British athlete Leon Edwards will be using Freetrain products ahead of his blockbuster fight with Nate Diaz next month, June 12, 2021.
Freetrain, the innovative fitness and running brand, are proud to announce UFC fighter Leon Edwards as their next athlete ambassador.
British athlete Leon Edwards will be using Freetrain products ahead of his blockbuster fight with Nate Diaz next month, June 12, 2021
Freetrain, the innovative fitness and running brand, are proud to announce UFC fighter Leon Edwards as their next athlete ambassador.
As part of a new initiative to work with exciting sporting talent, Edwards has signed a partnership with Freetrain to see him use Freetrain products in his training camp to prepare for his next fight against American Nate Diaz on June 12 at UFC 263 in Arizona.
The fight was initially due on UFC 262 but was moved to UFC 263 on June 12 after Diaz suffered an injury. The contest will be the first five-round non-title co-main event in UFC history.
The current Freetrain product range includes the Freetrain V1 Vest and the Freetrain VR Vest, which offers an innovative alternative to phone holder armbands.
29-year-old Edwards, based in Birmingham, is the number-three ranked fighter in the UFC 170lbs Welterweight division and is currently riding an eight-fight win streak.
Edwards will be seeking a high-profile win to add to his record after being forced out of action for over a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. He was then due to fight Khamzat Chimaev on three different occasions, but the fight was then cancelled due to Chimaev’s COVID-19 issues.
Edwards ended up facing Belal Muhammad as a late-notice replacement in March at UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad but an accidental eye poke to Muhammad in the second round ended the fight. The bout was ruled a no contest.
Now Leon “Rocky” Edwards moves on from that fight looking to build on an eight-fight win streak (excluding the no contest), and a win over the 36-year-old American Nate Diaz, who hasn’t fought inside the Octagon in almost 18 months, will put him within touching distance of a shot at the 170lbs title.
James Wren, a co-founder of Freetrain, said: “Being based in Birmingham, we’ve followed Leon’s journey closely over the last few years, and we are extremely excited to be partnering with him and helping him as he prepares for the biggest fight of his career.”
He added: “He is one of the most recognisable names in British MMA and is now within touching distance of a title shot and becoming a UFC champion.”
Edwards said: I’ve been a fan of Freetrain for some time now and have been using the V1 for a while, it’s a pretty simple product, but it does the job for me. Teaming up with the guys seemed like a no brainer, both based in Birmingham, so it was as simple as it gets.”
Last month, Freetrain announced their first athlete partnership with British boxer Conor Benn.
The Birmingham based fitness company set up by former Aston Villa youth player Jack Dyer and former Walsall FC goalkeeper James Wren. The pair has created an innovative alternative to phone holder armbands to allow fitness enthusiasts to train smart and train free. Since 2015 when the business launched, they have experienced significant growth, increased their product range, and sold over 150,000 units worldwide in 12 different countries. The product range currently includes the Freetrain V1 Vest and the Freetrain VR Vest, along with other running accessories such as rechargeable illuminate LEDs, water-resistant gloves, reflective gloves and therma hats. To find out more about Freetrain, visit: http://www.freetrain.co.uk/
The 14th December 2013 is a date that will be forever ingrained in Johnny Walker’s brain. It was that day that Johnny had his first-ever professional mixed martial arts contest at the age of 22, in the heavyweight division. Having had no previous amateur fights, the fight only lasted :49 seconds in round one and Johnny won via TKO, something that he would be doing later throughout his career thus far.
Johnny fought another ten times at heavyweight in Brazil with a combined record of 8-3 before moving down to Light Heavyweight in March 2017, where he had another two fights before relocating to Aberdeen in Scotland in December 2017 for a year.
Johnny had grown up in Brazil all his life, until at the age of 25, he moved across the world to Aberdeen, for an exciting opportunity to help further his MMA career on a global scale.
It was, in fact, Johnny’s coach Leo Gosling who got a proposal/job offer from a businessman in Aberdeen, to go and teach classes in mixed martial arts. Leo stated he would only accept the invite if it included bringing Johnny over too. When Leo and Johnny arrived, they soon realised that it was all a big lie and that the gym owner was broke, which resulted in Leo and Johnny receiving no payment.
These were tough times for Leo and Johnny having travelled from Brazil to Scotland, and now, having no money to live on, their only option was to sleep on gym floors. However, both Leo and Johnny stayed positive and focused on the bigger picture, and Leo managed to get Johnny 3 fights in a month, which not only started to make a name for Johnny on the UK MMA scene (Johnny won the UCMMA light heavyweight title, Feb 2018) but also gave them the much-needed money to survive and progress in the MMA scene.
It wasn’t long after Johnny won his next three fights that he decided to try out for season 2 of ‘Dana White’s contender series in Brazil’ which was held on August 11th, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This was Johnny’s chance to prove to Dana White that after all the hard work he had put in since 2013, he belonged in the world’s number one promotion. The ‘UFC’.
On Fight Night, Johnny was scheduled to meet Henrique da Silva and was looking forward to showcasing his skills. However, during his warm-up Johnny was physically sick and had a fever. He also got tired within three minutes of warming up, so he chose to stop and conserve his energy for the bout against Henrique.
Johnny went the whole three rounds with Henrique, in which he won every round on the scorecards. This was the only fight thus far that Johnny had left it in the hands of the judges. He won via unanimous decision. “It was a great experience even though I was sick, and I couldn’t make it my best performance,” Johnny said afterwards. “It was the first time that any of my fights have gone to the judges’ scorecards”.
That performance impressed Dana White so much that he rewarded Johnny with a UFC contract.
After that victory, Johnny moved to Southampton, England to train with his coach Leo Gosling, where he met female UK fighter and mum of two Bryony Tyrell. At the time, Bryony part-owned Exile MMA Central, Southampton, and later went on to train with Leo and Johnny in Thailand at Johnny’s gym called ‘Walker MMA’, while preparing for her Bellator debut on 22nd June 2019. They formed a great bond with each other that still exists today.
Born Walker Johnny Barra Silva de Souza on March 30th, 1992 in Tingua, Rio de Janeiro, Johnny, his brother Valter and his parents, relocated to Rio das Ostras when he was a teenager, where he lived until he was 25 years old.
Rio das Ostras was a cool place to grow up. The city used to be very safe back then. Johnny would frequently go play out in the street or visit the beach a lot. Unfortunately, as with many children today, some of the kids at school were mean, and for a while, Johnny got bullied for being so tall and skinny.
At 15 years old, Johnny took up one of his first loves, dancing, RIP rop, and Lamaerobica, (which is a Brazilian style of dance), — gradually moving onto lifting weights. Then he moved onto Muay Thai, which he fell in love with after his first lesson.
After leaving school, Johnny started studying Chemistry Engineering but decided that he wanted to follow his dream of becoming a world champion mixed martial arts athlete. After being introduced to Leo Gosling at Leo’s gym, Johnny was offered a scholarship to train in Brazilian Jiujitsu, and Leo invited Johnny to train in MMA as well.
With the mentorship of Leo fully formed, and an incredible bond, even when Leo went to London for a year, Johnny trained at Team Evolucao in the South of Brazil. They then reunited to carry on with their close coach/manager bond that they established.
Starting his MMA career off in the heavyweight division, Johnny knew that weight class was not for him. So, he dropped down to light heavyweight, where the 6ft 5 Brazilian has found great success in the 205lb weight class.
Since being signed to the UFC in 2018, Johnny has had three fights with all of them ending with a first-round win, and a total combined time of 2 minutes 48 seconds in the octagon, gaining three “fight of the night” bonuses while in the process. “Starting my career in the heavyweight division and now in the light heavyweight division, I’m going to win the light heavyweight belt. Then, I will move up and win the heavyweight belt” stated Johnny while we were on the subject on whether he will make a return to the heavyweight division.
If you’re familiar with Johnny Walker, then you will know that after every win in the octagon, Johnny, celebrates by doing a version of what he calls ‘the worm’. However, the last time Johnny did his celebratory ‘worm’, he dislocated his shoulder just before having his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. He then had to have surgery, and this kept him out of competitive action for four months while his shoulder was healing.
“My shoulder is 100% recovered now. I had surgery and have been rehabbing it, and I’m good to go. I will have to look for a new celebration to do when I win as my mum won’t let me do ‘The Worm’ anymore lol,” Johnny says laughing.
Having had six months out of the octagon to rehab his shoulder injury, it has given Johnny plenty of time to spend time with his two dog’s – Pitbull’s named ‘Yoga’, who is the female, and ‘Tanus’, the male. This has given them plenty of time to go down to the beach to chill as well as playing video games. Which at the moment is ‘Call of Duty 4’ online. “I haven’t had time to play the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare yet!”. As well as visiting other gyms to get some more experience, as you can never have enough skills, Johnny has recently come back from spending three weeks at SBG Ireland.
Johnny (17-3), ranked #11 will be facing Corey Anderson (12-4), ranked #7, (according to UFC rankings) on Saturday, November 2nd at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY, at UFC 244.
Looking at these two athletes on paper the only similarities (which are small) is that Johnny is 6ft 5 inches and has an 82-inch reach, whereas Anderson is 6ft 3 inches and has a 79-inch reach.
Anderson is on a three-fight winning streak, all coming by way of decision. In fact, all his fights bar 4 have come by leaving it in the hands of the judges. On the other hand, Johnny is on a nine-fight winning streak, with only one of those wins coming by way of decision back in 2016. That is the only one so far on his overall career record. The rest of his wins have come by way of T/KO and two submissions, with all of those T/KO’s happened in the first round one and one coming in the second round.
With a win over Corey Anderson on Saturday, November 2nd, it should put him in the top #6 of the light heavyweight division. The question everyone will be asking is, who is next for him? Will he be in title contention to fight the current champion Jon Jones?, Or will it be someone in the top 5? “I’m not bothered by who my next opponent is, I want to fight as soon as possible, within three weeks would be ideal, in Washington, DC, on 7th December. If not then, then UFC 245 in Vegas on 14th December.”
UFC 244 takes place on Saturday, November 2nd, live from Madison Square Garden, New York, NY.
Tonight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Michelle Waterson and Felice Herrig will finally get the chance to meet in the centre of the octagon for their strawweight battle at UFC 229.
To some, this will be another showcase of the talented females in the strawweight division getting to show why women should be on the main card within the UFC, to others (like myself) this has been a fight 10 years in the making.
Back in 2007, an oxygen original tv show, similar in spirit to The Ultimate Fighter TV series had ten female fighters live together and train together with Muay Thai instructor – Master Toddy, in Las Vegas for six weeks to win a Muay Thai championship in Thailand.
The group of women were then narrowed down to five via a three-round fight between the housemates, the winners got to go to Thailand and the losing fighter was eliminated from the house and the competition.
Felice Herrig and Michelle Waterson were two of the original ten women to compete to try to go over to Thailand and were mentored by Lisa “The black widow” King, who was the original shows winner back in 2006, when there was a one-off documentary with seven female fighters and female Muay Thai & MMA legend Gina Carano.
Whilst Michelle lost her fight to get to go to Thailand, Felice won and set off to Thailand with the rest of the other four finalists, winning her fight in Thailand via TKO.
Felice went back to her kickboxing roots for a further two years before transitioning to MMA in 2009 where “The Lil Bulldog” had arrived.
Having competed for XFC, Bellator and Invicta, Felice was finally signed to The Ultimate Fighter season 20 in 2014.
Michelle transitioned to MMA in 2007 with help from Donald Cerrone at the time and “The Karate Hottie” competed at strawweight and atomweight in which she won the Invicta Atomweight Belt before being signed to the UFC in the strawweight division in 2015.
After Felice’s third win in a row against Justine Kish in 2017, she called out Michelle Waterson citing “she had already been offered the fight and accepted it, but it got taken away from her.”
With Felice Herrig being ranked #9 and Michelle Waterson being ranked #8 in the UFC fighter rankings and given both their shared history, this is one fight not to be missed.
Born and raised in Southampton, England, Tom Watson first started in combat sports at the age of 16, when he took up boxing. A three-time ABA Southern Counties Champion and being awarded ‘Amateur boxing standout of the year’ in 2006 was his introduction into mixed martial arts.
Watson made his professional mixed martial arts debut on 19th February 2006 for a local show at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort in London. On ‘ZT Fight Night 1’ where he won via Guillotine choke in 71 seconds, he returned on the show’s second instalment on June 25th the same year where he won via decision.
In 2007, Watson competed in five fights for UK promotion Cage Rage gaining a record of two wins and three losses. From 2008 – 2012 Watson fought a further twelve times for promotions Cage Rage, AFC, UCMMA (formerly Cage Rage), MFC and BAMMA. With his sole loss to Jesse Taylor at MFC 26, Watson picked up the inaugural UCMMA middleweight title along with the BAMMA middleweight title when he fought Jack Marshman at BAMMA 9.
With news that Watson has signed to elite European promotion Cage Warriors and will be facing Aaron ‘King’ Khalid at Cage Warriors 104 on April 27th, 2019 in Cardiff, it was only fitting that I should re-introduce ‘Kong’ to the world.
You’d be forgiven if you are not familiar with Tom ‘Kong’ Watson as of late, with his last competitive fight being on August 8th, 2015 for the UFC. Spending three years with the world’s number one promotion in the UFC, Watson had two wins and five losses (with those losses coming by way of decisions) for the UFC taking his overall record to 17-9.
Watson was not done with competing and was still actively seeking opportunities to fight in the UFC. Having no success, Watson was released by the UFC and continued to explore roles outside of the UFC, doing some commentary jobs here and there. It was at this point that promotion BAMMA contacted Watson regarding doing some presenting and commentary jobs for them. They also wanted Watson (who had been with BAMMA since their first event up until he signed to the UFC) to compete again for them. This news was music to Watson’s ears as he had not hung up his gloves and retired as many people thought due to his 3-year absence from the sport.
Unfortunately, due to issues out of Watson’s control, BAMMA was no longer a viable option as a promotion to make his long-awaited come back on. Instead, elite European promotion Cage Warriors signed Watson in the welterweight division (Watson previously competed in the middleweight division) in January of 2019.
Watson trains predominately at his state of the art gym called ‘Analysis’ which is located right next to him in Southampton, and with the occasional odd trip back to California to train. Watson is already preparing hard for his upcoming bout for his Cage Warriors debut.
Deciding to cut down to welterweight was an easy decision for Watson. He stated that “quite a few people had told me that I should have been a welterweight when I competed in the UFC as I never really cut any weight. When I look back on my career I do wonder if 170lb was the weight, I should have been competing at, so this is an attempt to test out that theory.”
Not content with winning a UCMMA (formally known as Cage Rage) and BAMMA title, Watson has made it very clear that the aim is to win the Cage Warriors welterweight title stating “I’m not coming here to have a bit of fun or have a couple of fights. I’m coming here to pick up another title to add to the two other titles I have held. I don’t know if there is anybody that has all of those titles, so that is my goal.”
With his first love being boxing Watson is in the middle of applying of getting his trainers license as he has a few guys who are looking to make their pro boxing debut so he can be in their corner.
/With the legalisation of Bare Knuckle Boxing, Watson has a couple of guys that he trains. Watson stated “it is not something that interests me, I do like the idea of fighting without gloves more than with gloves, I think gloves are probably less safe, and bare-knuckle is safer. It’s a big misconception that people think Bare Knuckle Boxing is more dangerous. I’d say it is a lot safer as you can’t do much damage as you break your hands more and you don’t have this protection and mould on your fist to keep punching the shots away. I will say though on bare-knuckle when they wear the wraps; I think it’s like wearing gloves and its worse, so to me, bare-knuckle boxing should be basically without wraps or anything.”
Going back to his time with the UFC, Watson stated “ I competed against the best in the world, and I have never got finished by any of them, only losing by decisions. Quite a few were controversial decisions at best for me. Fighting is fighting and if you are losing a decision sport contest– well I’ve said it before, in the UFC I don’t really see that as losing, just the system and the setup. For instance, if we changed the UFC fight to a no time limit would of I lost any of those fights? I doubt it. It is what it is, that’s the rules you play by. Strategy wise I probably didn’t fight too smart. If you look at the earnings of the people in the UFC, I’m still relatively high up there, and I didn’t win many fights, so, on that basis, well it was smart – possibly.”
For those of you that have followed Watson’s career from the beginning, you will recall Watson enters the cage wearing a gorilla mask, hence why he has the nickname ‘Kong’. As Watson made his last appearance for the UFC in 2015, a new British fighter in the name of Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till was making his debut for the promotion. “I’m not bothered by Darren Till” Watson states, “I believe Dan Hardy gave him the nickname ‘Gorilla’, it is what it is. I think everyone knows ‘Kong’ more than Darren Till’s ‘The Gorilla’.
“Darren Till is a great fighter, but I don’t think he is synonymous with a Gorilla.”
“Cage Warriors is the show where I’m going to make my comeback and win the welterweight title.”
With his debut for his Cage Warriors bout being dubbed ‘King’ vs ‘Kong’, there will only one way to find out if this is the start of a resurgence for Tom ‘Kong’ Watson by tuning into Cage Warriors 104 on April 27th live on UFC Fight Pass.
On Friday, November 2, 2019, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will be making their 500th live event at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York for UFC 244.
Headlining the event will be a welterweight bout between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz for the newly created ‘Baddest Motherf*cker’ in the game belt.
After a three-year hiatus, Nate Diaz returned on August 17th, 2019 at UFC 241, with a winning performance over Anthony Pettis reminding us (those that needed reminding), why he is regarded already as one of the ‘Baddest Motherf*ckers’ in this sport by hardcore fans.
Watching cage side was Jorge Masvidal, who by all accounts wasn’t that impressed with Nate’s performance, so when Nate called out Jorge, it was music to his ears.
Coming off a five-second win via knockout of Ben Askren, Jorge Masvidal has of late been surging through the welterweight division this year with back to back violent knockout wins, and in the process, gaining more casual MMA fans due to his aggressive winning style.
The fans and the whole MMA community were begging for this matchup to be made, and to everyone’s delight, it was confirmed that Nate Diaz would face Jorge Masvidal for the Baddest Motherf*cker belt on November 2nd, 2019 at Madison Square Garden.
With both men having similar losing records Diaz (20 wins), 11 losses, one knockout, one submission, nine decisions, and Masvidal (34 wins) 13 losses, one knockout, two submissions and ten decisions, it comes down to who is the real BMF in this sport.
Although some fans will see this fight as a submission artist in Diaz, having had 11 of his wins come via submission, and knockout artist Masvidal having had 15 of wins come via knockout – a grappler vs striker fight, this couldn’t be further than what it seems on paper.
With official early betting odds coming in as Jorge Masvidal being the favourite over Nate Diaz, with odds ranging from -165 to -179, as stated by Sascha P from Sports Betting Dime, it was only fair that I asked a few other people who they thought would win the BMF belt.
“The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar – TUF 1 finalist and UFC Hall of Famer says:
“I’m leaning on Masvidal because he’s been wrecking guys.”
“Masvidal has shown explosive skills recently, however, I feel Diaz will be all too familiar with this, opting to keep distance early on but will close the distance as the fight goes on. I expect this to be a stand-up affair but feel that Diaz will look to turn to his grappling in the latter stages of the fight, and it may well hit the canvas. I’m expecting a lot of clinching and cage work in this fight with Diaz getting the better of Masvidal in these exchanges. Both fighters have exceptional stand-up skills in which I see it being a very fast-paced chess match style. With all of the above said my official prediction is – Nate Diaz via decision.”
“It’s a difficult fight to pick a winner. Masvidal, after a career slump, is riding into this fight after highlight-reel knockouts of Darren Till and Ben Askren. Masvidal is on the verge of a title shot. A win over Diaz should give him that chance sometime in 2020. The odds slightly favour Masvidal, and that’s the way I see it also. There is every chance Diaz could be too busy, and for me, he has more ways to win. But I think Masvidal gets it done, probably on points, although a late stoppage in his favour can’t be ruled out.”
And as for me, well, if Masvidal can get it done within three rounds he can win, otherwise, as Nate is known as a slow starter and comes alive more as the rounds go on, I see Nate taking it over the five rounds and wins via decision.
The sport of legalised Bare-Knuckle Boxing – British fighter Mark Godbeer is taking part Saturday, 21st, September 2019 live on FITE TV in the UK and PPV in North America.
Born and raised in Bridgwater, Somerset in England, 35-year-old Mark Godbeer had always felt that his ‘hands’ could do the talking – not in the way you’re thinking, but as in a career in combat sports.
Back in 2009, Mark embarked on that career in mixed martial arts.
His first competitive mixed martial arts fight was on a local show in Bath where not only was he the headlined event he won the contest in 2 minutes via TKO.
A year after that fight, Mark got the buzz and had a second fight in which he won again via TKO.
With another four fights that year, Mark won two contests via TKO and two via submission. The two fights Mark had in 2011 were a mixture where he won one via TKO and lost to a TKO himself, his first loss as a pro.
Having had been signed to now-defunct promotion BAMMA, Mark had more than his fair share of success winning all four of those contests and even winning the prestigious BAMMA World Title Belt.
After his success with BAMMA, Mark got called up to the UFC in 2016, which was an achievement and all hard work had paid off.
It was in the UFC (2017) that Mark had never gone the full three rounds and it was left in the judge’s hand to score the fight – they scored it in favour of Mark winning via unanimous decision.
After amassing a record of 13 wins (9 of those coming by way of TKO) and four losses, Mark decided to hang up his 4oz gloves. However, that retirement was short-lived as Mark signed to ACA – Absolute Championship Akhat (formerly known as ACB – Absolute Championship Berkut), which has also given himself another new goal to reach.
“My MMA contract with ACA is still active, and I can talk to my management (Duello Sports Management) they respect what I have to say “ stated Mark “They’ve been really good to me as they knew at that in my point in my career that I wanted to get as many fights in as possible and explore different adventures”
March 20th, 2019 will always be a date that Mark fondly recalls, as he was asked by the British Bare Knuckle Company who had been trying to contact him to fight one of their best guys at BKB16 at The O2 in London, which was also his BKB official debut event.
Mark won that contest against Mickey Parker who was 4-1 in BKB at the time and won the British Title, after that the offers came flooded in.
BKFC David Feldman who held the first legal promotion with it being sanctioned and commissioned since 1889 in June 2018 in Cheyenne, Wyoming had so many offers from people that he was inundated with prospects “someone reached out to me to fight in the heavyweight tournament that Valor was running” said Mark “They told me who was competing, and I was like they are all veterans of the sport, and I’m at the point of my career that I’m also a veteran, so yeah I said f**k let’s do this”.
“It has given me back the fire in my belly. I love to box, and I love the rawness of BKB and the bare-knuckle.”
There is a total miss conception of Bare Knuckle Boxing, and that is where the hands of the fighters get wrapped all around the knuckles, which defeats the object of ‘Bare Knuckle Boxing’, some promotions still use this route; however Mark is keen to put us straight “They are completely bare, the only thing we have wrapped is our wrists so we can punch harder and then say an inch to two inches to your knuckles so that they are complete bare.
“The British version and Valor do not cover knuckles anymore.”
Having decided to have his training camp out in Thailand at Phuket Top Team with Boyd Clarke, for the last five weeks was mainly due to ‘boxing politics’ back in the UK with his very good friend Marley Swindells, Mark felt right at home with Phuket Top Team “I felt that I fitted in straight away with them, having no egos, and I knew most of them from being on the circuit anyway – it was a no brainer.” He said.
“I’ve been out here for five weeks with Marley training my a** off, and now we are here we are all ready to go.”
The event will be the first inaugural promotion promoted by UFC Hall of Famer, four-time Heavyweight World Champion and WWE Legend Ken Shamrock.
“With the four-match tournament it is the first of many I believe on Ken Shamrocks Valor Bare Knuckle show, having selected four big heavyweights, we are all just going to battle it out for two fights all in one night.” Stated Mark “We will have our first fight, then, later on, we find out who we will be matched with for our 2nd fight and see who will become the First Heavyweight Valor Bare Knuckle Champion.”
With Bare Knuckle Boxing taking off all over the world for the past year, or so fans want to see two people go tow to tow in the middle of the ring, once the beer starts flowing, people do like to see a good old fashioned fistfight. Also, mutual respect is shown to each other after they have ‘beaten’ the ‘s**’t’ out of the other fighter after their contest regardless of the result. Two guys/girls have had the b*lls to step into the ring regardless and give their all to their opponent and the fans for a fight they will enjoy.
Lastly, I would like to thank Marley Swindells for helping me get ready for this incredible journey, Phuket Top Team for welcoming me, Booster Fight gear as my sponsor and my management team Duello Sports Management.
Gunnar Nelson released the news him self today, (rather than all the ‘hear say stories), that due to injuring his knee during practise last week, for which he will have to undergo surgery on, he has and rightly so pulled out of the co-main event at UFC Liverpool.
Nelson said “I’m sorry to my family, my opponent, my teammates, the fans and the UFC.
“This is a huge blow to me and I’m at a loss for words to describe the disappointment I am feeling. I was really feeling up for this fight, the training camp was going great and everything was just perfect until this happened. When all is said and done this is the fight business and injuries are sometimes an unfortunate part of it given the physical rigors us athletes put our bodies through. I will keep on evolving as a fighter while I’m on the sidelines and I’ll be back as soon as I can”. – we here at fiveroundswithemma, wish Gunnar a speedy recovery.
There is speculation that Neil Magny will still be on the card and a new opponent is being sought after as I type this statement.
Stay tuned to see who his opponent will be for the co-main event in UFC Liverpool on Sunday May 27th.
This interview was conducted back in June 2016 and featured in the July/August issue of MMA Uncaged Magazine.
“Age is just a number. I will be in the UFC by the end of the year”
London, 2002 and the UFC held its first event outside of the United States for UFC 38. ‘Brawl at the Hall’ was held inside the iconic Royal Albert Hall. Headlined by UFC Hall of Fame veteran Matt Hughes and Carlos Newton. Also on the main card was a 36-year-old Ian Freeman who faced and beat a 23-year-old Frank Mir by TKO, proving that ‘age is just a number’.
Fast forward to April 15, 2016, when European Promotion Cage Warriors returned home to London and held its 75th event. Making his debut for the promotion was 38-year-old Scott ‘The Priest’ Clist facing 25-year-old Brad ‘The Crazy Kid’ Wheeler. Clist was the heavy underdog and after weathering an early storm where it looked like Wheeler was going to submit him in the opening minutes, Clist gained control of the fight (with 30 seconds to go) landing a head kick followed by a right hook which knocked Wheeler to the canvas against the cage and began to unleash a barrage of punches (16) only for the klaxon to sound the end of the round.
It was in-between rounds that Wheeler’s corner retired him from the fight as he had taken too much damage, declaring Clist victorious by way of TKO at the end of round one. Proving yet again ‘age is just a number’.
“Age is just a number. I will be in the UFC by the end of the year”
Born and raised in Bridgwater, Somerset but now residing in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, the nightclub manager first started out in the world of Martial Arts at the tender age of 5.
“My dad would get me and my brother to throw punches and box train with him. He would show us how to twist our hips with the punches and lead with a jab” Clist recalls of his fond childhood memories. After briefly flirting with Karate, Clist settled on Kickboxing where he would start his Martial Arts career and held British titles in kickboxing and full contact Tae kwon do.
Clist was first introduced to Mixed Martial Arts by a colleague whilst he was working in Swindon as a barman at the age of 19. A doorman he knew lent him 3 video’s called “UFC” and after watching them decided he wanted to give MMA a try.
“After watching the ‘UFC’ video’s I attended my first MMA class which was also run by the same doorman who gave me the video’s. ‘Oz’, Michael Osbourne at ‘SVT’ Swindon Vale Tudo. Although I really enjoyed the class due to my working schedule at the time I couldn’t commit to it.”
After spending some time training in different Martial Arts and balancing a full time job, Clist found classes run by Tony Childs who was teaching San Shou, JKD, Combat Submission Wrestling and Escrima to add to his Kickboxing and Tae kwon do background.
Finally, after experiencing success in teaching kickboxing, Clist decided it was time to open up his own gym. In March 2008 The Revolution Gym in Trowbridge was born, all the while still competing as an amateur mixed martial artist himself from 2006 – 2009. In 2010 Clist turned pro finishing his first five opponents within two rounds. Although picking up his first pro MMA loss in 2013 to Dan Rushworth, that fight earned him fight of the night honours. Winning his next fight Clist then entered an 8-man tournament.
“I had no emotion in the lead up to the event and was spending a large amount of time teaching instead of focusing on my own training. Ali Maclean tapped my out with a north and south choke 4:34 seconds into the first round. It was the only time I had been stopped as a pro fighter. I was gutted.”
“It was after this fight that I realised I needed to focus on my own training so I shut down my gym and moved over to Dragonslair MMA in Melksham home to UFC athlete Bradley Scott.”
Now [10-2] as a pro and with the help and guidance of Head Coach Stu Pike at Dragonslair MMA, Clist is currently on a three fight win streak after winning his last fight against Brad Wheeler at Cage Warriors 75 where he was very much the underdog on that card.
“I kept the fight standing for a while and me and Brad traded some shots until I threw a kick and he caught it. Brad got the takedown but I managed to get back to my feet only for brad to get a deep double leg and take me down again, his ju jitsu is sleek and he managed to get my back and sink in the body lock quickly. I went into autopilot and 2 on 1 defence. I had done this so many times in the gym that I was never really worried about getting tapped, I just had to get the lock off. I tried putting pressure on Brad’s ankle but that didn’t work so I had to defend and try to turn into him but like I said Brad’s BJJ is something else and trying to get someone as good as he is off you is not the easiest thing.
“After a few mins spent on the defensive I felt the lock loosen so I stepped over his leg to avoid him getting it locked back in, I turned quickly and we got back to our feet.
“I threw a good uppercut to the body and Brad backed off. I saw my opportunity and threw the head kick followed by the right hook.
I saw brad fall and started throwing down some serious ground and pound. I could hear his corner shouting “10 seconds, hold on Brad”. I kept throwing punches thinking the ref has got to stop it but he didn’t and the buzzer sounded for the end of the round. Brad’s corner retired him in between rounds which gave me a TKO win coming at 5 mins of round one.”
The fight Clist had with Wheeler was originally scheduled for a lightweight bout but got changed to a catch weight bout a few days before. So will we be seeing Clist again in the lightweight division?
“I would like to fight against top 10 opponents. A fight with Chris Fishgold would be interesting and a fight against Andre Ward would make for a great fight. I aim to Keep growing as a fighter and I am in the right place and working with the right people to do that and keep winning. I want to be a successful UFC fighter. I don’t just want to make it into the UFC, I will make it into the UFC and get some good wins.”
With a nickname ‘The Priest’ I did however wonder how it came about.
“My first sponsor gave me that name. I told him he could pick my ring name. He had just watched The Davinci Code on dvd and decided I looked like the psycho killer from the film (blonde hair, white skin) so he said it was great to call me The Priest. I kept it because it caught on after my first fight.”
As with any interview, I ask if Scott has anyone he would like to thank.
“Firstly, my wife and daughter as they put up with me missing time spent with them, being tired from training and weight cutting etc. I would like to thank my coaches Stu Pike, Bradley Scott for making me a better fighter. My boxing and s+c coaches Mark Kent and Smudger at contender gym. My teammates who let me learn and let me be part of their learning. Stu Mourant for making a massive difference and opening doors. My sponsors for helping me with fuelling my body, BadBoy Supplements (kalv Singh) and financially Nacho Cheese, Richard Henley (Heating and plumbing), Darryl Moore (Carpentry) and a massive thank you goes out to all my friends and supporters”.
You can follow Scott Clist’s journey on the following media sites.