Adam Proctor could well be the next big talent to emerge from Cage Warriors after he competes this weekend.
One of Europe’s leading promotion’s return to showcase some of their best talent from the North West at the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool on Saturday night. Although the card doesn’t feature any of the standout names in Cage Warriors, there are some solid contests on the lineup where some of the company’s emerging prospects take centre stage. One such bout will take place in the welterweight division and sees Adam Proctor take on Olli Santalahti.
Proctor (10-1) first began mixed martial arts at the age of thirteen after watching (in his own words) a ‘cringey MMA film’ called Never Back Down. He thought that all of the techniques featured looked really cool and impressive so he set out to learn them for himself. The man whose nickname is ‘The Love Doctor’, which pokes fun at his shy and quiet nature, first went to a few traditional martial arts facilities to try out karate but he knew that wasn’t what would make him feel fulfilled. Proctor knew MMA was what he wanted to be doing so went in search of a suitable gym and started training more and more once he had found one.
He has trained at SBG South Shields under head coach and veteran of the UK MMA scene, Alex Enland, ever since and totally fell in love with the sport. Proctor made a 5-0 start to his professional MMA career before being submitted by current Cage Warriors welterweight, Aaron Khalid, in October 2016. However, this remains his only defeat to date as he rebounded by getting his hand raised in his four next contests which followed, picking up victories over the likes of Nathan Jones and Ashley Reece. That run earned him a multi-fight contract with Cage Warriors and he picked up a unanimous decision win against Angelo Rubino in his return to the promotion last October. Proctor hasn’t competed for the last eleven months but that was because something came up outside of his MMA career which he needed to focus on.
“The reason I took some time out was because I was doing my foundation degree at college,” said Proctor. “When I fight, I always want to be the best version of myself at 100% but with the course I was doing, I wasn’t able to do that fully. I didn’t want to represent myself in there when I wasn’t totally focused on the fight in hand.”
Proctor will be looking to extend his five fight winning streak to six on Saturday night but standing in his way will be Cage Warriors newcomer, Olli Santalahti (10-3). The man from Finland will be looking to make a statement and prove that he belongs immediately in the welterweight title picture if he can be the first competitor to defeat Proctor in the past three years. Santalahti has finished seven of his ten professional victories and has also never been stopped in his career. However, Proctor has done his research accordingly and believes he will show that he is a big step up compared to all of Santalahti’s previous opponents.
“I’ve watched some videos on my opponent and some of his last fights,” explained Proctor. “I always like to watch tape on the guys I fight as it helps me develop a strategy and game plan for them. I’m expecting him to shoot pretty early in the bout as he’s got a bit of history doing that. He’s going to wrestle and try to connect himself to me as much as he possibly can. I fully believe that I am capable of finishing Santalahti. In my opinion, he’s never fought anyone on my level and he’ll find that out on Saturday night.”
The welterweight division is arguably the strongest and deepest in Cage Warriors and is littered with notable names. Current champion, Ross Houston, is still awaiting his next title defense while contender, Rhys McKee, headlines in the promotion’s return to Ireland in November. Alex Lohore and Louis Glismann are other standouts in the division who are in the hunt for the shot at the champion but Proctor hopes if he puts in an impressive performance at the Exhibition Centre, he believes he would have earned the next crack.
“I think the Cage Warriors welterweight division is pretty healthy and there are some alright guys in it,” stated Proctor. “However, I don’t think any of them are at the same level as me. I see myself at the top of the pecking order in this division. A win will cement my position and I definitely think I deserve the title shot next. I can’t see anyone who can argue against that.”
Cage Warriors 107 will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass at 9pm BST on Saturday night. Fans in the US can watch from 4pmET/3c.