Flying Knee: Previewing the biggest month ever for East Anglian MMA
- Credit: Jerry Daws/stillfocused
I've been covering MMA and combat sports in the region for a few years now – and September 2017 will go down as the biggest single month yet for fight sport in East Anglia.
We have so much talent in these parts, from the killers at the powerhouse BKK Fighters Gym in Colchester to the fantastic prospects coming out of Suffolk and Norfolk.
And next month, five of our fighters get their chance on the big stage under the bright lights, while one of the region's best promotions, Contenders, celebrates its 20th show as part of a fantastic weekend of combat sport.
Here's what we have in store, who's fighting, when and where...
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- Andre Goncalves and Jamie Powell, BAMMA 31, SSE Arena Wembley, September 15.
Two graduates of Norfolk's cracking Contenders promotion, these two will both be fighting on BAMMA 31, a show that is usually screened live on TV on Dave.
- 1 Norwich sees biggest rise in Covid infection rates in the country
- 2 Hotel 'nobody wants to buy' for sale as housing for £365,000
- 3 Nine Norfolk flood alerts ahead of Storm Christoph
- 4 Man who died in west Norfolk crash named
- 5 Man who drove 128 miles for fish and chips among latest Covid fines
- 6 Aviva to close two large office sites in Norwich
- 7 Delivery van towed from deep water on road closed due to flood risk
- 8 Part of seventh skeleton discovered in city street
- 9 Going full term during this coronavirus pandemic fills me with absolute terror
- 10 Builder took pink pill and ran naked around hotel
Thetford lightweight Goncalves is one of the more charismatic and confident fighters you will find on the regional circuit, and I'm delighted he's getting his shot on a big show.
He boasts crisp boxing and power wrestling, and his 3-1-1 pro record features an absolute war of a draw with Welsham Aaron Khalid at Contenders 15, who has since gone on to win two straight on Cage Warriors. He faces fellow Contenders alum Jeremy 'Ninja' Petley in his BAMMA debut.
Meanwhile Wisbech flyweight Powell (7-2) will look to reverse a two-fight losing skid on the same card. He lost to the very talented Daniel Barez – now BAMMA Lonsdale champ – at Contenders 17, before dropping a decision to the hotly-touted Amir Albazi at Bellator 179 in May.
Again he faces a hyped foe in Dominique Wooding, but has the fast hands and feet, plus high-level grappling and dominant wrestling, to get back in the win column.
- Corrin Eaton and Sean Carter, Cage Warriors 86, Indigo at the O2, September 16.
Cage Warriors is known now as the European feeder league for the UFC, so this is a huge opportunity for these two gents.
Ipswich featherweight Eaton (9-2 1NC) faces Dean Trueman, while Colchester lightweight Carter (12-5) will battle Joe McColgan.
This is the first big show dance for the likeable Eaton, an all-action brawler who is rarely in a dull fight, and he'll be hoping to show that his vicious KO loss in a K1 title fight at Contenders 19 in June is behind him.
Carter, meanwhile, is something of a veteran of the UK MMA scene and has fought on Cage Warriors several times before, including a submission loss in his last outing in June.
But 'Sexy Curls' will be looking to start a winning run, using his exciting stand-up - once described as 'he'll take two to give one' by his coach at BKK Fighters, Jack Mason – and dangerous submission game.
- Contenders 20, Norfolk Showground, September 16.
Norfolk's premier MMA promotion celebrates its 20th show - and it's all part of a spectacular weekend of combat sport at the Norfolk Showground. On Friday, the venue will host Friday Fight Night, an evening of boxing put on in conjunction with Norwich Golden Gloves, while during the day on Saturday (10am-4pm) is the Norwich Kickboxing Series 2, pitting some of the region's best kickboxers against each other.
Then, from 5.30pm, it's the big one – Contenders 20. The main event will see one of the country's hottest MMA prospects, Northampton's Richard Mearns, make his pro debut against tough Frenchman Julien Bouteix.
There's also a couple of mouthwatering title clashes. Slick King's Lynn boxer Stevi-Ann Levy defends her 61kg belt against Cromer's K1 talent Beth Boland, while Ipswich's Jack Purdy goes for K1 gold again in a battle with Norfolk's Jake Catterall - that has fight of the night written all over it!
For tickets to Contenders, visit www.contendersea.com, for boxing call Glen on 07771 356735 and for kickboxing contact Billy on 07825 215403.
- Kerry Hughes, Phoenix Fighting Championship 3, Indigo at the O2, September 22
What a way to finish the month. Colchester's Hughes, another from the talent-packed BKK Fighters stable, has probably the biggest fight of her career against multiple-time world Muay Thai champion Antonina Shevchenko, under MMA rules.
Bantamweight Hughes (3-2) is currently at the world-famous Jackson Wink gym in New Mexico preparing – a win over Shevchenko, sister of UFC star Valentina, would open some serious doors for her.
And MET police officer Hughes, who packs dynamite in her fists, has previous in facing Muay Thai world champions in the MMA cage – she knocked out the much-hyped Amanda Kelly in what was considered quite an upset at Cage Warriors 69 in June 2014.
She has a Thai boxing background herself, so will be relishing the chance to once again test herself against one of the world's best strikers, wearing 4oz gloves.