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Saturday 26 April K.O. 12:45

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Duo's Support For UFC Stars

Sylvain Distin and Tim Howard welcome fight pair to Finch Farm.

Duo's Support For UFC Stars

Tim Howard and Sylvain Distin have shown their support for two of the UK’s finest mixed martial arts athletes ahead of their eagerly-anticipated appearance at Wembley later this week.

The Blues duo, who are huge fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, welcomed Liverpool-born Terry Etim and his UK teammate Andy “The Little Axe” Ogle to Everton’s training ground to compare notes on preparing for a big event.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship will hold its showcase event at Wembley Arena for the first time on Saturday and Etim will make his comeback against Renee Forte before Ogle squares up to Josh Grispi.

Distin said: “I really appreciate the sport, the guys are real athletes and it’s an amazing sport. Tim and I have started watching it a lot and are always calling each other up during events or talking about it in the dressing room afterwards.”

Howard and Distin even try to squeeze some pad work into their busy training schedule, though the pair believe they have stuck with the right sport.

“We try to do some pad work once a week, but just three one-minute rounds and it’s over," said Distin. "I’m on my knees, it’s so difficult. That’s why I really enjoy watching these guys compete. I understand just how difficult it is to excel in mixed martial arts."

With Etim and Ogle’s bouts nearing, the pair spoke out about the importance of local support.

“It was great to meet Tim and Sylvain," said Etim. "Honestly I was a little surprised that they knew so much about UFC, but that just shows how much the sport is growing in the UK."

After Distin and Howard presented their guests with a specially printed and signed ‘UFC London 2013’ Everton jersey, the guys paused to debate who would win if Distin and Howard ever met inside the octagon.

“I tell Sylvain this all the time, he hits these pads but the pads don’t hit back," said Howard. "That part is easy. I mean, he’s got a big left hand, but if I can slip it, he might be in trouble."

Ogle and Etim also paid a visit to Goodison Park last month to watch the 3-3 draw with Aston Villa and received a warm reception from Evertonians as they made their way onto the pitch at half-time.

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