BAMMA returns to London on April 5 at the Copper Box Arena. Just a few weeks away from the event itself, the fight card is taking shape.

Fights between heavyweights Oli Thompson and Gzim Selmani, along with welterweights Wayne Murrie and Leon Edwards were announced last week and provided a platform on which to build for another great BAMMA event. Obviously, two fights a card does not make, and those two fights have now been boosted by news of further fights featuring MMA notables.

In MMA, it seems the lower down the weight classes you go, the more technical the fighters have to be in order to compete, with strength being the factor relied upon by the heavier weight classes. The BAMMA 15 card features a flyweight bout that promises to deliver technique in abundance with Mahmood Besharate and Rany Saadeh set to face off.

Besharante has a background in Muay Thai and taekwondo, a skill set that would seem to make for a devastating stand-up game thanks to the flexibility that both styles offer from a striking perspective. And so it would seem the style of Besharante has worked out for him so far, given that he is undefeated as both an amateur and at the professional level, with a current record of 5-0.

Whilst most MMA fighters may struggle with the stance and unpredictability that a taekwondo style can present, it would be surprising if this is a problem that Saadeh could not figure out. Saadeh has a background in karate, having trained in the discipline since the age of five. He should be used to gauging distance and anticipating his opponent’s next move more than anyone Besharante has fought thus far. This fight offers potential as a throwback to the early days of MMA with a style vs. style match-up. Both fighters are true lifelong martial artists who are now hoping to develop past their primary discipline and switch their focus to every facet of “modern” MMA.

Also on the card, lightweight Jefferson George was originally set to face off against Dyson Roberts. This was a match-up that George would have been relishing, given his tendency for submission victories and Roberts’ tendency for defeats by the same method. However, Roberts was forced to withdraw from the fight due to an undisclosed injury, and Jack Grant has stepped in to fill the void. Grant holds a perfect record of 6-0 with wins coming by TKO and submission. He would seem to offer a more varied threat to George, who may not enjoy the distinct grappling advantage that he held over Roberts.

Whenever two fighters from the same training camp are featured on the same card, it is usually a recipe for success. This produces the added benefit of several fighters going through the same processes at the same time, as well as providing moral support to their fellow fighters along the way. This will no doubt be an advantage that training partners Ryan “Big Baby” Scope and Colin “Freakshow” Fletcher will hope to make full use of at BAMMA 15.

Fletcher is well-known for his look and his abilities. He previously had the opportunity to showcase these features on The Ultimate Fighter reality series. Whilst Fletcher may be more well-known for the time being, Scope has massive potential and is one to watch out for in the future. He boasts a perfect professional record of 8-0 and has finished his opponents inside the distance in all but his first professional outing. Scope will no doubt have benefited greatly from training at San Diego’s Alliance Gym, which is home to the likes of British favorites Ross Pearson and Phil De Fries and international talent such as Phil Davis and Dominick Cruz.

At BAMMA 15, Scope will get the opportunity to showcase just how much he has progressed when he faces Ali Arish, a veteran of the sport who holds a record of 20-2. Arish has been facing top competition for years, getting the better of the likes of Wayne Murrie and Jack Mason in the process of winning his last nine fights. In this fight, someone’s winning streak has to go. It is generally these types of fights that produce entertainment, with both men full of confidence and a willingness to trust the skills that have seen them over the line previously.

Adding a bit more name and face recognition to the proceedings will be Fletcher, who stands at 9-4 through 13 pro fights. He looks set to face off against Tony “Lionheart” Hervey. Fletcher has a distinctive look, no doubt, and whilst he went the distance with Mike Ricci in his sole UFC outing post-The Ultimate Fighter, it was not enough to retain his status in the UFC’s lightweight division. Fletcher returned to BAMMA with a victory over Tim Newman before losing a back-and-forth bout for the BAMMA lightweight title at BAMMA 14 against Mansour Barnaoui.

Whilst Hervey’s record of 16-16 suggests what might be expected from the Michigan native, Hervey has fought some of the bigger names across all of MMA. He won’t be fazed by the support for his opponent in London. In 2009, he went five rounds with Takanori Gomi and has subsequently gone the distance with Ricci, also, which proves he has the capabilities to mix it up with top-tier competition. With credible opponents like that, it is safe to say that Hervey will not wilt under the pressure and presents a real danger to “Freakshow” when April 5 arrives.

Another two fights have been added to the BAMMA 15 preliminary card. Featherweights Richard Edwards and Andy Craven are set to collide, and welterweight Benny “Brutal” Carr has the task of defending his perfect professional record against the aggressive Jacek Toczydlowski, a veteran of Cage Warriors and Cage Rage.

BAMMA 15

Oli Thompson vs. Gzim Selmani
Colin Fletcher vs. Tony Hervey
Wayne Murrie vs. Leon Edwards – for Lonsdale British welterweight title
Ryan Scope vs. Ali Arish
Rany Saadeh vs. Mahmood Besharate
Richard Edwards vs. Andy Craven
Jack Grant vs. Jefferson George
Alex Montagnani vs. Nathan Jones
Nathaniel Wood vs. Ed Arthur
Benny Carr vs. Jacek Toczydlowski
Mo Lasladj vs. Josh Bangert

About The Author

Greg Byron
Staff Writer
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Greg Byron started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after his brother introduced him to a local MMA fighter/coach when he was just 16 years old. Greg has trained for nearly a decade in both BJJ and MMA, competing in several grappling events within the UK. In addition to MMA, Greg possesses a law degree and works for a firm in northern part of England.