Preview: GTFP 4

When looking at a promotion from the outside, the one thing you always want to see is progression. I don’t mean the stratospheric type all too evident in the brief history of UKMMA; I mean the general, sensible type, which demonstrates improvement show-on-show. Right now Golden Ticket are displaying all of the right attributes to fall on the right side of history, and the event they’re hosting on February 25th only goes to confirm that.

Fight Night 4 has 14 bouts, all of which carry a level of intrigue. The Golden Ticket team have added an international flavour to the event, bringing in some Norwegian powerhouses to supplement their British Isles talent.

Headlining the event is a fight which has gone under the radar of the UK MMA collective. Maybe the BAMMATOR event in Belfast has attracted the majority of the media eyes, but this one shouldn’t be missed. Two Cage Warriors veterans, Mario Saeed and Aron Jahnsen face off in a lightweight bout which carries implications for both fighters.

 

Trojan Freefighter Saeed is 8-3 in his professional career to date. He’ll be making his first appearance in the cage in twelve months, since his defeat to Myles Price on BAMMA 24. Known for his love of submissions, the 26-year old has won six of his eight victories by rear naked choke, arm triangle or arm bar. He’ll be desperate to rebuild the momentum which had propelled him into Cage Warriors three years ago with a ‘next big thing’ moniker attached to him.

Aron Jahnsen is ready to put the skids under Saeed’s attempt at progression. Sporting a 5-5 record, Jahnsen is known for his strength and durability throughout his career. Another technical whizz, Jahnsen seems to go by the mantra ‘sub or be subbed’, having won four of his five by submission, but lost four of his five in the same manner. The only KO defeat on his resume came on Cage Warriors back in 2011 to a certain Mr Conor McGregor, who’s since gone on to prove……ah, you know that story. Regardless of that, Jahnsen and Saeed is a coin toss and should top off a fantastic night of action.

There are a number of other mouth watering bouts, which I’ll quickly run through for you. First up is the professional welterweight contest between Josh Plant and Lawrence Tracey. Although Plant is making his professional debut, that doesn’t give you anywhere near the full picture. The Impact MMA standout is a 2nd dan black belt in judo, having competed on a national and international level throughout his childhood and into his early 20’s. He held three amateur belts, across two different weight classes and comes into this bout looking to make a splash in a weight class which has been one of the most successful for British fighters on a global stage. His opponent, Lawrence Tracey, is another member of the renowned Trojan Free Fighters gym. Currently 1-0 as a professional, he’ll feel it’s his time to shine as he looks to build upon a devastating KO finish in his pro debut and follow in his team mate Che Mills’ footsteps as the next global star to come out of the West of England stable.

Also fighting on the card is Michael ‘2 Gunnz’ Younis (7-2), who’s taking on Danny Nash (2-4). Younis is huge. Not only huge, he’s scarily powerful. He’s brought his weight down from above the heavyweight limit of 265, to the light heavyweight limit of 205, but has retained his devastating power and supplemented it with athleticism. His opponent, Danny Nash, has fought up and down the weight categories, but will need to be at his absolute best (& bravest) to take anything from this fight. Look out for Younis. I’m hoping to see him go pro soon, and providing he can find opponents, there’s nothing stopping him from going as far as he wants to in this sport.

Other fighters to look out for are:

Jordan Vucenic (7-1), who’s facing Michal Figlak (6-2). Vucenic has been quietly amassing victories in the past 12 months, and displays a multitude of skills, with innate composure, which allows him to win no matter where the fight goes. He’s an incredibly talented young man, who I’m looking forward to see progress.

Macca White (2-1) who takes on Kenneth Bengsten (0-0). White fights out of RPMAA in Kidderminster. He’s one of a handful of athletes from that gym who is on the cusp of going pro. He’s the first to admit that his ground game is probably stronger than his stand-up; but he’s also the first to try and rectify that, as evidenced by his recent appearances on Hybrid, which operate a stand-up centric rule set. White fights at a relentless pace, rarely taking a backward step; so expect this bout to be exciting.

Bradley Owen (2-2) vs Marco Birch (3-1). Owen is White’s team mate at RPMAA. A more well-rounded fighter than White, Owen is more measured in his approach, which has been both a help and a hindrance in his four bouts to date. A win over Birch could give the young West Midlander the confidence he needs (and should have) in his ability to take that next step in this fledgling and promising career.

Alice Stewardson (0-1) vs Josie Blaber (0-1). I watched Stewardson’s debut against Joanne Doyle last year. She lost (clearly, as her record states) that day, but displayed a level of heart, determination, stubbornness and a wide array of skills in the decision defeat. She’s gone away, worked on her weaknesses and has a burning desire to rectify her negative record. Expect fireworks.

This event has the makings of a classic. A handful of tickets are available on the door of the Diamond Banqueting Suite in Wolverhampton. You won’t regret going.