Contenders Norwich 17: Andre Goncalves vows to put on a show

Andre Goncalves returns to the cage on Saturday

Andre Goncalves returns to the cage on Saturday - Credit: Jerry Daws/Stillfocused

Rising Norfolk MMA star Andre Goncalves has vowed to put on a show on his return to the cage this weekend.

Goncalves lands a big right hand during his fight of the night with Aaron Khalid at Contenders 15

Goncalves lands a big right hand during his fight of the night with Aaron Khalid at Contenders 15 - Credit: Jerry Daws/stillfocused

Relentless lightweight Goncalves (2-0-1) will square off with unpredictable Norweigan Kim Thinghaugen (4-3) in a mouth-watering tussle at Contenders 17 at the Norfolk Showground on Saturday.

It is the 27-year-old's first fight since a classic scrap with Aaron Khalid thrilled fans at Contenders 15 back in June, a back-and-forth war which was declared a draw.

The result means Thetford's Goncalves has still never lost as a pro or amateur, but he's planning on getting back in the win column in style on Saturday.

'In that fight I proved to myself and everyone else that I don't quit when the sh*t hits the fan,' he said. 'My mind was not in that fight – my dad died two weeks beforehand, and there was a lot going on.


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'I was fighting with a lot of demons, not just Aaron. But I've really trained hard for this fight, and you will see that in the way I fight, and in my physique. I'm ready to go.'

Foe Thinghaugen, who has locked horns with the likes of Suffolk's own UFC star Arnold Allen, brings a stance-switching, fairly wild stand-up game to the cage, mixed with impressive chokes and submissions on the floor.

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But Goncalves, who trains at Tsunami Thetford under MMA pioneer Lee Doski and sharpens his hands at Attleborough Boxing Club, believes he is more than a match for him in every facet of the sport.

'I know he's got more of a record than me, but that doesn't mean anything,' he said. 'I'm going to bring it, and I hope he does too.

'He's fluid with his stances, but I've been sparring with southpaws who switch orthodox my whole career, it's no problem.

'On the ground, I've got nine submissions from ten fights (pro and amateur), so again, I'm not worried. I respect him but I believe that I'm better than him.

'On Saturday night I'll be a much more relaxed me – my mind is clear and in a good state and I'm the fittest I've ever been. I'm hoping that I can put on a show.'

Looking to the future, Goncalves, who has to fit his gruelling training regime around an 8-5 job, sees fighting as a way of making a better life for his family.

'People don't understand how hard this sport is and how it affects families,' he said. 'I've got a two year-old daughter, and for me to only see her for an hour or so a day is so hard.

'But I know how good I can be. Hopefully in the next couple of years I can reach my full potential, stop working and spend more time with my family.'

You can buy tickets for Saturday's event at www.contendersea.com or by phoning promoter Steve Newman on 07983 334603.

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