Bonjour bienvenue à Fantasy Island BAMMA 25 en Angleterre Vs France! (Hello welcome to Fantasy Island BAMMA 25 England Vs France!)
With BAMMA set to host their first England vs show (BAMMA 24 England Vs Ireland) in February 2016 I racked my brains to think of the possibilities of further country vs country shows for the promotion to put on. Given the current dominance of the French at FAMMA sorry BAMMA in recent years, I thought it would make for a rather interesting proposition.
MMA is currently banned in France which is somewhat sad given the amount of talent that the country has provided the European fight scene over the years. But why let a ban on the sport but a stop to us bringing you a fight card full of Brits Vs Frenchman in the latest Fantasy Island piece.
Alors asseyez-vous et profitez de BAMMA 25 en Angleterre Vs France (So sit back and enjoy BAMMA 25 UK Vs France);
Mansour Barnaoui Vs Rob Sinclair
Whilst Barnaoui is coming off a loss you cannot fault this guys willingness to fight the best, dropping to Featherweight to fight Ivan Buchinger is pretty up there with one of the craziest moves to pull. Even though he lost he certainly done himself no harm and if anything gained more fans off the back of that fight just given how he put himself against the wall going into it. A fight with Rob Sinclair would have undoubtedly taken place if Sinclair was still a full time member of the BAMMA roster (well in my eyes it would have anyway) and I think that if BAMMA and Barnaoui are able to overcome contract negotiations this fight is up there with the very best bouts at 155lbs they could put on at present time. I think that the Lightweight division in BAMMA at the moment is one of the best in Europe and these two really are at the upper echelons of that division. Prior to his departure Barnaoui was critical of the British fighters stating that BAMMA should be renamed FAMMA due to himself, Tom Duquesnoy and Cheick Kone all holding BAMMA Gold and I am certain that Rob Sinclair would be more than willing to fly the flag for the Brits in a huge 155lbs bout.
Tom Duquesnoy Vs Ed Arthur BAMMA Bantamweight Title
Now it’s pretty clear that BAMMA, Arthur and Duquesnoy are all rooting for this fight to happen and the first block to overcome will be Ed Arthur successfully defending his Title on 14th November. Also Duquesnoy will need to defeat Damien Rooney at Bantamweight in Dublin when the pair meet early in 2016. On the basis that both of these events happening then how could BAMMA not book this huge fight? Both guys have looked pretty unstoppable in recent bouts and whilst there was a lot of speculation about the decision in Duquesnoy’s last bout what will be really interesting to see is how the Frenchman brings his speed and power down to 135lbs. Losing an extra 10lbs at any division is tricky but even trickier I suspect when you’re starting base is as small as a Featherweight fighter. Its still astounding to me that Ed Arthur has only 6 professional bouts under his collar and the confidence this man possesses in his own abilities is phenomenal. He has a tough opponent to deal with in Shay Walsh but should he get past him at BAMMA 23 then there is no reason we couldn’t see this Bantamweight Title fight in the first half of 2016.
Cheick Kone Vs Tom Watson BAMMA Middleweight Title
I don’t think you can argue that Tom Watson has been in a boring bout during his BAMMA career and I don’t know what it is but he just always seems to perform on the BAMMA stage. A bout against current Middleweight Champion Cheick Kone would definitely bring out the best in Watson and whilst many have looked to write him off following his UFC stint I feel there is plenty of fight left in him. Kone has looked great during his two BAMMA bouts but he is definitely lacking a big name win in his career so far. A win over Watson would definitely legitimise him as one of the best in Europe and extend his current win streak to seven on the bounce. Watson is coming off of two back to back losses which both came via decision and I suspect that the opportunity for Watson to defend his country against France would certainly bring out the best in Kong. There may be some argument that Watson wouldn’t deserve a Title shot on the back to two losses but the Middleweight landscape is pretty thin at the moment and I would definitely support him getting the nod against a very game Kone.
Gael Grimaud Vs Jimmy Wallhead
Frenchman Grimaud was on the cusp of getting a Cage Warriors Welterweight Title shot against Nicolas Dalby but was forced to withdraw due to injury back in September 2014 and hasn’t competed since. Arguably he is still one of the best Welterweights in Europe and a clash with “Judo” Jimmy Wallhead would be a fascinating bout. Prior to a March 2013 decision loss to Cathal Pendred, Grimaud had won eight fights on the bounce which saw him capture the Cage Warriors Welterweight Strap against Arni Isaksson. Since dropping a fight to Danny Roberts, Wallhead has perhaps not looked better stopping his three opponents with strikes. Aside from a very razor thin split decision loss to Eddy Ellis at BAMMA 13, Wallhead has a perfect record at BAMMA with four wins, three by stoppage and it’s the previous relationship with the promotion which I think would be a strong attraction on both sides to get Wallhead back fighting for BAMMA. Also I think the right fight is important for Jimmy at this stage in his career and a bout with Grimaud is the type of opponent he should be focusing on competing with. Both of these guys could stake a really strong claim for being the best European Welterweight outside of the UFC with a win in this one and I would not be surprised to see either man in the UFC in the distance future.
Xavier Foupa-Pokam Vs Luke Barnatt
Now I know that Barnatt is tied up with Venator FC with his debut coming on 12th December but let’s remember this is a fantasy card folks and multi fight contracts in MMA don’t mean anything, right? Barnatt has only fought on BAMMA once, way back in March 2012 in which he picked up a submission win over Lee Johnson, shortly before his career blew up and he was signed to the UFC. He had a rough time in the UFC and a few razor thin decision losses which ultimately haunted him and saw his release following a loss to Mark Munoz. He has relocated to Spain and we will all be able to see the new Luke Barnatt on 12th December, I for one am interested to see what he has picked up with his new gym in Spain, other than a suntan obviously. Xaview Foupa-Pokam would be a very game opponent for Barnatt and like Barnatt is a former UFC employee. Pokam started his career in 2002 before MMA was cool and really has fought a who’s who of European MMA stars including Tom Watson, Paul Daley, Martin Kampmann & Jack Marshman to name but a few, but has been flying relatively under the radar in recent years competing in Russia and Dubai. He is 2-3 in his last five bouts with three stoppage wins and is always a dangerous and game opponent and I think stylistically he matches up very well with Barnatt and the two of them would definitely put on an exciting bout.