Phil De Fries targets the American dream

Phil De Fries, Sunderland ultimate fighter
Phil De Fries, Sunderland ultimate fighter
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UNDEFEATED Sunderland fighter Phil De Fries hopes that a seventh successive walkover win will propel him across the Atlantic.

De Fries (pictured) faces his toughest challenge to date when he steps through the ropes against Southend’s Stavros Economou next month, in a meeting of two of the country’s top mixed martial arts heavyweight prospects.

Ultimate Warrior Challenge champion Economou, is ranked three in the country and the Essex man is widely regarded as the UK’s top unsigned heavyweight after 11 wins from his 14 outings.

But De Fries is ready for the challenge after maintaining his 100 per cent record of first round knockouts with victory over Northern Ireland veteran Colin Robinson last month.

The 25-year-old, who trains out of Castletown’s Dungeon Gym, is confident that a win over Economou would attract the attention of scouts from the Ultimate Fighting Championship and see him follow fellow Wearside fighter Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson to America.

De Fries said: “It was a really good win over Robinson and hopefully it will make people take a bit more notice of me.

“If I win this one, I’ll be ranked fourth in the country and hopefully they’ll be a scout there from the UFC.

“The Czech fighter Karlos Vemola beat Economou and then got signed to UFC straightaway so hopefully something similar will happen to me.”

De Fries, holder of the Supremacy Fighting Challenge belt, has enjoyed a profitable two years since switching from jujitsu to mixed martial arts.

None of his bouts have lasted five minutes, taking just 90 seconds to beat Robinson with an armbar submission.

De Fries has taken a major confidence boost from the victory and believes his superior skill can see him taste victory over Economou, in the Cypriot-born fighter’s hometown on Saturday, July 2.

The 25-year-old added: “I think I am going to beat him.

“I am fitter than him and stronger than him and although he’s a tough fighter, technically he’s not on my level.

“I have had six bouts now and beaten them all within a few minutes.

“If I can get him on the floor, I am confident I will make him submit.”