LFL 9 Preview; Lech v Breese; Binder v Lee

A chock-full weekend of mixed martial arts doesn’t end with PFL Berlin and UFC 290. LFL offers up a Sunday card to help ease us into a new week. LFL goes down at the Gashouder in Amsterdam. A whopping ten-fight main card will grace our screens.

The LFL Light Heavyweight Title is on the line in the main event. Jarosław Lech (10-7) makes the first defence of the belt he won via unanimous decision against Yannick Bahati in February. The Pole is on a four-fight win streak and is currently on the best run of form of his career. The 27-year-old Katowice man packs big power on the feet and half his wins have been via knockout. Not one to shy away from challenges, some of his losses were to the likes of KSW fighters Radosław Paczuski and Adrian Bartosiński, who are both competing at elite European level. Tom Breese (16-4) is an ex-UFC fighter with plenty of KSW experience of his own. The Englishman is the LFL Middleweight champion and is aiming for double champ status here. The Team Renegade man is a high level submission grappler with a BJJ black belt and has used guillotines and rear naked chokes to great effect in recent times. The Birmingham man has that spark back and that’s trouble for his opponents. Don’t sleep on his boxing either.

Andreeas Binder (7-2) will compete for the vacant LFL Lightweight Title. The SBG Charlestown man won a tough fight against Chris Stringer in March to earn the shot. The 26-year-old is a powerful striker with great shot selection. The Romanian moved to Galway before embarking on a competitive amateur career. Under the tutelage of Owen Roddy nowadays, he’s turned his judo and kickboxing backgrounds into a well rounded MMA game. He talked to Severe MMA’s Andy Stevenson recently, which can be found below. Aiden Lee (11-7) is his opponent on the night, another Team Renegade fighter with a lot of experience. Like Tom Breese, he’s a high level submission player, with seven of his wins via tapout. This is not a man you want to let take your back as the rear naked choke inevitably follows. The 28-year-old has competed for Cage Warriors, Bellator and BAMMA so has been there and done that.

Chris Fishgold (18-5-1) is a former Cage Warriors lightweight champion and a UFC veteran. The Next Gen Liverpool man is a submission expert with thirteen of his wins coming in the Jiu Jitsu realm. When not grappling, the 31-year-old is working on his boxing, including competing in bare-knuckle events. He’s looking to reignite his MMA career in this one. Wahid Najand (6-2) has recently been plying his trade on the Russian scene after going 4-0 in his native Afghanistan. Most of his success has come through striking. The 29-year-old is durable and has the cardio to last the duration. This is by far his toughest test to date.

Louie Sutherland (5-1) is a heavyweight who has competed on the PFL Challenger Series. The GB Top Team fighter has seen all wins coming via knockout. The Scot’s sole loss was by decision in 2022 at PFL 9. Moreno Kacapor (5-2) is looking to bounce back from defeat to champion Mario Pinto in March. The Swiss man’s currency is damage and his only goal is to get the fight stopped as early as possible, whether that be the referee, the corner or the doctor.

Thomas Narmo (4-3) is a former ice hockey goalkeeper who was linked with the NHL before a back injury ended that dream. The Norwegian transitioned to MMA where he flew into a four-fight win streak, all first round finishes. It’s been 0-3 since then and the 6ft7in behemoth is looking to stop that skid. The 29-year-old has been levelling up his striking by competing in pro boxing, notching up three knockout wins to date. Arya Hosseini (2-9) is a Dutch journeyman. The Iranian born fighter is a Muay Thai stylist. This is a tee-up for Narmo and Hosseini consistently loses via knockout.

Noah Blyden (1-1) makes his LFL debut. This Amsterdam native hails from the former Dutch colony of Suriname. Kickboxing is his game and his win came via knockout. Kevin “Kev” Ward (debut) is his opponent and he hails from the United Kingdom. He is a former Glory competitor and has an extensive kickboxing background.

Ammari Diedrick (3-1) has been floating between LFL and ARES FC to great success early in his career. The Englishman is a former Glory kickboxer and has used that to knock out two opponents so far in MMA. It’s been a smooth transition to the sport so far. Italo Julio (2-0) has shown versatility in his short career to date. The Brazilian won his debut in 2017 with an armbar, and then followed it up with a knockout win in 2019. As you can see, activity has been his issue. Will ring rust play a factor?

Tony Mustard (11-8) is a member of Team Fish Tank in the Northeast of England. Whilst most of his wins have been via knockout in the M4TC promotion in Newcastle, he does have some leg locks and chokes to be wary of. Soufyan Aarab (3-3) won his first three bouts by TKO, but then fell to a three-fight losing streak. The Dutchman is going to look to use his striking to get back to winning ways.

Lexi Rook (1-1) has represented England at the IMMAF level, earning the nickname “Lady Koszmar” along the way, which translates to Lady Nightmare. Not much of a finisher, she’s tough, durable and active enough to win over the three rounds. Nadia Akihary-van der Wel (3-7-1) is a Dutch journeywoman. The 36-year-old has a win via knockout and another via submission. Her defensive Jiu Jitsu has plenty of gaps.

Łukasz Kulpa (3-4) goes by the nickname “Kudłaty”, or “Shaggy” in English. The Pole has lost his last two. The Słuspk man is an allrounder and has both knockout and submission wins on his résumé. Stanislav Romanov (3-11) is another journeyman on the card. The Russian is a striker. His losses have been pretty evenly split between all disciplines. Show up and you’ll find a way.

There are a couple of names to pay attention to on the prelims. Alain “Top Boy” Van De Merckt is a prospect out of Belgium and is an LFL homegrown talent. His last three wins have come via submission and faces a man susceptible to tapping. The other name is Liam McCracken (4-1). The Englishman is confident in striking and grappling, with all his wins coming via first round finish. His 18-38 opponent’s nickname is literally “The Surrenderer” so don’t expect much coming back the other way.

LFL 9 is live on Sunday from Amsterdam and can be viewed on ViaPlay. The prelims kick off at 15:00 IST and the main card from 18:00 IST.

Seán Denny is a Dublin man who writes mostly on the European scene, with a keen interest in the Irish, UK and Polish scenes in particular. Follow me on Twitter at @DennyRants.

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