By Dean Parr
On November 12th, the UCC will present what promises to be their biggest show to date at the Ritz in Manchester. Topping the bill will be Stockport Fighters' Brendan Loughnane, a 2-0 Pro that also went 7-0 in the unpaid ranks. He'll be taking on current UCC Featherweight Champion Murat Polat (2-0), who has looked unstoppable in his outings to date. For Loughnane, this is a massive fight.
"It's a big one for me and a step up a level, but I'm definitely going to be ready for this fight," he asserted. "I'm on nine wins and I need a title. I just really want that belt. I really like the UCC as well. I like the vibe, the atmosphere, the promoter Danny, the people and the show in general, especially with it being in Manchester. I think it's brilliant."
Indeed, it's not just the prestige of winning a strap that is motivating Bren though. He respects Polat as an opponent, although personality wise, the pair do not click.
"Murat's got a very dangerous right hand," analysed Loughnane. "He's very aggressive, it looks like he likes to scrap and he's a bit of a brawler. I don't know much about his ground game so obviously you can't underestimate him, but I feel really confident for this fight. I think I've got the weight advantage on him and that I've got a lot more experience on him. He's only fought MMA three times, and now I've had nine fights.
"He's got really good stand up, but I think mine's just as good as his. I know I've got the power advantage on him. He's got the speed, but I've got the Wrestling as well, and if I need to, I'll be able to take it to the floor whenever I want.
"His attitude spurs me on even more. He's really disrespectful, and I don't really like him to be honest. He's just not my type of guy. He's not got any respect for his opponents, he underestimates everyone and he's going to have a rude awakening in this fight."
Recently, as the Moss Side Ground and Pound gym ceased operations, Brendan switched over his training to the upstart Stockport Fighters club, forefronted by Ian Bromley.
"It's brilliant down there," said Brendan of his new training environment. "A lot of people train Jiu Jitsu, and Catch Wrestling is really unknown. It's underrated in UK MMA, and in world MMA for that matter. It's very anti-Jiu Jitsu, and some of the stuff is brilliant. I think that it will come up in the next two or three years.
"We had some really hard sparring and tough guys at Moss Side, and I really miss the cameraderie between the boys, but it's added a new dimension to my game. At Moss Side it was really tough, and there were really hard spars, whereas here it's a lot more technical, and I'm taking a lot more techniques into the fight. Obviously with training at the Rough House as well, it's just unbelievable and my training's gone through the roof."
Polat is currently something of an enigma, and in the Manchester area, rumours fly around about him not being the most dedicated trainer. Loughnane isn't too sure what to make of these.
"I hear this, and then I also hear he trains like a titan," remarked the Mancunian. "You can't go off what people say, and I don't know what he does. He's in his own gym, and that's another thing I'd like to mention. There's no one down there that's really a high level of MMA. There's good Thai boxers, but there's no one he can grapple with that's on the level of people I'm rolling with like Dan Hardy, Paul Daley and Jimmy Wallhead; they just don't come to that level."
66kg will be new territory for Loughnane, but the 19-year old is sure that there'll be no problems making it, and this weight will suit him down to the ground.
"I only walk around at 72kg," revealed Bren. "When I was making 70kg, I didn't even have to diet and I was still eating shit the night before. I can make 70kg on the day. 66kg has always been my weight, but I've just been so lazy that I've never gone down to it, but for Murat, I'm more than willing to go down.
"I see us coming out, there being fast exchanges and just an absolute tear up. I don't know what he's got on the ground, so I'm obviously going to train for the best ground game in the world. We'll have to see what he's got there. I do think it will go to the ground at some point, and that I'll just be too strong for him. I'm cutting from 72kg, whereas I think he actually walks around at about 66kg.
"I've not really thought about who's at the weight that I could fight, and it's not a tactical move. It's more that I should have been there in the first place, and I feel that if I could knock people out at 70kg, and I've never felt anyone's been stronger than me there, I've just always thought to myself, imagine what you'll be like at 66kg. Being with the Rough House and with guys that cut weight all the time, they've told me a way of doing it where I won't lose any strength at all. It's just the perfect weight for me."
Last time out, Brendan blitzed late replacement Shaun Law at UCC 3, although despite registering a first round victory, Loughnane wasn't content with that bout.
"That was disappointing," he admitted. "I was meant to be fighting Mike Egan, who's a really good Thai boxer, and I'd done five weeks of training for him. I was already on for that sort of thing, and had been doing a lot of takedowns, and Wrestling at the Y Club in Manchester, and training really intensive grappling with Commonwealth level Wrestlers. That brought on my Wrestling massively, and I think that because of all that, it's perfect I've been given Murat at this point in my career.
"I don't think I could have done it in any shorter time. I tried to go out and take my time, but it was just there. He just didn't want to know, and I think he'd been beat before he got into the cage. I think he was just there for the money, and it really, really disappointed me after five weeks of hard training, but what can you do?
"I know Murat isn't coming just for the money. He's ready for me, he's game and he probably won't have watched me fight or care who I am, but I'm going to have to let him know who I am on the day. I'm more ready for this than ever."
For such an important contest, Loughnane is making sure he's putting the hours in at the gym, although he's scheduling it perfectly so he's not overtraining. He noted,
"This is definitely the biggest fight I've been in and I'm training harder than ever. I'm six weeks out now, and I'm already training twice a day; I've never done that in my life. I really, really need to win this fight. I was sat there last night with Dean [Amasinger] and Nick [Osipcsak] going through fight plans, watching Murat and his right hand. We've been working on stuff to counter that, and that's what I'll be doing for the next six weeks. I'll be really, really prepared.
"I've started a bit earlier so I can have a little bit of a rest in between instead of killing it all for the last few weeks. I can now have two days off at the end of the week, because I've trained so hard in the week I can afford to have it off."
When asked how he sees the fight going, the explosive prospect stated, "To be honest, I think the after the first he'll gas. If what everyone says is true about him not training, there's no definition to him and he's going around doing this, that and the other, then he's got no chance. I suggest that he trains hard, because I'm going to be training even harder. I can't predict it.
"I respect his power and his right hand, but I'm definitely not afraid of it. I've taken big shots off big guys before, and I've never been knocked out in my life. I just don't think he can knock me out. If he hits me with it, then I'll feel it, but I'll hit him a lot more times before he even thinks about it. He's fast, don't get me wrong, but I just can't see him beating me."
While he admits that this might not do wonders for him on the domestic scene immediately, Brendan realises this would be a massive win to notch up.
"I think Murat's unknown at the minute to UK MMA," reckoned Loughnane. "I think he's known in Manchester and the UCC, but he's never really fought outside of Manchester apart from one fight. I don't think people know much about him. It won't do massive things all over the country, but it will certainly get me a lot of respect within the UCC and the gyms in Manchester, so it'll definitely be a big one for my record.
"I know that if I win that title, Danny will be more than willing to bring in good fighters for me to defend against, and I really like fighting in Manchester, so it'd be perfect. Should I win the fight, I know I'll be able to fight quality people."
All in all though, Brendan reckons fans are in for a treat on November 12th. "You can expect me to come out hard, fast, aggressive, strong and to throw some lethal elbows," he said. "I'm just so hyped up for this, that it won't matter what he brings on November 12th."
To conclude, Loughnane had a few thanks to make. "I'd like to shout out to BellatorGero, Mike at CKA Martial Arts and Dean Amasinger. He's just helped me so much, and he's the one that gets me down to the Rough House and I stay at his house, he cooks my meals and he really looks after me."
For more information on UCC 5: 'North West's Finest,' visit http://www.uccmma.com.
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