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MMA After Bisping: UK MMA End Of Year Report Card – Pt. 2

How did Brendan Loughnane, Ashley Reece, Shoaib Yousaf, Chris Fishgold and Lewis Long get on in 2017?

Who will be the next bright star in UK MMA to make the step up to the world stage and fill the boots of Michael Bisping?

We give you the rundown of another five fighters who are on the verge of big things.

Part 1 – Dean Garnett, Alan Philpott, Paddy Pimblett, Ryan Scope and Saul Rogers

(Photo: Jamie Lee Smith/DN4 Photography)

Shoaib Yousaf

• Record: 2-1-0 (Win-Loss-Draw)
• Nickname: The Assassin
• Weight Class: Featherweight | Last Weigh-In: 146.2 lbs
• Currently signed to: Free Agent? ACB?

It’s been a mixed year for the IMMAF world championship gold medallist Shoaib Yousaf with one win and one loss. Yousaf got the year off to a flyer with his second pro win at ACB 54 in Manchester when he defeated Javonne Morrison via TKO in the first round. He then went on to fight Jordan Vucenic at ACB 70 and dropped a unanimous decision after a close back and forth battle.

Summary: 1-1 doesn’t look like an amazing year, but I’m sure it’s a year where Yousaf learned a lot. Vucenic was always going to be a tough fight on paper and so it proved to be on fight night. As long as he keeps his head right and his feet on the ground, expect Yousaf to make some big moves next year.

Will he get signed for UFC London? No.

(Photo: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors)

Chris Fishgold

• Record: 17-1-1 (Win-Loss-Draw)
• Current Streak: 7 Wins
• Weight Class: Lightweight | Last Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs
• Height: 5’8″ (173cm)
• Currently Signed to: Cage Warriors

It’s not been an easy 12-months for Chris Fishgold for reasons outside of the cage, but his last fight at Cage Warriors 88 saw him return with a bang and he put on one of the most dominant performances of his careers against Alexander Jacobson. Fishgold controlled the entire fight and he finished the Norwegian in the final minute of the opening round when he sunk in a deep rear-naked choke submission.

Summary: Chris hasn’t been defeated in over two years and his seven fight win streak has put him in a nice position for a call up to the UFC. Injuries and the like kept him inactive for a large portion of the year, but if he can prove he can stay healthy and keep winning he’s going to have to get the call eventually.

Will he get signed for UFC London? If there’s space yes. His only issue is that 155-pounds has a stacked roster already.

(Photo: FCC Youtube)

Ashley Reece

• Record: 6-0-0 (Win-Loss-Draw)
• Nickname: The Beast
• Current Streak: 10 Wins (including amateurs)
• Weight Class: Welterweight | Last Weigh-In: 166.9 lbs
• Height: 5’10” (178cm)
• Currently Signed to: ACB

Ashley Reece would liked to have been more active in 2017, but regardless, he managed to record two wins with victories over James Lewis at Sam Boult under the ACB banner. The win against Lewis came at ACB 54 in Manchester when he finished the fight in the second round via TKO. His win in Sheffield against Boult at ACB 70 was tougher to come by though and after being put to the sword in the first round, he showed his toughness in rounds two and three to get the split decision victory.

Summary: Reece has shown a lot of potential this year but he fell victim to ACB’s scheduling issues midway through the year. His fight with Boult showed that he can hang tough when required and 2018 could prove to be a big year for him.

Will he get signed for UFC London? Unlikely. Still very young and needs more wins at a very competitive weight class.

(Photo: Jamie Lee Smith/DN4 Photography)

Brendan Loughnane

• Record: 15-3-0 (Win-Loss-Draw)
• Current Streak: 1 Wins
• Age: 28 | Date of Birth: 1989.12.05
• Weight Class: Featherweight | Last Weigh-In: 145.9 lbs
• Height: 5’9″ (176cm) | Reach: 72.0″ (183cm)
• Currently Signed to: ACB

Brendan Loughnane learned a tough lesson during the middle year, but he’s already bounced back well. Moving up to lightweight to face a man big for the weight class probably wasn’t the wisest decision he’s made, but to be fair it appears he was having difficulty getting matched at 145-pounds. Either side of his loss to Healy, Loughnane picked up wins against Mike Wilkinson and then Paata Tsxapelia at ACB 75. Having broken his arm against Tsxapelia (and still fought on!!), Loughnane now faces a little period on the sidelines to recover before returning in 2018.

Summary: It was no doubt a tough year for Brendan, but I still remain convinced he’s one of, if not THE, premier UK talent fighting outside of the UFC or Bellator right now. The ACB featherweight division will bring some tough tests in 2018, but if he can knock off a few of their top talent a call up to the UFC can no longer be denied.

Will he get signed for UFC London? No. Needs to time to recover and then get some wins in ACB.

(Photo: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors)

Lewis Long

• Record: 15-5-0 (Win-Loss-Draw)
• Nickname: The Foot
• Current Streak: 1 Loss
• Age: 28 | Date of Birth: 1989.04.10
• Weight Class: Welterweight | Last Weigh-In: 169.0 lbs
• Height: 5’10” (178cm)
• Currently Signed to: Cage Warriors

Close but no cigar. Lewis Long would’ve been a shoe-in for a UFC call up had he won his last fight against Roberto Soldic, but sometimes it’s just not meant to be. Long was defeated after just 40-seconds when the Croatian landed a head kick that would’ve put any man down. Long ends the year having gone 2-1 though with wins over Ryan Scope and Che Mills both nice addictions to his record.

Summary: I’m sure the loss to Soldic was a hard pill to swallow for Long, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Welterweight is on the most competitive in the world and it’s going to take another run if he’s ever going to get the call. If he’s still got the motivation and the drive, he can do it.

Will he get signed for UFC London? No.

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