Every Wednesday, The MMA Corner’s Duncan Price will bring a view of the MMA world from across the pond in England, covering well-known British fighters within the UFC and Strikeforce, and also looking at significant events put on by British promotions within the borders of the United Kingdom.

Stop the Press! UFC coming to the UK this year after all!

Hold the back page! Multiple sources including UFC.com confirmed on Tuesday that the LG Arena in Birmingham has been booked for an event to be held Nov. 5, likely to be UFC 138.

After previously stating that it was unlikely that the UK and Europe would host a UFC fight card this year, the promotion has completed a drastic, but more than welcome, U-turn with the announcement of this event.

Two fights have been announced so far. The main event would appear to be a middleweight contender match-up between Chris Leben and Mark Munoz. Both men enter this fight off strong performances and will be looking to put their name into title contention with a win. Not only will this be an interesting bout, it will also be the very first five-round non-title fight in the UFC.

The second confirmed contest will be between top-ranked bantamweights Renan Barao and Britain’s own Brad Pickett. Barao holds one of the longest win streaks in MMA, having gone twenty-seven matches without a loss. He will be a tough test for fan-favourite Pickett, who himself holds recent wins over Ivan Menjivar and Demetrious Johnson.

No other bouts have been rumoured at this time, but look for the likes of Paul Sass, Mark Scanlon, John Hathaway, Terry Etim, Jason Young, and even Dan Hardy, should he be successful against Chris Lytle, to be added to the final line-up.

As a fan of the sport living in the UK, I cannot tell you how glad I am that I am able to bring this news to everyone. This card looks like it could have some really exciting fights on it and it is nice to see that the UFC has not ignored the pleas of the British fans.

Stay tuned to Brits & Pieces every week as we will keep you fully informed of all news, rumours and information about UFC 138.

Hardy Prepares for Lytle

A very different Dan Hardy will meet Chris Lytle when they face-off in the main event at UFC Live 5 on Aug. 14.

Hardy comes into this fight with three straight losses and he has had to put some serious thought into where he went wrong in those bouts. He has admitted trying to add muscle mass and become more physically imposing after his loss to Georges St-Pierre, but in doing so he appears to have lost some of his trademark speed and cardio.

Dan Hardy

Hardy spoke openly to ESPN.co.uk last week about these very subjects:

“In the last two fights, I haven’t done my skill set any justice. I’ve been really disappointed with my performance in the gym and inside the Octagon.”

“Since the Georges St-Pierre fight I’ve been experimenting with weight-cutting. The Anthony Johnson fight, I didn’t want to be an undersized opponent. I gained a lot of weight ever since the GSP fight, doing things like power-training, and a lot of it has been detrimental to me.”

“The extra weight has slowed me down so I’ve cut that down. I started training camp at 190lbs this time, and I’ve been staying between 185 and 190, and I feel awesome. I’m landing three or four times as many punches per round in sparring, I feel like I can go forever – I feel like the Duracell bunny!”

Although he remains a big fan-favorite in the UK, Hardy is in serious jeopardy of being cut from the UFC should he lose. He is not making the mistake of assuming Lytle, a skillful striker, will want to stay on the feet in this bout though. Hardy has fallen foul of this strategy before, most notably in his recent tussle with Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Before the fight, Johnson baited Hardy into expecting a stand-up war, and then when the bell rang he repeatedly wrestled Hardy to the mat in order to grind out a three-round decision victory.

In an interview with the Winnepeg Free Press, Hardy clearly showed that he is taking nothing for granted any more:

“I can’t expect anything from anybody anymore, I’m over trusting people, I learned that lesson in my last fight.”

“Obviously, Chris Lytle isn’t the kind of guy that would want to disappoint the fans and kind of hold somebody down for 15 minutes; I can’t imagine the fight’s going to be like that. But either way I’ve got to be prepared for it.”

“Like people keep telling me, it’s mixed martial arts not kickboxing and I need to be a wrestler as well as a striker. I’m going to work on everything, regardless. The reality is I’ve been in this sport a long time and I’ve stopped a lot of takedowns and I’ve taken a lot of people down. It just so happens that the two fights that I did lose were to good wrestlers and they were on national TV.”

I truly hope Hardy gets the victory in this match-up. The British fans have had little to cheer about recently and the loss of one of the country’s marquee stars could be a further blow to the UFC’s popularity within the UK.

Rumor has it Hardy will even be changing up his infamous Mohawk in readiness for this crucial encounter.

Alex Reid is Back!

Only months after announcing his retirement from MMA to concentrate on his acting career, Alex “The Reidernater” Reid is back. He will be featured in the main event of UCMMA 22 live from Troxy London on Aug. 6.

Alex Reid (Credit: thereidernater.com)

Following a number of heated exchanges, his opponent on the night, Jason “Badass” Barrett, successfully baited Reid into accepting the bout after tempers flared at UCMMA 21 in June.

In the official UCMMA press release via Halo PR, Reid stated:

“In Rome the Gladiators fought to the death, mentally it’s the same game in MMA, my motto – Keep the End in View – ‘Respice Finem’ is part of my code of honor – I will live to fight another day, I can’t say the same for Jason but I salute his bravery. I will do whatever it takes to get me in premium fighting condition, I will beat Jason down, this will be more than just a fight worth watching, I’m going to rip up that cage and feed it to him.”

UCMMA promoter Dave O’Donnell added:

“Let me tell you, I’ve seen Jason Barrett and he is like a man possessed. He was in the gym at 4am today and he has been training for 12 solid weeks while Alex has been living the celebrity lifestyle. Everybody knows you can have all the technique in the world but if you haven’t got the stamina or the minerals to go three rounds then you’re going to have a lot of problems. I know Jason has been doing hill runs and has been doing anything he can to make this fight happen.”

Reid is perhaps best known throughout the UK as the cross-dressing cage fighter husband of infamous model and author Katie Price AKA Jordan. He actually won the British version of Celebrity Big Brother after showing that he was a strangely charming and decent guy despite the negative opinion of him before he entered the house.

In his last contest at BAMMA 4, Reid lasted five rounds with current BAMMA champ Tom “Kong” Watson, which greatly enhanced his standing amongst the MMA community. Prior to that bout he had held a fairly average record of 8-8-1.

Reid will be looking to prove he still deserves a place in the cage when these two tough Brits meet in this hotly anticipated clash.

UCMMA 22 will be shown live on PPV in the UK on the Primetime channel.

Top Photo: The LG Arena in Birmingham (Credit: The LG Arena)

This piece was authored by Duncan Price. Follow him on Twitter, @DuncMMA