Raphael Uchegbu: The Future Of Team Kaobon?
By James Lee
From the days of Terry Etim, Paul Kelly and Paul Sass representing Liverpool to Darren Till, Mike Grundy and Tom Aspinall leading the line for Team Kaobon in the present day, the path to success could not be more lucid for rising fighter Raphael Uchegbu.
This past weekend, in particular, saw a showcase of Team Kaobon talent on the world stage with three of their fighters participating in the UFC’s final Fight Island venture. As now is a flourishing time for the gym, Uchegbu is set to contribute to the bright future over the next decade.
The bantamweight fighter currently lies at 2-0 after turning professional last year, but he has already attracted national attention after his performances in the sport’s second-biggest promotion.
His debut came against Lee Percival at Bellator Birmingham last May. It took him just over two minutes before he caught his opponent in a triangle choke and ended the contest, cementing a successful initial professional outing.
He similarly showcased a wide variety of striking and grappling skills in his most recent fight against Shane Campbell. Again, he finished the contest by submission, conversely in the third round. The experience of going over ten minutes was most likely beneficial, though.
His third appearance for Bellator was expected to take place this May in London’s SSE Arena, however, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic cancelled the event months prior. It is not yet apparent when he will get to compete, but with Bellator returning to action this past weekend, an opening may arise before the end of the year.
Nevertheless, Uchegbu is one of numerous young British fighters building their way in the sport, which has never been more prosperous with talent. As a flood of talent from these shores are already competing at the highest level, the likes of Darren Till and Leon Edwards currently lead the line for the British globally.
Bellator, however, has become the perfect platform for budding fighters to establish themselves. The investment into fighters from Europe especially has been substantial, and a quick ascension to the top has become attainable because of that.
London’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page proved that UFC status is not a necessity for recognisable success in the current day. Despite not featuring in the sport’s premier promotion, Page has not only amassed mainstream attention but most importantly, financial ramifications worthy of his endeavours.
Not only that, Bellator’s wide-scale investment in British talent means opportunities to headline events in Britain is attainable as the region is something Bellator has pledged to continue to strive in. The past two years have seen events in London, Newcastle and Birmingham. An event in Liverpool shortly with Uchegbu included is feasible and something his progression may ensure.
With the ability and assistance Uchegbu occupies, his emergence may not only be sharp but similarly compelling as he could become one of Bellator’s most prominent names and yet another stand-out athlete from a city decorated with years of combat.
Photo Credit: Bellator MMA