Friday, July 22, 2011

Possible BAMMA Match-Ups for Nate Marquardt: Daley, Trigg, War Machine, etc...

Nate Marquardt's signing with UK-based promotion the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts was the surprise of the day. Frankly, the move caught me off guard, as I saw Marquardt headed to Shark Fights, the MFC, or possibly back to Asia where he first built his career. After contract talks with Bellator fell through, I totally neglected to consider the possibility of a European promotional deal for Nate Marquardt (how naive of me, sorry to my friends in Europe).

Now that the ink has dried, the big question is: Who will Nate Marquardt fight under the BAMMA banner?

Skeptics are already prying away at this one, and rightfully so, as a first glance at BAMMA's middleweight and welterweight rosters does not present the caliber of competition that Marquardt has faced over the past 5 and a half years with the UFC.

But you have to consider that BAMMA is still a young promotion, now almost two years in business. They are still building their brand, signing both up-and-coming and experienced fighters. Frank Trigg, Paul Daley, and Matt Horwich represent a growing stable of rotating free agents on BAMMA's roster. Nate Marquardt is the newest, biggest addition to the expanding British brand.

So, back to potential opponents for our dear, Nate Marquardt. Who will it be? The British Association of Mixed Martial Arts does have a few options in welterweights and middleweights who have fought on previous cards.

  • Tom Watson (14-4): Reigning BAMMA Middleweight Champion. Defeated Matt Horwich for the title in May of last year.
  • Frank Trigg (21-8): Trigg requires no description. He's a former 2x UFC Middleweight Title challenger. Frank Trigg is well rounded, but his wrestling is top notch. Trigg will challenge Tom Watson for the BAMMA MW Title at BAMMA 7 on September 10.
  • Matt Horwich (26-19): First Middleweight Champion of the now defunct IFL. Very sporadic success in his last ten outings.
  • John Phillips (18-4): A hard hitting boxer from Wales, John Phillips packs heat in his hands. Phillips lost to Frank Trigg at BAMMA 6 in May.
  • Matt Ewin (22-10-1): Made his BAMMA debut at BAMMA 6. Defeated Cage Rage vet Ian Salaverry via decision. Ewin is probably the hottest middleweight free agent in the UK. I'm surprised more people aren't talking about him. Simple description -- bad ass!
  • James Zikic (20-8-2): Another Cage Rage veteran. Zikic fought Vitor Belfort and Evangelista Cyborg to decisions. Dropped a decision to Michał Materla in a top middleweight contention battle at KSW 16.

Note: The BAMMA Welterweight Title is currently vacant.
  • Paul Daley (27-10-2): One of the biggest names out of the UK. In and out of top rankings. Daley was TKO'ed by outgoing Strikeforce WW champ Nick Diaz in April. Booked for a top contention battle against Tyron Woodley on July 30th's Henderson vs. Fedor card. Will Daley be available on September 10???
  • Yuya Shirai (20-10): Reigning Deep WW Champion. KO'ed by Paul Daley in February at BAMMA 5. Currently on a two-fight loosing trend.
  • Che Mills (13-4): Held the Cage Rage WW Title before the promotion fell off the face of the earth in '08. Currently rides a four fight win streak. Will face UFC vet Joey Villaseñor at BAMMA 7.
  • Gunnar Nelson (8-0-1): Currently undefeated (2-0 in BAMMA competition) -- all early stoppages. Works a lot of BJJ. Possible future BAMMA WW Title contender?
  • Eugene Fadiora (9-1): Still green but has potential. Lead a 9-fight win run before being submitted to Gunnar Nelson at BAMMA 4.
  • Joey Villaseñor: Former MW title contender in the now defunct Elite XC. A UFC and Strikeforce veteran. Holds notable wins over Tim Credeur, Jorge Santiago, David Loiseau, Ryan Jensen, Phil Baroni, and Evangelist Sants.
  • War Machine: Fresh out of jail! The fighter formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver -- fighter-turned-wannabe pornstar and now ex-con. War Machine defeated Zach Light at BAMMA 3. Should the Ultimate Fighter alum return to BAMMA, I wouldn't count him out for a bout against Marquardt after a few successful warm-up fights.

No Anderson Silvas, GSP's here, but what we do have in BAMMA is a growing international promotion that is building it's name off of quality fighter like Nate Marquardt. Trust me, in a year Nate Marquardt's TRT dealings will be of distant memory, and the future of Nate and his new promotional home could be the buzz of the sport.

Still, it all boils down to good match making. BAMMA made a good catch. Now how will they prepare the dish?

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