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Brett Johns talks UFC debut against Kwan Ho Kwak, bringing the UFC to Wales and more prior to UFC Belfast

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We are only days away from the UFC’s long awaited return to Belfast in Northern Ireland and with it comes a historical night of fights headlined by Urijah Hall vs. Gegard Mousasi. In the mixed of all of the outstanding fights on the card is the UFC debut of undefeated Welshman Brett Johns. Brett along with fellow countryman Jack Marshman became the first set of Welshmen to sign with the UFC and now both get their chance to shine at UFC Belfast on Saturday. Earlier in the week we managed to catch up with Brett prior to his debut this weekend at UFC Belfast.

Brett previously spent time at both Cage Warriors and Titan FC picking up the coveted 135 belt in each while maintaining an unblemished record of 12-0 before getting snapped up by the UFC. Following his last MMA bout things have not gone all to plan being plagued by injury, however, still managed to boast a win in a professional K1 bout and recovered healthily from his nasty injury.

“I’ve had one of the worst years of my life when it comes to fighting. Before the Gutierrez fight I picked up a bit of a knee injury then unfortunately after the fight the knee wasn’t getting better. It got to a point then where we knew I must do something else so we picked up a K1 fight on a local show against a decent level opponent from Latvia. It was dangerous enough fight to take but I came out with a win there and it was brilliant. I was then set to fight Ricky Simones but unfortunately I popped my shoulder out for about the 15th, 16th time in my career. So that’s the point where when I realised I had to take a step back from the game and get it fixed. I had the operation in April and then it was the road to recovery after it. I was hoping to get some more K1 fights in just to bring in a little bit of extra cash to kind of keep my feet on the ground because money wise it hasn’t been great, and now here we are.”

In the past Brett has struggled with making the scheduled weight for his fights. This time around he has changed things up and improved on the past, he now is looking on to be on route to a very healthy cut despite only taking the fight only 3 weeks out.

“It’s been no secret, I’ve spoken of it openly about my weight cut issues. Being from a background where I haven’t blessed with money and don’t come from a big massively rich team, I haven’t really had the choice of dieticians.”
“Last week I was about 150 which is about 15lbs over which is really good for me that’s 10lbs less than last time against Gutierrez so I’m happy where I am with my progression coming into this fight.”

Following his fight in Titan FC, Johns chose to change things up and give professional K1 a try, after being successful in the sport, he believes the experience and focus on stand-up will benefit him even more coming into this fight and that his opponent hasn’t been tested like he has in the past.

“Yeah it will definitely be an advantage, since the Gutierrez fight, yes I have worked a lot on stand-up, but that doesn’t mean I’ve neglected what I’m really good at.”
“Kwan is supposed to be 9-0 with 6 KO’s but them guys though, who is he knocking out? I’ve never heard of some of them guys before in my life and that’s not to criticise his technique. One of my previous opponents is 18-4, now there’s nobody like that on his record. I have been tested at the highest level. I don’t think Kwan has though.”

When questioned on how he sees his fight on Saturday going, Brett was very honest in his response.

“There’s two ways I see this fight going, the only way he wins knocks me out in the first round 1, I win by taking it to the later rounds. It’s as simple as that. I’ve always been that fighter and I’m not shy to say that.”

Having spoken to Brett over a year ago he seemed set on being the first Welshman to fight in the UFC, however, over that time his opinion has clearly changed and is just focused on doing what he does best alongside his fellow country and put Wales in the spotlight with help from the fantastic support from the fans.

“I don’t really care whether I’m the first or last, I just want to get in and get the win. My team and Jacks are very close so when we go out there it won’t be team Marshaman or Johns it will be team Wales out there and there is going to be a crowd out there. I still can’t get over the amount of people that are coming to watch me let alone coming to watch Jack as well, so it’s going to be an absolutely huge night.”

Having held events in Wales’ surrounding countries, it could be possible that we see the UFC test new waters in Wales sometime in the future with the help of their newly signed talent. For them to make this move, Brett believes it will take time for them to do so as well as going on to describe his dream fight in Cardiff.

“I think it will take more than one fight if I’m honest, that doesn’t mean we won’t get that fight though. I’ve always been a guy that’s been proud to come from wales, I love where I come from. But yes, I would to fight in the millennium stadium that is what I’m aiming for. There was talk of it before but never happened but what’s to say it can’t happen in a few years. They will probably come to a smaller venue first before that. But it would be an absolute honour to fight on that card regardless of whether I am first or last fight on the card, it would be a dream come true.”

Prior to finishing up the interview Brett Jhad a quick message for his fans in welsh.
“Diolch am eich cefnogaeth dros y blynnyddoedd Cymru”

Be sure to check Brett Johns out this weekend at UFC Belfast where he looks to maintain his undefeated record and make his mark on the Bantamweight division with a big win in his debut.

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Bellator

Michael Page Not Focusing on Opponent Ahead of Boxing Debut

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to Bellator’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page, as he makes his boxing debut this Friday at the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night.

Page (12-0 MMA) is renowned for his entertaining fight style inside the cage, with most of his knockout and submission victories ending up in highlight reels online, that almost always go viral.

‘MVP’ was supposed to make his boxing debut on the undercard of David Haye vs Tony Bellew in March of this year, but due to ongoing negotiations with Bellator, his debut was delayed. Shortly after Page signed with Haye’s promotion “Hayemaker Ringstar.”

Q: So, Michael, we’re about five days out now from your big boxing debut, and still we have no name of an opponent? Can you break the big news, who will you be fighting next week?

I honestly couldn’t even tell you his name right now! I know I’ve got an opponent, but I haven’t even looked at him because it has changed so many times. I don’t like to pay too much attention to it, because it’s added stress. For me it’s just a case of turning up, and firing punches at whoever is across the ring.

Q: Is this fight 10 or 12 rounds? Given a standard boxing fight is a lot longer than your typical 15-minute MMA bout, has there been an emphasis on cardiovascular work in your training camp?

Depending on the opponent, I think it’s 6-rounds. The preparation has been different, I’m having to stress out my shoulders and core a lot. The kicking distance as well is very different, getting used to having people a bit closer. I’m getting used to the corners of the ring, I’ve done it before but not to this extent so I am familiar of it, but my body wasn’t really used to it.

Q: So, is this kind of like a one fight deal for Haye’s Ringstar promotion? Regardless of this fight’s outcome, will you return to MMA?

Not at all, I’m taking it seriously. Otherwise, I would have just had a super fight against a big name like McGregor did. This is why I can’t just jump into a 12 round fight, I need to adjust my body and get it prepared for boxing.

There’s no future plans yet, I’d like to have an MMA fight again before the end of this year, as I haven’t fought this whole year, but another opportunity for boxing may come up and I might get a chance to jump on that, so it depends.

Q: Were you frustrated that Bellator booked Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin, and if you could send a message to Daley right now what would it be?

I have no interest in him anymore. It feels so pathetic and unnecessary now. I don’t think he deserved that fight with Larkin right after the shocking display he put on in Wembley against Rory MacDonald. But good on him he beat Larkin, however he calls me out immediately after then goes on to say he’s past that fight, it just doesn’t make sense.

Credit – michaelpagemvp – Instagram

Q: A statement we hear a lot is “MVP is the only guy outside the UFC that I want in the UFC” People criticise the talent in Bellator and say you’re fighting nobodies, what do you say back to them?

The amount of times you hear “you shouldn’t fight this person, you should have fought that person.” Everyone’s got an idea of what the correct steps someone should make are, but at the end of the day it’s their career. People are so fickle and easy to forget. If you are a fan of somebody, just be a fan of them regardless of win or loss.

Q: I’ve got to ask about how things are with Bellator, because from the outside looking in it’s quite unclear. How is it relationship at the moment?

Yeah I get on with most of the guys, it’s like a small family. I’ve still got a couple of fights left with them, they’re growing very well, the only problem is I feel like they’re focusing a bit too much on ex UFC fighters. For me it says you’re classing yourself as second best. Bellator generate some amazing superstars and young talent, they should continue to promote them.

You can watch ‘MVP’ make his boxing debut this Friday night, as the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night will air at 21:00PM on Dave.

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BAMMA

Exclusive: Alex Lohore “Didn’t Know” Who Richard Kiely Was Before BAMMA 32 Booking

Harry Davies

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We spoke to the recently crowned BAMMA welterweight champion Alex Lohore, as he prepares to defend his title against Richard Kiely at BAMMA 32 in Dublin.

Lohore (13-1) won the vacant BAMMA welterweight title last month at BAMMA 31 in London. Fighting his longtime rival Nathan Jones on the night, Lohore knocked out “Mr Bag & Tag” with a knee in the first round.

Q: Obviously the rivalry between you and Jones had been going on for years, but you finished it in brutal fashion. Did you to speak to him after the fight?

Yeah I did have a chat with him. I was telling him that it was a great fight and we should train together sometime, but he was he wasn’t really keen on it. I guess he was still a bit sore about the defeat.

Q: In the cage after your win, you called out Richard Kiely, now you’re fighting him. Are you happy you got the opponent you asked for?

Everyone keeps saying I called him out, I didn’t call him out, he called me out! I didn’t even address his name, I said ‘this Irish kid has been running his mouth we’re going to go out there and shut him up.’ I didn’t even know who he was. He’s been mentioning my name and talking a lot of rubbish on my social media disturbing me and my fans.

Q: The finish against Jones was picture perfect. From the elbow, to the right hand, to the knee, was it the best of your career?

Yeah I think it is, by far! It was perfect technique. I knew as he was going he back he would try to duck in for the takedown. Because I was throwing the head kick anyway all I needed to do was just switch it to a knee. I couldn’t ask for any better.

Q: Given it’s in Dublin and Richard is Irish, How do you feel about going into enemy territory at BAMMA 32?

That’s great, that’s why I’m doing it! I need to be comfortable in every environment, so going out there will test. I wanted to be on the Dublin card, now I can teach him a little lesson too, I can’t wait.

Q: As you know the Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers has brought a lot of attention to BAMMA recently, what are your thoughts on him? 

He’s good man. For someone who doesn’t come from a fighting background and does reality TV stuff, he’s doing good. How can people say he should fight someone more experienced, because he is taking  guys that are on his level and he’s doing good.

He’s helping MMA fighters because he has got a big following so more people are going to be watching MMA and learning about MMA so it’s a good thing having him on board.

BAMMA32 will take place at the 3Arena in Dublin on November 10th. Tickets are now on sale at ticketmaster.ie. The card will air live on both UNILAD’s Facebook page, and Dave.

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