(Love punches his way to victory)
A year is a long time in combat sports. Battlers can be broken; stars can be born. There aren’t many fighters out there on the domestic UK scene that have the potential to progress as far as Scot Allan ‘No’ Love could in 2010 though. For him, the year starts with two massive fights; the first against John Phillips at Bushido Challenge on April 3rd; the second against Alex Makhonin at the Strike and Submit show on May 30th.
So is Allan looking forward to these two big challenges which stand in front of him? “Absolutely – definitely,” beamed Love. “These are a big step up for me as a fighter. This will help make me a name on the UK scene, and really stake my claim to being a top middleweight in the UK, so they’re a breakthrough couple of fights for me that could lead to big things.”
‘No’ Love’s next opponent John Phillips destroyed UK MMA veteran Matt Thorpe in one round in his last outing. Even Allan had to admit that this was impressive. He said,
“That was a huge message he put out, to beat Matt Thorpe so quickly. Matt’s a great stand-up fighter that’s long and rangy and John beat him fast. John was coming back off a long term injury as well, and to come back so quickly and so well with a big, big win was huge. That certainly put the marker down, so I’m looking forward to the fight even more now.”
Despite this, there is nothing in the power of Phillips which Love will lose too much sleep over. “Oh yeah, he definitely hits hard,” began the Scot, “But so do a lot of people. If he hit me, I’ve got a good chin, and I know I have. Saying that, it’s not a good idea to trade with the guy, because he’s a southpaw and he hits hard, and we need a strategy to deal with that, but that’s what we’ve been working on in the gym and that’s what we’ll go and execute. I definitely think I have the right tools for this fight, and that it’s a good match for me.”
Supposing he gets through that fight without too many war wounds, Love will fight Alex Makhonin for the Strike and Submit British Middleweight strap. He anticipates a tough test from the 6-1 fighter.
“Makhonin’s good and he does a lot of unorthodox stuff,” analysed Allan. “He reminds me of Machida a little bit and he’s a southpaw again. He’ll go in and out and use head movement and he does some really cool stuff. He hits hard and he’s good all round, very fast and a good counter striker. He’s a good fighter with a lot of good stuff, but we’re not really thinking about that fight at this point because it’s John Phillips first up, and when we muscle past that one, we’ll start looking at the gameplan for Makhonin.”
With such big things seemingly on the horizon, it would be easy for Love to let his ego enlarge and get out of control. However, the fighter remains firmly grounded, and is realistic in his expectations for the near future. He reasoned, “What I want to do is to pick up these two wins, which would be a great start to 2010, then crack on with quality fights at the end of the year and international fights on the big shows in Europe, keep winning and see where it takes me.”
Allan was also keen to note the importance of his training camp in retaining his untarnished record.
“Basically, everything I do is because of the team I’ve got behind me,” revealed ‘Lovey’. “The guys at Dinky Ninjas Fight Team are phenomenal, and there’s great fighters in every weight class now which makes you train smart, and we’ve got a great strength and conditioning coach in Paul McVeigh, and great Jiu Jitsu and striking coaches, so everything I’ve done is off the back of the coaching there.”
Last time out, Allan defeated Ryan Kelly by armbar and, in the process, satisfied himself with his showing. “Yeah, I was pleased with it,” he remarked. “Ryan Kelly is a big middleweight – I cut a lot of weight, and I’m a tall middleweight as well, and Ryan Kelly dwarfed me – he was huge! I did the gameplan, because we knew what he did, and worked him out with good straight boxing with long shots, waiting for him to kick back at me, which he did. Then, I took him down and from there it all came together nicely because I know a lot on the ground.”
Another win, earlier on in the twenty-six year old’s young career stands out as his highlight though.
“I think my biggest win so far is probably over Rob Mills, who dropped to welterweight after our fight,” admitted Allan. “It was a strange fight with no elbows and it was done with Shooto gloves, so it was a bit different, even though it was sanctioned as a full pro fight. Sherdog recognise it as one too, and I’m not arguing with Sherdog on that! He’s a very nice guy and great fighter and I’m sure he’ll go on to big things, but I beat him that time and that was huge for me.”
Out of his six bouts, none have gone the distance, and the Dinky Ninjas man aims to please in future contests too. “I think that’s [finishing fights] what it’s all about. Sometimes, it’s like a game we play, and not a fight, but at the same time we need to finish, mainly because you see the judges’ scorecards at the highest level in the UFC with people getting screwed, so if you’re fighting the hometown boy sometimes with a few fights behind him you can’t leave it in the judges’ hands – it’s just too big a risk.”
Whether Allan is the real deal and one to watch out for or not, only time will tell. However, you’re always guaranteed a good scrap when the up and coming Scot fights, and there can be no doubts he’ll do his utmost to fill his huge potential.