MMA fighting styles

Arnold Allen vs. Calvin Kattar: UFC Vegas 63 fight preview

Suffolk’s Arnold Allen is aiming to prove he deserves a UFC title when he takes on Calvin Kattar in Las Vegas this weekend.

The 28-year-old Allen has never lost in the world-famous octagon and is entering his first-ever UFC main event this Saturday on an 11-win streak.

Southpaw Trimley (18-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) is the sixth-largest featherweight on the planet, with Kattar (23-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) a spot above him on this list.

Both fighters claimed the scrap, with Allen saying it’s no-brainer match-making.

East Anglian Daily Times: Arnold Allen on his way to victory over Dan Hooker in MarchArnold Allen en route to victory over Dan Hooker in March (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

“It’s a logical step for me,” Allen explained. “He is currently one spot above me in the rankings, our styles are pretty good and suitable for a fun fight.

“He’s primarily a boxer, I’m primarily a boxer, so it should be a good stand up fight on paper.

“There’s a lot of things he does that I love – the main thing is he’s as tough as fingernails.

“I don’t think there’s any surrender in him and he’s never been arrested.

“He’s good, very good – and he’s the kind of guy I want to compete against to propel myself into that elite image.”

Although he may not say it explicitly, the humble Allen is already firmly in that elite image, with his last fight solid proof of that – a first-round stoppage of the top Kiwi striker Dan Hooker, a man who has only ever lost to the best on the planet, at the O2 Arena in March.

East Anglian Daily Times: Arnold Allen shoots Dan Hooker in MarchArnold Allen shoots Dan Hooker in March (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

“That was all I wanted, the statement I wanted to make,” Allen said of his first UFC knockout victory.

“I’ve always believed that the better the opposition, the better my performance – and I think I did just that against Dan, who has a lot of big wins and elite guys on his CV.

“So having it on mine is a big step.”

And next up is his first main event, over five or five rounds in the fight capital of the world.

When asked if it was a weird feeling to be plastered on flashy fight posters and TV commercials as the face of the event, Allen laughed.

“Not in an arrogant way or anything, but I feel like I worked,” he said.

“I worked very hard and it was always part of the plan.

“I’m writing my list and if anything, it’s a bit late with various delays and such.

“I’ve been visualizing these things for years, and it’s finally happening.”

Much of that work, for his last two fights, has been done at the Renegade team in Birmingham, training alongside new British UFC champion Leon Edwards.

Edwards, like Allen, doesn’t seek the limelight or talk much trash – preferring to quietly occupy himself with being the best in the world, a title he earned when he knocked out the defending champ welterweight Kamaru Usman in August.

East Anglian Daily Times: Arnold Allen is 9-0 in UFCArnold Allen is 9-0 in the UFC (Image: UFC Europe/Twitter)

And for Allen, who sees a lot of similarities between himself and his fellow Briton, the upset victory served as even more fuel for his own fire in pursuit of the title.

“To be honest, Leon was the first guy I talked to after they offered me this fight – I asked for his opinion on the five rounds,” Allen revealed.

“I think he said he took his first five rounds on four weeks notice, and he wasn’t training like I was training, he was on the couch.

“He was like ‘it’s going to be fine’, so I said ‘ok, that sounds good.’

Of Edwards he added: “He’s a really good, really smooth operator.

“When I was telling people I thought he was going to win against Usman, everyone was laughing at me, but I was saying it because I know him.

“He’s definitely an inspiration. Around Birmingham at the minute there are billboards with his face, big posters on the walls – and it would be pretty cool to bring that back to Ipswich.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Arnold Allen is the sixth featherweight fighter on the planetArnold Allen is the sixth featherweight fighter on the planet (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

He also wants to bring a UFC title belt back to Ipswich – so how close does he feel to a tilt against holder Alex Volkanovski?

“I’m definitely close,” Allen said. “A few wins away.

“Volkanovski gets the next light shot, so I guess there will be an interim title fight at some point.

“Guess that could be next for me.”

Of the Australian champion, he added: “I think I’m pretty good. His main weapon is his strategy – he’s a great tactician and he never really deviates from his game plan, he’s got it. performs perfectly.

“I’m like that too – not the last fight though!

“Working with someone like Firas (Zahabi, Allen’s world-renowned head coach), he’s one of the best at coming up with strategies and plans.

“I would be confident with something like that.”

First, of course, he has to pass Kattar this weekend. How does he see this fight unfolding?

East Anglian Daily Times: Arnold Allen steps into the octagon ahead of his career-best performance at UFC London.  Photo: BRETT KING

“I expect a 25 minute fight,” Allen explained. “He’s not stepping back, he’s a guy who’s going to step forward with his hands glued to his head, throwing punches, elbows and knees and trying to get you out.

“Sometimes I force this, and sometimes I deviate!

“He’s a mixed bag with me, but you know what to expect from him.

“It’s still a dogfight – he’ll walk you out and try to rip your head off.

“I think I’m going to outdo it, outdo it and be just too versatile.”

As Allen rises high in the MMA world, Ipswich boxer Fabio Wardley is set to fight for the British heavyweight title next month and Ipswich Town push for promotion, the sport in the city is experiencing a boom period.

And the Town Allen fan, who was asked if it was finally the season for his Blues to come up, replied: “Yes it is the season – things are looking up.

“I think for the whole city things are looking up.

“Fab’s (Wardley) will be hearing soon, I’m fighting in a UFC main event, Ipswich Town is going up.

“There are going to be more people coming into boxing and MMA – it’s going to be exciting good times.”

The Blues recently made Allen a guest of honor at Portman Road, with the young fighter tackling a half-time interview with Stephen Foster on the hallowed turf.

East Anglian Daily Times: Arnold Allen hopes for interim title next yearArnold Allen hopes for an interim title next year (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

He recalled: “It was more nerve-wracking than fighting in front of 20,000 people – you don’t really have to talk when you’re fighting!

“It was cool, but I was more nervous about it than fighting, to be honest.”

Allen is going to have to get used to being the center of attention as he climbs the ranks and ticks things off his to-do list.

So what else is on this list?

“I would like to be champion,” he replies. “I wrote this when I was young, so I have to buy my mum and dad a house – but I can’t even buy my own house yet!