Bahrain Hosting IMMAF World Championships, Brave 9: Kingdom of Champions

Great things are happening in the sport of MMA in Bahrain.

The 2017 IMMAF World Championships, which has been taking place there all this week, is to MMA’s top amateur hopefuls what the Olympics is to such sports as Judo and Wrestling. And, as related to the competitors at this year’s World Championships by way of an official letter from UFC President Dana White, the eyes of fans, fighters, and promoters across the world will be firmly fixed on the action, with no shortage of interest in those able to make the podiums come the end of the week.

Speaking of the Olympics, the current target of making the 2028 Games from Los Angeles is looking an increasingly likely prospect, with this week’s competition effectively helping to pave the way for an even bigger and more legitimate platform for the top-ranking MMA fighters of the future.

So with the IMMAF 2017 World Championships semi-finals set to take place throughout the day on Thursday November 16, you would have been forgiven for thinking the Kingdom of Bahrain would have had it’s fill of vital MMA action. But that’s where proud partners and Manama-based MMA powerhouse Brave Combat Federation come into it. When the week’s amateur fight-based festivities come to a close and a series of new IMMAF World Champions are crowned, Brave CF will host Brave 9: Kingdom of Champions, showcasing some of the best and most exciting talent from around the world.

With no fewer than three World Championship belts up for grabs, few shows have been as aptly titled as ‘Kingdom of Champions’. In the main event, undefeated Moroccan Ottman Azaitar (9-0) will face Mexican Alejandro Martinez (4-1) for the 155 lbs crown, with Alejandro having bested stunned veterans Paulo Bananada and Fabian Quintanar courtesy of back-to-back finishes. Azaitar, a dominant force on the European scene prior to signing for Brave, will also have his sights set on a third straight win under the Brave banner, and plenty of confidence coming into this bout.

At featherweight, Algerian exponent Elias Boudegzdame (14-4) will look to follow up on first round submission wins over Walel Watson and Masio Fullen, but with UFC veteran Lucas ‘Mineiro’ Martins (19-3) standing across the cage, that could be easier said than done. Martins rides a four-fight win streak that includes a final UFC victory over tough Scot Rob Whiteford, a victory that closed out a 4-3 run in the promotion. He has never lost outside the UFC, and defeated Fabian Galvan by submission in his Brave debut.

Finally, with bantamweight gold on the line, Filipino favourite Stephen Loman (9-2) will look to become the first of his countrymen to win a major World Title beyond the confines of Asia. Gary ‘Saint Lion’ Mangat (10-1), a Canadian of Indian heritage, will look to prevent that, and snare his second Filipino scalp after his Brave CF debut win over Loman’s compatriot Troy Bantiag.

Amid of slew of other great fights, MMA legend Gesias ‘JZ’ Cavalcante (21-10-1) will announce his presence to Brave CF fans as he faces German-based Iraqi stand out Alan Omer (20-5), while Jordanian Nawras Azbakh (6-0) faces Brazilian bantamweight ace Felipe Efrain (11-2). For us here at The MMA Vanguard, however, all eyes will be on Egyptian sensation Ahmed Amir (7-1), as one of our feature fighters faces a tough test in Swedish lightweight Erik Carlsson (6-2). ‘The Butcher’, who has become somewhat synonymous with producing spectacular upsets, will look to extend his impressive six-fight win streak, this time as the fight favourite according to Tapology.com.

For coverage of all of the winners and losers in both the amateur and professional ranks, keep it right here at mmavanguard.com!

Brave 7: Untamed Line Up Announced

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Brave Combat Federation has announced the full line-up for its first event in Mexico. Brave 7: Untamed will take place in Tijuana, on July 29th. The main event features a rematch between local heroes Alejandro Martínez and Fabian Quintanar, in a Featherweight matchup.

“Pato” and “El Aniquilador” first met during the third season of reality show The Ultimate Fighter Latin America. Martínez prevailed after a hard-fought battle, winning a split decision, and their encounter received Fight Of The Season honors. Now, they will run it back in front of their home fans as both fighters hail from Tijuana.

On the co-main event, Lightweight Ivan Castillo looks to rebound from a tough loss against Brazil’s Fighter of the Year Luan “Miau” Santiago as he battles American Chris “Taco” Padilla.

Elsewhere on the main card, Mexican MMA icon Antonio Duarte makes his Brave debut as “El Tigre” faces Hector Valenzuela. Former The Ultimate Fighter cast member Pablo Sabori also fights for the first time under the promotion as he battles Andrew Lagdaan.

Although Mohammad Fakhreddine is focused on his upcoming title shot at Welterweight, the Lebanese phenom will take a close look at Brave 7 as his little brother Hassan Fakhreddine makes his MMA debut against Rodrigo Reyes to round off the main card.

Main card:
Lightweight: Alejandro Martínez x Fabian Quintanar
Lightweight: Chris Padilla x Ivan Castillo
Featherweight: Andrew Lagdaan x Pablo Sabori
Bantamweight: Antonio Duarte x Hector Valenzuela
Welterweight: Hassan Fakhreddine x Rodrigo Reyes

Preliminary card:
Bantamweight: Ernesto Galán x Marco Beristain
Welterweight: Jimmy Harbison x Sam Ramiro Martínez
Featherweight: Irving Hernández x Kevin Amador
Featherweight: Benny Pineda x Victor Tirado
Featherweight: Saul Cabrera x Jaime Florez

Bellator Signs Mike Goldberg, Mauro Ranallo

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PRESS RELEASE: LOS ANGELES — Bellator has signed longstanding MMA commentators Mike Goldberg and Mauro Ranallo to multi-event broadcast agreements beginning with Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva and Bellator 180: Davis vs. Bader on Saturday, June 24. The move sees Goldberg return to SPIKE for the first time since 2011, while Ranallo reunites with Bellator President Scott Coker, having worked together through 2013. The pair will join a broadcast team that currently includes Jimmy Smith, Jenn Brown and Chael Sonnen.

“Mike Goldberg and Mauro Ranallo are two of the best in our business and I couldn’t be happier about them joining the Bellator family,” said Scott Coker. “In addition to June 24, we look forward to working together to make future Spike broadcasts even more exciting for our fans as we add further depth to an already-exceptional broadcast team.”

“The addition of highly-regarded announcers Mauro and Mike to our fantastic lineup of broadcasters, and our first-rate production led by Scott Fishman, further demonstrates our commitment MMA fans and expanding the global Bellator brand,” added Spike SVP, Sports and Specials Jon Slugger.

Mike Goldberg is best known for his 20 plus years of play-by-play work in professional MMA and trademark calls that made him popular with fans around the globe. In addition to his two decades in mixed martial arts, he has broadcast every major sport at the network level, most notably his 900 games in the NHL, both nationally and with the Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings. He has also hosted entertainment shows, including Shaq Vs. A graduate of Miami (Ohio) University, Goldberg now resides in Phoenix, Ariz.

Mauro Ranallo gained notoriety with MMA fans during his tenure with PRIDE, and later STRIKEFORCE, where his voice became synonymous with the now-legendary events. Throughout his career, Ranallo has spent time working with various sports outside of MMA, including boxing, professional wrestling, kickboxing and ice hockey, and will continue his work with Showtime Boxing. Ranallo, a native of British Columbia, Canada, now resides in Los Angeles, Calif.

Please visit Bellator.com and BellatorNYC.com for upcoming event information.

About Bellator:
Bellator is a leading mixed martial arts and kickboxing organization featuring many of the best fighters in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator is available to nearly 500 million homes worldwide in over 140 countries. In the United States, Bellator can be seen on SPIKE, the combat sports television leader. Bellator is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations. Bellator is based in Hollywood, Calif. and owned by entertainment giant Viacom, home to the world’s premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.

About Spike:
Spike is available in 98.7 million homes and is a division of Viacom Media Networks. A unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), Viacom Media Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike’s Internet address is http://www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike’s press site at http://www.spike.com/press. Follow us on Twitter @spiketvpr for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.

Ben Edwards

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On June 17, one of the most accomplished strikers on the planet will make his MMA debut. A three-time world kickboxing champion with ISKA, an Australian national heavyweight boxing champion, and a super heavyweight stand out for both K-1 and GLORY, Ben ‘The Guvnor’ Edwards’ long-awaited transition to mixed martial arts is a big deal. You can be assured MMA brass the world over will be watching and waiting on this one.

The MMA Vanguard had the privilege of a Q&A with the Canberra-based KO specialist, and started with what we felt was the most obvious question: After all these years, all those major, international fights and tournaments, all those title wins and raised hands, what memories stand out most for Ben?

“Winning the K-1 Oceania Grand Prix in 2010 in world record time with 3 KO’s in one night was the best night in my career so far,” Ben tells us, referring to a record previously held by the great Jerome Le Banner, who won the Osaka Grand Prix in 2001 in a total time of 4 minutes and 4 seconds. Edwards not only beat that record, he managed to shave over 30 seconds off the record, blasting through Sudan’s Faisal Zakaria, New Zealand’s Tafa Misapati, and Poland’s Paul Slowinski in an incredible 3 minutes, 28 seconds.

A phenomenal athletic accomplishment like that can surely only be rivalled by a victory in the kind of highly emotionally-charged environment that took place in Canberra on April 4, 2009. Ben would compete for an ISKA world title in an event organised in memory of his coach: “[It was] the tribute night for my trainer who passed away,” he explains. “He died six weeks before my first world title win, and I was living with him at the time. I’d been with him since the start [of my career], and he was very much a father figure to me.” Ben recalls, and adds: “I wasn’t going to lose that night. I had never been more nervous or put more pressure on myself to win [as I did that night]. I was very happy to get another first round KO on home soil against my American opponent.”

That fight, against Rick Cheek, saw a crushing right hand bring the main event to a close after just over a minute and a half of action. That right hand quickly became an emotional tribute; and no more popular winner could be found anywhere in the world that night.

But Edwards would feel somewhat less popular in a fight in Serbia back in 2007. Leaving the comfort of familiar surroundings to meet Dusko Basrak in the middle of the ring, Ben scored one of the most devastating finishes of his career. Ben recalls: “ That was probably my biggest KO ever. I thought I killed the guy. You can watch it on Youtube, it was actually 2007 [as opposed to the stated ‘2008’], but I proved a lot to myself as a young man going to the other side of the world, fighting the home town guy, and performing well.”

Since then, Ben Edwards has continued to earn titles, and hasn’t limited his conquests to kickboxing, either. After failing to wrest the vacant Australian heavyweight boxing title in his first attempt against Michael Kirby, a fight that was declared a majority decision draw, Edwards would get another crack almost four years later, in February 2015. This time, Hunter Sam was his opponent, and while the fight once again went the distance, this time there would be a decisive victor. Edwards earned a unanimous decision win, and became a multi-sport champion. While Edwards would drop the title to Australian legend Peter Graham in a split decision later that year, he had further underlined his standing as one of the most feared strikers on the planet.

So Ben currently in a period of transition in his sporting life, does boxing maintain any sort of long-term interest? Maybe – but perhaps not: “Never say never but I think I’m done with boxing,” Edwards told The MMA Vanguard. “It’s just a boys club filled with nepotism and record padding mismatches.”

Edwards’ reservations don’t stop there, either. Speaking of the differences between kickboxing and boxing, Ben adds: “The footwork and distance is different, but the biggest thing is the training. If I get concussed in a fight I can deal with that, that’s what I signed up for, but I think hard sparring all the time in training is stupid,” he says, referring to a culture in boxing. “I received more head trauma in training for my last two boxing fights than in my last thirty kickboxing fights combined. I didn’t get rocked or dropped once, but I was still heavily concussed from eating a ton of medium-power shots. All pro boxers spar hard all the time American-style, but in kickboxing it’s mostly just hard pads and play sparring, which I agree with. That’s Thai-style. With sparring, heavyweights are different. We have so much power we can still hurt each other badly with headgear on, and not every coach gets that. Personally, I will only spar ‘hard’ with a partner I trust.”

What, then, about some of Edwards’ toughest challenges as a fighter? A bout in late 2010 against PRIDE and UFC legend Alistair Overeem will certainly catch the eye of even the most casual MMA fan, and that’s something Edwards has had to deal with since: “He gets mentioned to me every single week without fail,” Edwards admits. “I have no problem with him, everyone always asks how I feel about fighting a ‘cheat’ – but the facts are he wasn’t cheating when he fought me, K-1 said in our contract ‘YOU WILL NOT GET DRUG TESTED, YOU JUST HAVE TO LOOK GOOD IN A PHOTO’.” Edwards admits, frankly, before concluding: “The guy’s a warrior who I respect, and he has made an awful lot of money. Good for him.”

The fact is, for Ben, Overeem is one of many genuinely world class opponents he’s faced in his career. In GLORY, Edwards would face the likes of Errol Zimmerman and Jahfarr Wilnis, and elsewhere he holds wins over veterans Mighty Mo Saliga and Carter Williams. He’s also tangled with the current GLORY World Heavyweight champion, a man Ben speaks very highly of – much as he does the company itself: “I had three fights for GLORY, one awesome KO win at Madison Square Garden, and two disappointing losses in Denver. GLORY were good to deal with, I enjoyed fighting for them. I have one more fight on my contract with them, but they told me they weren’t interested. I don’t blame them, my last two fights [for them] I had so many personal problems at the time and didn’t have the best team and people around me. I have fixed all of that now, and if they wanted to give me my last fight I would take it in a heartbeat. I’m very happy for their champion Rico Verhoeven who I fought in 2012. Great bloke, great champion.”

It’s this kind of pedigree that will no doubt prove so appealing to MMA matchmakers around the world – but first, Ben has to navigate his debut challenge on June 16, which comes in the form of 10-fight veteran, New South Wales’ own Brandon ‘Zilla’ Sosoli. A huge 260-plus pound heavy hitter, Sosoli has five first round TKO’s to his name, and recently saw a three-fight winning streak snapped by one of the UFC’s most recent signatures, Tai Tuivasa. No shame there.

It’s fair to say, then, that Edwards knows the size of the task awaiting him – and he’s very much relishing the opportunity to show what he can do in front of fans of combat sports’ most varied discipline. “Sosoli is very experienced, including his amateur MMA fights he has had 18 in total, while I’ve had none. I’m expecting him to close the distance and try and wear me down and grind me out – [however] I have world class training partners and am very confident in this fight.”

So what will Edwards’ game plan look like? “Obviously I’ll be looking to keep the fight standing but I’m training for the worst case scenario. I will be comfortable wherever the fight goes.” Edwards adds: “I see myself making a huge statement and putting myself on the MMA map.”

What’s more, Edwards feels this fight won’t be a one-off. Taking his training extremely seriously, Edwards feels he’s ready to make a serious run in mixed martial arts – though he won’t be ruling anything out long-term: “Barring a good offer from boxing or kickboxing, I’m one hundred percent committed to MMA.”

A scary prospect for those peddling their trade above the 205 pound weight limit – and what’s more, Edwards anticipates he will get the chance to face the very best in the world – should he achieve what he expects to: “I feel like with most big athletes coming from other sports, the road to the UFC isn’t that long, but I don’t want to get there before I’m ready. I only need to get four or five impressive wins and that will open the door for me. A big white heavyweight with no tattoos who is eloquent, articulate and knocks people out is quite a marketable commodity!”

Hear, hear!

Ben Edwards, The MMA Vanguard cannot wait to see your MMA story unfold!

ONE Championship partner GoDaddy

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PRESS RELEASE:

18 May 2017 – Singapore: The largest sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), has announced a partnership with GoDaddy, the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures. Both companies will work closely together to bring mixed martial arts in Asia to greater heights. GoDaddy branding is set to be featured at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES which will take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 26 May. The main event of the card will feature ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee as she defends her title against Brazil’s Istela Nunes. In the co-main event, ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben “Funky” Askren takes on rising young star Agilan “Alligator” Thani of Malaysia.

Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, stated: “I’m thrilled to be working with GoDaddy as our partnership signifies another monumental moment for the sport of mixed martial arts and for ONE Championship. GoDaddy has a great history of working with other sporting organizations and it is a privilege for ONE Championship to announce this collaboration. Singapore is set to witness the biggest mixed martial arts event in history on 26 May, and we are delighted to have GoDaddy on board with us in delivering world-class MMA action to fans all over the globe.”

Roger Chen, Vice President of Asia, GoDaddy, stated: “GoDaddy is committed to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs get online and grow their ventures. We have a successful track record of partnerships with global sporting bodies and we’re delighted to partner with one of Asia’s largest sports media properties, ONE Championship. ONE Championship provides a great opportunity for GoDaddy to build relationships with people across Asia and bring attention to the importance of having a strong online presence.”

GoDaddy powers the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures. With more than 17 million customers worldwide and more than 71 million domain names under management, GoDaddy is the place people come to name their idea, build a professional website, attract customers and manage their work.

ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES features the absolute best in local and international mixed martial arts talent. The card is headlined by a tremendous matchup between ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee and Muay Thai champion Istela Nunes. Lee won the title in 2016 at just 19-years of age, becoming the youngest world champion in the history of mixed martial arts.

Former 2x Olympian and one of the best welterweights in the world pound-for-pound, Ben Askren, will grace the ONE Championship cage in the evening’s co-main event opposite the awe-inspiring Agilan Thani. Thani earned the right to challenge Askren after going unbeaten in his professional career, winning seven bouts in a row by spectacular finish.

For more updates on ONE Championship, please visit www.onefc.com, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ON EChampionship.

For more information about GoDaddy, please visit: sg.godaddy.com/

About ONE Championship™

ONE Championship is the largest sports media property in Asian history. Headquartered in Singapore, the world’s most exciting mixed martial arts organization hosts the largest sports entertainment events across Asia featuring the best Asian mixed martial artists and world champions, all signed to exclusive contracts, on the largest media broadcast in Asia. ONE Championship is broadcast to over 1 billion viewers across 118+ countries around the world with some of the largest global broadcasters, including FOX Sports, Setanta, MNC, Astro, Thairath TV, ABS-CBN, TV5, MYTV, HTV, OSN and more.

About GoDaddy

GoDaddy powers the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures. With more than 17 million customers worldwide and more than 71 million domain names under management, GoDaddy is the place people come to name their idea, build a professional website, attract customers and manage their work. Our mission is to give our customers the tools, insights and the people to transform their ideas and personal initiative into success. To learn more about the company, visitwww.GoDaddy.com.

Jack Shore

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MMA in Wales is growing, and the Shore family of Abertillery, South Wales continues to play a vital role in it’s ongoing expansion. Richard ‘Shaky’ Shore, a professional MMA fighter in his own right and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under the lineage of Braulio Estima, created the Tillery Combat MMA Academy in 2007. Since then, the Academy has produced a string of talented fighters, not least Richard’s son Jack.

4-0 in professional MMA, and the 2015 IMMAF European Open champion, Jack Shore has been on a tear in Britain’s Cage Warriors outfit, amassing four successive finishes and turning plenty of heads along the way. Citing his dad as his main source of inspiration, Jack told MMA Vanguard that growing up watching him compete at a young age left him in no doubt about what he wanted to do in future; he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.

A huge fan of films like Rocky and anything starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jack’s exposure to tales of both fictional and real life glory helped lay the foundations for a career in MMA long ago. The success of Tillery-trained fighters like Jack ‘The Hammer’ Marshman, who has gone on to become the first Welshman to sign for the UFC, only reinforced what seemed fated all along. Jack Shore would compete, and Jack Shore would succeed.

A black belt in kickboxing and traditional combat JuJutsu, Shore also holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and with twelve finishes by way of submission across both the amateur and professional ranks, it’s clear to see he has been taught well. What’s more, Shore can lay claim to a 2013 Welsh novice boxing title; in a sport that requires competitors to be well-versed in a variety of disciplines, Jack’s résumé does not disappoint.

Training alongside Marshman, as well as the likes of Martin McDonough, Josh Reed, Owain Parry and Kris Edwards, Jack has always had plenty of big-fight experience to draw on. What’s more, the UFC’s signing of Marshman in 2016 seems to have opened a door that had stayed shut far too long. The prospect of following in the footsteps of the UFC’s first ever Welsh signing have to be exhilarating for a top prospect like Jack.

Big stages are nothing new, however. Having competed at a Cage Warriors show as an amateur back in 2014, Jack recognises that he was presented a great opportunity to compete in front of big arenas early on. Commenting on the bout with fellow Welshman Simon Maksimovic, Jack says: “At the time I only had a few amateur bouts [on my record], so to get on an undercard for a big show like that was a massive opportunity for me. I felt great going into that fight and put on a solid performance.”

The fight would go the distance, with Jack emerging victorious via Unanimous Decision. With that experience in the bag, Shore would continue to rack up the wins on the amateur scene, before entering himself into the IMMAF’s European Open Championships lightweight tournament in November 2015. There, Shore would face some of the best and most experienced amateurs around; and yet still results would continue to go the same way. Already 9-0, Jack recorded consecutive first round submissions of Northern Ireland’s Jonny Martin, Bulgaria’s Ferdun Osmanov, and the Republic of Ireland’s Tommy Martin. In the final, Shore would meet Norwegian standout Geir Kåre Nyland, a bout which represented his fourth fight in three days.

Speaking of the IMMAF, Shore states that “I think any amateur who is serious about testing their skills against the best [fighters possible] before turning pro should compete at the IMMAF World [Championships] or European [Championships]. There’s no picking your fights or record padding there. You don’t get a say in who you fight, and everyone competing [has skills] at a very high level.”

On the topic of so many fights in such a short space of time, Shore adds: “For me it wasn’t too bad, making weight wasn’t an issue [as] I was coming in three-to-five pounds under the weight limit everyday. I also won my first three fights by first round submission so my body wasn’t too beat up going into the final. But I think the main challenge is going through the adrenaline rush and dump that you go through for every fight. Doing that four times in a short space of time takes it out of you!”

Following that great achievement, and Unanimous Decision win over Nyland to claim the gold medal, Shore decided to turn pro. This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, by any means. Shore admits the plan had always been to compete at a professional level, so while his training regiments remained pretty much the same, a full time schedule was a necessity. Training three times a day, six days a week became the norm as Shore prepared for the inevitable wave of professional athletes headed his way.

Those athletes were provided by Cage Warriors, an outfit Shore regards as the best promotion in Europe. “I love fighting for them,” Jack admitted, “They treat you like a professional and can’t do enough for you. They also have a proven track record of getting guys [offers from] the UFC if they can keep winning.”

Marshman himself, for example, is a former Cage Warriors Middleweight champion, and even reigning UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping held CWFC gold in the early days of his career. For Jack Shore, then, promotional gold has to be high on the agenda – and having blasted through David Crol, Eddie Pobivanez and Alexandros Gerolimatos at featherweight under the Cage Warriors banner, that prospect might not be too far off.

In his way this Saturday, however, is experienced Frenchman Konmon Deh (8-3). Parisian Deh, a 32 year old riding a 6-fight win streak, is himself 2-0 under the Cage Warriors banner, and recently put the skids on prospect Elliot Jenkins’ unbeaten streak with a second round TKO. He will be eyeing more of the same as he prepares to face Abertillery’s latest MMA export.

While Shore regards Deh as a very tough and skilful opponent, he remains confident of pulling off the victory. What’s more, Shore admits there is a slight perk for facing an opponent with a reputation: “My last few opponents I haven’t really known massive amounts about going into those fights,” he says, adding, “[Konmon] is more experienced so it’s nice to have an idea of what I’m going in against this time!”

But Shore insists he feels no pressure to continue his perfect streak of finishes at the professional level: “The finish isn’t something I chase,” Shore clarifies, “But if [the opportunity] presents itself I’m fast to capitalise. People want value for money when they come to fight shows, [and] everyone prefers to see fights get finished so if I can provide that [this weekend] then I will.”

The main thing, however, is putting in the kind of performance that Jack and his proud father Richard (as well as a growing following), know he’s capable of. “[This is] definitely a step up in [competition] for me but it’s one that I’m confident I will deal with.”

The MMA Vanguard, likewise, share Jack’s confidence ahead of this crucial bout at Cage Warriors 83, a show that will be airing live on UFC Fight Pass. Win, lose, or draw, though, Jack’s career is plainly in good hands as he looks to continue to climb the ladder and represent not only Wales, but the Shore family name.