If you watched UFC’s debut in Liverpool, you saw the evolution of British talent on show, like Darren Till, Darren Stewart, Arnold Allen, Tom Breese. You also may have seen a man in the corner corner of Darren Till. His name was Michael Grundy.
Grundy was a member of Team England’s freestyle wrestling squad at the Commonwealth Games where he achieved bronze, transitioning to Mixed Martial Arts after training with Terry Etim for his UFC fight.
Since that moment, Grundy’s been setting the regionals around the globe alight. In 2016, BAMMA hosted a Champion v Champion event in Birmingham, featuring Stuart Austin vs Mark Godbeer and Tom Duquesnoy against Shay Walsh. I was there and was grabbed by an impressive performance by featherweight Mike Grundy. Since then, I’ve followed him in a non-stalkerish way and for some reason, Grundy’s hasn’t been touched by Cage Warriors, Bellator or the UFC. He’s competed for the Russian promotion ACB, ICE in the U.K, won at Shooto in Japan and Aspera FC in Brazil. His record stands at 11-1 and he is currently on an 8 (EIGHT) fight winning streak, defeating Fernando Bruno (Aspera) Michael Tobin at ACB and Yutaka Saito at Shooto. Therefore, Grundy is a fighter to look out for.
This leads me onto to boring you lot with more who to look out for. One is an 18-year-old phenom, Cory McKenna who travels to train between Colchester BKK and Uriah Faber’s Alpha Male gym to polish her growing skills.
McKenna put BCMMA in overdrive with her maturity on the ground and demon punching skills leading her to become BCMMA Flyweight and Strawweight champion. McKenna made her Cage Warriors debut earlier this year in a stunning victory over Maria Colonna, who retired on her stool. McKenna emerged victorious once again at Cage Warriors in Belgium where she bested Eva Dourthe. If McKenna continues these improvements, the world will be her oyster and a wonderful addition to UFC’s Flyweight and Strawweight contingent.
Another BCMMA fighter to look out for is their Flyweight champion Leigh Mitchell. Catching him at a BCMMA event snapped my drifting mind back to the cage. His constant movement, his fits fly at a rate faster than Han Solo doing the Kessel run. Mitchel made his pro debut at Cage Warriors academy on June 2nd leading to a defeat. This isn’t the end, it’s just the start and Leigh Mitchell is certainly one to look out for amnd learn from this moment.
Alfie Davis or (A.R.D) as he’s affectionally known is a London Shootfighters Lightweight/Welterweight. He holds a record of 10-2 and two of those victories were at Bellator (Daley v McDonald) and Cage Warriors 75. He defeated Rico Allen for the Welterweight belt at UCMMA earlier this year. The former British Kickboxing champion’s fan base follows him around with continuous chants of ‘ARD, ARD.’ His kickboxing style garnered him a reputation with a stunning axe kick knockout that went viral.
Fighting for ACB is another featherweight to keep a close eye on, Shoaib Yousaf. Yousaf’s an IMMAF world champion with an amateur background record of 9-0. Moving to the pros, he’s adapted well to the bright lights of ACB. At their show in Glasgow against Denis Ahern, Yousaf moved on his opponent impressively, sticking to him like chewing gum in hair. His hard work that evening paid off with an armlock submission victory. His amateur background and willingness train to improve his future with the right coaching is a good addition to the UFC roster. Shoaib pro record stands at 3-1.
Fighters you already know, Kate Jackson and Jake ‘Brutal’ Bostwick, are two long-time contributors to the sport in this country. Jackson recently defeated Anastasia Yankova at Bellator 200 in London and Bostwick hasn’t fought since losing to Alexey Butorin at ACB to in December 2016. It’s been a long layoff for Bostwick who moved to American Top Team and rumour has it he’ll comeback as a Welterweight. Kate Jackson’s been adapting and honing her skills at Jackson-Wink gym in Alberqueue. She has been one of the leading female fighters for some time and in her last few fights and looks like the beast we know she can be.
this article comes to us via @tattooed_ginge