ARES FC hold their inaugural show on Saturday night and the Afro-European promotion are planning on developing the MMA market in France and Africa. One of the athletes being awarded a place on their first-ever main card is Finnish middleweight, Glenn Sparv, who after a 27 fight career, is hoping to get noticed internationally.
Sparv (21-6) has competed all over the world since his professional debut in 2010 so is no stranger to venturing into new territories. He has traveled to China, Denmark and Australia while building up his record so making the trip to Africa isn’t something out of the norm. ARES FC hope to provide a platform in order to unearth the next generation of talent out of the unexplored region and Sparv is intrigued to see what competing in Africa will entail.
“The initial offer from ARES FC came to me through my manager,” discussed Sparv. “At first, I was a little bit skeptical but then I just thought ‘what the f—k?’ it’s Africa! Let’s go! It’s pretty cool here but I haven’t really been able to see much of the surrounding area yet. It is definitely an experience being here. I’ve fought in about 10 different countries now which is both a good and a bad thing. I enjoy seeing new places and exploring new territories but every place is also full of surprises which can be hard to prepare for.”
In the lead up to this bout, Sparv has been training at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand, where he made it known that a lot of high level talent are rising through the ranks. He has put in work with so many team members that there are too many to name but is confident in his preparations. In fact, it is through spending time at the facility that Sparv met Mark Hunt and Tai Tuivasa who he formed a strong bond with.
“Tai was with Mark when I was in Thailand for a trip and we just kind of hit it off straight away,” mentioned Sparv. “It’s always fun being around Tai and his crew but you’ll never catch me doing a shoey! That thing is disgusting! Tai has had a bit of a tough ride in his last few fights but I’m confident he’ll be back to shine soon.”
Sparv first began martial arts when he did some Greco-Roman wrestling as a child but he didn’t compete seriously at that time. When he started putting on weight as he got older, Sparv decided he needed to be more active so began training in kickboxing before accidentally rolling into an MMA session. It turned out that he wasn’t bad and the different disciplines came pretty naturally to him so he began pursuing a career in the sport. All of these years later, Sparv is pleased with what he has achieved and just wants to continue being active.
“My long term ambition is to just keep on fighting until the wheels fall off!” explained Sparv. “I’ll just keep on taking bouts and see where it takes me. Of course I would like to get to one of those bigger promotions but I’m not going to set my heart on it. Whatever happens, happens.”
He is facing Bellator and KSW veteran, Gregory Babene (19-11, 1NC), on Saturday night and will hope to extend his current three-fight winning streak. Babene hasn’t set foot inside the cage for the last two years but has finished 16 of his 19 professional wins by stoppage and remains a dangerous opponent. However, Sparv has competed against Nicolas Dalby, Michael Dubois and Alberto Mina so is used to facing talented opposition. He prefers to keep the focus on himself rather than his adversary leading up to fights and knows that if he performs to the best of his ability, he’ll pick up the win.
“I don’t really know if I’ll benefit from being the more active between us,” stated Sparv. “Some people struggle coming back after a long layoff while others don’t. I guess we’ll see on Saturday night. It doesn’t really matter what I expect from him. I’ve just got to go in there, impose my will and then my hand will be raised.”
ARES FC 1 will be available to watch all across the continent of Africa on Canal+ Sport and can be viewed in the US and Europe on UFC Fight Pass. Fans in the UK and Ireland can tune in on Saturday night from 7 p.m. GMT while fans in the US can see how the action unfolds from 2 p.m. ET.