Andrew De-Vent feels Manchester is perfect setting to avenge early loss


Immediate rematches in MMA are something that are construed more than ever these days. You blink and a second meeting is already finalised. This weekend at Tanko FC 2 sees a rematch that ‘The Lions’ Paw’ Andrew De-Vent (13-10) has waited four years for as he looks to avenge one of his earliest losses versus David ‘One More’ Round (15-19) in what’s being looked at as potentially the most intriguing battle of the night.

Over the course of De-Vent’s career, ups and downs have been a constant following. Last time round, Andrew was ready for the biggest fight of his life against heavy-handed Welshman John Phillips. However, this would not be so. To recap, Phillips missed weight by a large margin and as a result, the fight was scrapped. This was a stinger for Andrew as, in typical De-Vent nature, he still wanted to fight.

“I was gutted the fight didn’t happen,” De-Vent began. “I spent eight weeks away from my family in Vietnam. It wasn’t like I was up the road and I hadn’t experienced something like that before. For me to go away for so long and train so hard, to come back and John miss weight was tough to see. It happens, but me being the old school guy I am, I was still very willing to have the fight.

“A couple of BAMMA officials advised me not to make any hasty decisions while we both went away to think about the next course of action. I ‘FaceTimed’ my camp back in Vietnam to explain the situation and see what they thought of it all. Once I told them John was almost a stone overweight, they were adamant I don’t fight. A couple of kilograms, we probably wouldn’t have minded, but once we’d be refreshed and in good health the different would’ve been far too big.

“BAMMA’s officials told us shortly after that the fight was being pulled regardless. They made the right call as well as the stripping, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t gutted with the whole situation. It would’ve been great for the fans and both me and John. People were knocking him afterwards and I had to set them straight.

“Something had to have gone wrong in his camp, be it an injury or something, but John’s a true fighter. He doesn’t pass up a fight with anyone. Hopefully we can meet down the road.

Following this situation, De-Vent was adamant to fight before the end of the year and asked BAMMA for a one-fight release in which they respectfully obliged. In Andrew’s opinion, Tanko couldn’t have came along at a better time.

“I’m still contracted with BAMMA,” Andrew informed. “With everything that’s happened lately and wanting to get a fight in by the end of the year, I asked for one fight outside of the promotion. I just had to get a fight in by the end of the year. Plus, it’s a good few weeks from Christmas so I have a chance to recover. Any later and I could’ve been in a big war and injured over Christmas which I would’ve hated, so this is perfect timing.

“Tanko are looking after me. We’re all on good terms. BAMMA are on my banner and shorts, so business is good.”

Rewinding to 2012, Andrew was just starting to hone his craft and go in the right direction. When he first entered the domestic scene, the middleweight was locking horns with some of the best in the North West such as Gavin Sterritt, Leigh Cohoon, Avi Jack and Chris Fishgold long before he was ready to do so.

Just as he had found the right training partners and was building a strong team, De-Vent found himself facing David Round on OMMAC in Liverpool – a bout that really showcased what Andrew was beginning to be capable of in all facets. Despite controlling, Round capitalised on a first round triangle choke to bring a halt to proceedings.

Despite De-Vent’s eventual surge, this is the one loss that has always irked and itched at the former. Since then, the former BAMMA middleweight champion feels his evolution has made huge leaps whilst Round has devolved.

“Going into the first first fight I think we both had even records,” Andrew divulged. “We had many similarities. I came in confident, I was on a good run and in the right mindset. If you watch the fight, I was all over him. There were approximately four times I could’ve finished him. My corner were screaming at me to choke him out as I had his back a couple of times, however the raw aggression in me took over because I wanted to finish him brutality.

“Eventually, I made the mistake of staying in his guard for too long and he threw his long legs over me and sunk in a triangle choke. This time it’ll be much, much different.

“I’ve evolved so much, especially in my maturity. I’ve learned how to stay patient, respectful and very much the ground game. People know what I was like when I first started. I’m a different guy now. I have the discipline and ability to travel around the world and train at the best gyms. Over the course of this journey I’ve sprang up the rankings, too.

“I’ve got too much skill for David Round. Not only skill, but I’ve got too much heart as well. He’s a good fighter, but if I was controlling him so much when I wasn’t anywhere near this calibre, you can imagine what it’ll be like this time.”

When Andrew was granted his one-fight release from BAMMA, he was eventually contacted by Tanko, providing him with an opportunity to call out whoever he wanted. After an insult on social media by Round, David had cemented his place on the lips of De-Vent who was given what he so much wanted.

“I asked Tanko if there were any spaces left for this show and they were more than happy to have me,” De-Vent revealed. “What was even better was they asked me who I wanted to fight. It popped into my head straight away and asked for this rematch. I also remembered that when the Phillips fight fell through, I saw David tweeting BAMMA and myself asking why nobody had contacted him.

“He seemed confident that he’d beat me again and I took that as a bit of an insult that lit a fire under me. My state of mind is always solid. I only see my hand being raised and it’s certainly not going the distance. I wake up every day and I just want this fight to come more and more. This level of De-Vent is twenty times better than the last version he fought and he’s going to know all about it. We had the laughs and jokes on the Tanko sit-down, but come Saturday night when I get in there it’s on from the get-go.

“I don’t know where he gets the idea from that I’m going to gas out, either,” Andrew sternly stated. “If there’s one thing I don’t run out of, it’s gas. I’m always running. I’m always doing cardio. Everyone knows this. I found it a little bit funny when he tweeted me recently at five in the morning saying he’s going for a run while the lion sleeps. He can run all day for all I care because his fitness I never anywhere near my level.

Coincidentally, this happens to be the hometown boy’s first fight back in Manchester, in the same venue, in over two years. Having to travel for bouts is a strain for most competitors and Andrew feels being back home, where he went undefeated at middleweight, has only added to his further fuel to his fire.

“I’m buzzing to be fighting back in Manchester,” beamed Andrew. “It’s literally five minutes down the road from my mum’s house, so all my friends and family are going to be there. I’m not feeling any pressure either. I don’t have to travel for the first time in years and it’s helped settle me. Following this performance I really believe it’ll set up 2017 as the year of the lion.

“I’m a nightmare at middleweight. I can give and take more punishment at this weight. Our first fight was at welterweight and I was cutting too much weight to get there and it was obvious in my fights. Middleweight is my home and once I found it I went undefeated in this division for a long time. There’s so much that differs around me compared to the first fight.”

For Andrew and his close-knit circle, this fight has a lot of meaning to it. It represents a chance to remove a thorn long in his side. With hype and the expectation that comes with both men’s styles, De-Vent is adamant ‘The Lion’s Paw’ will be raised in front of Manchester.

“This fight means a lot to me,” Andrew confessed. “It’ll put me up the rankings even more. Avenging this loss will wipe the slate for now and I’ll get it back in fashion. It means a lot to the people around me, too. Even Brendan and Kane are saying that out of all the fights, my fight is the one they’re most looking forward to and that only spurs me on further. Saturday night is my night.”

Photo Credit: BAMMA

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