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Mamed Khalidov vs. Luke Barnatt in the Works for ACB Manchester

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Mamed Khalidov ACB

Musing over how the champions of different promotions would fare against each other has been a pastime of MMA fans for years. Sometimes the industry has engineered situations that provide us with somewhat definitive answers, and it looks like we are about to get another one.

In March, Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) are lining up KSW middleweight champion Mamed Khalidov (32-4-2) and Venator FC middleweight champion Luke Barnatt (11-3) for their Manchester headliner. FloCombat confirmed the news with the promotion on Friday.

Back in October the Russian promotion bought their exciting brand of European mixed martial arts to the UK for the first time. ACB 47 took place in Scotland and saw UFC veteran Robert Whiteford best Kevin Petshi over three rounds in the main event. Now they are set to return to the UK in March with an even bigger card.

Mamed Khalidov has long been considered the number one middleweight outside of the UFC. The Russian last tasted defeat in 2010, and has since racked up 12 wins and one draw. Khalidov’s impressive win column includes names such as Jorge Santiago, Matt Lindland and Melvin Manhoef. Last time out he defeated Aziz Karaoglu by split decision to retain his KSW title.

While Khalidov has dominated the European scene in recent years, Barnatt has been rebuilding his career following his release from the UFC in 2015. By all accounts he’s done a pretty good job of it too. Three straight wins have seen the British fighter win, and successfully defend, the Venator title in Italy. Now he faces without question the biggest test of his five-year pro career when ACB hit Manchester in March.

Khalidov’s legendary status among Polish and Russian fanbases lends well to a UK event. The UK’s Polish community in particular is large, and you can be sure that they will be packing out the Manchester Arena in March to see Khalidov fight. That he is facing one of the UK’s top middleweights and another promotional champion only makes the deal that much sweeter.

ACB Manchester is set to take place on March 11, 2017 at the Manchester Arena.

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Rany Saadeh pleased with the opportunities ACB brings, promises a finish in his debut on Saturday

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The BAMMA Flyweight belt was ruled for years by none other than Rany Saadeh, During his reign as champion he successfully defended the belt on two occasions. His dominance over the division saw him go undefeated in BAMMA and without a loss since 2012. Following the expiration of his contract, Rany vacated his BAMMA belt to explore new challenges.

He has now signed with ACB and is set to make his debut in only a matter of days at ACB 74 in Austria where he will take on Darren Mima. In a recent catch up with Rany, he explained his reasoning behind joining ACB and his goals in the promotion.

“ACB is the fastest growing organization in MMA. They’ve promised me an active career with events all over the world and a tempting bonus structure. It was just what I was looking for. I’ve looked into the competition and I can honestly say that the competition at flyweight is just as good, if not even better than in the UFC. Being the ACB title holder would make me a legit world champion.”

Ahead of his bout with Mima, we are set to see some new stuff from Saadeh as he claims to have changed up his style after a solid camp for this fight, guaranteeing us a surprise.

“I didn’t need to change anything for him but my style changed in general since my last fight. I’ve had an excellent camp with high-level training partners and coaches. I’m very grateful for my coaches who have put hours of private work into me this year. Especially with my new boxing coach Luciano Robledo, I can guarantee a surprise.”

The confidence is evident as he tells me how he sees the fight going. Promising his well-rounded arsenal of both strikes and grappling are worthy of bonuses, something he’d be very keen on considering the set-up in ACB.

“I will not just completely dominate but also finish.” He began, “I can imagine this fight being a wild brawl and dropping my opponent. Also on the ground, I have some slick submissions that are bonus-worthy.”

Having been successful in BAMMA, Rany is striving for more glory as plans on taking home the ACB title becoming the first Western European to do so.

“Of course!” he says with determination in his voice, “I’m coming into ACB as a world champion and the #1 ranked flyweight in Western Europe. After winning this fight, the title fight is right there”

It’s now been over a year since we’ve seen, “Prince” enter the cage. A decision voluntarily made by the German as he adjusted his game.

“It was mid last year when I had started to adjust my game. These changes take time and as the wished competition wasn’t there, I decided to take some time off fighting to prepare for a bigger challenge.”

Now having departed ways with BAMMA, the British promotion now has a new champion in Daniel Barez. Unfortunately for Rany, his reasons for leaving was the lack of competition has beaten everyone put in front of him with money being an issue that stepped in the way too. Despite any negativity derived from his departure, he does not rule out a return to the promotion where he was once Flyweight king.

“The competition in Europe just got very thin. With five fights in BAMMA, I somehow wasn’t very impressed with the opportunities left. Neither I got the fights, nor the purse that I needed to take my career further. After two title defenses, it felt like I was standing still which isn’t just BAMMA’s fault. Altogether, they are a great promotion and I wouldn’t exclude a return.”

When the UFC announced they would have the best flyweights from around the world enter the TUF house with a shot at the belt going to the winner. Many would have thought Rany Saadeh would have been up there. The season had champions from all over the world but no one from BAMMA, something strange considering the number of champions they signed in the past year from the promotion.

In an unfortunate circumstance for Saadeh, it was not his fault he wasn’t in the house as the UFC did come knocking but BAMMA just weren’t letting their champ go. Despite this situation, there is no bad blood anymore as Saadeh has moved on with things now.

“The UFC was definitely interested in putting me on the show and it is not true that BAMMA wasn’t asked. They were asked but didn’t want to be part of it. Without their permission, I wasn’t able to take part in the TUF. But I’m not mad at that anymore, I feel like it will make better opportunities possible.”

Having missed out on a possible UFC opportunity before, it isn’t on his mind anymore as he remains pleased with his life and is mainly looking to support his family in the future.

“I really don’t care, I’m set for the next few fights. All I want now is a decent living from fighting and provide for my family in the near future. ACB is not just giving me the chance to reach that goal but also giving me the challenges that I need. So far, I’m a very happy person”

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ACB 70: Luke Barnatt vs. Scott Askham Official Results

Harry Davies

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ACB returned to the English city of Sheffield to host ACB 70, an exciting card headlined by top middleweights Luke Barnatt and Scott Askham.

Barnatt (13-4) and Askham (14-4) had been going back and forth for years, but it seemed they would never resolve their tension in the cage. However, at ACB 70 the pair of English middleweights both had the chance to end the rivalry for good. The card also featured a variety of homegrown English MMA talent.

MAIN CARD: 17:30PM BST – Live on Box Nation and FITE TV

  • Luke Barnatt (13-4) vs. Scott Askham (14-4) Middleweight Bout
    • Result: Scott Askham def. Luke Barnatt via Split Decision
  • Ibragim Chuzhigaev (9-5) vs. Will Noland (17-7) Middleweight Bout
    • Result: Ibrahim Chuzhigaev def. Will Noland via TKO (Strikes) Round 1 – 1:32
  • Adam Townsend (17-4) vs. Husein Kushagov (6-3) Welterweight Bout
    • Result: Adam Townsend def. Husein Kushagov via SUB (Rear-naked Choke) Round 3 – 3:24
  • Diego Marlon (26-10) vs. Bubba Jenkins (11-4) Featherweight Bout
    • Result: Bubba Jenkins def. Diego Marlon via TKO (Strikes) Round 3 – 0:44
  • Ismael de Jesus (15-6-1) vs. Ismail Naurdiev (15-1) Welterweight Bout
    • Result: Ismael de Jesus def. Ismail Naurdiev via Unanimous Decision 
  • Kane Mousah (9-1) vs. Alex Enlund (14-2) Lightweight Bout
    • Result: Kane Mousah def. Alex Enlund via Split Decision
  • Sam Boult (8-1) vs. Ashley Reece (5-0) Welterweight Bout
    • Result: Ashley Reece def. Sam Boult via Split Decision
  • Filip Macek (15-12-1) vs. Haron Orzumiev (2-1) Bantamweight Bout
    • Result: Haron Orzumiev def. Filip Macek via Split Decision 

 

  • Shoaib Yousaf (2-0) vs. Jordan Vucenic (5-1) Featherweight Bout
    • Result: Jordan Vucenic def. Shoaib Yousaf via Unanimous Decision
  • Aaron Aby (9-3) vs. Daniel Missin (5-5) Bantamweight Bout
    • Result: Aaron Aby def. Danny Missin via Unanimous Decision 
  • Aaron Robinson (9-2) vs. Cheya Saleem (12-3) Bantamweight Bout
    • Result: Cheya Saleem def. Aaron Robinson via SUB (Guillotine Choke) Round 1 – 0:48
  • Danny Tombs (1-2) vs. Gavin Sterrit (6-2) Welterweight Bout
    • ResultDanny Tombs def. Gavin Sterritt via TKO (Strikes) Round 2 – 4:07
  • Adam Bramhald (2-1) vs. Luke Shanks (1-0) Bantamweight Bout
    • Result: Luke Shanks def. Adam Bramhald via SUB (Guillotine Choke) Round 1 – 0:41
  • Jordan Barton (2-0) vs. Richard Herbert (2-0) Welterweight Bout
    • Result: Jordan Barton def. Richard Herbert via Split Decision.
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ACB 70 Barnett vs. Askham: Sheffield Set for A Spectacular Night

Harry Davies

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Dubbed “The Battle of Britain”, English middleweights Luke Barnatt and Scott Askham will settle their long-term rivalry this weekend at ACB 70.

Just two months after their last visit, ACB returns to “The Steel City” of Sheffield to host another fantastic card. Along with a great main event, there are numerous match-ups on the fight card that promise excitement for us fight fans, MMA Latest breaks down the ones you don’t want to miss.

Aaron Aby vs. Daniel Missin 2

FCC 11. October 2014. Aby (3-1) was taking on Missin (4-3) at a bad point in “Mini Hulk’s” career. It was Missin who would go on to provide the upset in brutal fashion, finishing Aby in an ending that really should have been stopped sooner. But since then, the two men’s fight form has been greatly different.

Aby went on to win six of his next seven fights, whereas Missin has only fought three times since defeating Aby, going 1-2 in the process. Born and bred a Welshman, but currently residing in Liverpool, Aby was successful in his ACB debut in March, he also beat Sam Halliday at ACB 65 in his second fight for the promotion.

It’s all been about self-improvement for Missin. Physically, and mentally. The Yorkshireman, who will have the support of his home county at ACB 70, was battling depression and anxiety in which he stated “he was his own worst enemy” when dealing with the two.

Now that Missin has fully recovered from his mental health problems, he will hope to show off the new additions to his game in his ACB debut. September 23rd is the start of a new chapter in “Mini Hulk’s” MMA career.

Kane Mousah vs. Alex Enlund

A physically imposing fighter with that element of explosiveness about him, Kane Mousah (9-1) will make his second appearance for ACB this Saturday.

Close ties between UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Mousah can be made, both in their physicality and fighting style. Powerful in his striking and wrestling, Mousah’s huge slams and heavy ground and pound will make for a fascinating clash of styles when he faces the submission specialist Enlund.

Credit: ACB – Bryan Lacey

What a tear Enlund has been on. Unbeaten since 2013, the South Shields fighter is on a seven-fight winning streak, sixth of which came by finish.

Enlund, who has been out of action for over a year now, was set to make his UFC debut last year in Hamburg, but an injury forced him to withdraw from the bout. Now that he is making his debut for ACB this weekend, Enlund will hope to pick up where he left off, with another first round finish.

Of Course, The Main Event

How could I make a “Fights to Watch” list and not include this matchup on it? Luke Barnatt vs. Scott Askham is a fight between the two best English middleweights in MMA, and to say its been long-awaited is an understatement.

This is a rivalry that dates backs to 2011, with Barnatt and Askham each taking their turns of calling each other out over the years. They both spent a few years in the UFC, and when they first stepped inside an ACB cage together, it almost very quickly came to blows.

Don’t let the Bellator card this weekend overshadow things, because ACB 70 is by far worth the watch as well. Airing live and free on Box Nation and FITE TV at 18:00 BST , it’s a card you don’t want to miss this Saturday, the 23rd of September.

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