With closely competitive match-ups from the first fight on the prelims to the main event, this card is sure to entertain. Headlined by Liverpool’s Darren Till and perennial contender Jorge Masvidal, this card has a number of talented European fighters lower down on the bill.
With competitive fights throughout, here is a breakdown of each fight and some keys to victory for each fighter.
UFC Fight Night 147 Preview
Mike Grundy vs Nad Narimani (Featherweight)
For those that don’t know, Mike Grundy is a rare breed of high-level wrestler from England. Grundy picked up a bronze medal at the 2004 Commonwealth Games in freestyle wrestling before turning to professional MMA.
Arguably long overdue a chance in the UFC, many expected Grundy to get a shot at UFC Fight Night 130. Despite this, he will make his debut at UFC Fight Night 147, riding an eight-fight win streak. Training partner of Darren Till at Team Kaobon, Grundy is extremely strong for 145 and will look to impose his wrestling game on Nad Narimani.
Narimani, however, is no slouch. The former Cage Warriors featherweight champion is 2-0 in the UFC, with two unanimous decision victories. In his UFC debut, Narimani was able to consistently time Khalid Taha coming in and take him down. In his second outing, he was able to show off his striking more, and this could be on display against Grundy in London.
This fight will be closely contested both on the feet and on the ground, should it get there. We will likely see Narimani try and keep it standing and strike with Grundy due to the Liverpudlian’s strong wrestling background. Grundy’s game plan is unlikely to differ greatly from his previous fights and he will look to get Narimani down and control the fight from there.
Priscila Cachoeira vs Molly McCann (Women’s flyweight)
Both Priscila Cachoeira and Molly McCann are 0-1 in the UFC, having made their debuts last year. Cachoeira was dominated by current flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, whilst McCann was choked unconscious by Gillian Robertson. McCann is the former Cage Warriors flyweight champion, so she clearly has the talent to be in the UFC. With a strong boxing background, she has four knockout victories in her seven wins.
Cachoeira stands in the pocket and looks to unload on her opponents. Although we didn’t get to see this in her debut, her previous fight at Hipnose Fight Night 3 shows this style. This performance (which she won by second-round knockout) did suggest that McCann could use her superior boxing to land on the Brazilian, however. When swinging wildly, as Cachoeira tends to do, she’s open to a counter if McCann can land straight punches.
Danny Henry vs Dan Ige (Featherweight)
Danny Henry returns for the first time since UFC London last year, where he choked out Hakeem Dawodu in just 39 seconds. Henry is certainly a finisher, only going to decision twice in 12 wins. Along this run he’s picked up five wins by knockout, and five by submission, proving what a well-rounded game he has. Henry did show some vulnerability in his UFC debut during the first round against Daniel Teymur but got the victory nonetheless.
Dan Ige is a Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series alumni. Although he didn’t receive a contract on the show, he clearly impressed. He got his opportunity in a short notice fight at UFC 220. He did drop a decision on this occasion, however, he has picked up two victories since then. Training at AKA, Ige holds a black belt in BJJ and a brown belt in judo and will offer a good test for Henry.
Tom Breese vs Ian Heinisch (Middleweight)
Brit Tom Breese makes his return to the octagon in London. Originally scheduled to fight Alessio Di Chirico and then Cezar Ferreira, Breese takes on his third scheduled opponent, Ian Heinisch. Breese showed impressive boxing in his previous bout, a TKO victory in his middleweight debut against Dan Kelly.
Having taken almost two years away from the sport following his first loss, Breese looked good at 185. In these two years, Breese took part in a number of major grappling tournaments. First picking up a decision win at Polaris 4, and then losing via inside heel hook to Vinny Magalhaes at EBI 9. This would suggest that should the fight go to the floor, Breese will be able to handle himself.
Ian Heinisch received a contract on week 7 of DWTNCS and steps in to face Breese in London. Boasting an impressive 12-1 MMA record, Heinisch beat Cezar Ferreira by unanimous decision in his UFC debut. The former LFA middleweight champion has five first-round finishes and six overall finishes, all in a number of different ways.
Breese will definitely have his home crowd on his side in this one, fighting in England for the 10th time in his career. Wherever the fight goes, this one is sure to be tightly contested as both men are solid in all aspects of the game.
Marc Diakiese vs Joe Duffy (Lightweight)
In March 2017 at UFC Fight Night 107 in London, both Marc Diakiese and Joe Duffy picked up impressive victories. Diakiese knocked out Teemu Packalen in just 30 seconds, earning him a performance of the night bonus. Joe Duffy outpointed tough competitor Reza Madadi over 15 minutes.
Both men have been out of luck since then. Neither has picked up a victory. Diakiese has slipped to 0-3 in his last three. He lost a close split decision to Drakkar Klose, before being submitted by Dan Hooker and most recently dropping a decision to Nasrat Haqparast. Duffy was TKO’d by James Vick at UFC 217, and has been out of action since.
Diakiese will be looking to implement his array of flashy kicks and keep the slick Irish boxer on the outside. With 10 of his 16 wins coming via submission, we could see Duffy try and close the distance and take the Englishman down. That being said, Duffy isn’t afraid to stand and bang, so we could also see a stand-up battle. When these two men walked out in London two years ago the crowd was behind both, so we can expect them to rise to the occasion again and put on a great fight.
Nicolae Negumereanu vs Saparbek Safarov (Light heavyweight)
Originally scheduled as Saparbek Safarov vs Gokhan Saki, Nicolae Negumereanu steps in on short notice. Making his UFC debut, Negumereanu holds a 9-0 record, with nine finishes. The hard-hitting, former RXF MMA 205lbs champion has an array of different submissions on his record, including a brabo choke.
Safarov has also never gone the distance in his MMA career, finishing his opponent in eight of his ten fights. When he faced Tyson Pedro he was able to effectively use his wrestling, and he could use this to try and wear Negumereanu down early. If Safarov fights as he did against Gian Villante, Negumereanu could get a read on his style. Safarov tends to dip forward before throwing any strikes, which could leave him vulnerable if Negumereanu picks up on it.
The fact that these two men have never gone the distance in 19 fights suggests that this one is going to be an exciting fight for as long as it lasts.
Arnold Allen vs Jordan Rinaldi (Featherweight)
Arnold Allen is looking for his fifth straight UFC win, in what is his fourth straight fight in England. Jordan Rinaldi, on the other hand, is fighting outside of the US for only the second time. Rinaldi is coming off a dominant victory over Jason Knight at UFC 230, winning 30-25 on one scorecard. In his last bout, Allen faced Mads Burnell at UFC Fight Night 130. Although he was being largely dominated throughout, he was able to snatch a front choke in the final round and pick up the win.
Rinaldi will likely take confidence from his last bout and aim to implement a takedown game on Allen. He’s no slouch on the ground, with a large knowledge of submissions, even having a Von Flue choke on his record. Allen should look to keep Rinaldi off and fight at range. Employ the jab early and work in teep or front kicks to keep the American from closing the distance. This is a very closely contested fight wherever it goes and should be a fan pleaser.
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