They’re baaaaaack! The UK’s purely amateur promotion, MMA Battle Arena are returning for their 43rd instalment, and this time they’re taking the city of Oxford by storm. What treats have they got in store for you this time? You may ask. Well, let me give you a run down.
Headlining the event will be the welterweight title showdown between Shudan’s Lukasz Szala and BLTC MMA’s Lionel Alexis. The last time I saw Alexis in action was at Battle Arena 40. On paper he won a split decision against Adrian Glyk, which didn’t tell the whole story. Alexis has great stand up. I mean, really great. He fires off multitudes of beautiful, technically sound and effective combinations and has cardio for days.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see Szala fight twice. Both on Battle Arena shows. The first time was at Battle Arena 39, where he took a comprehensive decision victory against Chris Radcliffe. He followed this up with a slick arm bar in the second round of his bout against Danny Tyler at Battle Arena 41. He’s tough, he’s durable, he’s comfortable anywhere, so this is a real coin toss.
The co-main on the night will pit James Prenderville against Sigmund Hollerud. On paper this doesn’t look like much. Prenderville is 3-5, 1-1 in his last two and Hollerud is 2-2. What it doesn’t tell you is just how exciting Prenderville’s fights are. It doesn’t matter if he wins or loses; he goes into every fight like it’s a war (which is part and parcel his day job). No fan leaves a Prenderville fight unhappy.
Hollerud is one of the international fighters on the card. Part of the Norwegian contingent who regularly test their skills on the Battle Arena canvas, the Frontline man got himself back in the win column in his last contest with a submission win over Marcin Pociecha at Contenders Norwich. He doesn’t like fights going out of the first round, so expect a fast paced and hyper aggressive bout from these two future legends.
Further down the card is one of my favourite fighters to watch on the amateur circuit; Jay Tovee. Last time out he won a hard-fought unanimous decision against Russell Wall on Battle Arena 41, taking home the Middleweight Regional Title. On Battle Arena 40 he had one of the best amateur fights I’ve ever witnessed, biting down on his gumshield and throwing down for one and a half rounds with Andre Cranston on Battle Arena 40, making the Northamptonian submit due to strikes. Tovee is one of the most relaxed guys on the scene, dancing his way into the cage, always unperturbed by the antics of any opponent; yet highly effective in combat. He is also taking on a Norwegian from Frontline MMA, as Christian Johnston will be standing across the cage from him.
With 21 confirmed bouts, fans will get every penny’s worth of their money. Will Joe Taylor be able to follow up on his performance of the night effort at Battle Arena 42? Will Duncan Djillali start living up to that undoubted talent? Will the rangy Will Welch take apart Curtis Manners as comprehensively as he did to George Williams when he last competed? Make sure you’re at MMA Battle Arena to find out!
Here’s the full card:
Faisal Kayani vs Jason Luc Englebert
Curtis Manners vs Will Welch
Andrew Takuchi vs Ole Jorgen Mandt Johnsen
Max Pearson vs Dan Nghiem
Duncan Djillali vs Tom Gibbs
Zoe Southam vs Elin Salmonson
Jack Field vs Sean Costello
Jordan Squires vs Tom Brookes
Salman Iqbal vs Harvey Hale
Jay Tovee vs Christian Johnson
Liam Dahle Ortiz vs Chris Mason
Joe Taylor vs George Caruna
Adam Tricklebank vs Callum Burkinshaw
Safraz Malik vs Dan Deane
Darius Leikus vs Magnus Jacobson
Andy Emmett vs Simen Grottum
Jack Fletcher vs Nikola Zlatev
Cris Steptoe vs Joakim Sharp-Bergersen
Badar Khalid vs Shane Weller
James Prenderville vs Sigmund Hollerud
Lukasz Szala vs Lionel Alexis
MMA Battle Arena 43 takes place at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford. We’ll be there, make sure you are too.