, where he clocked up a 2-1-0-1 record.

The 30-year-old Gloucester native made a winning start to his UFC career in November 2011, picking up a KO of the Night bonus after taking just 40 seconds to dispose of Chris Cope.

In his only official UFC defeat, Mills suffered a second-round TKO loss to fourth-ranked welterweight Rory McDonald last April but rebounded with a win over Duane Ludwig in Nottingham in September.

At UFC on Fuel TV 7 at London’s Wembley Arena last month, Mills was beaten by Matt Riddle by split decision, but the result was later overturned as a ‘no contest’ after Riddle failed a drug test.

“Che Mills is the best UK welterweight outside of the UFC at the moment so I’m extremely happy that he has decided to come on board,” said Cage Warriors CEO Graham Boylan.

“A fighter of his calibre wouldn’t have been short of offers but the fact that Che has opted to sign for Cage Warriors is proof that the guy is determined to return to the top. I have no doubt that he’ll get there too.

“I’m a big fan of Che Mills. When the UFC recently released a bunch of guys, Che was the one I really wanted to bring in. He comes from a great camp and is always exciting to watch.

“As is the case with all fighters, I believe Cage Warriors is the perfect platform to help Che to achieve his goals and show the world that they still haven’t seen the best of him.”

A contestant on season nine of The Ultimate Fighter, Mills previously fought for CWFC in October 2010, when he scored a unanimous decision win over fellow UFC veteran Jake Hecht at Cage Warriors 38. He also holds two notable wins over Bellator star Marius Zaromskis.

Che Mills will make his return to Cage Warriors action in the coming months. Details of his next bout will be released shortly and we’ll let you know when we do.

We have to say that we thought Che was ill served by his UFC release, but were glad he’s found himself in Europe’s #1 promotion and should be appearing on a card near us very soon.

Shadows and Dust

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In which Chris discusses the harsh reality of the recent UFC cuts…

There has been a LOT of chat over the last week or so regarding the UFC’s recent cuts, especially given the stature, win/loss record and general entrainment level of those handed pink slips.

The news that the UFC intends to cut 100 more fighters over the next year was like throwing petrol on a fire and the reaction of the MMA public has ranged from the hysterical trolling of ‘OMG, Dana fired Jon Fitch, he’s the devil!!!’ to the cynical position that the UFC is a sports entertainment business, and if you want to be a part of it, then you need to contribute to that business by winning or at least losing in entertaining fashion.

Now, I personally don’t agree with cutting Jon Fitch, or Che Mills or a few others who were given their walking papers this week but their relative star power or usual entertainment value made me think that maybe we need to look at this from the wider business perspective. How many fighters should the UFC have?

It strikes me that the simplest way to work this out is to see how many UFC bouts are available, as there is no point in having more fighters than you have the space for.

The UFC is currently running about 3 events a month, – over a year that spans to 36 events (the promotion ran 31 events in 2012) and each card usually has 11 matches.

That means that in a year, there are 396 UFC matches, giving opportunities for 792 individual fighter slots. If you assume that most fighters will have, on average three UFC bouts in a calendar year (champions and big names often only fighting twice, up and comers being more prolific) that gives an ideal roster size for the UFC of 264 contracted fighters at any one time*.

* of course, fighters will still be hired and cut, but with a stabilised roster this should almost be on a one-in, one-out basis.

Even after the recent roster cuts, the UFC has 375 fighters under contract, and with more women and flyweights looking to be added, the cuts will need to go a bit further than 100 to balance out the roster.

If we assume that all divisions should receive equal time, then the UFC should play host to 29/30 athletes in each if its nine weight divisions. At the current time, heavyweight, light heavyweight and bantamweight all sit close to this number, the female bantamweight division and male flyweight divisions are considerably emptier and need filling.

On the flip side, the classes between 145lbs and 185lbs are more than a little bloated and I’d be pretty worried if I was a competitor in any of these divisions who was on a slide or had earned Dana’s ire in some fashion.

It might seem harsh to advocate pink slips for so many fighters, but at the end of the day the UFC is a business and it’s selling point is the elite level of competition. If you aren’t drawing viewers or making a case for being in the top 20 of your weight class, then maybe you should be reassessing your game in a lower pressure environment? The UFC does not owe you a living, and if you lose, especially in a less than compelling manner then what do you expect?

In many ways, top level MMA is the spiritual successor of the gladiatorial games in the sense that your worth to the promoter is directly proportional to the love the crowd has for you. Those who the crowd does not care for can be tossed to the lions, and they will not be remembered. Big names, or fighters who have earned the love of the crowd through a hearty performance… they get a reprieve, a chance to fight and make everybody some more money another day.

Folks have washed out of the UFC before, only to earn their way back in, so a UFC cut is not a career ending setback – just look at Nick Diaz, Fabricio Werdum or Vitor Belfort – you can come back and climb the mountain again, if your form and popularity merit it.

As I said, I don’t agree with cutting Fitch, but he has been falling back through the pack and he is an expensive commodity. I feel he had more to offer the UFC as a gatekeeper (because let’s be honest, if Fitch can grind you out, you aren’t going to bother GSP overmuch) but you could say that his release could be the best thing for his career. A renewed fire could lead to some brutal GnP finishes in the lesser leagues and he could come back on a wave of public support.

Either way, the UFC isn’t a charity and its not as if it stands alone in sports for washing its hands of those it doesn’t need. How many young players are signed to Premiership football clubs only to be released, or start dropping down the divisions when they don’t fulfil their potential?

The message is simple, win or make yourself so beloved of the crowd that we CAN’T fire you. The message from Proximo to Maximus in Gladiator could not be more apt.

UFC WEMBLEY (UFC on FUEL TV 7) – Undercard Preview

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UFC WEMBLEY (UFC on FUEL TV 7) – Undercard Preview
Sat, 16 Feb 2013
London, England

We’ve already covered the title match that tops this card, but we felt that the stacked undercard deserved some article space of its own. If you are planning on checking out this weekend’s card in person or on ESPN (at a sensible time for once) but don’t know many of the undercard fighters, we are your hook up.

Let’s start with the co-main event, which sees Featherweight title hopefuls Cub Swanson (18-5) and Dustin Poirer (13-2) facing off in a match that should go some way to seeing who’s next after Anthony Pettis to challenge for the 145 belt.

Swanson is in his best form for years, off the back of three knockout victories including one against England’s Ross Pearson, since his 2011 submission loss to Ricardo Lamas.

Having only lost to genuine top level guys since his debut and tending to finish fights, Swanson’s lone KO loss has gone on to form a regular part of UFC highlight packages as it earned Jose Aldo his WEC title shot, only eight seconds after the bell. Swanson is surely keen to earn a shot at revenge.

A year ago, Dustin Poirer seemed to be the next logical choice to challenge at 145 riding a five fight win streak but with the division backing up as Jose Aldo was injured he took a match against Chang Sung Jung which resulted in a fourth round submission loss and neatly removed him from the conversation.

Rebounding with a first round submission of Jonathan Brookins with the rarely seen Brabo Choke, Poirer knows a victory over Swanson could easily put him within a further win of a title shot, especially as the likes of Lamas and Jung are going to have to fight again while Pettis drops down to face Aldo.

Both of these guys show everything good about the lighter weight classes, being technically excellent, well rounded and perfectly capable of winning the fight standing or grappling and both tend to finish fights with only eight if a combined 38 bouts going to a decision. This is practically a guaranteed barnstormer, and on a lesser card would be a shoe in for multiple ‘of the night’ honours.

However, there are a few standout contenders there, not least the likely kickboxing exhibition we are to receive from Jimi Manuwa (12-0) and Cyrille Diabate (19-8-1).

Manuwa comes in with a perfect record of stoppages, with his last two opponents Anthony Rea and the tough as nails Kyle Kingsbury going out on the stool as doctors called the bout off between rounds, such was the beating that Manuwa supplied.

Diabate is the more experienced and arguably well rounded competitor as while his fists and knees will always be his primary weapon of choice, he’s ground his way to plenty submission and decision wins too. Of course, Cyrile has also tasted defeat (which Jimi has not) and while he’s only been KO’d once, he’s been submitted a few times and I hear tell that Manuwa is no slouch on the ground… it’s just we’ve never really seen it in the cage to date.

Obviously as a Brit, I’m pulling for a ‘Poster Boy’ victory here, andir might be worth a small wager on a knockout of the night bonus as well…

Next up, we have what promises to be an awesome ground battle as undefeated Icelandic prospect Gunnar Nelson (10-0-1) faces the experienced Jorge Santiago (25-10) who is dropping to welterweight in an attempt to improve his 1-4 UFC record in his third stint with the promotion.

Nelson is a bit of a grappling prodigy, as illustrated in the slick and calm fashion he submitted Damarques Johnson in his UFC debut. However, Santiago is a real step up in competition and is no slouch on the mat, having never been submitted in MMA and having tapped out the likes of Kazuo Misaki and Siyar Badahurdaza as well as winning via knockout and decision over Misaki as well as top notch middleweights such as Mahmed Khalidov and Andrei Semenov.

So we have an undefeated European submission prodigy facing a journeyman Brazilian who’s never been submitted making maybe his last crack at the big time. Who writes this stuff? Oh, it just happens? Cool.

The next bout on my list might be flying a little under the radar as Ryan Jimmo (17-1) makes his sophomore UFC appearance at the age of 31 and riding a seventeen fight winning streak. That sounds sorta familiar at light heavyweight recently…

The well rounded Blackzillians is coming off a seven second KO of Anthony Perosh and is set to face another Aussie in the shape of hard hitting James TeHuna (15-5) who comes in off a three fight win streak since a 2011 submission loss to Alexander Gustafsson.

The winner of this bout will find themselves on the outskirts of the 205lb title picture, behind the likes of Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira and I’d expect them to come out swinging as if the belt itself was on the line. Of course, if recent Blackzillians performances are anything to go by, expect Jimmo to gas in the third and lose by KO or decision.

For the record, I don’t expect that to happen…

Rounding off the main card is a pretty cool bout between Scotland-by-way-of-Gloucester’s Che Mills (15-5) and TUF alumnus Matt Riddle (7-3) who seems to have gone out of his way to piss off British fans and insult our referees in the process. Not cool.

Mills’ preferred assault comes from an impressive and calm headed array of kickboxing skills while Riddle’s main strength is his wrestling and cardio and improving submission game (not reflected in his record due to his sub win over Chris Clements being overturned by the commission due to a failed test for marihuana.)

Much as we usually like the character named “Chipper” on TUF, Mills is Scots and Riddle has talked trash about the Brits. Go Che, knock him out!

The preliminary card is almost a redemption ground for British fighters with Team Kaobon fighters Terry Etim (15-4), Paul Sass (13-1) and Andy Ogle (8-2) (who was nice enough to speak to us over the weekend and you can check that interview out here) looking to recover from harsh losses in their last bouts (via KO of the year to Edson Barboza, shock sub to Matt Wiman and robbery decision to Akira Corassani respectively) against foreign fighters also coming off of losses, Renee Forte (7-2), Danny Castillo (14-5) and Josh Grispi (14-4).

While Etim, Sass and Castillo are probably secure in their jobs, Ogle and Forte are fighting for their UFC careers, having lost their debut and Grispi has it all to lose as he comes in on a three fight losing streak. With stakes like those, expect these guys to bring it.

Despite losing his debut to Brad Tavares, Tom “Kong” Watson (15-5) has been handed a tough sophomore outing as nominally undefeated Stanislav Nedkov (12-0-0, 1NC) drops down from light heavyweight. Nedkov was beaten by Thiago Silva last time out but with the Brazilian AGAIN failing a drug test, the result was overturned to a No Contest.

Kong’s weakness has long been wrestlers, and with Nedkov always looking to trade, this could be a much better matchup for him.

Rounding off the card we have Bantamweights Vaughan “Love” Lee (12-8-1) and Motonobu Tezuka (19-5-4) and flyweights Ulysses Gomez (9-3) and Phil Harris (21-10) also looking to recover from losses, with their jobs possibly on the line.

With such odds in play, in front of an always boisterous London crowd, who would possibly suspect that these fights will fail to produce, so if you’re not going along, I pray you log onto Facebook and set reminders for ESPN on Saturday night. It’s gonna be great!

We’ll be tucking into Alpaca steaks and watching on TV, with live tweeting on @TeamKumite by our own @RossStevenson.

UFC on Fuel TV 7 airs at 8pm in the UK on ESPN, with the prelims on Facebook before that. For local listings wherever you may be please check http://www.ufc.com

MAIN (FUEL TV, 8 p.m. GMT)
• Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald – for interim bantamweight title
• Dustin Poirier vs. Cub Swanson
• Cyrille Diabate vs. Jimi Manuwa
• Gunnar Nelson vs. Jorge Santiago
• Ryan Jimmo vs. James Te Huna
• Che Mills vs. Matthew Riddle

PRELIMINARY (Facebook, 5:15 p.m. GMT)
• Terry Etim vs. Renee Forte
• Danny Castillo vs. Paul Sass
• Josh Grispi vs. Andy Ogle
• Stanislav Nedkov vs. Tom Watson
• Vaughan Lee vs. Motonobu Tezuka
• Ulysses Gomez vs. Phil Harris