In what many have labelled as the fans’ main event, Ed Arthur (5-0) will tangle with Northern Ireland’s Alan “The Apprentice” Philpott (13-6) for the inaugural BAMMA Bantamweight championship.
Despite only being five fights into his professional mixed martial arts career, Ed Arthur has already caused quite a stir. He’s dominated and finished three opponents inside the BAMMA cage along with picking up the Superior Challenge bantamweight crown.
Arthur has spent the bulk of this camp training at NFM Windsor under the guidance of Dean Amasinger, but still trains regularly at the MMAX gym in his hometown of Hemel Hempstead.
The first thing you notice about Arthur is his aggressiveness. From bell-to-bell he refuses to give his opponents a chance to breathe, consistently applying calculated pressure both on the feet and on the mat. This style of fighting requires a lot of energy, but for Arthur this isn’t an issue. Arthur has an excellent gas tank and has not shown any signs of fading in his career thus far.
In terms of skills, Arthur is very well-versed. On the feet, he prefers to box and has developed solid fundamentals. He utilises simplistic combinations to great effect, blending in occasional leg-kicks too. In some of his earlier fights, my main critique of Arthur’s striking would be around his lack of head movement. Arthur has always had great footwork, however in his bout with Nathaniel Wood he was tagged frequently early on due to an unfortunate habit of keeping his head still. To Arthur’s credit, it’s something he’s clearly worked to improve as the issue appears to have been resolved in his more recent showings.
His wrestling and jiu-jitsu are also very polished considering it is still early on in his career. Arthur has above average wrestling and is able to disguise his preferred double-leg takedown with his striking. From top position Arthur is always active, feeding his opponents on a steady diet of punches while attempts to improve his position. Arthur is opportunistic with his submissions – he won’t relentlessly pursue a submission, however when the opportunity arises he is usually able to capitalise.
With his ferocious pace, endless cardio and multi-faceted offence, Ed Arthur has the tools and the tenacity to one day develop into an English version of Urijah Faber.
Alan Philpott is 23-years old and is hailing from the town of Ballymena in Northern Ireland. He primarily trains at Chris Brennan’s Next Generation Northern Ireland gym, but he’s also spent time at their affiliate in Liverpool, training alongside the likes of Paddy Pimblett, Dean Garnett and Chris Fishgold.
Philpott debuted at the ripe old age of 18, and has already collected the scalps of UK MMA notables Steve McCombe, Liam James and Kris Edwards (all were stoppages). He’ll bring in a three-fight win-streak into the contest, with all wins coming inside 2014.
Standing at 5’8, Philpott is fairly tall for the weight class. He uses his height effectively when he strikes, using a kick-heavy attack to bombard opponents with from range. His best technique on the feet is his left-kick, which he usually snaps off with the intent to decapitate. Philpott does have a tendency to overuse the kick however, often throwing it regularly with little set-up. Once Philpott settles into a fight, you will often see him switching stances too.
Philpott is a very capable grappler from both top and bottom position. He prefers to settle on top, securing a dominant position and unloading with ground and pound. Additionally, he is also dangerous from the guard, especially when he can utilise his svelte frame to attack with an armbar or triangle choke. Philpott’s wrestling is his least developed aspect, however training alongside Norman Parke for years has equipped Philpott with a few tidy judo throws from the clinch.
Philpott will undoubtedly be Arthur’s toughest test to date, but it is a test I see him passing. Arthur should be able to neutralise Philpott’s reach on the feet with his speed advantage. Arthur will also be able to dictate where the fight takes place, so if he feels Philpott has an advantage in a particular area he is the one with the option to switch it up. On the mat is where it’ll be most intriguing, with Arthur frenetically attacking from top position while Philpott will look to utilise his long legs to snag a submission.
Ultimately though, I think that Arthur will push a pace that will eventually drown Philpott. Philpott is excellent offensively with his grappling, but defensively he leaves holes and consequently has been submitted on five occasions. Arthur will seamlessly blend together his striking and grappling and when Philpott eventually shows signs of fatigue, Arthur will secure the late stoppage.
Prediction: Ed Arthur via rear-naked choke in Round 3