Brian Elliot sent along the following:
At approximately the same time that the Ultimate Fighting Championship make their debut in Germany on the evening of Saturday June 13, another promotion closer to home will be doing likewise, as the highly-touted FX3 company moves to London for “Rough Justice” at the York Hall in Bethnal Green.
It's been a full nine months since FX3's last event, which occurred in 40 miles up the M4 in Reading, and in that time, the company has chosen to further up its profile in the UK with the move, which will provide it with its most visible outlet for its brand to date.
“Holding an event in London has always been an aim of FX3,” promoter Paul James told The Mirror. “The shows that we've had in Reading have always been fantastic, and had 2,500 to 3,000 people in attendance, so it'll be a further progression to move such a popular show to the capital.
“We started up in 2005, and since then we've built on a solid base of fans, and with the fighters that we have now, including new competitors from the London area, and the fan-base that's there, we can only progress by holding events in London. But we do aim to be back in Reading soon, so our fans who can't travel to London have no cause for concern.”
Top of the bill of “Rough Justice” – the card having seen several forced changes since its initial announcement – is Greg Siwy vs Franck Vatan for the World Light Heavyweight Championship. Siwy, a veteran of FX3 competition, has been especially impressive in his last two fights for the company, TKO'ing Wojchiech Jamrozik in just 1:20 in June of 2008, and knocking out Thibaut Dubail in a remarkable 15 seconds in Septmeber. His explosive striking will be therefore be something to look out for on Saturday.
Vatan, on the other hand, is a student of ground fighting, and possesses good wrestling and submission skills, as were seen in his last official bout, in which he dispatched of Malik Silla on a Furious Fighting Championship card in Girona, Spain. A native of France, Vatan represents Team Academie Pythagore and is also trained by the current FX3 Featherweight Champion Emmanuel Fernandez.
Elsewhere on the card, there is also tremendous intrigue regarding the FX3 debut of Leo Negao, a highly-decorated champion in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. Trained under Carlson Gracie of the famous Gracie fighting family (who were also prominently involved in the creation of the Ultimate Fighting Championship), Negao was the World BJJ champion in 1998 and the Brazilian National Champion in 1997, 1998, and 1999, and is now beginning what has the potential to be a very successful career in MMA.
“I accepted the bout just last week, so I don't know that much about my opponent Lloyd Clarkson,” said Negao. “But I know he is a tough guy who also likes to fight on the floor. It's going to be a good fight.
“In my fights, I always try to bring my opponent to the ground – the place that I can be comfortable. I can attack there and I can defend myself. I like to get to the floor, get side control, get the mount, and finish it.
“I think I'll get the submission on Saturday. I'll find his weak points – that's what I am trained to do. It may be the neck, the leg, or the foot, but I will find it and submit him.”
Like Negao, former Pride and Cage Rage competitor Jean Silva is likely to be a crowd favourite, as the Brazilian returns from a devastating knee injury suffered at the hands of a Masakazu Imanari heel hook in March 2008. Silva is also a BJJ black belt, but much like his compatriot Anderson Silva (also a BJJ black belt), he prefers the stand-up game, a course of action which invariably leads to exciting fights.
Just the man to give him such a contest is the unpredictable Sami “The Hun” Berik, who is even more experienced that his opponent, with 40 fights under his belt. The thoughtful, philosophical Berik can't wait for the opportunity to test his skills against one of the best fighters UK MMA has ever seen.
“It's a privilege for me to be fighting Jean Silva,” said Berik. “At the end of the day, he's an exciting fighter and he goes for the kill, so it's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be like a verbal argument; it depends where he takes the first few words, and I'll react to that. It's going to be an action-packed fight, and it's going to be fast-paced.
“Every time I fight is another experience for me on how I understand and look at fighting. As far as this fight goes, I see it as a blank canvas. He's a great fighter on the floor, but he stands as well, and I appreciate that in him as a fighter, that he takes the fight wherever it goes. He can use applicational wing-chun, or a shaolin style – he can do it all.
“One thing I won't do is use heel hooks,” Berik sportingly admitted. “Even though he has had a bad knee injury, if I have the power personally to win the fight without causing him any real damage, that's a blessing, and that's what I'll do. And I'm sure that he wouldn't fight unless his knee was tip-top. Now that's he's back, I'm sure he's in shape.”
There are eight further fights taking place on Saturday, including Polish superstar Damian Grabowski's heavyweight bout against the 6ft 8″ giant Gary Rawlings. Also, FX3 favourite Giorgio Andrews is in bantamweight action, as he takes on Mark Handley, making his pro MMA debut following tremendous success at amateur level.
Full revised card:
Welterweight: Jack Toczydlowski (Poland) V Aruna Klicius (Lithuania)
Heavyweight: Ben Smith (UK) V Steve Day (UK)
Light Heavyweight: Ian White (UK) V Earl Brown (UK)
Under-84kg bout: Leo Negao (Brazil) V Lloyd Clarkson (UK)
Heavyweight: Damian Grabowski (Poland) V Kiril Handzhiyski (Bulgaria)
Bantamweight: Giorgio Andrews (UK) V Mark Handley (UK)
Light Heavyweight: Glen Reid (UK) V Dave Rintall (UK)
Light Heavyweight: Jean Silva (Brazil) V Sami Berik (Turkey / UK)
Under-77kg bout: Adam Grew (UK) V Marius Buzinskas (Lithiania)
Middleweight: Michael Johnson (UK) V Jacob Lewis Williams (UK)
Title fight – Light Heavyweight: Greg Siwy (Poland) V Franck Vatan (France)