In a weekend jam-packed with fights worth watching, the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts will host BAMMA 7: Wallhead vs. Trigg this Saturday from Birmingham, England.
The promotion recently issued a press release stating that the entire event will be streamed live and free on Facebook. Just click "Like" on BAMMA's Facebook page and tune in at 2:15 p.m. ET for the preliminary card and at 4 p.m ET for the main.
The card took two hits in star power when newly crowned middleweight champion Tom Watson and former TUF winner Efrain Escudero, who was set to make his promotional debut, dropped from the lineup. The original headliner was Watson defending the strap against Frank Trigg, but now the experienced "Judo" Jim Wallhead will face Trigg in the main event. Escudero's bout with Tim Radcliffe has been scratched entirely.
Head-hunting welterweight Paul Daley will return to action against a dangerous opponent in former Olympic wrestler and UFC middleweight Jordan Radev. "Semtex" is fresh off a defeat to Tyron Woodley in Strikeforce and will definitely have his weaknesses tested against the strong and grappling-centric Radev. Another former UFC lightweight in Team Rough House's Andre Winner has signed with BAMMA and squares off with scrapper Jason Ball.
Captaining the prelims, seven-time BJJ world champion Leonardo Santos of the Nova Uniao squad vies for the BAMMA lightweight title against champion Rob Sinclair. The overall lineup is categorized as follows:
Middleweight: Jim Wallhead vs. Frank Trigg
Welterweight: Paul Daley vs. Jordan Radev
Lonsdale British Middleweight Title: Jack Marshman vs. Carl Noon
Lightweight: Jason Ball vs. Andre Winner
World Lightweight Championship: Rob Sinclair vs. Leonardo Santos
Lightweight: Dale Hardiman vs. Scott Jansen
Lightweight: Jeremy Petley vs. Chris Fishgold
Lightweight: Pindi Madahar vs. Danny Compton
Welterweight: Eugene Fadiora vs. Robert Devanne
Welterweight: Lee Taylor vs. Tom Breese
Welterweight: Dean Amasinger vs. Shah Hussain
Light Heavyweight: Fraser Opie vs. Robert Krecicki
Bantamweight Bout: Erik Perez vs. James Brum
A run-through of the prominent match ups awaits in the full entry.
Frank Trigg (21-8) vs. Jim Wallhead (21-6)
Tom "Kong" Watson looked sharper than ever in his one-sided demolition of legend Murilo Rua, but Trigg will be forced to put his championship endeavors on hold and maintain his top contender status against a wily veteran in Wallhead.
With a strong background in Judo, adequate stand up and an iron chin, Wallhead still makes for an interesting opponent. Along with Andre Winner and Paul Daley, Wallhead is the third Team Rough House rep on the card. He was last seen on the losing end of a decision against Olympic Judoka Rick Hawn in Bellator's welterweight tournament.
Wallhead is a fairly diverse kickboxer but probably lacks the big punching power to overwhelm Trigg on the feet. He's sneaky in the clinch and has a solid ground game with the majority of his wins coming via submission. Wallhead, who's fought as heavy as 205-pounds in his career, has a crafty and intelligent fighting style with a lot of tricks up his sleeve.
Frank Trigg has eight losses throughout his storied career, all of which were delivered by the sport's elite. Even though he was finished by Josh Koscheck and Matt Serra in his recent Octagon stint, Trigg is still a dangerous, battle-hardened tank that should still roll over anyone but the best of the best.
A black belt in Judo himself, the former Division 1 wrestler will be difficult to manipulate. His base is rock-solid and his simple and clean boxing will make it tough for Wallhead to close the distance. As long as he's wary of dropping his hands or letting Wallhead catch him off-balance with a throw, Trigg should be able to key in his straight left hand and out-muscle him in the clinch. He's not much of a guard passer but his ground-and-pound is sharp from the top. Wallhead is tough and nails and won't go down easily, but I expect Frank Trigg to overcome a few scares and score a decision.
Paul Daley (27-11-2) vs. Jordan Radev (23-4)
In a curious case of matchmaking, renowned knockout artist Paul "Semtex" Daley signs up to face a former Olympic wrestler who excels at doing exactly what he's historically struggled with. Jordan Radev doesn't have a big name, but absolutely has the strength and wrestling wit to contain the Brit's fiery stand up with stifling control.
Over half of the Bulgarian's wins are decisions, so this is a powerful takedown expert who knows his limits and will be perfectly content to bury Daley underneath him for all three rounds. While holding him down was no walk in the park for prestigious welterweight wrestlers and his improvement is evident, this pairing doesn't offer a lot of upside for Paul Daley.
Radev has been clipped by heavy handed middleweight strikers in the past, so this will be another gamble where Daley has to land the bomb before he's wrapped up. He'll have to measure his strikes and keep pivoting at close range so Radev can't square up on him when his feet are planted. "Semtex" is a devastating kickboxer who always seems to find a way, but I would not be surprised to see Radev's hand raised in a down and dirty grinder.
Andre Winner (11-6-1) vs. Jason Ball (18-9)
Winner's three consecutive losses to Nik Lentz, Dennis Siver and Anthony Njokuani resulted in his UFC walking papers, but he's back in the saddle two months later. Siver and Njokuani are top-notch strikers and Lentz nullified him against the fence, so Winner is an enormous challenge for any lightweight outside of the Octagon. His hands are blindingly fast and he's a fiercely aggressive striker.
Jason Ball is a feisty vet who prefers to stand and trade as well. He can take a shot, he's strong in the clinch and he was surprisingly durable against submission whiz Leo Santos in his last performance. This should be a fan-friendly affair where Winner can light off combinations and Ball can both take and give a good amount of punishment. Winner is the quicker and more technical striker who should be able to stay clear of Ball's huge counters and win a decision.
Leonardo Santos (9-3) vs. Rob Sinclair (10-2)
In a five-round BAMMA lightweight championship bout, submission virtuoso Leo Santos seeks to add some MMA accolades to his extensive list of grappling accomplishments.
Once considered the top lightweight grappler in sport Jiu-Jitsu, Santos courageously faced Takanori Gomi on short notice in 2002, but has gradually fortified his game since then, eventually taking off the gi and focusing strictly on MMA. He trains with one of the best camps in the business and presents an exorbitant level of talent on the ground.
His striking has come along well, but his gas tank was suspect in the third round of his number one contender bout with Jason Ball at BAMMA 6. After dominating the first two frames, his pace slowed noticeably in the last five minutes and his shots became badly telegraphed.
I doubt Rob Sinclair will be among the tiny percentage of fighters who can match Santos on the mat, so he'll have to rely on his footwork and striking to stay upright. This should be the challenger's fight to win as the big fish in a small pond, and, unless Sinclair can execute a flawless sprawl and brawl for twenty-five minutes, he'll be hard-pressed to retain his title by surviving the stratosphere-level BJJ of Santos.