LIVERPOOL, England (November 29, 2012) – Below find fighter quotes of notes from four of the participants from Saturday’s £10,000 “Cage Contender Fight Stars” tournament at Liverpool Olympia, featuring eight of the top (155-pound) lightweights in Europe.
“Cage Contender Fight Stars” is presented as a joint venture by Ferguson Sports Group and Liverpool-based promoter Chris Zorba, in association with online retailer Fightshop.com.
Eight fighters will battle in the creative £10,000 “Prizefighter”-like MMA tournament for one title in one night of action.
The four winners in the quarterfinals (2 X 5 rounds) will advance to the semi-finals (2 X 5 rounds) and the two survivors advance to the championship final (3 X 5 round).
Fight 1: Martin Stapleton (9-1) England vs. Jaime Rogers (6-4-0), England
Fight 2: Arnold Quero (6-1-0), France vs. Mihail Kazaku (5-2-0), Italy
Fight 3: Chris Stringer (11-9-1), No. Ireland vs. Tommy Maguire (11-6-0), England
Fight 4: Uche Ihiekwe (5-2-0) England vs. Phil Flynn (7-7-0),England
Semi-finals: Fight 5 -Winners of Fight 1 & 2, Fight 6 -Winners of Fight 3 & 4
Championship Final: Fight 7 -Winners of Fight 5 & 6
(all fighters are subject to change)
Alexei Roberts takes on Stu Davies in the Reserve Fight, in which, the winner qualifies to compete in the tournament in case of an injury.
Fighter Quotes of Note
Martin Stapleton: “I think my conditioning and intensity will play right into this tournament. I believe I’ve trained smart and prepared myself well for the tournament format. I can’t speak for the guys that decided not to do it but, for me, it was a no brainer. I love a challenge in everything I do. I never say no to a fight, so when he (Chris Zorba) offered me three on one night, it was perfect. Also, Ii hate cutting weight, so three wins for one weight cut sealed the deal.”
“I really didn’t see Andre (Winner) as the favorite. Right from day one, I said I was going to win and that’s what I intend to do. I don’t care who else is in it, I’m there to win. Also, Ii think there are other fighters in there who suite the tournament style better than ‘Dre,’ as well.”
“I can’t comment on the other guys but I do know that they’re all experienced professional guys, so there’s no way they would pull out unless they absolutely had to. There’s no question about that.”
“Jamie (Rogers) looks like a tough, durable fighter. He always comes for a war from what i can see, so that’s what I’ll be expecting. But I’m in war’s every day of my life with my training partners and I’ve got the best training partners in Europe, so having a tear- up doesn’t faze me in the slightest.”
“Honestly, I’m not thinking about the aftermath at all. I did that in TUF. I spent too much time day dreaming about what happens after the fights, and I took my eye off the ball and messed up big time. I will not make that mistake ever again. All I’m thinking about is Dec 1st and beating Jamie Rogers. I’ll focus on the second fight after that. It’s my time; come and watch this because it’s gonna be fun.”
Jamie Rogers: “I feel really honored to have the chance to compete in such a great tournament and with amazing fighters that I respect. To be honest fighting in this format can go many different ways. I’m going to concentrate on the first fight and take it as it comes.”
“I think this is an amazing opportunity for any fighter and anybody who loves the sport and turns down a chance like this is a fool. I’ve never been one to shy away regardless of the opposition. Any coward can step into the cage and fight someone he knows he will beat, but I’m the type of person who will step in and fight people who, on paper, I shouldn’t be able to beat. He’s (Stapleton) a great fighter and am glad I’m fighting the favorite first. I’m going to relish this fight and enjoy every minute I’m competing with him.”
“If I win this tournament it will be massive for me. I’m in this sport for the love of the game. Everyone seems to be chasing the golden egg these days that is the UFC but, for me, fighting on shows like and meeting the people I meet due to MMA is reward enough. As a fighter we not only put it on the line for ourselves but also for the supporters. I think that Cage Contender Fightstar fans are in for a great night. I hope they all enjoy the show and thank them for their support whether it’s for me or my opponent.”
Uche Ihiekwe: “I’ve tweaked a few different things in training to prepare me for three fights and possibly nine rounds in one night, although that won’t be happening.
If I can finish my opponents fast and take little damage, like I have in nearly all my fights, then that will leave me in a better position that others who may have three-round wars to advance to the next stage. If it works out that way then it will be to my advantage for sure, but it’s three fights in one night and there are so many factors that we will just have to see on the night.”
“I think it’s a big opportunity and I wanted in from the moment I heard of it. It has its risks and I don’t think I’d like to fight this format for every one of my fights but, for me at this time, it has lots of benefits. I see it as an opportunity to beat people ranked above me and a perfect way to speed me up the rankings. I’m disappointed Andre pulled out as he was the highest ranked fighter in the tournament and beating him would have made a big statement, but it wasn’t to be and I hope his injury ain’t to bad and he makes a full quick recovery.”
“I was just glad to not draw one of my teammates in the first round. Apart from that I didn’t mind who I got, it just so happens that I got Phil Flynn and it is quite fitting that we got each other, I guess. I’m confident In the match-up, as I was last time, and hopefully this time there will be no confusion over the result. I think it’s a massive step in the right direction. I have goals I’ve set myself in MMA; I’d like to be the OMMAC champion and I obviously want to fight in the UFC. Winning this tournament will set me up nicely for next year, where I can start trying to realistically archive those goals but, first and foremost, I have to win my fights come Saturday night. I think everybody knows this is a massive show and if I wasn’t fighting on it there is not a chance I’d be missing it, so make sure you get some tickets and enjoy the show.”
Phil Flynn: “Preparation for this fight has gone pretty much as normal for me. The only thing that has changed is that I’ve had a lot more sparring with a few different people than I normally would, which is good a everyone has a different style to go up against.”
“I don’t really have a fighting style. I just get in there and sort of see what is going on. I do like the Idea of the two rounds, though, as it means you don’t have to try and hold back a little so as not to get too tied too early.”
“I’ve got to be honest. The caliber of opposition is what excited me in the first place. I’m not ranked so to get the possibility to fight some of the best lightweights this country has to offer really made me want to be a part of this. I was gutted when Andre pulled out. He is actually the fighter I wanted to face the most with him being the highest ranked fighter in the tournament. The way I saw it was this, I may never be able to work my way up to the level of opposition, as in ranked position, but in all honesty there’s no easy fight in this tournament and he may have been beaten in his first round fight by anyone on the card. So, in my opinion, nothing has changed.”
“It was sort of a given that myself and Uche would draw each other in this competition, in fact, we predicted it just had to happen. In the rematch, though, I’m pretty glad because I didn’t want the fight to end the way it did (draw) and it gives us both the opportunity to have the chance to get the result we both felt we could the first time around.”
“I am THE underdog! When my teammates were asking me who I wanted in the first round, my reply was I want me in the first round. Ha-ha. On paper, I’m the worst fighter there but, in reality, I feel I’m just as good as anyone in that tournament. Look, the way I see it and the way I’ve said, is there really are no easy fight. The route to the final is hard no matter which route you have to take. I’m really not bothered who I fight, just as long as I get to the final.”
The show will be broadcast for in two parts on Ch 428 Premier Sports in the UK, on Thursday, Dec. 6 from 10 p.m.-11 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 7 from 10 p.m-11 p.m. In addition it will be broadcast in a further 103 countries worldwide (including 54 in the French Language) as part of Cage Contender’s current global broadcast footprint.
Tickets, ranging between £30.00 and £60.00, are available to purchase by calling the box office at 0151 263 6633, or going on line to www.ticketline.co.uk. For more information visit www.cagecontender.com or wwwo.olympialiverpool.com, at Facebook.com/CageContenderOfficial, or follow on Twitter @CageContender. Corporate packages are also available.
Doors open at 6 p.m., first fight at 6:30 p.m.
Bob Trieger, Full Court Press, email@example.com, 978.664.4482, @fightpublicist