Europe’s leading MMA promotion, OKTAGON MMA, is hosting its first-ever UK show at Manchester’s AO Arena this winter and fight night is now just over a fortnight away.
Promising both professional fighters and celebrities who are set to get a taste of the action, the Arena is following up a huge night which saw the likes of Tommy Fury, Logan Paul, KSI and more fight this past weekend, with a landmark night for one of the fastest-growing sports associations in the continent.
A whole host of pro-MMA stars be getting in the Oktagon this November, including Bolton‘s very own Jack Cartwright — the former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion who just recently signed with the event — as well as previous IMMAF amateur champion, Shoaib Yousaf, who are both making their debuts.
But the fun doesn’t stop there; reality TV star Jake Quickenden and Scouse stand-up comedian Paul Smith will also be facing off in the special ‘Stage To The Cage’ event which is attracting lots of ticket sales. With more than 10 months of training put into this fight, you best believe they’re taking it seriously.
With Yousaf eyeing up the featherweight crown and Cartwright out to prove he’s the “best bantamweight in Europe”, there plenty at stake on this fight card.
Speaking ahead of fight night on November 4, Yousaf said: “I’ve had a few fights with some big organisations, but I think the shows that OKTAGON MMA have been doing recently just look amazing, and when my manager came with the contract it was just something I couldn’t say no to…”
“I’m from a small town not far from Manchester and I’ve got a lot of support from friends and family that have come out and supported me since I was an amateur. I haven’t had a show in the UK with my fans in Manchester for ages, so the ‘Assassin Army’ should be ready.”
Meanwhile, Cartwright hailed “OKTAGON [as] the biggest upcoming promotion, maybe even in the world at the minute”, adding that “it’s selling out arenas and putting on really good shows and signing good fighters, and I’m really excited to get involved and fight on all these shows and fight their best guys.”
The 29-year-old insisted that given the fighting pedigree from his area, he’s always looked to entertain and will be “going for the stoppage or the knockout” as usual, even going so far as to call himself the best in his weight class anywhere in Europe. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
As for Smith and Quickenden, while both have dabbled in sports and fight training in the past, respectively, they’ve never taken on anything quite like this before.
Dedicating the best part of a year to getting ready for this exhibition and having the whole journey documented by the event, DAZN and Channel 4 in an online YouTube series (which will be broadcasting the fight night in full), both have admitted they “would rather die than lose”.
There will also be the hotly-anticipated England vs Ireland showdown, as well as the promotion’s first-ever flyweight championship fight between Aaron Aby, one of Europe’s best flyweights, and Elias Garcia, who has never been defeated outside of the UFC. Manchester is set to see some serious talent.
With prices starting from £49 and the dearest seats going for a whopping £599 to sit right next to the Oktagon, there’s still plenty of time to have your choice of view and secure a ticket for a UK-first fight night to remember.
Featured Image — Supplied/OKTAGON MMA (via Twitter)/Shoaib Yousaf (via Instagram)
Scott McTominay jokes he’s ‘fuming’ he didn’t score a hat-trick against Chelsea as he reflects on Man United’s mentality
Scott McTominay has joked he’s “fuming” with himself after failing to score a hat-trick in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday nightand shed some light on the mentality around Old Trafford.
McTominay starred in the Red Devils’ win over Mauricio Pochettino’s side on a cold night at home, managing to bag a brace with a goal in the first and second half to get his squad over the line, but he himself said he could have had more.
Speaking to MUTV after the game, the 26-year-old said he and the squad knew they needed to drum up a reaction after the Newcastle disappointment, adding that contributing more goals is something he wants to keep working on and insisting that plenty of people back him to do so.
Confessing that his mum, dad and grandad have all been encouraging him to “get in the box” and that he just needs to “believe in [him]self and go for it”, the Scotsman did go on to quip he was “fuming” to not grab a third as he shook his head went on to shake and reveal a wry smile.
Commentator and presenter Stewart Gardner went on to list McTominay’s impressive stats this season, having now scored 14 goals in his last 33 appearances for club and country. A seriously good rate from a midfielder typically entrusted to help link play and break things up in the middle of the park.
Now boasting half a dozen goals and an assist across all competitions so far this campaign, he sits as the club’s leading goalscorer in the Premier League with five finishes to his name — with only Bruno Fernandes having contributed more (five goals and five assists) — he’s genuinely become one of Man United’s main goal threats.
While he recently rubbished talk that he played as a striker regularly coming up through the youth academy, simply having been deployed for the odd game in reality, he has always had a shot on him and it isn’t the first time he’s bagged a winner or a big goal for the Reds. This wasn’t a bad one either:
Chatting with the pundits on Amazon Prime Sport, he reiterated that he could have had “one or two more” on another night and agreed that the performance against Newcastle in the previous fixture was “pretty abysmal”, holding his hands up to admit that it was “no way near good enough”.
Reflecting on the later chance he had to seal the hat-trick towards the end of the game, he said he simply needed to “calm down on the last one”.
As for the mentality to get the result during a difficult period where the club remained under a lot of scrutiny from pundits and fans alike, McTominay went on to say that the manager is responsible for the way they played and some “lighter training sessions to keep energy levels up” definitely helped.
Regardless, he was sure to not get ahead of himself and assured ten Hag‘s team were still taking things a game at a time. You can watch the full highlights from Manchester United vs Chelsea down below:
Featured Images — Scott McTominay (via Instagram)/MUTV
Kevin Sinfield has entered the final leg of yet another ultra marathon challenge for MND
Ex-rugby player turned England coach Kevin Sinfield has begun the final day of yet another incredible ultra marathon challenge he is undertaking to raise money and awareness around motor neurone disease (MND), with the sports personality scheduled to finish up this Thursday.
Having set off on 1 December, the Oldham-born athlete is facing what he has called easily his “toughest challenge” yet, taking on the newly-dubbed ‘Ultra 7 in 7 in 7’, which will see him once again run an ultra marathon every day for seven days across seven different cities.
Following on from his first Ultra 7 in 7 back in 2020 and most recent one last year, the Leeds Rhinos legend has now raised well over £8 million pounds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), the cause he got behind following his former teammate and best mate Rob Burrow’s diagnosis in 2019.
Now, having taken on the incredible feat once again — running the equivalent of 27 miles (43km) a day — Sinfield is hoping to not just reach the trademark £777,777 fundraising target, but smash it for a fourth consecutive time. Here he is finishing up his penultimate leg in his second home.
Setting off from Yorkshire’s iconic Headingley Stadium with a team of friends and volunteers, the 43-year-old has passed through the likes of Cardiff, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Dublin and Brighton, and is now staring down one last push towards the finale from Twickenham Stadium to the Mall in London.
Having already amassed over £557k in donations since the start of his remarkable journey, he is well on course to reach the finish line in every sense of the word.
The best part about this most recent Ultra 7 fundraising challenge, though, is that beyond just putting in the hard yards in Burrow‘s name and raising money for the MNDA, the funds generated from this series of runs will be going to multiple causes.
As well as the Leeds Hospitals Charity and The Darby Rimmer MND Foundation, money will also be going to the Irish MNDA set up by former Scottish rugby player, Doddie Weir, who sadly died from the condition in 2022 but has remained an inspiration to Sinfield and countless others over recent years.
Having echoed his lasting sentiment that “MND isn’t untreatable, it’s just underfunded” throughout his own campaigning for the cause, the local sporting hero will also be representing the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation in his honour. Heartwarming stuff.
As we’re sure is the case for all of you too, we’ve been absolutely blown away by this man over the last few years not only in his ability to keep completing these huge feats of endurance but by the size of his heart in continuing to fundraise on such a massive scale.
From raising awareness around MND and becoming an emblem of friendship with his best mate Rob, Kevin Sinfield has truly set an example for all of us and will no doubt prove a role model to millions for years to come.