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Liam Mcgrandles vs Jack Cooper for UKMF British Title at VICTORY 4

Victory Promotions is pleased to announce another title fight to the main card of their show which will take place at the Dunston Activity Centre on the 8th December. This bout will feature Liam McGrandles taking on Jack Cooper. Both of these fighters are extremely experienced with both having numerous domestic and international fights. The belt they will fight for is the UKMF British 66.68KG title, a position both fighters will be keen to hold. McGrandles has previously represented the UK in the IFMAs and Cooper has fought multiple times in Thailand. The bout will be contested at 66.68KG, this is McGrandles typical fighting weight but will be a step down in weight for Cooper.

Liam McGrandles

McGrandles trains out of Corefit UK in Sutton Coldfield and is no stranger to elite competition. As previously mentioned, McGrandles has recently represented Team GB in the IFMAs. This competition often brings some of the best talent from across the globe to compete over a number of days for the gold medal. As a result the overall standard is extremely high, despite not winning the gold, McGrandles has been extremely positive about the experience,

“Representing Great Britain at IFMAs was definitely one of the best but most challenging experiences I’ve had so far in the sport.”

McGrandles is currently ranked number 9 at 66.63KG in the UK, this makes him the more natural fit for the agreed weight limit. However Cooper will be cutting more weight than usual for this bout which would lead most people to believe that McGrandles will be at a distinct size disadvantage. Once again this can be mitigated by McGrandles experience in the IFMAs where many of the competitors will cut masses of weight despite the regular weight checks. This has given McGrandles an opportunity to fight more opponents who are naturally bigger than him meaning that he is no stranger to being the physically smaller fighter,

“I definitely think after facing numerous people bigger it makes you feel more comfortable fighting against someone of that size”

There are a number of staple techniques which McGrandles uses effectively throughout his fights. In the example of when he took on Jordan William on Yokkao 10, we can see his extensive use of feints. He did this by rotating his hips to mock throwing a kick or turning his shoulders as if he were to throw a punch. Ideally a feint should get an opponent to incorrectly react to a strike which is not coming thus allowing the attacker an opportunity to strike more effectively. At the very least a feint should get an opponent second guessing whether the strikes they anticipate are genuine or not, opening up more offensive options. Done badly a feint will move the perpetrator’s head or a body where it is vulnerable to a counter strike from the opponent it was meant to trick. Thankfully McGrandles use had the former effect, making Williams second guess the strikes which were coming which let more kicks land flush.

The second interesting factor is how McGrandles tends to throw kicks with both his left and right. Whilst not unusual in itself, McGrandles doesn’t seem to have a tendency or preference for either leg. Most fighters, whilst able to kick with both legs, nearly always have a preference. For instance Liam Harrison nearly always uses his left switch kick over his right leg whereas most southpaws will prefer to throw the rear left kick to the open side of an opponent. Having a 50-50 distribution on the throwing of these kicks once again makes it more difficult for fighters to predict and defend against the incoming kicks.

 

Jack Cooper

Cooper trains out of Chok Dee in York and is currently ranked number 3 at 69.85KG (the weight category above McGrandles). As we have already said, being the bigger fighter in a bout has many benefits such as a power disparity and reach advantage. However, cutting too much weight can easily backfire if not done correctly. The main effect of this typically manifests itself as a drastically impacted cardiovascular system. This is because dehydration can reduce the plasma volume in the body meaning the blood cannot deliver oxygen throughout the body as efficiently. Thankfully for Cooper the weight cut is not too much more than he would ordinarily cut.

“It’s a few extra KG but I have sponsors and help to make the weight and so it should be relatively easy”

Cooper has already proven his toughness in a recent fight with Christian Vasile. This is the same Christian Vasile who was able to finish Adam Stanger inside the first round at the Lee Smith Memorial show. This was also a step up in weight for Cooper due to the fight being fought at 70KG, above his natural weight limit.

Despite this Cooper put on an excellent performance against Vasile and was able to pull off a decision victory. Throughout this (and many other of his fight) Cooper consistently uses the teep to the lead leg of his opponent. Like the regular teep, this halts the recipient from advancing forward allowing the person throwing time to adjust their position. However, the regular teep does have disadvantages, over committing to the teep can mean you land forward as opposed to remaining over your base, putting you in a vulnerable position. Teeping to the leg require less commitment and can be easily retracted. This kick also is lot quicker as the leg does not have to be raised nearly as far for the kick to be made. Although his kick lacks the pushing power of a teep to the torso, it also does not require as much force for it to jam an advancing opponent. The kick can also be raised slightly to the hip causing the opponent to break their posture (potentially creating entries for the knee).

Cooper also showed a fantastic catch kick counter in his fight with Vasile. Catching his opponents kick then twisting leg inwards forcing Vasile’s body to follow. Cooper then releasing the leg and came through with his own head kick. The small adjustment allowed Cooper to prime his kick and turn Vasile into its trajectory. Vasile was just able to block it but remained wary of getting his kicks caught for the remainder of the bout.

Cooper boasts an extremely seasoned record. When he trained and fought in Thailand he fought no less than 46 times. This kind of experience is invaluable for any fighter and will surely give Cooper confidence for his match with McGrandles.

“Experience is the best trait to have. Everyone can train hard but to having over 50 A class fights gives me an edge.”

The Clash

Both of these fighters are mature and have a vast amount of experience. There is a lot of mutual respect between the two men, neither of them taking anything as a given. Cooper with his size and impressive fight resume will be the betting favourite but that does not mean he is taking anything for granted,

“To be honest every fight is different and I’m looking forward to putting on a show regardless come December”

It would be foolish to take McGrandles as an easy fight, his own international experience including the IFMAs has put him against some of the toughest fighters at his weight and heavier. Whilst acknowledging Cooper’s fighting abilities, McGrandles remains confident he will get his hand raised on the 8th December.

“Cooper has a very good defence so I could see myself winning via decision, however if I see the opportunity of a stoppage I’ll 100% push for it!”

Regardless of the result, this is not a fight to be missed. Both fighters will be putting it all on the line and are preparing for what will be an extremely hard fought match.

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