British MMA organization BAMMA announced on Tuesday that Oli Thompson vs Gzim Selmani will serve as the heavyweight headliner for BAMMA 15 at the Copper Box in London's Olympic Park on April 5th.
"I have been looking to fight on BAMMA for a long time,” Thompson stated. “The show always has a great look. I am bringing an intensity and athleticism that is not seen in many heavyweights, and I will put my body on the line to get the win at all costs. I want to become the first BAMMA Heavyweight champion."
Thompson originally made his name as a strongman, peaking in 2006 when he won the TWI Britain's Strongest Man contest and reached the finals of the IFSA World Championships. Additionally, Thompson has also attained 2nd and 3rd place finishes in IFSA British Championship contests. The 34-year-old heavyweight made his professional MMA debut in 2009, and he then went on to become UCMMA's Heavyweight Champion in 2011 before competing in both the UFC and KSW. Training out of 1st Generation Gym with a professional record of 12-5, Thompson has gone 3-1 in his last four outings, scoring TKO victories in consecutive bouts. Standing 6-1 and weighing 248 pounds, half of Thompson's wins have come via submission and another 42% by KO or TKO.
"Selmani is mainly considered a striker,” BAMMA matchmaker Jude Samuel remarked. “However, at 19 years of age, he has not yet had his patterns laid down, which makes him unpredictable, dangerous and exciting to watch."
Nicknamed the Albanian Psycho, Selmani fights out of Golden Glory and Tatsujin Dojo in the Netherlands with a MMA record of 5-1 and a kickboxing record of 1-0. The Kosovo Albanian stands at 6-3 and weighs 263 pounds. He started training in Judo at the age of five, and he then started kickboxing at 12 before taking up MMA at 15, making his professional debut when he was just 18-years-old. In further competition, Selmani earned the Dutch Heavyweight Grappling Championship in 2013, as well as the Rough Diamonds Kickboxing Championship last year in Germany.
"It's exciting for BAMMA to be holding an event in the Olympic Park at the Copper Box, as it carries a huge sporting legacy,” BAMMA Director Ashley Bothwell. “5th April will see the coming together of months of preparation for the fighters as all their hard work and sacrifice boils down to a few explosive, intense minutes. It is fitting that these crucial minutes should share a home with so many elite and aspirational sporting memories."
Tickets for BAMMA 15 will go on sale later this week.