MIXED MARTIAL ARTS: Big night for Brad the Bear

Wiltshire Times: Brad Scott, pictured after his victory over Michael Kuiper on his full UFC debut in Manchester in October Brad Scott, pictured after his victory over Michael Kuiper on his full UFC debut in Manchester in October

MELKSHAM UFC star Brad Scott reckons he’s become twice the fighter that beat Michael Kuiper last year as he prepares to make his second British appearance in the world’s biggest promotion at UFC Fight Night 37 tomorrow night.

The 24-year-old middleweight announced himself to fight fans with a punishing first-round victory over Dutchman Kuiper in Manchester last October and will look to build on his impressive full UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) debut when he takes on Brazilian newcomer Claudio Henrique da Silva, 31, at the O2 Arena in tomorrow’s preliminary card.

Scott (9-2) has been getting more top quality training and sparring under his belt at the MMA Lab gym in Arizona and says his constant desire to learn has helped his skills evolve.

“I’m definitely nervous – I’m happy to accept that won’t change because it’s going to be a sold-out show and when I got to see the O2 Arena, it looked absolutely massive, but I’m excited too,” Scott told the Wiltshire Times.

“I’ve been learning all the time and I’m twice the fighter that I was the last time. I’m not the best athlete but my biggest strength is that I’m a great learner and I’m always picking up new things.

“I had eight weeks at the MMA Lab before Manchester and I got back in the country last Thurs-day after another eight weeks out there – who wouldn’t want to spar with some of the best fighters in the world?

“I’m the favourite for the first time after 11 fights, so I’m excited about that. I should have a few people coming up (to watch).”

Scott isn’t hiding any secrets when it comes to his plan to deal with London-based jiu-jitsu expert da Silva (9-1).

He said: “I don’t think that you can really give your gameplan away. He’s a jiu-jitsu whizz so if I knock him down to the floor, I’ll be waving him straight back up.

“He’ll be dangerous when it comes to grappling and wrestling, so I won’t be chasing after him. I’ve been setting up difficult situations to try and get out of in sparring but really, I’ve got to stand him up.”

Scott, who began his MMA career at Melksham’s Dragonslair Gym, has earned the nickname ‘Bear’ during his career but has made one major image adjustment ahead of this weekend’s clash that isn’t really in keeping with his moniker.

“I’ve shaved off my beard. It was getting really long and when I was grappling in sparring, chunks were getting ripped out, but I look a lot younger now.” he said.

Coverage of Fight Night 37’s main card will be broadcast live on Channel 5 and BT Sport 1 tomorrow night, with the preliminary card available online on uk.ufc.com from 5.30pm tomorrow.

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