Two former UFC veterans and one former TUF contestant headline both the Main Event and Co-Main Event slots respectively at Tankō Fighting Championships this weekend at the Manchester Victoria Warehouse. We take a closer look on what will be a night that UK MMA may never forget.
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In what has seemed to been an enthralling back-to-back verbal war for the past few months, Eden Newton has seem to been the only man to openly stand-up and make himself known and finally place his signature on the dotted line to face a man who is arguably one the UK’s top Lightweights in Brendan Loughnane.
Brendan Loughnane (11-2) who is himself an ambassador for Tankō is not one to shy away from the limelight, this UFC veteran made his UFC debut at only his sixth professional fight against an unbeaten (7-0 at the time) prospect in Mike Wilkinson. Loughnane also lost an extremely close split decision to BAMMA‘s now 2-weight world champion Tom Duquesnoy in which many fight fans & media thought Loughnane had done enough to secure the victory. After the loss, Brendan took on a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace in David Lee at Full Contact Contender 15 in March, in which turned out to be a striking clinic from Loughnanes part and taking home an emphatic KO victory; proving to the world that he is going nowhere. A guy who is definitely a fighter for the fans, Brendan constantly keeps himself active within the social media aspect of the fight world, constantly keeping his fans updated with his progress by posting short videos of his workouts. Currently ranked in the top 10 of both the Featherweight & Lightweight divisions in the UK, also with over half of his fights coming within the distance. After the verbal exchanges from both sides of the camp, Brendan will definitely not be looking to take this fight to the judges.
After a lengthy lay-off Eden Newton (9-4) managed to come back with a bang; in what fight fans may have seen more of a tune-up fight, Eden made light work of Reece Street back at ICE FC 9 forcing him to tap due to strikes in November last year; proving that ring rust definitely isn’t there for Newton. Fighting out of Cyrus MMA in Stockport, also a head coach alongside long-time MMA veteran in Shaun Lomas. Newton has a well-balanced fight style and different arrays of arsenal to use at his espousal, proving in previous contests that he has a work ethic and a pressurizing fight style that many fighters cannot keep up with. Newton will not be one to shy away from a ground battle, he will be definitely be looking to utilize a takedown against Brendan as many fight fans haven’t seen much groundwork from Loughnane in his last previous fights and Eden will look to expose Loughnane as much as possible. Eden has gained a lot of respect from fight fans, a fighter who is definitely not afraid to speak his mind and say what he thinks, the only fighter it seems to openly call-out Brendan. Though many fight fans may of not heard of Eden Newton, for Eden this is definitely a fight he has not thought twice about, realizing; with a victory, this could be the spring-board he needs to propel himself as a top Featherweight/Lightweight fighter in the UK.
If there are two names you associate with UK MMA at the moment then Saul Rogers & Andre Winner should definitely spring to mind. A former TUF contestant alongside a former UFC veteran will stand across from each other this weekend at the Tankō Fighting Championships with a combined fight span of over 40, both fighters are well experienced in their own ways.
Saul Rogers (10-1), a name everybody in the fight game has been eager to hear since his VISA mix-up with the UFC late last year in which cost him his The Ultimate Fighter 22 finale spot on the 11th December 2015 against a fighter who he had previously defeated a well-known teammate of the current UFC Featherweight champion Conor McGregor in Artem Lobov, Rogers was replaced by another fighter who he had already defeated in the house in Ryan Hall which added more salt to the wound. After taking time away from competing, Saul is ready to come back to the cage and show the fight fans; which now reside from all over the world that he has paid his comeuppance by showcasing his skills against arguable the top Lightweight in the country in Andre Winner. Rogers will be looking to utilize his high-level grappling game, he is well-known for being able to pin his opponents down for long periods of game, whilst working around to use his other aspects of his fight game to finish the fight or simply take the victory by being the busier fighter on the ground. Although we’ve only seen one TKO/KO finish from Saul, is now the time to show the world that he isn’t just a one-dimensional fighter.
Andre Winner (20-10) is somebody everyone has heard of in the UK MMA scene, The Ultimate Fighter 9 finalist took on Ross Pearson back in 2009 losing a Decision. Despite the loss, Winner was offered a second chance of redemption and managed to go on a 2-fight win streak in the UFC before losing his last three and ultimately being cut by the UFC. Andre will be looking for redemption, in a what comes will come type of mentality. After a 7-fight unbeaten streak which included a victory over former UFC veteran Colin Fletcher at BAMMA 20 of last year, Winner has lost his last two. Now with a clear mind, Andre will be stepping into the cage for the first time this year in 2016 and hasn’t shied away from taking on top-tier of talent the UK has to offer in hopes of one day and once again securing a deserving place back into the UFC. The Team Rough House fighter; in which has held some of the top fighters in the UK within Dan Hardy, Paul Daley, Ross Pearson & Nick Osipczak will want to keep the fight standing and put on a striking clinic, though he has stated himself that he isn’t afraid with the fight going to the ground, claiming he feels he has what it takes within the grappling department to keep up with the pace of Rogers.
Tankō Fighting Championships Full Fight Card – Saturday 13th August at the Manchester Victoria Warehouse