On December 6 Michael Cutting (5-3) will take on accomplished British wrestler Mike Grundy (1-0) on the undercard of BAMMA 17. The match-up presents a perhaps over looked level of intrigue with the potential for a technical back-and-forth encounter, whether it lasts one round or beyond.
Cutting has fought twice in the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts, and the Japanese ju jitsu black belt has thus far produced a 1-1 record in the UKMMA promotion. Cutting has produced exciting grappling displays in both victory and defeat; the 2nd-dan black belt took part in a highly technical round of grappling versus Ed Arthur at BAMMA Fight Night: Askham vs Nunes, but it was Arthur who took control to secure victory in the second stanza on Jun. 7. Cutting then went on to overwhelm American Richard Edwards with expert grappling that lead to ‘Gip’ securing an arm-bar in the second round at BAMMA Fight Night: Chadwick vs Pascu in August.
“I think BAMMA’s a great show to be on for any fighter,” said Cutting. “I’ve been working my arse off with the ground game because I love it, I think that just watching two technical fighters on the ground is amazing.”
Cutting feels that his BAMMA debut was hindered by a weight cut gone wrong as he looked to compete at bantamweight; since then Cutting has returned to featherweight, but anticipates a successful cut back to 135lbs somewhere down the line.
“From my fight with Ed Arthur, I can’t take the negatives away from that fight, I have to take positives away for my first fight (on BAMMA); my weight cut was a little bit hard for me, no eating for two days, and being sick while making the weight isn’t good so that’s why I’ve gone back up to featherweight to get my weight cut right, then I’m going to drop back down to bantamweight. Ed Arthur’s got some skill and his cardio is relentless, and that’s what got me on the night.
“When I watch that fight back; the movements from me nearly locking up a triangle to an arm-bar, then him nearly getting me in a guillotine, it was beautiful.”
At BAMMA 17 Cutting takes on multiple time British wrestling champion and x2 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Mike Grudy. Fighting out of the renown Team Kaobon in Liverpool, Grundy has transitioned to MMA with ferocity; as an amateur he forced a pair of stoppages in under 60 seconds before making a justified transition to the professional ranks where Ant Phillips fell victim to a Brabo Choke in the opening round at BAMMA 16 in September, and so, Cutting has tailored his preparations accordingly.
“For this fight at BAMMA 17 I’m training in all areas. I think [Grundy] is a great opponent to fight; I’m training with a couple of wrestlers at the moment to prepare for Grundy, but I’m keeping my options open. If it hits the mat my options are open for submissions, but I have options if it stays standing, I’m looking forward to putting on a show.
“While I’m training with wrestlers I’m being put in really bad positions and having to work my arse off to get out of them because, as wrestlers will do, they put you in situations where you don’t want to be. I know I’m prepared for Grundy if he dumps me on my back, or if he’s on my back smashing me in the face; I’m prepared for getting out of that position to lock up a submission or get back to my feet.
“I think I’m a lot faster than him, I believe speed is going to be my advantage.”
On Dec. 6 Cutting’s 2nd-dan ju jitsu expertise will meet with the world class wrestling of Grundy. The Kyouken MMA product anticipates that he will not be finished in the first round, and that his ju jitsu will prove superior, especially as the bout progresses.
“I believe my ju jitsu will be most dominant.
“He’s probably going to try lay on me and beat me up where he’ll hope to get the stoppage. I’m just going to try and keep the distance, look for my shots, use my speed, and if he does take me down I’ll just be in a better position and look for a submission. If it stays standing, I’m looking for a knockout of the night.”
In addition, Cutting gave further insight of how Japanese ju jitsu provided a more rounded base that aided his transition to MMA with a wider variety of techniques that influenced the likes of karate, aikido, judo, and of course Brazilian jiu jitsu.
“With Brazilian jiu jitsu it’s more groundwork, but with Japanese ju jitsu you’ve got strikes as well as the ground. With BJJ they haven’t got a lot standing up.
“I like BJJ because I’m more of a ground boy anyway, I like being on the ground and that’s where I get most of my wins from. I think you need to be able in all areas both standing up as well as on the floor; If I had the choice I’d stick with my Japanese ju jitsu because if someone’s good at takedown defense, and you’re just good on the ground, then you’re going to be in a world of trouble, whereas if you’re a well rounded fighter with karate or kickboxing and you’re good on the ground then it will help you, and that’s what Japanese ju jitsu does – it’s everything from stand-up to the ground.
“When I was 17 (years old) I started off with karate, and moved from Eastbourne to Andover. When I got to Andover my nephew was doing ju jitsu, and I was looking for another club to start martial arts because I can’t just sit still, I need to be doing something. He said “Come down to our club,” and when I went down there my standup was alright, but I kept getting taken down all the time and beaten up on the ground, and I thought I need to learn this stuff, this karate stuff doesn’t work.
“I grew a love for it and did the belt side of it; I’ve been doing it for six years, and after two years of joining I got my first-degree black belt. I was one of the quickest students to ever get a black belt at the club, it’ll be a year in December since I got my second dan.”
BAMMA 17 takes place on Dec. 6 at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.
Photo by Mark Blundell