The growing popularity of mixed martial arts

By ADAM LAZZARI MIXED martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. MMA combines Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Greco-Roman wrestling, kick boxing and boxing. And the sport has taken off in Wisbech. Avaddon MMA was set up at the Hudson Leisur

By ADAM LAZZARI

MIXED martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.

MMA combines Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Greco-Roman wrestling, kick boxing and boxing.

And the sport has taken off in Wisbech.

Avaddon MMA was set up at the Hudson Leisure Centre two years ago.

It has approximately 80 registered members and a special class for juniors has just been started.

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A senior fighter, Jay Cuccienello, 23, will be fighting for a regional title next month.

He will compete against Daniel Dwyer, from Manvers Fight Factory, in Lowestoft on December 5 for the East Anglia lightweight semi-pro title.

Fellow Wisbech fighters Christian Hunns, Ed Green and Pete Lowe will be fighting in one-off matches at the show.

Despite competing in just his second semi-pro fight Cuccienello took just 22 seconds to knock out John Mezzetti, from Fighting Fit Martial Arts, to reach the final.

Chris Ellington, 31, from Emneth runs the Wisbech classes.

He said: "Jay has been fighting for just 10 months and he shows just what can be achieved. His opponent in the eliminator has much more experience, but Jay knocked him out with his second punch.

"Jay is one of our best fighters and he has a great attitude. He used to box in the Army and that has given him a good head start."

MMA's popularity has grown through the rise of the Ultimate Fighting Championships.

Matches can be won by knock outs, submissions, a judge's decision or a referee's stoppage.

Ellington said: "MMA has lots of different variations across the world. UFC has made it so commercial and the sport is also widely known as cage fighting.

"I don't like this image. MMA is not just about two brutes smashing each other around a cage. These guys are athletes with technical skill and ability.

He added: "I came from a background in judo and naturally progressed into MMA. My friend set up the club in Wisbech two years ago and I took it over six months later. I'm really happy that it has taken of locally. I'm friends with Robbie Oliver, the European champion. He lives in Warboys and I get him down the club now and again.

He added: "We're a friendly club and welcome anyone to come down and have a go. Some people just want to get fit and that's fine. I don't let anyone get away with not training hard but I don't pressure anyone to spar or fight unless they want to."

n Sessions are held at the Hudson Leisure Centre, for Mondays and Thursdays from 8-9.30pm and for juniors from 7-8pm on Thursdays.

For more information, contact Chris Ellington on 07815 088243.

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