Mixed Martial Arts

Submission specialist Sass looks to stop Wiman

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Associated Press
9/28/2012 5:15:30 PM
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Put Paul Sass on his back and beware. The English lightweight seems to have more limbs than an octopus.

Leave an arm or leg of your own dangling and Sass will make you pay.

Unbeaten in 13 bouts, Sass has 12 submission wins including eight by triangle choke. Ten of his victories came in the first round.

On Saturday, the 24-year-old from Liverpool looks to become the first fighter to submit American (Handsome) Matt Wiman when the two meet on a televised card in Nottingham, England.

Dutch heavyweight Stefan (Skyscraper) Struve (28-5) faces Stipe Miocic (9-0) in the main event at the Capital FM Arena. Also on the main card, Montreal bantamweight Yves (Tiger) Jabouin takes on Brad Pickett.

Wiman (14-6) is a hard-hitter with an 8-4 record in the UFC. He has won four of his last five fights, earning a decision over Mac Danzig in October.

Wiman's strategy will probably be to blunt Sass's submission skills by repeatedly punching him in the face.

"Can't wait, should be a good fight," Sass said cheerfully. "He's a very tough opponent."

Sass made quick work of Jacob (Christmas) Volkmann at UFC 146 in May, pulling guard before eventually trapping his opponent's arm and forcing him to tap out to a triangle choke and armbar after one minute 54 seconds.

"That was the best moment in my life so far, fighting in the MGM -- one of the biggest arenas in the world -- in front of everyone," said Sass. "It was great."

Sass was 16 when he got into the sport through one of his friends, who had started training. Someone showed him a triangle choke and he pulled two of them off in his first jiu-jitsu class.

"That's where I prefer to be -- on my back with someone in my guard," Sass said.

It's a position that has served him well.

He made his pro debut in 2007, stopping David Johnson by triangle choke in 74 seconds. Six more triangle choke wins followed in succession, with five coming in the first round.

At six foot, Sass's long limbs help his submission game. He cuts about 16 pounds to fight as a lightweight.

He says his success at submissions hasn't allowed him to show off his other weapons.

"I train my striking every day. My striking's quite good. Our gym is originally a Thai (boxing) gym and I spar with all of them and I do quite well. I still have my striking to show."

Sass, who trained as a bricklayer, has focused full time on fighting since early on in his career.

"Most of my life has just been training," he said.

"The money's a lot better than from when I first started fighting," he added. "It was basically nothing and now I'm getting a bit more money. It's good."

His training partners include UFC veterans Paul Kelly, Paul Taylor and Terry Etim. Andy Ogle, another Brit on the Nottingham card, also trains there.

Several months ago, he expanded his training by having a session with the London Irish rugby team.

"Really good fun," he said.

Sass went through the rugby team's strength and conditioning program and then showed the rugby players a few tricks of his own.

"They were massive," he said. "I was tiny compared to them. They were huge."

That didn't help them learn the triangle choke.

"They couldn't really get it because their legs were that big," he added with a laugh.

Paul Sass (Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
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