ST HELENS bruiser Rob Broughton got his Ultimate Fighting Championship career off to a flying start with a win over Brazil’s Vinicius Quieroz in front of a fanatical 22,500 crowd at London’s O2 arena.

The 28-year-old, ranked Britain’s best heavyweight on the mixed martial arts circuit, got a submission from his opponent with a rear naked choke.

Broughton, who has signed a four-fight deal with UFC, has now declared an ambition to fight in Las Vegas - but in the meantime is happy to quietly carry on playing amateur rugby league for Blackbrook A team in the North West Counties Division Six.

Broughton said: “It was brilliant to fight down there in front of a sell-out crowd – the biggest crowd I have ever been in front of and it was a cracking atmosphere.”

He had to battle his way back into the fight after the giant Brazilian got off to a good start in round one.

Broughton took the second one before ending the fight in round three with a submission.

It was a welcome return to action for Broughton, who had three fights in one night back in January to settle who was Britain’s best heavyweight, but then went eight months without another bout while his negotiations with UFC took place.

“To get into the UFC for a fighter is our equivalent of a football team qualifying for the Champions League.

“It is the toughest competition that the best want to get into,” Broughton said.

Broughton has to be adept in all the fighting disciplines - and has been a mixed martial artist for ten years, now training at Wolfslair gym and Atherton Submission wrestling club.

“I do boxing, Thai boxing, judo, jujitsu and both freestyle and submission wrestling. My strengths are my boxing, which I first learned at Lowe House, and submission wrestling” he said.

In his career so far he has already fought in Kansas, USA, Tokyo, Japan, and Russia representing Team England.

Broughton has not got an opponent lined up for his next fight - but has declared an ambition to make it to Las Vegas.

“There are lots of great venues on the circuit - across the world from Brazil, Germany and Dubai - but everyone wants to go to Vegas, don’t they?” he said.

He effectively goes into camp ahead of each fight - but in the meantime is quite happy to trot out for Brook’s second string and he even managed to get over the whitewash in the 92-6 crushing of Rochdale Cobras on Saturday.

“I love the rugby and it helps keep me in shape. I just like quietly slipping out there and playing on a Saturday afternoon,” he said.