The British Association of Mixed Martial Arts host their first event of 2015 on Saturday, Feb 21, from the Wolverhampton Civic Hall for BAMMA 18. In the main event, Tom Duquesnoy is set to defend his BAMMA featherweight world title against Poland’s tough Krzysztof Klaczek. The event also marks the debut for Straight Blast Gym Ireland’s Chris Fields, who takes on Cheick Kone in a middleweight title eliminator.
Duquesnoy (9-1, 1NC) walks into Wolverhampton as arguably the top featherweight prospect in Europe, and a win against Klaczek (8-2) can only solidify this. The French feu has asserted dominance during his three BAMMA appearances, sparking James Saville at BAMMA 14 and technically dismantling Teddy Violet at BAMMA 15.
His most recent bout at BAMMA 16 ended in a no contest, when an inside leg kick to Ashleigh Grimshaw missed its destination, landing flush in the groin of the Team Titan fighter. This was much to the dismay of many who saw fight of the night potential shattered.
With “Cruiser” set to face Orestes Betran next month in Blackpool, BAMMA 19, the stars are perfectly aligned; should they get past their next opponents, to set up the world title grudge match.
“Fire Kid’s” sole loss came via brabo choke in 2013 to Makwan Amirkhani, who fans will remember from his stunning eight second finish of Andy Ogle at UFC Stockholm in January.
Klaczek trains out of Shooters Konin and is riding a five fight winning streak. Most recently over Jay Furness in Sep, 2014 with a majority decision over one of the UK’s toughest circuit fighters. With his first fight in the UK set, the Polish export will need to exert pressure early on to keep Duquesnoy at bay, to stop him controlling the pace of the fight.
In the co-main event, SBG Ireland’s Fields (10-5-1) looks to make an emphatic first impression at BAMMA 18 against France’s Kone (10-3). The former Ultimate Fighter contestant will mark the new wave of Irish fighters that stand on the horizon of BAMMA, with floodgates ready to open should Fields make an impact against Kone.
The ATCH Academy fighter Kone is 31 years-old and a veteran of French MMA. He is a gritty and aggressive fighter who tends to prefer keeping the fight standing. With six decisions and four KOs on his CV, he is a favourable opponent for Fields who will likely use his grappling to control the fight and set up his big shots.
Elsewhere on the BAMMA 18 card there are a few hidden gems that all fight fans should be paying attention to. 135lb Regis Sugden makes his return to BAMMA, this time against a greener Manuel Bilic. Also in the bantamweight division, Nathaniel Wood and Michael Cutting could put on a fight of the night, and the uber-impressive Mike Grundy looks to make it three-for-three against toughest challenge to date Mamadou Gueye.
Photo credit – Mark Blundell