'The plan is to pick him apart' - Suffolk star Allen on UFC London clash with Rinaldi
PUBLISHED: 11:42 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:01 13 March 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Suffolk's MMA prodigy Arnold Allen knows a tough test awaits him at the O2 Arena this weekend - but he plans to show just why he's one of the brightest young stars of the fighting world.
Featherweight Allen, 25, is 4-0 in the world-famous UFC and faces grinding wrestler Jordan Rinaldi (14-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) in the featured prelim bout at UFC London, which boasts probably the best card ever seen in the UK, topped by Scouse superstar Darren Till.
And Trimley St Mary’s Allen (13-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) knows standout grappler Rinaldi will pose some difficult questions – a former lightweight, ‘All Day’ is huge at the weight and dominated Jason Knight in his debut 145lbs scrap last November.
“He’s a tough test, and he’s experienced,” Allen said of Rinaldi, who’s won eight fights by submission. “He’s fought some top guys and he’s definitely coming for the win – I’ll really have to be on my A-game.”
Allen, who came from two rounds down to beat Mads Burnell by ninja choke in his last fight in May 2018, also thinks he knows Rinaldi’s gameplan.
“If he’s watched my last fight, he’ll be thinking he can take me down pretty easily,” the man nicknamed ‘Almighty’ said. “To be fair, if I was fighting me after that fight I’d be thinking the same! But that’s not going to happen.
“We’ve been working on fixing the wrestling and sharpening things up and it’s been going really well.
“The plan is to pick him apart – I’ll definitely be looking for the knock-out, I’m starting to get known as a submission guy! However it happens, I just see me having my hand raised.
“After that, I’d really like to get back in there in July and even get another one in November or December – I’m 25 now, so I’ve got to get a move on!”
With another win here, Allen would move to 5-0 in the featherweight division, one of the best records in the 145lbs standings – but, despite the likes of British MMA legend Dan Hardy tipping him as a future world champion, the modest Suffolk southpaw has yet to get much mainstream attention.
Not that he minds. “A little bit,” he said, when asked if the relative lack of recognition bothers him. “But I’ve been taking my time (Allen’s fought once a year since signing for the UFC in 2015) – once I get active then I’ll be on the radar.
“I want to be up there and ranked highly in the division, but I don’t really want loads of attention – it’s quite nice flying under the radar.”
- Allen’s fight will be shown live on BT Sport on Saturday night.