Wearsider Phil De Fries excited by MMA challenge in Los Angeles

Phil de Fries.
Phil de Fries.
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MIXED martial arts fighter Phil De Fries is heading to California for an intensive training camp ahead of a televised showdown with former Britain’s Strongest Man, Oli Thompson.

The 26-year-old from Millfield iflew out today for a six-week training programme at the sport’s famous Alliance Gym in San Diego, from which several star performers have emerged over the years.

After getting himself into top shape there, he’ll head to Los Angeles for the all-British contest in the LA Lakers’ Staples Center on Saturday, August 4 and hope to make a name for himself in front of a Fox TV audience.

De Fries told the Echo: “I’m looking forward to it, but I know there’s going to be a lot of hard, punishing work ahead of me – and then the fight after that!

“It’s a great opportunity for me to learn more, though, and develop my skills and fitness. I’ll be training with some very talented people and then I’ve got the fight against Oli, who is making a career for himself out there.”

It’s a big step forward for the 6ft 5in, 117kilo fighter who started off in jiu jitsu more than a decade ago but fell in love with mixed martial arts just over four years ago and has made a superb start to his competitive career.

He added: “I enjoyed jiu jitsu and won competitions, but a few years ago friends of mine were getting into mixed martial arts and I got the bug the more I got involved.”

De Fries, now a successful heavyweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship with an impressive record of just one defeat in nine fights, is looking to take his career to the next level.

He said: “It’s all about learning and improving at this stage and that’s exactly what I plan to do over the next few weeks before hopefully showing what I’m capable of in the Los Angeles fight.”