Polaris 18 will see triple champion Ashley Williams taking on his toughest challenge yet and Edwin Najmi putting his Welterweight title on the line against Jed Hue, but some of the most exciting moments of the night might be found earlier in the running order.
A number of exciting competitors will be stepping on to the Polaris mats for the very first time, including a battle between two debutants as Wales’ Ashley Bendle takes on Katie Bacik. Bendle hails from the same team as triple champ Williams and has trained alongside him for several years with her only recently making the transition to the highest levels of the sport. She had a fantastic showing at the ADCC European, Middle-Eastern, and African trials where she earned a silver medal and she will be an incredibly tough opponent for all-round combat sports enthusiast Bacik, who has competed in MMA, Muay Thai, and K-1 bouts alongside her grappling career.
One of Bendle’s teammates, Tom Barry, will also be making his Polaris debut after an impressive showing at the ADCC trials, although he didn’t quite make it to the podium. He will be taking on Lloyd ‘the Yorkshire gripper’ Cooper who has remained a fan-favorite at Polaris ever since a riveting match with AJ Agazarm at Polaris 5. While he no doubt has the edge in experience over Barry, the BJJ brown belt has already made a name for himself on the competitive scene with some impressive performances.
Finally, another Welshman will be stepping on to the Polaris mats as Shane Price will be taking on Owen Livesey. Price is a two-time IBJJF masters European champion and is a veteran of the amateur MMA circuit, having won a Cage Warriors Light-Heavyweight title. While Price already has his first Polaris match under his belt, Livesey will be making his first appearance for the promotion. He’s just as experienced in combat sports as a whole however as Livesey is a decorated Judoka, having won a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth games. He made the transition to professional MMA earlier this year and has already racked up a 2-0 record with a pair of first-round finishes and will be eager to replicate that success against Price on the mats.