Suffolk’s Arnold Allen ‘buzzing’ to face Enrique Barzola at UFC 220 in Boston
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Suffolk’s UFC star Arnold Allen says he is “buzzing” for his American debut and the chance to make it four bouts unbeaten in the world-famous fighting organisation when he faces Enrique Barzola at UFC 220 in Boston next week.
Trimley St Martin’s Allen, 23, is 3-0 in the UFC (12-1 overall) but only fought once last year due to injuries – an impressive decision win over fellow featherweight prospect Makwan Amirkhani at the O2 in London in March.
In Barzola, he faces a man five years his senior, with four fights in the UFC (3-1), having won the second season of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America as a lightweight.
It will be Allen’s first fight in the UFC outside of Europe, having previously fought in Germany and twice at the O2.
The UFC 220 card, at the TD Garden in Boston on January 20, is highly anticipated and features two world title clashes as main and co-main event - Daniel Cormier defending his light-heavyweight belt against Volkan Oezdemir, and Stipe Miocic putting his heavyweight strap on the line in a clash with feared KO merchant Francis Ngannou.
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Allen said: “It’s always been one of my goals to get on a big pay per view card in the USA - I’m buzzing to finally make that come true.”
His Peruvian foe doesn’t carry a big knockout threat – only four of the wins on his 13-3-1 record have come by stoppage – and he tends to grind out points decisions.
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Allen will be the favourite going into the fight, and a fourth straight win will surely put him in with a good shout of moving into the world top 15 rankings.
He is among the youngest and brightest potential stars in the UFC, boasting a potent mix of fast, powerful boxing and impressive wrestling, all from a southpaw stance.
Allen, who started his MMA training at BKK Fighters in Colchester and Dynamo Fight Sports in Felixstowe, said: “My opponent is a tough, gritty fighter, who marches forwards for three rounds so I’m expecting a high-paced fight.
“With a win, and moving to 4-0 in the UFC, I’m right there in terms of the top 15 world rankings.
“I’d like to fight three or four times this year – the last couple of years I’ve been missing a lot of time between fights, but I haven’t missed any days in the gym.
“Even when I fractured my hand I was sparring with one hand for months – my skillset is definitely ready to be active in the UFC.”
- UFC 220 will be shown live on BT Sports in the UK.