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Dan Vinni: I’ll be the face of the welterweight division

The steely determination has returned to Dan Vinni’s eyes. He’s back and he’s ready to put a marker down in the BAMMA welterweight division.

Everything was going well for the UKMMA star Vinni earlier in 2017. A veteran of over 40 professional bouts, the previously nomadic Londoner had settled at Richmond Fitness, training with the likes of BAMMA world title contender Nathan Jones, Chase Morton and Mehrdad Janzemini. He was getting the attention he clearly deserved, securing a glamour bout at Wembley Arena on the main card of Bellator 179 against Alex Lohore, then a hook to the jaw brought that momentum to a halt.

After seemingly getting the best of the first round against the French-come-Londoner, coming close to securing a number of heel hooks, Vinni relaxed a bit too much in the second round of globally televised bout and Lohore capitalised, dropping Vinni and finishing with a flurry of ground and pound.

“Oh man, it still grates me to this day. That guy”, Vinni said. “I don’t know why, but I got too comfortable in there. Some people freeze up, I did the opposite, I seemed to have no urgency to finish the fight. I was gaining offensive positions at will, trying to lock in heel hooks, but when they weren’t causing him to tap, rather than transitioning to the next submission and winning the fight, I remember thinking ‘he’s not defending that right’, and just staying in position. I allowed him to regain momentum and then dropped my hands in the second round, which was the start of the end.”

“It’s no big thing to get knocked out by a guy who’s gaining a reputation for having heavy hands”, I replied.

“He doesn’t even hit that hard!”, said Dan. “Look, it was a well placed shot, he got the job done and it is what it is. I definitely want to fight that guy again at some point though. That needs to happen. Anyway, onto the next one; Gahadza”.

Yes, Walter Gahadza, a man who only 12 months ago was riding a 16-fight win streak, known for his fearsome straight right, one of the few fighters in U.K. MMA who rightly lived up to his nickname. Gahadza is currently experiencing the first period of adversity in his career, losing back to back bouts against Nathan Jones, then Terry Brazier.

“Well, if I’m frustrated with my last performance, he must be majorly p****d. I mean, which BJJ brown belt gets tapped with a bulldog choke? I was half expecting Terry (Brazier) to start rubbing his knuckles on Walter’s head. It looked like a schoolyard fight. This was for a title too. Man, losing is never good, but losing like that? That’s bad, man; really bad. Don’t get me wrong, Walter seems like a good guy and all, but he’s one dimensional. He comes out hard and fast, hitting people with that big right hand of his, but if he doesn’t put them away straight off, he crumbles. I’ve never seen the guy go to ground and use this brown belt he reckons he’s got. He gets taken into deep waters and you see the change in his eyes, he just wants a way out. He took the way out against Colin (Fletcher), he wouldn’t have complained if (referee Mark) Goddard had stopped his fight with Nathan (Jones) in the second, where he just laid back in the crucifix and took punch after punch to the head. I don’t get it man; but hey, that’s his problem to solve, not mine. I just need to slip his big right and then take the victory. I’m not gonna lie though, it would be nice if he tried to come to ground with me and showed the skills he claims to have. I doubt he will though. Expect Walter to drop to 16-3 on Sept 15th”.

So what does the future hold for Dan Vinni? “I’m in a good place right now. I’m settled at Richmond Fitness. I’m getting some good rounds in with the team, I’m even finding time to help train (actor) Tom Hardy for his next movie role”. Is Hollywood beckoning for this experienced fighter? Dan laughed, “Maybe! You never know, right? Right now I’m focusing purely on this next fight. Win this, then plan my next fight. I’m not done with my MMA journey yet. There’s a good set of welterweights in BAMMA at the moment, people like Nathan (Jones), Terry Brazier, Lohore, Fletcher, (Ion) Pascu, Gahadza and me have a lot of experience between us. There’s good fights to make between us all. Ideally I’d like to win some silverware before I retire, so let’s see what I get offered after this next fight. Once my fighting days are done though, I wouldn’t rule out anything”.

Dan Vinni vs Walter Gahadza features on the main card of BAMMA 31 on September 15th at the SSE Arena, Wembley. Tickets are available directly from Dan, with the event being streamed across UNILAD & live coverage on the satellite tv station, Dave.

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