Allen stays perfect in the UFC with battling win over Lentz
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Suffolk’s Arnold Allen moved to 7-0 inside the UFC octagon with a hard-fought points win over gritty veteran Nik Lentz in North Carolina.
Trimley St Martin's Allen (now 16-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) prevailed 30-27 and 29-28 twice on the cards after another impressive showing against the vastly experienced Lentz (now 30-11-2 MMA, 14-8 UFC), with the Suffolk southpaw now the owner of the longest winning streak in the featherweight division.
After a cagey first round in which both men had success, Allen pulled away in the second, getting behind his rapier southpaw jab and using his trademark speed and movement to start to mark up Lentz's face before rocking him with a rapid combination of punches which dipped his knees.
The third was more of the same, Allen's mastery of angles and distance frustrating Lentz, although the teak-tough Florida fighter kept on pushing forward and firing, forcing the Suffolk star to dig deep in what was an excellent learning fight against a vastly more experienced opponent.
At the end of hostilities Lentz's face was masked with crimson and cuts, evidence of the cruel accuracy of Allen's hands, which he threw with both efficiency and malice.
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And, with those hands raised in victory again, Allen once more underlined his status as one of the very best prospects in all of MMA, and will surely now be moved into big fights against his fellow top 15 featherweights.
He was originally due to face power-puncher Josh Emmett, the tenth-ranked 145lb fighter in the world, in Raleigh, but he was forced out with an undisclosed injury, prompting Lentz to step up at late notice for a battle with the young English talent.
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The Emmett fight will still appeal to the Allen camp, who see it as a chance for their gifted young charge to move into the upper echelons of his weight class and add a big name scalp to his already impressive resume as he edges towards title contention in a division ruled by Australian champ Alex Volkanovski.
Speaking to the EADT last week, Allen said: "I feel like I match up pretty good with everyone in the division. I feel like I'm quite well-rounded, which means I can just use camps to sharpen specific stuff for each fight."
The 26-year-old added: "I'm trying to get two more fights in this year at least, one in the summer and one towards the end of the year.
"By the end of 2020 I want to be in the top 10, and this time next year I'd like to be pushing towards the title shot."
The UFC roadshow rolls into London for their annual spectacular at the O2 on March 21, but Allen isn't planning on a quick turnaround for that card.
He said: "I'm not thinking about London. I just want to come home and chill with my family for a bit, I've been away for a long time. I'm hoping to go to London to watch though."