Young and Riddell set their next fights in UFC

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

March continues to be a City Kickboxing takeover in the UFC.

With Israel Adesanya, Kai Kara-France and Carlos Ulberg preparing for their March 7 bouts at UFC 259, two more fighters will be getting their first taste of the year inside the octagon.

As first reported by the NZ Herald, Brad Riddell has a huge opportunity to join the official UFC rankings of his fellow lightweight Dan "The Hangman" Hooker in fighting the returning No.15 ranked Gregor Gillespie, on March 21 [NZ time] at UFC Vegas 22 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

UFC brings the hype to this fight! Source: Twitter/UFC

To close out March, Maraenui-born Shane Young will look to avenge his first stoppage loss last year, as he gets a pay-per-view undercard spot to make his comeback against Omar Morales at UFC 260, dated for March 28 [NZ time].

 

Less 💙✊🏽

Posted by Shane Young MMA on Friday, February 19, 2021
Shane Young ready to dance. Source: Facebook.com/ShaneYoungMMA 

Will Gillespie 'Quake'?

Continuing his three-win streak in the UFC, Brad 'Quake' Riddell [9-1] is hoping to be the rock in Gregor Gillespie's [13-1] road of return to the octagon. 

Riddell has made many trips abroad since Covid-19 thwarted sports worldwide, and knows that having to go through managed isolation is worth taking the trip to continue his ascendancy in the UFC.

The last time 'Quake' fought was alongside fellow fighters Kai Kara-France, Shane Young and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in the same match card in Abu Dhabi last September, where he defeated Alex da Silva Coelho via decision.

Life presents challenges .... and I’m always up for them .

Posted by Brad 'Quake' Riddell on Friday, February 19, 2021
Riddell vs Gillespie is on! Source: Facebook.com/Brad 'Quake' Riddell

Gregor Gillespie is returning for his first bout since November of 2019, where he suffered a first-round knockout loss against Kevin Lee, which broke his six-win streak in the UFC.

With over a year since his last fight, "The Gift" will look to stop Riddell's streak and ranking ascendancy and restart his journey to the top.

Featherweights clash

Shane Young's return to the octagon didn't go as planned as he suffered his first stoppage loss against Ludovit Klein back in September in the same card as his City kickboxing brethren. However, Klein's win came as he missed the 66kg weight limit by 2kg, with a 20-30 per cent cut of his purse.

Despite the loss, Young was proud of the way he handled it, as he said so in a report by Stuff.

"When push comes to shove and it happens to you, there are all these other choices that you could put in your head like I could be doing this or that," Young says. "But in reality, those weren't even options for me.

"It was just back to the drawing board on so many levels and I was really proud of myself for that. You've got to tell yourself that sometimes because some people will never even get the opportunity to be put to that test and not only that, a lot of people won't actually pass it."

City Kickboxing gets behind their boys! Source: Instagram/CityKickboxing

Young is almost looking in the mirror, as opponent Omar Morales is also looking to make amends for his unanimous decision loss to Giga Chikadze in October.

"It's a nice well-rounded challenge," the 27-year-old says. "He's well-rounded athletically, so I'm happy to put myself to the test and really looking forward to it.

"Instead of focusing on the outcome, I've been trying to focus on getting better at the process. I've been trying to live by that philosophy, not only for this fight camp but as a whole to the sport.

"This is my 13th year competing (in martial arts). There are lots of ups and downs in there and I've kind of been riding those waves without really knowing. Israel [Adesanya] said it to me a while ago, you've just got to keep showing up and you get better. It's as simple as that."

Both men want to leave the past behind them. But who will get the much-needed victory on March 28?