Team Kaobon representative Raphael Uchegbu is raring to go and display his talent this Saturday at Almighty Fighting Championship 24.
Almighty Fighting Championship is preparing to host its third event of the year after successful showings in Houghton le Springs and Barnsley. Saturday night, they make the Olympia in Liverpool their home for the evening.
Raphael Uchegbu takes his second main event slot under the Almighty Fighting banner. This time the man standing across the cage from him is American Top Team Rome athlete Alexander Sasha Pirev. Both men will battle it out for the opportunity to leave The Olympia, the Almighty FC bantamweight champion.
We spoke with the extremely talented Raphael Uchegbu before his title fight on Saturday night.
Interview With Raphael Uchegbu
It’s fight week as we approach your upcoming bantamweight title fight on Almighty Fighting Championship. What are the feelings/emotions like as we close in on fight night and your first title fight as a professional?
I’m just excited to get in there and perform. It’s been a long hard camp, and I’m just ready to get in there and show my level.
With the bantamweight title being thrown in the mix, has your camp been altered? Are there any extra sessions, or have things remained the same as any other camp?
They’ve been similar to every other camp. I’ve had added sessions with Colin, our head coach. He’s been padding me and improving my striking alongside getting me ready for five rounds.
2021 was a great year for you, picking up three victories. How would you sum up the year you had in competition from your perspective? Did you meet all the goals you had set for yourself?
It was a good year. Three back to back fights was a great experience. I won all three fights, so my goals were achieved, yes. The goal every year is to fight and keep winning.
Raphael Uchegbu Talks Almighty FC
You’ve fought on Almighty twice before, and the promotion regards you extremely highly after speaking with Ray Thompson. How do you view the promotion, and what makes you feel happy enough to continue returning and competing under the Almighty FC banner?
Almighty, in my opinion, is the best promotion outside cage warriors in the UK. Great match-ups, and the promoter, Ray, is always looking for ways to improve the show and, most importantly, give back to the fighters.
Usually, when fighters have the success you have had in the early stages of their professional career, they have endured a long extensive amateur career gaining a ton of experience. If Tapology is correct, you only had two amateur fights. That being said, what do you put the success you’ve had today down to?
My amateur career was actually 3-0. I haven’t had the amateur career that most fighters have had these days, but the years of training in such a high-level gym have prepared me for the pro ranks, and I’m still learning on the job.
The Spirit in Team Kaobon
Off-course you’ve had two teammates fighting on the biggest stage just weeks ago at UFC London in Mike Grundy and Tom Aspinall. How motivating is it for you to have guys like around to learn from and draw inspiration from? Has that been a help at all in camp with those two prepping? I imagine the gym was in good spirits prior to the event?
It’s unbelievably motivating to see fighters you’ve grown up with and watched from the start of their careers achieve the ultimate goal of being in the UFC. It shows how achievable it is and what it takes to be at that level. We have all been in camp together grinding, so it definitely is a big help in camp as we know we’ve put in a lot of hard work.
When I speak with Team Kaobon fighters, they all tell me about the impact Coach Colin has had on them as a fighter and as a person. Has your life within fighting and outside of fighting been impacted by Colin?
Without Colin, I wouldn’t be the fighter I am. He’s an MMA genius across all martial arts, and I know how lucky we all are at team Kaobon to have someone who is so dedicated to making his fighters the best in the world.
Thoughts on Alexander Sasha Pirev?
You meet Alexander Sasha Pirev on the night. When first offered this matchup, what were your initial thoughts?
No initial thoughts, just let’s go. I’m excited for this step up in the match, and I know it will be a great fight.
Assuming you’ve had some time to study Pirev’s previous fights, what are you expecting him to bring to the table on fight night? How do you assess his skill-set?
I haven’t seen much tape on him. I know he likes to wrestle and grapple, and so do I, so I’m excited to see who’s all-around game will reign supreme on fight night.
You win this. You’re the new Almighty FC bantamweight championship. What’s next? Having previously thought and dominated on Bellator, is that something you have your eyes on any of these major promotions? Is that something you’ve thought about?
I’m just focused on April 2nd right now, and I will be taking one fight at a time. If a major promotion comes knocking, we’ll see what the options are, but for now, I’m just keeping my head down and working hard to win each fight that’s presented to me.
Featured image credits to Dn4photography