Newark’s Regis ‘The First’ Sugden showed he was more than ready to make up for lost time after a 20-month break when he returned to the cage at the Tanko Events TFC#4 show.
Fighting for the first time at featherweight in Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse, the 21-year old Suggy’s Gym star added a fourth victory to his pro MMA record with a unanimous win over Arturo ‘El Moreno’ Chavez.
Sugden said: “Everyone out there knows how much I love a scrap, so having someone in front of me who could take my shots and get the rounds out made this a particularly good fight, not only for me but for everyone who saw it.
“A big thank you to those who made the trip to Manchester, those who watched the live stream and to my sponsors BMA Homes, Aluminate, BillyOh, GoodFit Nutrition and Booster FightGear.
“I will be resting up for a few days before I get right back on it with my dad (coach Dean Sugden) and with former UFC fighter Andre Winner, who helps me with my ground-game along with Ranjeet Baria.”
Dean Sugden said: “After a long period of rehabilitation following major surgery on Regis’s ankle, many people would have expected us to look for a softer comeback.
“But Regis was determined to send out a strong statement to the MMA world.
“He was offered a new contract with BAMMA, which features some of his fights and finishes on the TV channel Dave when promoting their upcoming events.
“But we felt certain that fighting on the Tanko show in the joint main event — an achievement in itself for someone with only four pro MMA fights on his record — was the best opportunity to do exactly that.”
Fight of the night
Mexico-born Chavez, who has never been stopped, came out fast and strong in the opening round, only to be rocked as Sugden, showing no sign of cage rust, landed a series of pinpoint heavy punches and kicks.
After receiving vicious low kicks Chavez, who normally stands in front of his opponents, tried to out-grapple Sugden, but the Newark fighter won the first round.
In the second round the Mexican was hurt by a round-kick to the body. Then Sugden landed a fine hook that sent his opponent reeling as the bell saved Chavez.
In the final round, Sugden missed with many kicks as he showed signs of tiring. He opted to grapple and go to the ground rather than stand, illustrating how his ground-game had improved.
With Chavez mostly holding, Sudgen recovered and both fighters finished the bout standing and swinging punches.
The MC described the contest as the fight of the night.
Dean Sugden said: “Over the last 12 weeks, our focus has been on getting Regis’s weight down and we haven’t been able to push technically and physically as much as we would have liked.
“We had some concerns going into the fight but now that it’s out of the way and Regis is back to his normal weight, we can crack on with getting him firing on all cylinders.”