Butters to fight Mearns in crossroads clash at Contenders 27
Two of the region's top pro MMA prospects will meet in a crossroads clash at Contenders 27 in Norwich this September.
After losing his last two fights, Scott Butters is dropping down from lightweight to the 145lbs division but - as is his style - he's certainly not looking for a friendly welcome to his new home.
Instead, he'll square off with Richard Mearns, a powerful striker and grappler, who will see Butters as a prized scalp to add to the list of his vanquished foes as he looks to climb the featherweight rankings.
Both men are 2-2 as professionals, so there's a lot on the line when the cage door is locked behind them at the Epic Studios on September 28 - the winner walks away with the scalp of a fellow prospect and gets a surge of momentum, while the loser drops below .500 and will be forced to go back to the fistic drawing board.
Skilled grappler Butters, 31, who fights out of Elite Gym in Norwich, started his pro career strongly, racing out to a 2-0 record with two stoppages, but has stumbled in his last two fights - injuring his shoulder in a TKO loss to respected veteran Kim Thinghaugen, then succumbing to a quick submission in his huge 'Battle of Anglia' clash with Craig Edwards in April.
That defeat made up his mind to drop down from the lightweight division, where he's often been the naturally smaller man, to the featherweight ranks, a drop of ten pounds, but one which should see him enjoy some size advantages.
While many would seek an easy introduction to a new weight class, coming off two straight losses, that's just not Butters' style.
He said: "As always it's a tough fight, but that's what I want. I could have looked for an easy fight, something to get me back to winning ways, but what would I really get from that?
"The fight itself is a tough one, but definitely a winnable one, and if you look at it from a neutral aspect, it's also an interesting fight for fans.
"I'm excited to finally be dropping down to 66kg (145lbs) and feel like it's still going to be an easy cut.
"I'm already walking atound lighter than before, and also have a grappling competition booked for July 20th, which means my weight will be good, leaving me roughly eight weeks for the last little bit."
Butters added: "Since the last fight I've not really been out of the gym, looking to right the wrongs from that fight and trying to mentaly re-wire my brain to change my natural instincts.
"I've been very disappointed with the last two performances, as I've not shown my true potential. I honestly believe this is the perfect fight for me to be able to show that.
"It's also a great fight for me because of Richard. He had an awesome amateur career, and has had some great highlight reel performances - and having the Mearns name is a great scalp for me, when I win."
Mearns was unbeaten as an amateur (6-0, four stoppages) - signing off with a brutal head kick KO of Adam Butterworth at Almighty FC 4 - and entered the pro ranks as one of the hottest prospects in the country.
But he was upset on his debut as the main event at Contenders 20, where he was stopped by Julien Bouteix in the first round.
He's now 2-2, having seen off Dorval Jordan on points in his last fight in May, at Killacam Fight Night 16.
Mearns has also been working heavily on his grappling, winning his no-gi BJJ scrap with Steve Hooper at Pantheon in Leeds just last night.
The BST Northampton product said he is "very excited" to fight on Contenders again, and plans to put right the wrongs of what happened at Contenders 20.
"I really respect Scott," Mearns stressed. "He is a true martial artist and our fighting styles make for a very exciting contest.
"Many have previously told me that they really want to see this fight happen - it always felt inevitable. Therefore, when the fight was offered to me, I didn't have to consider it much. It's my job to entertain and this is the fight the fans want.
"They were denied a proper show at Contenders 20, I really wasn't myself that day - September 28 they'll see the kind of fight that is always expected when you see the name Mearns on the card. An absolutely stellar performance."
And Mearns warned Butters: "I'm a dangerous welcome to this division and this fight will mean a lot for us both.
"With all respect to him, I really feel my talents are greater across the whole spectrum of MMA."
- Tickets for Contenders 27 will be available soon. Visit the Contenders website for more information.