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From Stockholm to south London

TRIUMPHANT: Nunes has his arm raised in victory

SWEDISH LIGHT-HEAVYWEIGHT mixed martial arts (MMA) practitioner Max Nunes came to the UK four years ago to improve his prospects within the sport.

Nunes now boasts a 100 per cent record of eight wins (three K.Os and five submissions) and will be aiming to remain undefeated on December 1 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham when he takes on Kevin Thompson on BAMMA (British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) 11.

But in his native Sweden, combat sport competitions are incredibly scarce.

From 1970 to 2007, boxing was outlawed and - although the Ultimate Fighting Championship hosted MMA event UFC: Sweden in April - MMA shows are few and far between.

Explaining his decision to leave Stockholm for London, Nunes told the Voice of Sport: “Most of the combat sports are banned but for some reason there are MMA shows but they are very rare. It’s not like in the UK where there could be five going on just in London alone in one weekend.

“I knew that while I was doing it I might as well do it properly. Rather than training for the sake of training I actually wanted to compete and see if I’m any good at it. And that’s why I came to the UK.”

SUBMISSION EXPERT: The 23-year-old in action in September

The 23-year-old now resides in Croydon, south London, and trains out of the New Wave Academy in Crystal Palace where he is trained by former UFC competitor Nick Osipczak.

Nunes has also trained alongside current UFC light-heavyweight Jimi Manuwa at his Lion's Pride MMA Gym in Croydon, an experience which he credits for improving his all-round game.

“He helps me a lot and is an excellent training partner,” said Nunes. “I learn so much from him just from sparring. My game’s improved, my clinch work, grappling and everything has improved just from sparring with him.”

A former basketballer, whenever Nunes steps into the octagon his main priority is to stop his opponent by any means.

“I always go for a finish. I’m not there to win a decision, I always go for the finish – submission, knockout or TKO, anything. There’ll be a finish either way,” he explains.

“I want to keep evolving, keep getting better, compete in bigger and bigger fights, keep performing well and just do my best.”

BAMMA 11, presented by GoDaddy.com, takes place at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena on December 1 and will be televised live on Channel 5 at 11pm. BAMMA is brought to you in association with Lonsdale, Ladbrokes and Go Daddy. Follow Max Nunes on Twitter @maxpowernunes

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