(Hamman vs. Po’ai Suganuma 2, 8/15/08)
The UFC’s trip to Manchester this Saturday will feature just two new faces — and they’ll be fighting each other. So who’s got the better chance of making a successful Octagon debut? Get the know the newbies below and make your predictions…
JARED HAMMAN (LHW)
Experience: 10-1 record (all wins by stoppage in the first two rounds), with appearances in Strikeforce and ShoXC. Last competed in August 2008, where he avenged his only loss — a 15-second flying-knee-related TKO against Po’ai Suganuma that many felt was an early stoppage.
Will be facing: Alexander Gustafsson (see below)
Lowdown: A protege of Brian Warren at Unbreakable Gym and Vladimir Matyushenko at VMAT, the California-bred Jared Hamman was building up momentum as an exciting light-heavyweight prospect when his contract was put on ice in the wake of Pro Elite’s collapse. Or so he thought: "When EliteXC went down, I was told that my contract was being held and being transferred over to Strikeforce. I had plenty of opportunities to fight, but I was told that I couldn’t because I was still under contract…During a meeting with my manager it was discovered that I was a free agent. UFC made me an offer and I went with what I felt was the best decision…In the end, it has given me a whole year to work on my game and increase my skill."
Hamman previously worked as an assistant football coach for the University of Redlands. Regarding his loss to Suganuma, Hamman explains: "Something I have always said to my players was, ‘The first person to hesitate is the first to get rocked.’ That fight I hesitated for a slight second, let my mind think instead of act, and it cost me. Now, I will say that I was still very able to fight and could’ve kept going, but the outcome is the way it is. I should have never put myself in that position in the first place. Po’ai is a good fighter and he did his thing perfectly that night. After that situation I will never hesitate again."
ALEXANDER GUSTAFSSON (LHW)
Experience: 8-0 record in various European leagues, with seven wins coming via stoppage in the first two rounds. Last competed in May, when he scored a first-round KO over Vladimir Shemarov.
Will be facing: Jared Hamman
Lowdown: A tall, aggressive 22-year-old, "The Mauler" has been competing in MMA for just two years — and has dominated all of his opponents. Gustafsson hails from the Stockholm Shoot team, comes from a boxing background, and idolizes Fedor Emelianenko. To quote Sherdog’s list of Top Ten Euro Prospects: "His composure inside the ring is exceptional for a young fighter. Gustafsson has the makings of a future champion."
(Gustafsson vs. Pedro Quetglas, 11/8/08)
(Gustafsson vs. Farbod Fadami, 2/9/08)
(Alexander Gustafsson HL)