Something Old, Something New – UFC London
In this week’s Something Old, Something New we look ahead to UFC London or UFC Fight Night 107 from the O2 Arena in London, England where Light-Heavyweight contender and hometown fighter Jimi Manuwa takes on Corey Anderson in a fight which could have serious implications for the division’s title picture. Also on the card, UFC and WEC veteran Brad Pickett will walk to the octagon for the last time in his London home as he faces Marlon Vera in his final MMA bout before retirement.
This week in SOSN, we look at four top prospects from the European MMA scene who will either be making a return to the octagon after a promising start to their UFC careers or making the walk for the first time. First we will look at three fighters who are all desperate to return with a victory in the O2 Arena this weekend.
Makwan “Mr Finland” Amirkhani (13-2) – Featherweight
Training out of SBG Ireland, Finland’s Makwan Amirkhani will return to the octagon for the first time since February 2016 and will look to build on the promising 3-0 start he has made to his UFC career whilst capturing attention with his big mouth and brash attitude.
The 28-year-old has a grappling background and started wrestling at just five-years-old. Later in life, he became a multiple-time Finnish National Champion, in Greco-Roman Wrestling and Freestyle Wrestling, before eventually making the transition to MMA.
After amassing a 10-2 record solely on the Finnish regional scene, the Kurdish fighter would sign with the UFC, and instantly made an impact on his 2015 debut. Amirkhani would record one of the fastest knockouts in UFC history when he dispatched of Terry Ogle at UFC on Fox 14 in just 8 seconds earning a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.
Since then he has defeated Masio Fullen and the UK’s Mike Wilkinson and will now look to stretch his win streak to five against fellow featherweight prospect Arnold Allen.
Arnold “Almighty” Allen (11-1) – Featherweight
At only 23-years-old, Arnold Allen has already marked himself out as one of Britain’s brightest MMA prospects and will look to continue his ascent up the Featherweight rankings by defeating Makwan Amirkhani this weekend.
Having made his name with impressive displays around the UK regional scene including a run in Cage Warriors, Allen caught the attention of the UFC. Called up for his short notice debut in 2015, the Suffolk fighter would defeat Alan Omer by submission at UFC Fight Night 69 in Berlin, Germany. He would also earn a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus on the back of the win.
After grabbing another win over Yaotzin Meza at UFC Fight Night 84 in London early last year, “Almighty” was scheduled to face Mirsad Bektic in October at UFC 204. Unfortunately he was forced to pull out with an injury which has kept him out of action for six months.
Training at the world-renowned Tristar Gym in Canada, the young Brit will be improving daily and will look to impress on home soil once again this weekend in the toughest test of his career to date.
Teemu “Pacu” Packalen (8-1) – Lightweight
Fighting out of Turku, Finland, Teemu Packalen returns to the octagon for the first time since February last year after taking time away for rehabilitation after shoulder surgery.
Having won BJJ and submission wrestling titles in his home country, Packalen went 7-1 in his amateur MMA career before seven professional wins around the Finnish regionals saw him earn a short notice call-up to the UFC.
Despite the hype surrounding the Finn on his debut, he disappointingly lost to Frenchman Mickael Lebouf in an anemic performance at UFC Fight Night 72 in Scotland. Returning in February 2016, Packalen would not make the same mistakes and stunningly got a quick 24 second submission win over the undefeated Thibault Gotti.
Despite most of the spotlight being shined onto the British fighters on this card, a lone debutant will not only fight in the UFC for the first time but will also be looking for revenge.
Lucie “Bullet” Pudilova (6-1) – Womens Bantamweight
22-year-old Lucie Pudilova is a promising women’s bantamweight from the Czech Republic and on making her UFC debut, will look to avenge the only defeat on her pro record against Lina Lansberg.
Having previously fought at Battle of Botnia 2015 in Sweden, Lansberg would take the unanimous decision victory to give the Czech fighter the only black mark on her record.
Fighting out of the KBC Pribram camp in her native country, “Bullet” has been professional for three years and has fought in Czech regionals as well as the Scandinavian circuit. She will be hoping that after maturing as a fighter, she is ready to take back that win from Lansberg and impress on a big stage like Saturday night.