Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley will face top French talent Patrick ‘Dexter’ Vallee in Dublin, Ireland on February 23, Fighters Only has learned.
The fight will headline Cage Contender 16 at the National Basketball Arena. Daley has officially received clearance from Bellator to take part in the bout.
“We are very happy that Bellator have allowed Paul to take part in the card because he’s got a lot of fans in the UK and Ireland and its been a while since they’ve seen him fight on home soil. With ‘Semtex’ the fans know there’s a big chance of a big knockout and they love watching him,” says John Ferguson, Cage Contender president.
“We had a few opponents in mind for Paul but to our surprise there was a lot of reluctance out there, people didn’t want to take the risk. He’s probably the world’s number one non-UFC welterweight so its not surprising. But then we had Patrick Vallee actually petitioning us for the fight. He’s made a name for himself on the European circuit, he wants a crack at the UFC and he thinks he can beat Paul and get that call-up.
“So its an interesting fight with a lot on the line for both guys because obviously if Paul loses, its going to affect his marketability in the US with Bellator. This is one of the most serious fights of his career and its the biggest opportunity of Vallee’s.”
Vallee brings a 9-4 record into the fight and has an 89% finishing rate. Three of his wins have been by KO or TKO and five have been by way of submission. He took UFC welterweight Siyar Bahadurzada to a draw in his professional debut (Siyar was 6-0 at the time) and recently submitted BAMMA title challenger Andrew Punshon by way of a second-round armbar.
Of his four losses, one has been by T/KO and that was in December 2011. Vallee has proven to have a tough chin in his 13-fight career but Daley represents by far the hardest hitter he has been in there with, even more so than Bahaduzada, who stopped Paulo Thiago with one punch in his own UFC debut.
Daley is nicknamed ‘Semtex’ for a reason, being an explosive package with an astonishing 70% KO/TKO rate. His 30-12 record includes 21 stoppage wins and seven submissions. Of his twelve defeats, five have been by stoppage and five by submission, a good indicator that when Daley fights, it is very unlikely to go the distance - whatever the result.
The February card also hosts a fight between two good European welterweights who both appear to have a UFC contract in their futures. From Iceland comes Arni Isaakson, training partner of UFC welterweight Gunnar Nelson. From the UK via Iran comes Ali Arish, a standout wrestler as befits his Persian heritage. The winner has a strong claim to being one of the top welterweights in Europe.