BAMMA 13 Date: September 14, 2013 Arena: National Indoor Arena City: Birmingham, England, UK Lightweight Championship title bout: Mansour Barnaoui (+160) vs Curt Warburton (-210) Fight Breakdown: Competing for BAMMA’s vacant lightweight title will be 20 year-old Frenchman Mansour “Tarzan” Barnaoui, as he takes on a gritty veteran in England’s own Curt “The War” Warburton. Barnaoui is currently the underdog at +160 ($100 to win $160), while Warburton is the favorite at -210 ($210 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. MANSOUR “TARZAN” BARNAOUI (9-2 MMA, 0-0 BAMMA) is making his promotional debut coming off an impressive third round rear-naked-choke victory over Zulfikar Usmanov at M1 Challenge 41, which was only THREE WEEKS ago. Barnaoui is taking this bout on very short notice, replacing Curt Warburton’s original opponent Jake Murphy. The young Frenchman is looking to make it two wins within one month and I believe he could pull off the upset, as long as he keeps the fight standing and works his limbs. Barnaoui is a talented striker who packs a lot of power behind his punches. He delivers knees that do a lot of damage, especially from inside the clinch. His takedowns are good and his transitions are excellent; he is very good at taking the backs of his opponents. His offensive grappling is solid; he is very dominant from top position, where he likes to work his powerful ground and pound. While Tarzan’s offensive grappling is good, he lacks in the defensive wrestling. His takedown defense is not very good, but that said, he does have great reversals and is good at getting back to his feet, so you can’t write-off his defensive grappling. It just needs improvement, specifically with his takedown defense. I say that because the only two defeats on his eleven fight resume were decisions he lost because his opponents would win rounds by scoring takedowns, even though he was beating them up on the feet. The 20-year old has a great chin and loves to stand and bang. He works very well from inside the clinch and up against the cage. Tarzan has great conditioning and should be in shape for a hard fifteen minutes against Warburton, regardless of the fact that he is taking this fight on such short notice. CURT “THE WAR” WARBURTON (12-3 MMA, 3-0 BAMMA) will be entering the BAMMA cage for the fourth time as he rides a dominant and impressive five fight win streak. The streak began after his submission loss to Joe Lauzon in June of 2011, which resulted in a UFC release, regardless of the fact that he had won his previous bout. Perhaps, if he had finished his opponent before the Lauzon fight, they might have kept him around. Dana White does not like decision fighters, and it’s as simple as that. Since the release, Warburton has picked up two submission victories along with three decisions. Unlike many English fighters, Warburton has a very good ground game. He works great takedowns and has excellent top control. He transitions well and does a good job hunting for submissions. If he can’t find a submission, he likes to get himself in position to put on his ground and pound attack, though he’s generally not able to take full advantage of it. In fact, his ground and pound has not proven to be effective in nearly six years, as he has not stopped nor hurt any opponents with it. He more or less uses the ground game to score points while looking for submissions. The Brit has decent striking skills and a good gas tank; he should be able to live up to his nickname and go hard for fifteen minutes in a war against the Frenchman. Fight Prediction: Warburton will try to outgrapple Barnaoui and will likely find some success with takedowns, but I think the young Frenchman will get back to his feet, where he will outwork Warburton. I see him hurting Warburton with some devestating body shots; probably knees, and then latching onto his back for the finish. Gabe’s Pick: Mansour Barnaoui by Submission (rear naked choke, 2:01 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Mansour Barnaoui +160 for a big play, as I think he should be the favorite in this match-up.