August 20, 2013

The Best of the Rest: Arnold Allen

By Roy Billington

In an age where most fans have no grasp of the MMA world beyond what is shown on ZUFFA or Bellator programming, I have decided to champion the cause of the unsung yet equally talented fighters that are (or should be) on the verge of signing major contracts. This series is called The Best of the Rest.

I have chosen to continue my series by introducing probably the best teenage fighter in Europe, featherweight Arnold Allen. Arnold Allen is 4-0 and has absolutely dominated all of his opponents thus far. He recently signed an exclusive deal with Cage Warriors Fighting Championship, and won an impressive fight in his debut with the promotion in July. So what separates Arnold Allen from the rest of the European scene?

Arnold Allen's story begins at age 15, when Allen, a talented young regional boxing champion, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and began to train in mixed martial arts. The following year, at the age of 16, Arnold debuted as an amateur and began what would be one of the most impressive amateur careers in UK history, as in the space of 18 months the young fighter racked up 7 straight wins and was forced to turn pro at 18.

On April 7th 2012, Arnold Allen debuted against another talented youngster in Nathan Greyson, and the fight has gone down as folklore in the UK fight scene, as what transpired was one of the most exciting fights of the year.

With Allen’s victory over Greyson, followed by two dominant performances, Europe’s premier promotion came knocking, and following a very impressive debut at Cage Warriors 56, the promotion decided to lock down the prized asset to a five-fight deal.

I asked Arnold Allen why he chose to sign an exclusive deal with Cage Warriors and he said:

"I feel Cage Warriors can do the most for me by getting me quality matchups and good exposure, they're doing so much for MMA in Europe and some of the best fighters in the world have fought on Cage Warriors to get where they are!"

Skillswise, Allen is reminiscent of the young fearless Carlos Condit that tore apart all comers back in the WEC. His boxing is technical and equally powerful, as he demonstrated against Nathan Greyson, and it is ever-improving. He has a penchant for unorthodox attacks, and his arsenal of aerial assaults is impressing. Make sure to check out his beautiful KO of Greyson in the video above.

On the ground, Arnold Allen is very gifted; he's constantly active off his back and really shines in the scramble. He’s a blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and improving rapidly, as can be seen in his Cage Warriors debut:

The team at BKK Fighters includes Jack Mason, which all but guarantees that Allen's defensive wrestling is being tested and improved upon on the daily.

I’ve followed the UK fight scene for the better part of a decade, and every so often you begin to hear whisperings of a prospect who is on the path of greatness. This was the case with Arnold Allen. Unlike in my previous Best of the Rest article, I believe it’s in the fighter's best interest to stay with Cage Warriors for at least another three years and really hone his skill before the eventuality of his UFC career commences.

Arnold Allen has what it takes to be a real star of the sport -- he has a great team and solid support system. The folks at Cage Warriors are experts at building stars, as they’ve shown with Conor McGregor, so expect the promotion to take the slow route with Allen before he eventually fights for their 145-pound title.


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