Rising featherweight star Arnold Allen faces the first real test of his career when he faces fellow prospect Sodiq Yusuff at the UFC Apex in Enterprise, Nevada on Saturday night.
Allen, aka "Almighty," improved his professional record to 16-1 overall, 7-0 UFC, by outpointing Nik Lentz in a unanimous decision .
The two 145-pounders will meet in a scheduled three-round bout tomorrow at UFC Vegas 23, and the surging prospect from Suffolk, England, plans to put the division on notice with an eye-catching performance in his first co-main event.
“This is huge,” Allen told MMA Junkie. “I think this is bigger than the fights with the big names, you know? Like, this is me against another big prospect isn’t it? It’s like proving time."
Last year, the 27-year-old British fighter was linked with a potential fight against Jeremy Stephens, but the bout never materialised.
Now, the UFC have matched him up with another prospect with hopes of establishing himself in Yusuff, a 27-year-old striker from Nigeria now residing in America.
“I was a bit surprised,” he added. “Obviously, I was supposed to fight Stephens, and I was expecting, like, another veteran like that, you know – something like that or Stephens, himself.
"Nothing was happening, and then we got offered Sodiq, and I was like, ‘You know what? Yeah, that’s a perfect matchup."
Allen, a teammate of UFC legend Georges St-Pierre, is currently riding a nine-fight win streak. His last loss was to Marcin Wrzosek, before the Brit joined the UFC, back in 2014.
This fight will mark his first appearance in a co-main event, something that hasn't gone unnoticed.
He continued: "All the guys that follow the sport, they know. Obviously people that don’t follow it so much, you know, they might not know the names.
"There’s people out there that still think Anderson Silva is the champion, you know what I mean?
"So yeah – but people that don’t know, it’s less important than the hardcore. You know, for me, the hardcore fans, their opinion, that’s what matters."
Yusuff, meanwhile, is coming off a win against Andre Fili at UFC 246 in January 2020.
And Allen is going to use his upcoming fight with Yusuff as a yardstick to measure his rapid progress.
“We’ve got out and prove ourselves,” Allen said. “Two hot prospects, and it’s kind of winner-takes-all, you know? We want to go out and prove we deserve to be amongst that top 10.”
It's clear that Allen has a vision; impress Dana White watching from cageside, introduce himself to a whole new audience, and then secure more opportunities to fight on the main card. Allen will be hoping this will lead to a world title shot sooner or later.News Now - Sport News