The sport of mixed martial arts is currently the fastest growing sport in the world and it is swiftly spreading to all corners of the globe. More people are now realising how exhilarating and entertaining the sport of mixed martial arts is. MMA gyms are now becoming easier to find, and young UK talent continues to set the world alight.
A country that has a rapidly growing presence in the MMA world, is also known for their historical fighting spirit. This country is Scotland and they're currently home to some of the most exciting upcoming fighters in Europe.
Many MMA fans will know the names of UFC Scottish fighters Joanne Calderwood, Stevie Ray and Paul Craig, but there are two rising stars from Scotland who currently have many fans excited. The first of these two fighters is Paull McBain. McBain is the former Art of Combat featherweight champion and is regarded by many as one of Scotland's most exciting MMA prospects. McBain, who currently holds a flawless record of 5-0, looks to take his streak to 6 on the bounce when he takes on Azi Thomas at Cage Warriors 90 on February 24th. McBain has impressed early on in his professional MMA career finishing 4/5 of his opponents. In his Cage Warriors debut, McBain fought a highly touted fighter in Lloyd Manning. Manning is a 10-time Irish and Northern Irish Judo Champion and a highly decorated Sambo player, and many people looked past McBain going into this fight. This was a huge oversight and McBain proved his doubters wrong. McBain showed his character coming back from one round behind to seal a split decision win.
In an interview with SevereMMA after the bout, McBain gave huge praise to his team.
"We've got a solid team back home at the Aberdeen Fitness & Combat Centre and we're going to continue to grow"
McBain has proclaimed on many occasions that his ultimate aim is to get his hands on the Cage Warriors belt, but he must first get through his opponent Azi Thomas who currently holds a record of 9-3.
The second Scottish fighter who is making waves in the MMA community is Ross "The Hitman" Houston who currently holds an unblemished record of 5-0. He recently impressed with his well-rounded performance against Aaron Khalid at Cage Warriors 87. The action-packed 3 round unanimous decision win showcased Houston's superiority in both striking and grappling exchanges. In Houston's upcoming bout he faces his toughest opponent to date Lewis Long at Cage Warriors 91 on March 3rd. This matchup will take place at the Newport Centre, Wales and looks set to be a lively altercation. Houston's opponent Lewis Long currently holds a record of 15-3, finishing 12 of his opponents. The Welshman is ranked the 1# welterweight in the UK/Ireland by Tapology, but he is coming off of a disappointing loss to Roberto Soldić at Cage Warriors 87. Long looks set to get back to winning ways when he faces underdog Ross Houston, but the Scotsman is determined to prove all the doubters wrong.
In an interview with MMA UK, Ross Houston was asked how he feels about this match-up.
"I'm feeling excited," said Houston. "Getting an opponent like Lewis Long. It's what I have been working for. I've been doing this for about 7 years now, and its all built up to an opportunity and fight like this. Trust me when I say this. I am not going to let it slip through my fingers"
It's clear that Houston sees this fight as a chance to prove how good he is, and he feels that this fight will be the culmination of all his hard work.
With Lewis Long coming off of a loss to Roberto Soldić, there has been much talk around Ross Houston having the advantage of momentum coming into this fight after an impressive win against Aaron Khalid. When asked about this Houston was unsure whether this would have a part to play in the outcome of the bout.
"I don't know," Houston explained. "I think Lewis Long is an experienced guy... he's lost fights before, so he has obviously been able to bounce back from them, so I am not going to go into there thinking that he's going to be less of a fighter than he has been in the past because he lost his last fight. I'm going to go into there prepped for the best Lew Long that there is, but it's still not going to be enough to beat me on March 3rd."
Regardless of the step up in competition, Houston looks confident that he can rise to the occasion and make a huge statement on March 3rd.
The future of Scottish MMA is in good hands, as two exciting prospects march forward in their MMA careers and their journey to Cage Warriors gold.
See Paull McBain at Cage Warriors 90 on February 24th and then catch his fellow Scotsman Ross Houston at Cage Warriors 91 on March 3rd.
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Written by: Dylan Chambers