Marc Diakiese

Marc Diakiese

BAMMA’s Marc Diakiese

Marc Diakiese vs. Jack McGann at BAMMA 19

Marc Diakiese  Part 3
© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
special thanks to Matt Bourne

An MMA collision not to be missed on March 28 is the lightweight bout between Marc Diakiese (6-0) and Jack McGann (7-0), with this battle terminating one man’s undefeated record and placing the other in good standing for a challenge of the BAMMA title.

Doncaster’s Marc ‘Bonecrusher’ Diakiese says he considers the Marc Diakiese vs. Jack McGann bout to be a fine match-up. “It’s a good fight and I’m really looking forward to it. He’s got a good hype behind him and I don’t think I’m getting the credit for what I have done so far, so it’s good to get my name out there by beating him.”

Marc will be coming into BAMMA 19 hot off his victory over Vernon O’Neill at BAMMA17 after Kane Mousah was replaced by Vernon O’Neill as Marc’s original opponent. When asked if the card change upset his preparation heading into the fight, Marc Diakiese replied: “Not so much, as I was in Sweden training and my management didn’t tell me anything about it until a week before the fight. I was just hoping to get matched up anyway, but it’s something I would never want to do again as it’s always good to study your opponents.”

Marc Diakiese kindly spoke to Knucklepit from Stockholm for the following interview.

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Jack McGann

Jack McGann

BAMMA’s Jack McGann

Jack McGann vs. Marc Diakiese at BAMMA 19

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
s
pecial thanks to Matt Bourne

BAMMA 19’s lightweight broadside between two undefeated MMA trailblazers, Jack McGann (7-0) and Marc Diakiese (6-0), takes place at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on March 28.

Both men are battle-hardened from their victories at BAMMA 17 and have their careers set on MMA cruise control for a crack at the BAMMA Lightweight Championship belt. Obviously one man’s dream will come down in flames in the Jack McGann vs. Marc Diakiese showdown.

And Jack McGann assures he is on track for his hand to be raised on March 28. “Preparation for BAMMA 19 is going great,” says Jack.  “I have intensified my sparring for this one. The guys down at Liverpool Vale Tudo have been great, especially Danny ‘Hot Chocolate’ Roberts and my Thai coach, Mr Tony Moran.”

Like Marc Diakiese, Kayvan ‘War Dog’ Fallah fought out of Ludus Magnus for BAMMA 17, but Jack says he doesn’t see Jack McGann vs. Marc Diakiese as being a revenge fight for the Ludus Magnus team. “Revenge is a costly business. Besides, I am friends with Kayvan; I hope to train with him down the line. That guy is as tough as they come, and Ludus Magnus are a great pro gym. They set out to win like the rest of us – they don’t need an incentive.”

So does Jack believe Jack McGann vs. Marc Diakiese is a good matchup? “At this stage of my career it’s a great matchup. Marc has generated hype within the promotion and he looks like a poster boy for fighters. He’s unbeaten and me, too – that alone is gonna make this worth watching. He isn’t gonna want to give that up easy, same as me.”

Jack McGann kindly spoke to Knucklepit for the following interview.

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Chad Sugden

Chad Sugden

Chad ‘2 Slick’ Sugden

Chad ‘2 Slick’ Sugden vs. Atakan Arslan at GLORY 20

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
special thanks to Dean Sugden, June Rowlands
and Rick Wilks, Primal Pixels Photography

On April 3, GLORY, the world’s premier kickboxing league, will be hosting GLORY 20 from the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and featured on the Dubai card is the welterweight battle between Chad Sugden and Atakan Arslan.

Amazingly, Chad Sugden made his pro-kickboxing debut against Joe Roberts at just 17 years of age. “Joe Roberts was the same age as I was,” says Chad, “But my opponents’ ages have ranged from 17 all the way up to late 30s. Most of my opponents have been slightly older though, with my being quite young for the level I’m at.”

Chad Sugden will be 20 years when he competes at Dubai; it’s hard to believe he has achieved so much already at such a young age. And he is eager to apply his trade there. “I’m looking forward to it,” says Chad. “It’s a massive competition but this is what I do; it’s just another day in the office!”

Hopefully, kickboxing fans will get to see more of Chad Sugden on GLORY cards, but at this stage it seems likely GLORY 20 will be a one-off deal. “I’ve signed for just the one fight on GLORY as it suits us to have a one-off deal with a massive domestic fight lined up in May. That said, I love to travel and fight against the very best in the world and earn as much money as possible, so for now I’m going to keep my options open,” says ‘2 Slick’.

Knucklepit appreciates Chad Sugden taking time out from his GLORY: Dubai preparation for the following interview.

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Teddy Holder

Teddy Holder

WSOF’s Light Heavyweight Teddy Holder

Teddy Holder vs. Jake Heun at WSOF 19

Teddy Holder Part 2
© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
photos © WSOF

Standing 6’2” and casting an even bigger shadow, heavy-hitting fighter Teddy Holder always has the gas tank a notch above full and of his 8-1 MMA record, six of his victories have come via KO or TKO. On March 28, Teddy ‘Hitman’ Holder returns to the cage at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix against Jake Heun (7-3) at WSOF 19 for this highly-anticipated light-heavyweight thriller.

Originally booked to make his WSOF debut in October, 2014, Teddy’s bout with Misha Cirkonov was put on ice due to ‘minor’ details. “I signed the contract and everything was ready to go,” says Teddy Holder.

“But the WSOF got in touch with my manager a week or so before the fight was going to take place to share some bad news: apparently Canada is very strict when it comes to visiting. I had an illegal possession of alcohol at 18 on my record, so therefore the WSOF feared that I may not be let in the country to fight and there might be a problem with my visa. Therefore they elected not to take the chance on my not being able to fight, so scrapped it.”

One thing you immediately notice when talking with Teddy Holder is a complete absence of smack talk about himself or his opponents; he is an incredibly humble and open individual – all traits of a true champion.

When Teddy Holder steps into the cage on March 28 he will be somewhat of an unknown quantity due to his absence from the cage for 19 months, so studying his videos will not give a true indication of his capabilities or how he has been developing his skills in training. He will be coming in under the radar and flying stealth.

Knucklepit was fortunate to catch up with Teddy Holder again for the following interview.

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Timur Valiev

Timur Valiev

Timur Valiev Ready for WSOF 19

Timur Valiev vs. Ed West at WSOF 19

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
photos © WSOF

With a population of just under three million and covering nearly 20,000 square miles west of the Caspian Sea, the Republic of Dagestan is well known for its Olympic freestyle wrestling champions since Zagalav Abdulbekov took gold at Munich in 1972.

Born and raised in Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital and largest city, Timur Valiev made a swashbuckling impact on international MMA when he debuted at WSOF 10 and stopped Adam Acquaviva with a leaping knee, then dominated the action against Isaiah Chapman at WSOF 13 before going on to win by unanimous decision.

Timur Valiev is a predictable fighter: when stepping in the cage his opponents know for sure they are going to see moves they have never seen before and are unlikely to see again as he rarely repeats any one technique in the same manner. Timur can come at you with bone-rattling hip throws, back fists, unorthodox wrestling holds, leaping high-kicks, brutal low-kicks, flying knees…

On March 28, Timur ‘Lucky’ Valiev will be turning the bantamweight heat up a notch when he clashes with Ed ‘Wild’ West at the Comercia Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, for WSOF 19. And this will be a showdown not to be missed.

Timur Valiev kindly chatted with Knucklepit in the following interview.

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Luis Palomino

Luis Palomino

Luis Palomino has thunder in both fists and a nightmare left hook.

Luis Palomino vs. Justin Gaethje at WSOF 19

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
photos © WSOF

At 5’8” and 34 years of age, Luis ‘Baboon’ Palomino is a Peruvian thrashing machine, and on March 28 he will be challenging Justin Gaethje for the WSOF World Lightweight Title at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona.

Fighting out of MMA Masters gym in Miami, Florida, Luis Palomino possesses serious industrial-strength KO power, with both of his previous WSOF outings ending in his favour by knockout. In fact, his MMA record includes eight wins via KO and five by TKO.

In the stand-up, Luis Palomino has shown a tendency to trade with heavy cluster-bomb combos rather than one-shot assaults. He prefers to stand’n’bang, but if it goes to the ground, Luis looks to get quickly to his feet rather than roll around on the floor.

Luis is generous with his punishing low kicks: He took Lewis Gonzalez down with one at WSOF 12, and later in the match caught Lewis with a right low-kick to the lead leg, followed by a left high-kick that knocked Lewis out. Palomino then celebrated his win by entertaining the fans with a demonstration of his capoeira skills.

And on the canvas, Luis Palomino displayed savage g’n’p against Jorge Patino at WSOF 8, before knocking Jorge out at 4:20 into round two. The ‘Baboon’ is a devastating best in all aspects of the game.

Luis Palomino kindly chatted with Knucklepit prior to his WSOF World Lightweight Title challenge.

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Regis Sugden 

Regis Sugden

BAMMA Bantamweight Star Regis Sugden

Regis Sugden vs. Manuel Bilic at BAMMA 18

Regis ‘The First’ Sugden Part 2
© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
Special thanks to Dean Sugden, June Rowlands
& Rick Wilks, Primal Pixels Photography

Regis Sugden made a major statement at his BAMMA 17 debut against the highly respected Paul Bentley on December 6, 2014.  Paul Bentley is a hard and experienced fighter with great technique, but Regis Sugden was able to dominate Paul in the first round before TKO-ing him early in round two with a left hook, right low kick, right hook and short left-fist combo.

It’s frightening to imagine just how good 19-year-old Regis Sugden can become!  For a teenager he is remarkably grounded and humble – despite his success, and still has a lot of adult strength to come his way as he continues to mature physically.

And there has been a lot of speculation that various kickboxing organizations are trying to lure Regis back from cage fighting with lucrative offers, so Knucklepit asked the young Brit what his intentions are. “I am getting some pretty big offers to return to the stand-up world,” admits Regis Sugden, “But I am here to stay and the MMA fans are going to see a lot more of me. I have finished opponents in many different ways and I want to continue to showcase this versatility in the cage.”

Regis’s next caged outing is on February 21 at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall when he faces off with Manuel Bilic at BAMMA 18, and Regis Sugden kindly chatted with Knucklepit prior to the battle.

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Tom Aspinall

Tom Aspinall, MMA

BAMMA 18 Heavyweight Tom Aspinall

Tom Aspinall vs. Ricky King at BAMMA 18

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com

Previously mentioned in Stuart ‘He-Man’ Austin’s interview with Knucklepit, BAMMA is rapidly making a name for itself as being home for some of the most respected heavyweight MMA maulers on the international circuit, with Tom Aspinall vs. Ricky King now being added to the BAMMA 18 card for even more 93-plus kg thunder.

Of Tom Aspinall, BAMMA consultant Chris Zorba said: “Tom Aspinall is potentially the most exciting and most talented UK MMA Heavyweight we have seen. He has the tools to go all the way and BAMMA will provide him with a great platform to prove this.”

Standing 6’5”, Tom Aspinall’s credentials include a 2-0 Thai boxing record, BJJ brown belt, British No-Gi Grappling Championship title, two-times British BJJ Championship title, and only allowed one of his many undefeated amateur bouts to make it out of the first round.

On February 21, Tom Aspinall (1-0) faces off with Ricky King (1-0) at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall with both heavyweights eager to make a spectacular statement at their BAMMA debuts.

Tom Aspinall kindly chatted with Knucklepit for the following interview.

Tom, how does it feel to be making your BAMMA debut?

It feels good; BAMMA is a big organisation, but at the same time I’m just happy to fight, whatever the show.

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Aleksandr Stetsurenko

Aleksandr Stetsurenko

GLORY Kickboxing Warrior, Aleksandr Stetsurenko

Aleksandr Stetsurenko vs. Nieky Holzken Post-Fight Interview


© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
Photos: Glory Sports International

On February 6, 2015, GLORY World Series hosted a four-man welterweight elimination with the winner qualifying to challenge GLORY’s reigning champion ‘Bazooka’ Joe Valtellini at a later date.

The original match-up for this Welterweight Contender Tournament listed Raymond Daniels vs. Jonathan Oliveira in semi-final #1, and Nieky Holzken vs. Murthel Groenhart in semi-final #2; however Groenhart withdrew from the card due to injury and Russia’s Aleksandr Stetsurenko stepped up to the stumps as a late replacement.

The Daniels vs. Oliveira fight ended abruptly with Daniels winning by the three-knockdown rule in round two.

Aleksandr Stetsurenko vs. Nieky Holzken was a much closer match that probably could have gone either way and had the commentators guessing the fight’s outcome before the judges awarded the bout to Holzken.  The first round was dominated by Nieky, but the second and third rounds could just as easily have been Stetsurenko’s.

Aleksandr definitely came alive in the last two rounds, delivering jaw-rattling left uppercuts, liver shots and spinning back-kicks and back-fists. Unfortunately the crowd seemed to respond to every shot fired by Nieky despite Aleksandr absorbing many with his excellent guard.

Either way, the Aleksandr Stetsurenko vs. Nieky Holzken battle was an incredible display of kickboxing skills, guts and GLORY!

Aleksandr Stetsurenko kindly took time to chat with Knucklepit after his thriller bout.

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Stuart Austin

Stuart Austin BAMMA 18

Bellator veteran Stuart Austin to add heavyweight muscle at BAMMA 18

Stuart Austin vs. Artur Gluchowski at BAMMA 18

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
photo courtesy Pennography

On December 4, 2014, BAMMA Managing Director Ashley Bothwell announced: “2015 is going to be the most exciting year to date for the BAMMA promotion. More events than ever before will mean more adrenaline, more excitement and more great bouts for the BAMMA fans.”

Since that announced, BAMMA has also put international MMA on notice it is going to be building up one of the most respectable heavyweight divisions in the world. This campaign began with the Paul Taylor vs. Callum Cook heavyweight bout being included on BAMMA 18, followed by the inclusion of Tom Aspinall vs. Ricky King.

Then on January 16, 2015, BAMMA released news it had signed Stuart Austin and less than two weeks later revealed Stuart ‘He-Man’ Austin (8-1) would be facing Poland’s Artur Gluchowski (4-5) at BAMMA 18, providing even more heavyweight thunder to the February 21 card.

When asked about BAMMA’s heavyweight-division build up, and whether he has his controls set for the category’s belt, Stuart Austin replied: “BAMMA’s heavyweight division is definitely becoming absolutely stacked with British talent and I think that anyone who can win the title could argue they are the best heavyweight in the UK. I want that to be me!”

Knucklepit was fortunate to catch up with Stuart Austin prior to his bout at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on February 21.

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