Flying Knee: Scott Butters on making his pro debut at Contenders Norwich 21, plus a look at the rest of the card

Scott Butters will make his pro debut at Contenders 21 in Norwich next week. Picture: BRETT KING

Scott Butters will make his pro debut at Contenders 21 in Norwich next week. Picture: BRETT KING - Credit: Archant

In his latest Flying Knee column, Mark Heath chats to Scott Butters about his impending pro debut at Contenders 21 in Norwich next week, plus looks at the other fights on the card.

Scott Butters once thought he'd never fight again after a nose injury suffered while boxing. Picture

Scott Butters once thought he'd never fight again after a nose injury suffered while boxing. Picture: BRETT KING - Credit: Archant

Not many fighters will ever have the talent and opportunity to turn professional. Even fewer will get to make their pro debut as the main event on one of the country’s best promotions.

But that’s exactly the situation which Scott Butters finds himself in. The talented grappler will make his professional bow as the main attraction at Contenders 21 in Norwich next week, against relatively unknown Frenchman Rosario Laperna.

It’s a dream come true for any fighter, but for Butters, 29, even more so – at one point he thought he’d never fight again after a nose injury suffered while boxing left doctors advising him to call time on his promising amateur career.

Luckily the injury wasn’t as bad as feared, and after 16 months away from the cage, he returned at Almighty Fighting Championship 6 in Leeds in September and claimed a points win over the hotly-touted Nicolae Pirogan.

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He was duly signed to a pro deal by Almighty Fight Management to cap what had been a roller coaster few months for the Dereham fighter, who compiled an 8-5 amateur record and held the Lion Fighting Championship lightweight title.

And now it’s time to take the first step up the pro ladder, in front of hundreds of fans at Contenders 21, which will be held at Epic Studios in Norwich on Saturday, November 4.

- Butters wants to make his mark on the pro ranks

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“I can’t wait,” said lightweight Butters, who fights out of BMB Norwich BJJ and Team Fuzeta, “I wanted to make my pro debut last year, but obviously the injury hindered me. I didn’t want to make my pro debut on the back of that time out, so I fought on AFC and that went really well.

“To me, Contenders is a top show and I haven’t fought in Norwich for years, so I get to make my pro debut and bring an army with me, it’s fantastic.

“To be the main event too is a dream. A lot of people would see it as more pressure on themselves to perform, but I want to go in there and put on a great performance because it’s kicking everything off.

“I’ll possibly be a bit more nervous beforehand but at the end of the day it’s still stepping into the cage and doing the same things as I’m used to – I want to use those nerves to give myself an advantage.

“I’m hoping after I get this first win that I’ll have two or three more fights locally next year and then I want to be looking at Cage Warriors or something of that level.”

BJJ blue belt Butters is known for his smothering ground game and dangerous choke-based submission threat – five of his amateur wins came by way of choke. And while he’s been working on his stand-up and becoming more well-rounded, he anticipates that the fight with Laperna will end on the ground with a weapon he wasn’t allowed to use in the unpaid ranks – elbows.

“It’s not going to last long,” he said. “I can see it being over within the first minute, minute and a half, and there’s a good chance it’s going to be bloody!

“There’s going to be some elbows – I cannot wait to throw those. My gameplan never really changes. I will work inside and take the fight to the ground. I just feel comfortable on the floor, and if you show me your neck I will rip it off!

“That said, I’ve been working my stand-up too, doing nine and ten rounds with well-rounded boxers in Dereham. I’ve evolved that part of my game tenfold, picking my shots, angling off and thinking in there.

“That’s going to be help me in this fight too because Laperna likes to come in on straight lines.”

- Contenders 20 report: Huge upset in main event

There’s added motivation for Butters now he’s in the pro ranks too – the opportunity to make life better for his family, partner Danielle Folan and kids Olivia and Brooke.

“Life is more and more revolving around money,” he said. “If I can find extra ways of getting my family that little bit extra I will take it. I will throw everything I have at this.”

Butters also thanked his sponsors – Ultimate Fight Outlet, MTF Up, R4 Massage, Exceed Your Limits, Rock the House Fightwear, JPM Plumbing and Tiling, IP Printing, Wymondham Scaffolding, The Barbers of Dereham and Studio Martial Arts and Fitness Centre in Dereham – for their support

While Butters is the main event next week, there are plenty of other fights to make the mouth water on the card.

King’s Lynn boxer Stevi-Ann Levy defends her 61kg title against Cromer’s Beth Boland in what is a fascinating match-up.

Levy is a very slick stylist who throws punches in bunches, but Boland, who comes from a K1 background, has superb movement and finds odd angles to throw her shots from, so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

There’s also a 70 kg K1 title clash between former champ Dom Barnard and rising young star Evan Hubbard-Norman, while Bury St Edmunds’ Jake Nichols, who looked exceptional in his MMA debut at Contenders 20, will also be in action.

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