This coming weekend sees a number of promotions put on big shows across the world and we at #WHOATV have writtled things down to give you ten European’s you should be looking to keep an eye on this weekend.
Whilst this list is not conclusive it details ten fighters whom we deem exciting and enough for you to go out of your way to watch. Let us know if you agree or disagree on our social media channels;
Joanne Calderwood (11-1 MMA)
Scotland’s own JoJo Calderwood is fighting on the main card of UFC 203 this weekend, taking on fellow Strawweight Jessica Andrade. Calderwood looked spectacular in her last outing stopping Valerie Letourneau, but Andrade is a different beast altogether and will be a very tough ask for Calderwood. Since switching camps to Tristar, Calderwood has made vast improvements on her overall game and stands a real chance at making a run for the Title but first she must get past Andrade on Saturday night.
Paddy Pimblett (11-1 MMA)
You have to feel that this will be the last time we see Pimblett fighting on the European scene before he eventually gets the long awaited call to take on the very best in the UFC. Pimblett is fighting for the vacant Cage Warriors Featherweight Title against Frenchman Johnny Frachey (18-10). Whilst Frachey is the more experienced fighter it is highly expected that Pimblett will have his hand raised in this one in front of his home crowd. Perhaps a fitting send off to one of the best European fighters currently competing outside of the UFC, albeit this is MMA so anything could potentially happen on fight night.
John Phillips (19-6 MMA)
“The White Mike Tyson” is always must watch TV and he makes his return to the BAMMA cage to defend for the first time the Title he won in decisive fashion over Cheick Kone in BAMMA’s last visit to Ireland. And the Welshman is planning on much of the same as he takes on BAMMA Lonsdale Middleweight Champion Andy DeVent (13-10 MMA), although DeVent is no fool and coming off the back of his own spectacular finish over Paul Bryne will be looking to add the BAMMA World Middleweight Title to his collection. Phillips will have the home advantage, having moved to Ireland to train at SBG and will be looking to make another huge statement in the 185lbs division.
Leeroy Barnes (15-15 MMA)
Don’t be fooled by his record, there is no denying that Leeroy Barnes has had a career resurgence as of late albeit he will be the first to admit that it has come at the hands of lesser skilled opponents which makes this weekends bout all the more intriguing. Barnes is taking on Victor Cheng (10-2 MMA) who is definitely a step up in opponent and will really test Barnes ability to deal with pressure on a big show. This fight really offers Barnes the opportunity to prove that he is capable of hanging with the upper echelon of European fighters and if anything else you can always expect an exciting fight when Leeroy Barnes is involved.
Paul Redmond (10-5 MMA)
For me its always very intriguing to see how fighters are in their first fight outside of the big promotions and therefore I will be paying close attention to “Redser” on Saturday night as he takes on Chris Stringer in a Lightweight bout. Redmond had a two fight stint with the UFC at 145lbs and whilst it didn’t work out for him, I have always believed that Lightweight is the best division for him to compete at which allows him to perform to the best of his ability without cutting that extra 10lbs. Its a shame that the bout with Jack McGann didn’t happen on this card but thankfully BAMMA were able to get a replacement albeit someone on a three fight losing skid whom Redmond should get past on his way to getting his name into the BAMMA 155lbs Title mix.
Rhys McKee (3-0 MMA)
Rhys “Skeletor” McKee has never been to a decision during his mixed martial arts career (both amateur and professional) and the Northern Ireland based fighter is definitely one to keep an eye on. He has a very tough task ahead of him in Tommy McCafferty but certainly has the momentum and team behind him to put on a show in front of the Dublin crowd. McKee has the advantage of having fought two of of his three professional bouts under the BAMMA banner so he is familiar with the setup and running of the show which can be a big advantage. He will also have age on his side and “Skeletor” will be very confident going into this one on the hunt of keeping his record of not going the distance in tack.
Chris Fishgold (15-1-1 MMA)
Cage Warriors Lightweight Champion Chris Fishgold is definitely one of the best 155lbers in Europe and much like his teammate Paddy Pimblett is struggling to find opponents capable of projecting them to the next level. Thats definitely no thought of their own and in a way just shows just how talented these two really are, but you have to think its only a matter of time before both men are given a shot in the UFC. Fishgold puts his Title on the line against Jason Ponet (16-10-1 MMA) but I don’t suspect for a second that the gold will be making its way back to France and I don’t see many European Lightweights causing Fishgold too many problems.
Rany Saadeh (8-1 MMA)
He may not have the most exciting style of fighting but BAMMA Flyweight Champion Rany Saadeh has an incredible grappling skill which he utilises almost flawlessly in his fights and none of his opponents thus far have figured out how to mitigate his strength. Saadeh is set to make his second Title defence against Northern Ireland’s Andy Young (9-7 MMA) who is riding a three fight win streak. Its definitely a tough task for Young who makes his promotional debut in the co-main event of the evening and I have to lean towards Saadeh in this one given his ability to implement his game plan and his experience fighting on the BAMMA stage.
Alan Philpott (15-8 MMA)
Philpott is looking to make the first defence of his BAMMA Lonsdale Bantamweight Title when he takes on Aaron Blackwell in Dublin and the heat between these two has really been boiling away ahead of this fight. So much so that I hope that it doesn’t have a detrimental impact on either of them come fight night as this bout really stands the opportunity to steal the show. Philpott last fought in Japan on short notice and whilst he didn’t pick up the result he was after got to experience fighting overseas on short notice which is invaluable for a fighter. A decisive win over Blackwell will give Philpott the right to call for a Title unification bout with Tom Duquesnoy which is something the Northern Irishman has talked about already, but first he must deal with a dangerous Aaron Blackwell (15-9-1 MMA).
Sam Creasey (6-0 MMA)
Creasey is definitely has all the makings to be a top prospect but he really needs to keep check on his weight and this will hold him back if he can’t. Creasey fights at 125lbs but has missed the weight on so many occasions that him and his team should make the decision to go up to 135lbs if they really want to move on to the next level as promoters can’t rely on him making that 125lbs limit. Weight aside he is incredibly talented and has all the ability and makings of a future European Champion and on Saturday night should be picking up his seventh win on the bounce as he takes on Sam Halliday (4-3 MMA).