(Knuckleup, who present their exciting “Origins” card tomorrow)
Knuckleup are continuing to expand and provide great domestic UK fight cards, bringing in UFC, M-1 and Shooto veterans to fill out their ‘Origin’ card which takes place tomorrow, February 20th.
Whilst many shows offer customary, and often meaningless, title fights, Knuckleup are providing numerous big clashes with the middleweight and welterweight titles on the line. More importantly, those contesting for them are genuine high-level domestic competitors with many featuring in MMA Unltd’s independent UK rankings. The clash of styles and talent will no doubt provide some entertaining matchups that hold relevance to the British and European scenes. The loss of the lightweight and featherweight title bouts through injury has barely registered, considering the strength of the line-up from top to bottom.
Heading the bill is Matt Thorpe (13-10) vs. John Phillips (9-3) for the 185lbs belt.
Well-versed veteran Thorpe brings his experience and well-rounded skill set to the cage whilst the slightly greener Phillips, a former Welsh commonwealth boxer, will look to throw his notoriously heavy hands and prove that he can hang with the UK’s elite.
Those with even the smallest pool of knowledge regarding UK MMA are aware of Thorpe and especially his legendary five-round war with Dan Hardy on Cage Warriors back in 2005. Since then he has gone on to fight internationally, claiming two victories in the M-1 Challenge this year. He has suffered setbacks though, and ended 2009 with back-to-back losses, albeit to some of the best talent Europe has to offer in Tor Troeng and Ansar Chalangov. “12-Gauge” doesn’t fight to make up the numbers, however, and will be motivated to perform and get back on the winning trail.
Of the bout, Thorpe told us,
“It’s going to be an awesome fight. It’s been nearly two years since I last fought in the UK, as I spent pretty much all of last year competing in ‘international’ bouts, so it’s going to be really good, especially considering my first fight back in the UK is a title fight. It’s great and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Phillips is a Cage Rage veteran with all of his victories coming through strikes and the rising Welshman will want to take the biggest scalp of his career. Propping up the UK rankings at number then, he is well aware a victory could thrust him into the limelight and pave the way for bigger fights to fulfil his aspirations.
This is far from the only attraction on the card. Jake Blyth (8-1) is eager to make a successful defence of his welterweight title and to do so he must overcome Kevin Reed (7-10). With his record not directly reflecting his ability, Reed’s intentions are to pull off the upset of the card and capitalise on the momentum he gained with a victory in his last outing. Blyth’s status in the top ten proves he is a more than competent fighter and the wealth of knowledge and experience he is gaining from coach Mark Weir is reflected in his maturing game in each and every fight.
Daniel “Denzil” Thomas has reversed his fortunes and taken himself from journeyman to legitimate European threat after posting wins in six consecutive fights. Poor planning and the unfaltering heart and desire to take on anybody at criminally short notice has been replaced with meticulous management and well matched contests thanks to Warrior Promotions Fighter Management. Despite a knockback as former opponent Matt Sellars withdrew with injury, Thomas won’t be disheartened as a rematch with the tough Stuart Davies now awaits him. Although “Denzil” bludgeoned his way to victory in the third round over Davies three years ago, it was a tough battle and both men have improved their skill set in that time.
UFC veteran Leigh Remedios made his bantamweight debut in 2009 and returns to the fray at 135lbs against Paddy Doherty. Remedios wasn’t only famous for his package-hugging, Ken Shamrock-esque fighting attire; his performances and victories over the likes of WEC lightweight Bendy Casimir and number-one European bantamweight Paul McVeigh also contributed to it. A win over Doherty allows him to continue his crusade towards the bantamweight elite – rest assured he wants to prove himself to be the best.
Team England M-1 veteran Simon Phillips (10-4) has international experience that his adversary Danny Mitchell (7-0) does not, and he will look to bring it to the fore in the cage against the rising Yorkshireman. Phillips showcased his knockout power to Hidehiko Hasegawa’s detriment in Japan and the odds are he’d prefer the bout standing. Mitchell displays a variety of submission wins on his resume that cannot be taken lightly. It is the biggest fight of Mitchell’s career but his trajectory doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon. His youth and ability will play to his advantage in a close and intriguing affair.
The full fight card for the event is below (with weigh-in results):
Saturday 20th February 2010
The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 4SH
Main Event – Vacant Knuckle Up Middleweight Title Bout
Matt “12 Gauge” Thorpe (13-10-0) 83.6kg vs. John Philips (9-3-0-1nc) TBC
Vacant Knuckle Up Welterweight Title Bout
(Champion) Jake Blyth (8-1-0) 77.2kg vs. Kevin Reed (7-10-0) 76kg
Daniel “Denzil” Thomas (16-6-0) 70.3kg vs. Stuart Davies (6-3-0) 70.4kg
Leigh Remedios (24-7-4) 61.4kg vs. Paddy Doherty (6-7-0) TBC
Simon Phillips (10-4-0) 77.2kg vs. Danny Mitchell (7-0-0) 76.9kg
Ross Mould (4-5-0) 66.2kg vs. Dino Gambatesa (5-1-0) 65.9kg
Dave Hill (6-0-0) 66.2kg vs. James Lutman (2-4-0) 66.2kg
Jamie Rodgers (Unknown) 77.1kg v Matt Inman (3-1) 77.4kg
Martin McDonaugh (Pro Debut) 60.7kg vs Raj “The Tiger” Bista (Pro Debut) 61kg
Grant Harris (2-1-0) 68.9kg vs Kris Edwards (2-2-0) 67.1kg
Jack Marshman (Pro Debut) 84.4kg vs. Andrew Cochran (Pro Debut) 84.4kg
For more information, visit www.knuckleup.co.uk