It’s fight week for experienced amatuer Ieuan Mackenzie ahead of the Welshman’s tenth bout this Saturday against John Watson.
Mackenzie is among this Saturday’s action at Meltdown Fighting Championship 8 from the Thornbury Sports Centre, in Bristol. The card currently consists of 12-matchups, so those in attendance can be assured to witness a worthy night of fights.
Ieuan Mackenzie holds a notable amateur record of (6-3) and holds the Cage Warriors Academy featherweight title, which saw him defeat Kenzie Jones in his most recent outing to attain gold. “The Lion” looks to continue the momentum which saw him pick up two consecutive victories in 2021, with two stoppages.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Ieuan Mackenzie before he walks on Saturday to see where his head is at pre-fight. Read the full exclusive below.
Interview with Ieuan Mackenzie
It’s fight week, with nine amateur fights already in the bag. How is the fight week process usually for you in the weekend’s lead-up? Do you find it stressful, or are you relaxed and ready to go?
During my first couple of amateur contests, I found the fight week process made me quite anxious. I was usually in the gym until the very last minute as it took my mind off the competition. Now, going into my tenth amateur fight, I find the fight week my favourite part of the whole fight camp process. Knowing all the hard work and prep is done, it’s nice to relax and get ready to do the fun part – fight!
Last year saw you pick up two wins and two finishes against good competitors. How would you sum up your 2021 in terms of competition? Were you completely satisfied?
2021 was a really good end for me, coming off a tough loss in February of 2020 and not being able to right that wrong because of Covid was rough, which meant it felt even better winning both of my contests of 2021. While I am completely satisfied with my results in both fights, I was frustrated at my lack of activity as I was supposed to fight twice before that, one being an event cancellation and the other being a pull-out two weeks out from a fight.
I want to touch on the IMMAF if I could, and that experience. How beneficial do you feel that whole experience was for you in the early stages of your career? What did you take from that?
The IMMAFs were a pivotal point in my MMA career. Being only 18 at the time, the experience of fighting twice in two days was invaluable to me. Beating the Russian – who was also the favourite to win is a moment that will stay with me forever. It also made me realise that I want to take this all the way.
The Progression of MMA in Wales
MMA in Wales seems to be booming at the minute. I don’t think the sport has ever been in a better place as of right now. Young talented athletes are coming through the ranks with an imposing skill level. What do you put that down to?
I would put it down to a mix of great coaching and professional amateur shows. The level of coaching in Wales is absolutely through the roof. With multiple BJJ black belts and high-level Muay Thai and wrestling coaches, it’s hard to go wrong with any gym in Wales. Amateur MMA shows are getting to a higher standard each time, from the level of the fighters on show to the production of the event as a whole.
You meet John Watson on the night. How do you view this matchup from a stylistic standpoint? Have you had the opportunity to watch anything from his previous fights?
I match up with John very well stylistically. I think his weaknesses play very well into my strengths, and I see him getting very frustrated on the night. I’m going to be a step ahead at all times.
My coaches watch all the tape for me. I put more trust in them than I do myself when it comes to analysing footage. I can trust them that I will be well prepared for my opponent come fight night.
Ieuan Mackenzie Talks John Watson
All three of Watson’s wins have been stoppages. What measures have you taken in preparation to ensure you don’t become another statistic on his record?
I have been working on how to get to good positions and stay there, and if something were to go slightly wrong, I have done plenty of prep on how to escape bad positions. John isn’t going to be able to threaten me with anything I haven’t seen before, and if he comes out with something unexpected, I will be well prepared for it.
Without giving too much away, how do you see this fight unfolding? What do you bring to the table, and what does Watson bring to the table?
I certainly don’t see this fight going the distance. I see this fight being a one-sided affair for me. While I respect Watson for accepting this fight, he isn’t going to have an answer for what I throw at him on the night. While I have always had high-level BJJ and wrestling stemming from Craig Ewers Academy, my striking is at a very high level as well now since joining Celtic Pride in 2020, and I look forward to showing off every aspect of my game Saturday night. John brings a finish or is finished style, and I can guarantee that it will be the latter on the night.
What’s in Store?
All goes well, you leave MFC 8 with the victory. Is there anything else in the pipeline? How active would you like to stay for the rest of the year?
I’m looking at a defending my Cage warriors title In June, but nothing is set in stone yet. I am also taking part in the four nations national tournament in July, which will see Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland battle it out in a 3-day elimination style tournament. So, lots to look forward to on the horizon.
Featured image credits to Ieuan Mackenzie