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04th Jun 2018

Incredible scenes as family of London’s Nathaniel Wood reacts to UFC debut

Believe the hype

Darragh Murphy

Look what it means to them!

There has never been a better time for British mixed martial arts.

While one might have feared that Michael Bisping’s recent retirement would leave a glaring hole, it turns out that young homegrown talent is thriving.

Darren Till, Brett Johns, Leon Edwards, Jimi Manuwa and Michael Page are all killing it right now while the conveyor belt of prospects shows no sign of slowing.

The aptly nicknamed Nathaniel ‘The Prospect’ Wood made his UFC debut on Friday night and he not only put on a show, as he tends to do, but he got his hand raised, most importantly.

Wood had to rally after some early success for opponent Johnny Eduardo but went on to cinch up a D’Arce choke in the second round of the bantamweight clash, moving to 14-3 in the process.

Wood, who hails from Morden in South London, has starred on the European scene for several years and claimed the Cage Warriors bantamweight title before the UFC came calling.

The 25-year-old’s submission win in Utica last weekend saw Wood take home a performance bonus of $50,000, as well as his show and win money, so it proved to be a profitable outing for one of the most exciting fighters to emerge from these shores in recent years.

“Johnny’s a veteran of boxing I knew this would be my toughest fight to date,” Wood said. “I felt the pressure of debuting in the UFC but I was confident. I caught him a couple times, I sensed it, I knew that was it. People say I haven’t got a ground game but that’s what happens when you take me down.”

Trained by MMA legend Brad Pickett, Wood has a thrilling fight style which sees him regularly put himself in danger in order to open up opportunities to finish his opponents.

He had his family and friends, who were watching from London, on the edge of their seats but once Eduardo’s limp body rolled over and referee Kevin MacDonald brought an end to the contest, the crowd went wild.

Wood was touched by the incredible reaction of those close to him and shared a video on Monday morning.

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for ‘The Prospect’.