This Friday, Brave Combat Federation hosts their fourth event from the IPIC Arena in Abu Dhabi. Fighting for the second time under the Brave banner will be Ireland’s 2015 IMMAF European gold medallist, Ben Forsyth.
Following a loss in his last outing, the first of his professional career, Forsyth has made numerous changes to his approach. “It was probably the first time I’ve sat, broken down and analysed my fight with John (Kavanagh),” Forsyth explained. “What we took away from it was that it was very frustrating. Actually, John’s first comment was ‘that was frustrating to watch’. I was the better fighter in most aspects other than jiu-jitsu – that’s my opinion, but John’s opinion is that I was better all around, but what lost it for me was the mental side, as in he was the better competitor.”
“So it was frustrating to watch, but I learned a lot from it. My gameplan for that fight was built around reacting to what he did, which maybe works for some, but for me, I need to worry more about what I’m doing. Apparently he was touted to be a member of the American Olympic wrestling team and went into MMA instead, but I actually beat him on takedowns. I made some stupid mistakes on the ground once I took him down and he was able to use his jiu-jitsu to roll me over like he was waiting for them. So the main adjustments I’ve made since have been to my jiu-jitsu and my mindset.”
Forsyth went on to explain in more detail what those changes entailed, and the result has been wholesale changes to his training regime. “Last year I think I wore the gi once,” he began. “Now, since the start of this year, I do three gi sessions a week, which makes a big difference straight away. I’ve also gone part-time in work so I can train more and in total, I now do 14 training sessions a week, whereas before I was almost coasting. I’ve started working with a nutritionist, started working with Health Matters for the fitness side of things, I’ve started working with a mental coach – literally an overhaul.”
Forsyth’s opponent at Brave 4 will be Marco Knoebel. Forsyth is aware of the challenge that the German light heavyweight will pose and feels ready to rise to the occasion. “He’s quite good on the ground apparently, but he doesn’t get to show it in his fights,” Forsyth said. “You can tell from looking at him that he’s strong. He’s 5 – 1 and he knocked out the last guy he fought, who was undefeated before that. He looks tough and he definitely comes to fight, he’s far from just a punching bag, but he’s standing in front of me and I need to beat him in order to move forward. This fight is very important for me and I feel like I owe it to myself to go out there and, for the first time, show my full potential, because I don’t think I have yet.”
As mentioned above, this is the fourth event Brave Combat Federation have hosted, but Forsyth is in no doubt that the organisation are going to kick on to loftier heights. “Brave haven’t got the following yet, but they have the resources to get there,” he started. “Production wise, medical team wise, contract wise, they have everything. The only thing they don’t have is the following because this is only their fourth show, but they will be huge. A lot of guys in the gym have been asking ‘how do I get on that?’ because I think Brave pay their fighters what they are worth. They treat us so well too. From the moment you get on the plane you’re treated like a king – great flights, pick you up at the airport, all your food, accommodation, flights is paid for, they always ask if you need anything, everything is just so nice. Even at the show, I remember the doctors after my fight, there was a team of 4 of them around me putting ice everywhere, giving me an electrolyte drink, checking this and checking that – it was like a Formula 1 pit-stop but with doctors. They have everything in place and they’re only going to get bigger.”
Returning to Forsyth himself, and something that many fighters talk about is putting everything together come fight night and showing the world the fruits of all the hard work done in training. In Forsyth’s case, he believes that he needs to get the mental aspect in order and the results will follow. “There’s a quote I keep saying to myself – ‘Fighting is 90% mental, the rest is in your head.’ Maybe it’s not the case for everyone, but my biggest battle is in my own head. I have the athleticism, the physique, the reach, the gym, the coach, the training partners, everything I need to be a world champion, it’s just my mind that has to click – and I think it’s starting to.”
“This fight has a lot of importance, and it’s all for me; completely selfish. Since my last fight, I’ve figured out why I’m doing this, and it is all selfish. I just want to be the best in the world at something. That’s it. I’ve always been second best – at taekwondo tournaments, school, everything, I’ve always been just below that top echelon and I’m f*cking sick of it. I’m not accepting second best anymore.”
You can watch Brave 4: Unstoppable on Friday 31st March. The event will be shown live on bravefights.com and starts at 3 P.M GMT.
No More “Nice Boy” for Norman Parke Ahead of KSW 40
MMA Latest spoke to ‘Stormin’ Norman Parke, as he prepares for a rematch against Mateusz Gamrot at KSW 40 on October 22nd, where the lightweight title is on the line.
Parke (23–6–1) is a 9-time UFC veteran who won The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes tournament back in 2012. He lost to Gamrot by decision in their first fight at KSW 39. It was an extremely close and highly controversial fight, due to a finger bite from Gamrot during a grappling exchange on the canvas.
Q: KSW said they were going to review the bout because of the bite, did they ever speak to you again regarding this?
No, they didn’t. Mark Goddard and Tomasz Bronder sat down after the fight and had a discussion, but it was basically my word against his. They said nothing is going to be done about it so I thought, either pay me my win bonus, or set up a rematch then.
Before facing me I don’t think Mateusz had ever lost a round, he’s always dominated in the cage. Whenever people see him come up against someone who can defend that take down like myself, they realise he’s got problems on the feet, and they now know I’m a bad matchup for him.
Q: Given you could be a champion after this fight, do you expect a contract offer from KSW that is considerably better than your current one?
After this fight, I’ve got one more on my contract for KSW. Of course, I want that money to be going up. Mateusz has been brought up by this promotion his whole career, I respect that he’s still champion, but at the end of the day I have the same goals and want that.
Because of that, I don’t want the judges having any type of favouritism, it’s happened to me before in the likes of Brazil so I’m pissed off about that. I need to get my job done before the time runs out, that way there’s nothing anybody can say because the ball is in my court.
Q: Of course there was the bite, but what else pissed you off about the way he fought in the first fight?
I always show up to fight, I want this guy just to fight me, because in the last fight he was running away the whole time. I mean he’s the champion, come on! Show me something, stand in the middle and fight, don’t be on the back foot running away.
Q: For the first time in the history of KSW, this is a title fight that is contracted for five rounds. Does the extra 10 minutes alter your preparation in camp at all?
No not really, I mean the training I had for Francisco Trinaldo was the best, it was on point everything was perfect. But once I came to fight, after the first round I felt like someone had stuck a hot knife in my chest I couldn’t even breathe.
I think it’s more mindset to be honest I really do. Given this fight is going for or five rounds it’s no problem at all, in the last fight he was a lot more tired than me, I just kept coming forward and I could have done that for another two more rounds.
Q: Is there any animosity towards Matuesz as a person, or do you leave the tension between you two for fight purposes only?
We did speak after the fight, I spoke about the rematch and he wanted me to fight Renato Gomes Gabriel instead. I said, why’s that? So this is how it is, you just don’t want to fight me again. When we went to Poland to promote the fight some of the fans who were young kids went up to take a picture with him, and he didn’t want to take any pictures, it’s things like that I don’t like about him, like he’s upper-class and got something shoved up his arse.
Q: I asked Norman to explain the following quote he commented on one of his most recent Facebook posts,
“Can you picture how famous I would be if there was the tri-color wrapped around me, its a statement to why the guys from the north have to work harder to get the proper recognition they deserve“
I’m probably going to rattle people cages, but it’s absolutely true. People in England don’t really like you because you’re “Half British half Irish’, and then people in the south say stuff like “Oh you’re building the British government.”
When I fought in the UFC they wouldn’t even let me wear my own flag. They said no every time they said no, and I was like why? If you’re an American would you come out with a Canadian flag? I found it a disgrace.
Q: Will Gamrot again be apprehensive on the feet to trade with you and look to make it a wrestling match? How will you become the new KSW lightweight champ?
He needs to knock me out or submit me, because its five rounds. I’m a better boxer than him, I can defend a takedown, I feel like I’m better than him. I think it’ll come down to who wants it more, and I want it more, I think if the going gets tough he will break and quit, I can just see it in him.
I’m not being the nice boy anymore, I’m taking this sh*t a bit more seriously and being more aggressive in there, I need to go in there and not give a f*ck, talk to him, taunt him, have no stress and no worries.
You can watch Parke in action next weekend at KSW 40 on the organisation’s official website, https://kswtv.com/, you can also watch it on the Irish TV channel, eir Sport. The card will begin at 17:00 BST.
KSW 40: Ariane Lipski Faces Mariana Morais for Flyweight Title
KSW women’s flyweight champion Ariane Lipski will defend her title against Brazilian Mariana Morais at KSW 40 in Dublin, Ireland.
Lipski (9-3) is coming into KSW 40 on a seven-fight winning streak. She last fought against Diana Belbita in May, winning by submission in the first round. “Violence Queen” was involved in KSW 33’s Knockout of The Night, when she defeated young Polish prospect Katarzyna Lubonska with a beautiful combination of strikes.
After this fight “Violence Queen” had an incredible rise and ended up becoming a fan favorite in Poland. Many fans had compared her to Joanna Jedrzejczyk due to her fantastic striking skills.
Morais (12-4) makes her debut for KSW against Lipski. The former Invicta fighter is coming to KSW 40 on a two-fight winning streak. She won her last fight against Vitoria Ferreira by knockout in the second round.
Now that this title fight between Ariane Lipski and Mariana Morais is confirmed, here are all your other fights for a fantastic card as Dublin hosts KSW 40:
- Mariusz Pudzianowski vs James McSweeney – Heavyweight bout
- Mateusz Gamrot vs Norman Parke – Lightweight Title Fight
- Michal Materla vs Paulo Thiago – Middleweight bout
- Ariane Lipski vs Mariana Morais – Flyweight title bout
- Maciej Jewtuszko vs David Zawada – Lightweight bout
- Michal Fijalka vs Chris Fields – Light-heavyweight bout
- Lukasz Chlewicki vs Paul Redmond – Lightweight bout
- Konrad Iwanowski vs Paul Lawrence – Welterweight bout
KSW 40: An In Depth Look at the Dublin Card
KSW Federation is heading to Ireland on the 22nd of October. The promotion will host KSW 40, which will take a place in Dublin’s 3Arena.
The fight card is close to being finalised, and we can expect to see yet another great show from the Polish organization.
In the main event, ex–strongman and Polish superstar Mariusz Pudzianowski (11-5) fights against a legend of both K1 and MMA, James McSweeney (15-15). Mariusz was victorious in his last fight winning by KO in the second round against another former Polish strongman, Tyberiusz Kowalczyk (3-1).
McSweeney is the less active fighter of the two, as this will be his return to the cage after a one-year lay off. “The Hammer” last fought at AFC 17, where he suffered a first round TKO loss to Tai Tuvasa.
There is no bad blood between Pudzianowski and McSweeney coming into this heavyweight bout, but given the size of both men and their finishing capabilities, you can be sure this fight will not reach the judges scorecards.
The co-main event of KSW 40 features a lightweight title fight between current champion Mateusz Gamrot (13-0), and Norman Parke (23-6-1).
Gamrot is still undefeated and the undisputed KSW champion, but his first fight with Parke was extremely close, so now it’s time for the big rematch. A polar opposite to the tension in the main event, both Gamrot and Parke despise each other and this was epitomised by Parke’s most recent social media post.
For the first time in the history of KSW, this is a title fight that is contracted for five rounds. Neither Gamrot or Parke have ever been five rounds in their MMA careers, so it will be interesting to see how their stamina holds up if this fight does reach the later rounds.
Another exciting fight at KSW 40 is Michal Materla (24-5) facing Brazilian fighter Paulo Thiago (18-9). Materla is an ex-middleweight champion of KSW, and in his last fight he won against a household name in Rousimar Palhares. Following his knockout victory over Palhares, Thiago will look to build on his three-fight winning streak in his debut for KSW.
KSW 40 will be avaliable to watch on KSW’s official website, https://kswtv.com/, you can also watch it on the Irish TV channel, eir Sport. The card will begin at 17:00 BST.
Written by Przemek Kosinski
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