The 12th February 2022 sees the 47th event from Budo live from the Pavilion Mumbles, Swansea. In one of the picks of the card we will see combat sports veteran James Lilley return against Italian native Alesso Leoni.
James Lilley has over 100 fights to his name, having competed at the very highest level for Europe’s biggest MMA promotion and being a former BKB Champion. Lilley will be looking to leave Swansea with a big win.
I caught up with James Lilley in preparation for his Budo FC 47 fight and got to hear what we can expect from the Welshman on his return.
James Lilley Interview
You have a wealth of combat sports experience, from BKB champion to competing for Europe’s largest MMA promotion in Cage Warriors. What brings you back to Budo for this event?
JL – I have unfinished business in MMA. I didn’t want to go out on a loss, and getting myself back on the mats, back grappling, back kicking has reignited my fire for MMA. I could have sat around waiting on a bare-knuckle fight. I’ve proved myself to be one of the best in Britain at bare-knuckle, perhaps the world, but I like to step outside my comfort zone. I love fighting, and I’m not bothered about the ruleset. I’ve fought a few times on Budo, and I wanted to compete again in Swansea, so it made sense when they had a show announced early in the year. Get this out the way and look forward to a big 2022.
Your opponent at Budo FC 47, Alessio Leoni, is on a four-fight losing streak. Is that something that’s giving you confidence coming into this fight, and what can we expect to see from you?
JL – Leoni is out. So we have a tough, experienced Brazilian, Moraes, instead. It is probably a tougher fight, and I am looking forward to the challenge he brings. Moraes is on a losing run, but so am I. I don’t look into stats too much. I’ve been working hard on my weaknesses. We all know what I’m about. Fighting is about entertaining the crowd, which is precisely what I plan on doing.
James Lilley Discusses the Different Styles of Fighting
You have competed at the highest level in BK and MMA. Other than the obvious choice of no gloves, what was the biggest difference you found between these two styles of fighting?
JL – Distance is probably the biggest difference. You can afford to be a little closer in BK compared to MMA. In MMA, the dangers can come in many forms: kicks, punches, flying knees, takedowns, etc. You have to be more alert and manage your distance better.
With over 100 competitive fights to your name, what’s left for you to accomplish in combat sports?
JL – I don’t have set goals in combat sports. I never set out to be a champion etc. I enjoy fighting, so I just go where the journey takes me. However, I have a bucket list of sorts, and I want to try and fight in a few other countries before it’s over—a world tour of blood and destruction.
What are your plans for 2022? Where can we look forward to seeing you compete?
JL – Plans for 2022 – I am full steam ahead for my BKFC debut on American soil once this fight is out of the way. I have been given a preliminary date, so we shall see what happens in the next few weeks. I honestly want to get at least another two or three in before the year-end.
We would like to thank James Lilley for taking time out of his training to give us his thoughts here at Combat Sports UK. We wish Lilley all the best in his upcoming fight.
Featured image credits to James Lilley