Titan Fighting Championships held their thirty-third event last night (or early hours of the morning if you were watching in the UK), in Alabama, for their biggest event to date; whilst I would guarantee the majority of fans would have been looking at the Main Card event, for which had 3 Title fights by the way of former Bellator featherweight contender and Titan FC featherweight champion Desmond Green against Strikeforce vet and one-time UFC competitor Kurt Holobaugh, Pat Healy faced Kurt Kinser for the lightweight belt and Jon Madsen faced Chase Gormley for the heavyweight title belt.
I can assure you, it would be the UK fans who were more interested in the welsh super star Brett ‘The Pikey’ Johns, who was facing Walel Watson for the Vacant Bantamweight Title which was taking place on the aired portion of the Prelim Card.
The non-title matchup that opened up the main card was TUF 18’s Cody Bollinger against New York prospect Andre Harrison in the featherweight division.
Here are the Results:
Kurt Holobaugh Def Desmond Green Via Split Decision 49-46, 47-48, 48-47 to become #TheNEW#Featherweight #Champion
Pat Healy Def Kurt Kinser Via Split Decision 47-48, 49-46, 49-46 to become #TheNEW #Lightweight #Champion
Chase Gormley Def Jon Madsen Via Unanimous Decision 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 to become #TheNEW #Heavyweight #Champion
Andre Harrison Def Cody Bollinger Via Unanimous Decision 30-27, 30-27, 30-27
Brett Johns Def Walel Watson Via RNC 3 mins 06 secs Round Two to become #TheNew#Bantamweight #Champion
Anthony Gutierrez Def Austin Lyons Via KO (head kick and Punches) 3 mins 28 secs Round Three
Belal Muhammad Def Keith Johnson Via Unanimous Decision 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 Brian Davidson Def Estevan Payan Via Unanimous Decision 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 Marcus Edwards Def Adam Nijem Via RNC (Technical Submission) 1 min 20 secs Round One
Unaired Preliminary Card
Andy Uhrich Def Bobby Cooper Via Split Decision 29-27, 29-28, 28-29
Ffion Eira Davies is a name that should firmly be on everyone’s lips in the world of MMA. If you have not heard of this bright, talented,upcoming, future star, then please let me introduce you to her.
Making her second amateur MMA appearance on Saturday, February 21st at UIC14, GL1, Gloucester. The 20-year-old from Wales, who trains out of Chris Rees Academy in Swansea is no stranger when it comes to competition, having been competing in Judo since age 9 and BJJ for the last 18 months.
I managed to speak with Ffion to find out more about her, her achievements in the world of Judo and BJJ, MMA and Ronda Rousey.
You maybe ‘new’ on the MMA scene but you’re not on the BJJ scene. Can you talk me through all your achievements please.
I started BJJ about a year and a half ago now, originally just as a hobby. It’s quite funny because I always hated groundwork in judo and avoided it at all costs! But I ended up falling in love with it, and since then I’ve won the British gi and no gi, Paris gi and no gi, the Welsh gi and no gi, NAGA at my own weight and the absolute (blue and purple belt) and most recently the European championships in Portugal all at blue belt. So far I’ve not lost a BJJ match.
Not only contempt in BJJ, you started out in Judo; at what age did you start training in Judo, then competing? What achievements have you achieved in the world of Judo?
I started judo when I was about 9 years old, and started competing 3 months later. I won the Welsh a few times and the British twice as a Cadet/Junior. I trained full-time for a year in Sophia Gardens with the Welsh National Coach Craig Ewers, but I noticed my passion for judo was dwindling after so many years of competing and decided I wanted something fresh. That’s when I found BJJ which led me to MMA.
You train out of Chris Rees Academy who trains many up and coming champion MMA athletes, along with arguably one of the best Bantamweights Wales have seen in a long time, Brett Johns, who also comes from a judo background and who also was the Cage Warriors World Bantamweight Champion. How does it feel to train with another high level Judoka who has made the transition into MMA?
It’s quite funny because one of the main reasons I started MMA was because of Brett! We were in the same comprehensive school, he was in my brothers year, and we also did judo together growing up! I saw his posts on Facebook about MMA and I was amazed by it, at the same time Ronda Rousey had become big on the scene and I saw that the transition from a judo background would be pretty ideal for me! It’s amazing to have such a high level fighter as a teammate and friend, it’s very motivating. I’m looking forward to him claiming another world title!
Was it always the ‘plan’ to make the transition to MMA, having had the Judo and BJJ background, or was it something that just progressed organically?
No not really, BJJ and MMA were supposed to be fitness hobbies. But I’m hugely competitive and couldn’t resist competing in the end!
Are there any other disciplines you are quite well versed in? Was you already doing Kickboxing, K1, Muay Thai, Karate etc whilst you were competing at Judo/BJJ?
Nope, I started learning striking in the MMA class, and have taken so many punches to the face it’s hilarious. Chris (my coach) then arranged for me to start doing pad work with Sam Thomas who’s one of the Thai boxing coaches at the academy. He’s really helped me a lot with my striking the past few weeks and invested a lot of time in helping me. I’m extremely grateful to him and all my teammates.
You finally had you’re first amateur MMA fight at SnA for which you won via Kimura Keylock in the first round. How did that finally feel to get that first MMA fight out the way with all the false starts you’ve had previously due to scheduled fights being cancelled through opponents being injured?
It’s been very frustrating the past few months because of pull outs. If you don’t want to fight don’t sign up to it, amateur is all about gaining experience whether you win or lose. When I finally did get to fight on SnA I was ecstatic; especially against a good opponent who I knew wouldn’t pull out due to ‘injury’. Jade was a decorated fighter who I knew wouldn’t pull out as she was confident in her abilities so it made it all the more nerve-racking. There’s no other feeling like fighting in the cage and I want as many fights as I can get!
Can you talk me through the experience you finally felt achieving your first amateur MMA fight? Was it any different to what you had ‘thought’ it would be like? Once at the venue knowing the crowds are there, walking out to the cage and into the cage and of course the fight itself.
I loved every minute of fighting, but the nerves are like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I spewed the day before and a few times on the day of the fight due to nerves, I’ve never been that bad before! Then in the last half hour before the fight everything changed and I became this aggressive psycho who just couldn’t wait to get in the cage! And then after the win I felt on top of the world, there’s really nothing else like it.
You’re competing on UIC 14 at GL1, Gloucester, this Saturday, February 21st in your 2nd amateur MMA fight. How are you feeling this time?
I feel just as nervous, but also excited. I have more self belief this time round and I’ve been training hard.
You’re facing the UIC K1 Flyweight Champion Laura Handy, do you know anything about your opponent? do you watch your opponents fight video’s or do you leave that to your coach/team and you take their instruction in what you need to focus on?
Yeah I’ve had a look at a few of her fights, but it’s always down to what my coach Chris wants me to do. He has so much experience in coaching that I know he knows what’s best for me and so I put my trust in him to decide! At first that was hard as I’m stubborn, but after so many grappling comps where I’ve followed his instructions and won that stubbornness quickly went away!
This is a classic ‘striker vs grappler’ fight and it’s fair to say with Laura being a K1 Champion and yourself a BJJ champion, for the fan watching this is a great match-up made by Paul Sutherland. Where do you see the fight going yourself?
Naturally were both going to want to go where we feel our strongest. I’ve been putting in a lot of effort to round-up my game. Obviously we are both going to imagine ourselves winning, nobody steps into the cage expecting to lose. I’ll do my best, and she will do her best, and whoever is the better fighter will win.
Has anybody ever referenced you to ‘Ronda Rousey’ at all with your Judo background and your Arm bar submissions in BJJ along with your sleek ground game?
Chris says I have a moody face like her! I get where it could come from but not really.. We both did judo but she was Olympic standard whereas I was very very far away from that standard!
Is there any sponsors or anyone you would like to thank for this fight?
Tatami Fightwear for providing me with free BJJ kit! And although obviously they aren’t sponsors but they buy me snacks and give me lifts, I’d like to thank my teammates, coaches and family!
Thank you for your time today Ffion it is much appreciated.
You can keep up to date with Ffion on her Twitter page here.
You’re currently undefeated in the UIC cage [under K1] and the current flyweight K1 champion [Congratulations]. Why the change now to compete on the show in MMA when you are clearly having a great career in the K1 scene?
I’ve always wanted to compete in MMA, my strongest point was striking so I used K1 to gain experience in the cage. I’ve had 6 k1 fights now so I just feel the time is right to make the step to MMA.
Does this mean that you will not be competing in K1 for the time being and the focus is more on MMA or will you do both [K1 and MMA] side by side?
The plan is to see how this first fight goes. I know I have a lot of work to do with regards to my ground game and the last few months have been a big learning curve. I’ll still fight k1 to keep my striking strong and hopefully do both side by side.
How has the transition been going in learning all aspects of MMA?
It’s been a tough couple of months trying to bring everything together but I’ve been having 1-1’s with my coach Ryan Norwood and working with people like Wayne Drake and Chris Hipkiss to help pull it all together.
Have you had any ‘taster’ tournaments such as any ‘interclubs’ or ‘BJJ’ tournaments to gauge yourself how you feel you are progressing or are you leaving it all in your capable coaches hands?
No I haven’t done any interclubs etc but it is something I want to do after this fight just to gain more experience.
I know from when we first spoke in your first interview with me that it has always been your aim to evolve into the MMA scene. Can you tell me what it is about the sport in whole that appeals to you and why?
MMA is appealing to me basically because you can never predict a fight, you’re always learning and developing.
Have you got a new ‘training’ addiction? [Last time we spoke it was weight training].
I’m still a big fan of weight training and have added in lots of Hiit and circuit training to this camp too.
You’re going to be fighting Ffion Davies who trains out if Chris Rees Academy in Wales at UIC 14 on February 21st. Do you know much about Ffion?
I know that Ffion fought last year and won via submission, and I know she’s coming in to the cage with a high level grappling game but I haven’t watched any videos.
This is a classic ‘Striker Vs Grappler’ fight. It’s fair to say with Ffion being a BJJ champion and yourself a K1 champion, to the fan this is a great match up made by Paul Sutherland. Where do you see the fight going yourself?
Yeah it’s a great match up, albeit a tough one. I know Ffion will want the fight on the ground; without giving too much away I’ve been working on all areas so I have to just stick to what we have been working on.
How do you think you will adjust to the time of the rounds in MMA being longer than K1?
In all my fights I tend to feel more comfortable as the rounds go on so I think the longer rounds will suit me better and give me time to adjust to my opponent.
With each fight is the nerves getting any better? If so how are you dealing with them now?
No, I’m still a bag of nerves on the day lol! It’s just something I have to deal with and once we’re in the cage the nerves just have to go!
Has this training camp been a lot harder in trying to manage the quality time you still spend with your daughter Ayva and of course absorbing all the new training techniques?
To be honest it’s ok, most of my training is at night-time and most nights Ayva is usually in bed by the time I set out for the gym. I have two days off work in the week which I spend doing things with her!
After this fight on February 21st will you be indulging in Ayva’s ‘Chocolate Freddo Bars’ with her?
Yes I will be eating my body weight in chocolate and ice cream lol!
You’re known for bringing a crowd with you, how much does the noise of your own supporters help you when you’re in the cage?
It helps a lot to hear everyone shouting! During the last fight against Linzi Edwards our supporters were having a shout off which was quite funny! But yeah it does help to keep me going and keep me focused and I’m grateful that they want to come and support me.
Lastly, is there any sponsors or anybody you would like to thank?
Yes big thanks to Warrior Fightwear for all my training and fight gear! And thanks to Ryan Norwood and everyone else at FuryMMA for helping me through this fight camp and helping with my ground work!
Thank you for your time Laura.
You can keep up-to-date on everything Laura is doing on her athlete Facebook page or her Twitter page.
If you have not done so yet, you can purchase tickets to see Laura make her MMA debut at UIC 14, GL1, Gloucester on February 21st here, or contact any of the fighters to see of they still any.
Date: 21st February 2015
Venue: GL1 Leisure Centre, Gloucester, GL1 1DT
SHANE RILEY V ADAM BOUSIFF 77.2kg Welterweight Title
MARC ALLEN V TERRY DOYLE 70.4kg Lightweight Title
STEVE SMITH V DAVE CONLON 78kg Catchweight k1
IAN DALBY V LEE RUSSELL 56.8kg Flyweight pro
LAURA HANDY V FFION DAVIES 61.3kg Bantamweight ammy
PAULINA MALINA V AMY O’MARA 52.2kg Strawweight ammy
HARRY DAVIS V OLLY MYERS 77.2kg Welterweight ammy
JEMMA JACQUES V BRYONY TYRELL 56.8kg Flyweight ammy
ANDREE WARBRICK V ASHLEIGH JOHNSON 54kg Catchweight k1 ammy
POLLY BEAUCHAMP V CHARLOTTE FREEMAN 52.2kg Strawweight ammy
JORDAN PATEY V WILL JONES 90kg Catchweight ammy
MACK STEVENS V JOSH OZANE 74kg Catchweight ammy
BARTOSZ RUSIECKI V LAURENCE COATES 72kg Catchweight k1 ammy