The Metrodome in Barnsley will have the pleasure of hosting Almighty Fighting Championship 23 on February 19th. The event will be the promotion’s second show of the year, following a sensational night of fights last month.
Nicolae Pirogan and Callum Mullen are headlining the card in a professional featherweight title fight, which is worth the ticket money alone. Two undefeated and tough fighters who aim to continue the growth of their stock in the Almighty FC cage. The co-main event features a professional contest between Robbie Kennedy and Rhino Daley in what is expected to be a barnburner. Prior to the pro-fights, fans in attendance are treated to an action-packed amateur card from the countries up-and-comers.
I had the pleasure of speaking with one half of the main event in Nicolae Pirogan before making the walk on February 19th. Check out our full interview below.
Interview with Nicolae Pirogan
As we approach your upcoming title fight Almighty FC 23, how has this camp been for you? Have you implemented anything into your training schedule compared to your last camp when you met Geoff Ogendo?
Yes, it is normal because I made several changes. This time the fight will be more challenging because it is for the title, and it will be five, five minute rounds, and the opponent is very tough compared to my fight against Geoff Ogendo!
You’re not a stranger to Almighty FC, having fought on the show seven times as an amateur, but yet to as a pro. What are your thoughts on Almighty as a promotion, and how happy were you to receive the call from Ray Thompson to offer you a title fight? What were your initial thoughts?
Yes, I am no stranger to Almighty FC. I have 7/3/0 in my amateur career, and this is my first professional fight for Almighty FC, and it is for the title in the main event. I was, and I am thrilled when I received a proposal from Ray Thompson to fight in the main event for the belt in Almighty FC. My thoughts from the beginning were that I couldn’t refuse on such an occasion!
Can Nicolae Capture the Attention of Cage Warriors?
We have seen you compete three times since 2019, getting one bout in a year. Considering your finishing people relatively quickly and not being injured. Are you hoping to get a couple of fights in this year? What has been the reasoning behind only getting one fight in, and has that frustrated you?
To be honest, I didn’t take this into account because I had many problems in my head. I had a hard time starting my professional career, family problems, divorce, my first manager didn’t give me any more fights. Still, I continued to do K1, and until today, I changed the manager and the BJJ and grappling gym. I took my first professional fight in 2019. After this fight, I have another fight. It’s still for the belt. I hope to have proposals from Cage Warriors. In addition to MMA, I also fight in K1.
I like to ask people I hadn’t spoken with before on their journey into the sport and why MMA was a path they decided to pursue. Do you have any interesting stories in that aspect?
I went to Russia when I was 17. I was always a street fighter because otherwise, I couldn’t. That’s how all my friends were there. I saw a lot of things that made me think many times. I saw how professional boxers and high-level champions were beaten in the street. Since then, the idea came to me because I should always be prepared for everything to defend myself from any danger. That’s why I chose mixed martial arts!
Pirogan’s Opponents Are Yet to Leave the First Round
Nobody has managed to leave the first-round as of yet against you. However, as much as a nice first-round finish is, is there a part of you who would like to go the distance and put yourself in some uncomfortable positions to show everyone more of your game?
When I was fighting as an amateur, I always told everyone to be calm before the fight because it’s the same sparing but a little harder. After I had three losses, I decided because I have to be tougher and not for hard sparring but to kill someone, keep my distance, and go all rounds depending on how much I get paid.
You will meet fellow undefeated prospects in Callum Mullen. If you look at both of you guys on paper, how do you feel you match up against one another? Do you think it’s a stylistic matchup that favours you? If so, how so?
We are both undefeated. As a fighter, I like this person. I have followed him since amateur fights, and was always amazed by his fights, but when I received the proposal, I could not refuse because I am also a fighter, and I never give up. I know the fight will be spectacular and not easy.
Pirogan Leaves His Thoughts on Callum Mullen
Have you watched any tape on his previous contests in preparation for Mullen? If so, where would you say his strengths and weaknesses lie if any?
As I said before, I have been following him for a long time, and he is a tough opponent. He is strong both on the ground and standing 50/50, but as I said before. I am not afraid of anyone, only of God.
Mullen is such a bright prospect like yourself, and there is a reason this fight is the main event for the title. Both of you offer so much, with a real will to win. What type of fight are you expecting from Mullen, and do you feel the judges will need to decide this fight?
I have to be prepared for everything, possibly heavy punches, perhaps his ground game, but I don’t think the judges will have to decide this fight.
Lastly, hoping all goes well, and you walk away healthy from the fight. When can fans expect to see you back in the cage? Have you set yourself some goals you’d like to accomplish within the year in terms of MMA?
I also hope that everything will be fine for both of them. I always pray to God for victory or loss, but without injuries, my fans will see me in the cage again in a month after the fight in February, then I hope to have proposals from Cage Warriors until the end of the year.
Featured image credits to Battle Arena