BAMMA 4 Preview
Alex Reid v Tom Watson is the most hyped fight in UK MMA history. You already know about the insults, the Keysi, the bananas and all the tabloid nonsense – so hurtbusiness will just concentrate on the fight.
Disraeli said: “there are lies, damn lies and statistics”, but sometimes the numbers tell you all you need to know. Tom is ranked the European # 8 Middleweight in the respected Ground and Pound rankings and is generally considered the UK #2 behind Bisping. In December 2008, Cage Gladiators ranked Alex Reid #20 in the UK. Since then he has won a controversial decision in a UK 1 fight against Jack Mason and fought a close draw against the Big Brother snowman.
Alex Reid is a pioneer of the sport in this country and a nice guy. Plenty of respected figures in the sport have been popping up to say that he shouldn’t be written off, but the stat’s tell another story. Alex has not won an MMA fight against someone with a winning record since 2002. He has not won any of his last seven MMA fights. For all the talk of his heart and warrior spirit, I cannot see a way for Alex to win this fight. If the very best Alex Reid turns up, the guy who slugged it out with Mark Weir way back when, Watson would still hold all the aces. On the feet, Tom has the reach to keep Alex at range and genuine single shot power. Watson has spent the last few years dividing his time between Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque and the Montreal gyms that turned GSP into the best wrestler in MMA. He has struggled at times in his last two fights, but they were against seasoned Americans with wrestling skills that are way beyond anything Alex has ever demonstrated. Watson’s gruelling battles with Taylor and Horwich showcased his submission defence and his supreme cardio- something that will surely be a factor if the fight goes beyond the first minute. Chuck in ring rust, the distractions of celebrity and the incredible pressure Alex must be under and there can only be one result. That is, unless something bizarre happens. Alex has a history of weird endings in his fights: the eye poke vs.’ Professor X, the Lee Murray confusion and the volcanic shin cut against Ninja Rua. Bearing this in mind the hurtbusiness prediction is Tom Watson, TKO Round One or some odd, anti climactic finish with Alex shrugging his shoulders and the arena booing.
The rest of the card features some of the best fights you’ll see in the UK this year. The Welterweight match between Eugene Fadiora and Gunnar Nelson jumps off the page. The commentary team at BAMMA 2 hailed Nelson as the second coming of Jesus Christ- and it looks like they may have been right. The Icelander has the grappling skills to be up there with Jacare, Toquinho and Demian Maia. Eugene is a red hot prospect; unbeaten with a good all round game. This year, the pair have both clocked up wins against ‘The Cheesecake Assassin’ Danny Mitchell. Eugene stopped Danny in the third, Gunnar put on a brief jiu jitsu masterclass before finishing him with a rear naked choke in the first. On the feet, you would have to favour Eugene, although Gunnar trains with tough guy Arni Isaksson so he probably has a mean body shot in his locker.
Nelson’s fans have tremendous confidence in his ability. In the run up to their fight last month, Danny Mitchell was a slight favourite over Gunnar in the betting market. Shortly before the fight, in a move that has already gone down in UK MMA legend, a mystery punter reportedly bet £20,000 pounds on Nelson to win. The book was closed and Gunnar did the biz. Fadiora has an underrated ground game, but very few people on the European scene would be able to live with Nelson on the floor. Gunnar Nelson by sub. He is all he’s cracked up to be.
John Philips has dynamite in his hands and has been unstoppable at domestic level in recent times, but he may find James Zikic has a little too much for him. ‘The Messenger’ is unlikely to be intimidated by a big hitter, seeing as he has been the distance with the likes of Cyborg and Vitor Belfort. Zikic is a smart fighter who always seems to work out a way to get the win. His experience should see him through against Philips.
Rob Sinclair’s destruction of Daniel Weichel at the last BAMMA let a few more people in on the secret. Rob has been one of the most consistent performers on the UK scene over recent years and has to be fancied to defeat Jani Lax. Lax has fought on decent shows in Europe and Japan but will not be able to deal with Rob Sinclair’s relentless ground and pound. Along with champagne, there will be some mashed Swede at the after party.
STOP PRESS: LAX HAS PULLED OUT DUE TO TRAINING INJURY
The pick of the undercard is Tim Newman v AJ Wenn. ‘Super Human’ Newman has some of the smartest ground skills in the UK Lightweight division. Last time out, he decided to prove a point against Jason Ball. Ball is an accomplished boxer. Tim travelled to his Doncaster backyard and stood up with him. The resulting slugfest was one of the fights of the year. Newman went back to South Wales without his unbeaten record, but had made a statement. In his previous fight, he submitted current Ultimate Fighter cast member Aaron Wilkinson. AJ has had less success against TUF guys. He lost out to Ross Pearson in the selection fight for season 9 and took Andre Winner’s best shots before dropping a decision to him at Cage Warriors in 2007. That fight showed off Wenn’s toughness. Only fighters with real quality get the best of him. A tough test for Tim Newman, but one I see him passing by way of submission.
As well as this lot you’ve got: submission prodigy Tom Breese, Norwegian glamour boy Simeon Thoresen and Scott Jansen ‘the David Beckham of UKMMA’.
Not to be missed.
Main Event live on Bravo TV
Middleweight Championship: Alex Reid vs Tom Watson
Middleweight: John Philips Vs. James Zikic
Lightweight Championship: Rob Sinclair vs Jani Lax
Welterweight: Eugene Fadiora Vs. Gunnar Nelson
Welterweight: Simeon Thoresen vs Marco Santi
Lightweight: Tim Newman Vs. A J Wenn
Lightweight: Stuart Davies Vs. Scott Jansen
Lightweight: Harvey Harra Vs. David Round
Welterweight: Charlie Leary Vs. Sam Eldson
Welterweight: Tom Breese Vs. Shah Hussain
Middleweight: Robert Devanne Vs. Colin Lewis